Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bruegel in the 21st Century?

Passed this gentleman on the street and immediately saw Bruegel's paintings. Have we really changed that much? Probably not. What do you think? Take a look at this modern-day construction worker with Bruegel's gentle fellow heading down a path in the woods.

Maybe it's the hood?

And in a larger context, the colors?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February Recap:Re-cycled flowers, Escher, birds, sky, clouds, Grub St.

RE-cycling flowers. Do you do this? Cut stems, put in new vases, refresh them to make them last as long as possible? Here's a bouquet that's almost 2 weeks old, now on our kitchen windowsill. This is a good time for all words beginning with RE: revise, revisit, return, remember, retreat. (For astrology fans, mercury is in re-trograde until mid-March.)

Purim and bluish snow. When now looks blue or when things take on different appearances. Purim, for instance, is when Jews don silly costumes and masks, make noise and celebrate with bountiful abandonment. Queen Esther outwits even Haman, who tried to annihilate the Jews. Here's a link that explains a bit. 

Passed this striking, Escher-like view near the old Christian Science Center in Boston and thought it expressed one of many sensations I feel when revising a  novel.

Afternoon light, Thursday, with birds.

A view from Grub Street offices, across from Boston Commons.  Grub Street is the second largest independent center for creative writing in the U.S.  Stellar place. Here's a link to learn more about its many services:

Wonder sky with cars at dusk. Everything and everyone going somewhere.

 One more sky (because its possibilities are endless).

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love, any day

As much as I appreciate the intent behind Valentine's Day, I can't stop thinking about those who are unattached or maybe going through a hard time in a close relationship. For those people, I want to send out a wish and gentle reminder that V-day is 24 hours. Give yourself a gift of love (a walk, coffee with a friend, a good book). Don't let the Hallmark machine get to you.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Nemo 2013: Pictures of a Blizzard & A Bird

Two feet plus this morning. Windows rattling from the snowy breezes. And, look! Snow drifts on our windowsills.

I went out to shovel. (My condo-mates did most of the work, though.)  Snowflakes are light and still accumulating

Sidewalk is clear, but street has not yet been plowed. Those are my bootsteps. Fluffy stuff.

Walked a few blocks to the main street 

On the way back home saw a bird fly across this street. A robin!

 This is where it found shelter, inside a burlap-wrapped bush. Smart.

Another dozen robins flew out into the trees.  Here’s one that lingered (pic below). Can you see the orange peeping out of the snow-covered branches?  You have to look hard. The bird is center/left in the photo. Wishing I had some bird seed in my pocket. Will get some when stores reopen.

Here's today's revelation.

When I first saw that bird flying across the road on snowy currents, I knew this storm would soon be ending.  I remembered how the Greeks looked to birds for harbingers of weather and events and the future. I used to think bird-reading was really humans projecting their needs, desires and hopes. I don't think it's just that anymore. I believe birds are expressions of a larger intelligence, a universal knowledge. They are part of our intrinsic, organic perception of what we can't see or sense directly or reach with our usual tactile probing. I understood how much we need birds. We humans would be lost, the loneliest of wanderers, without them. 

Birds are supremely resourceful.  I guess humans can be, too.

A neighbor is X-country skiing down our small street

Friday, February 8, 2013

Scenes from a novel: special thanks to Rena Rossner

I got an email the other day that blew me away.  Rena Rossner, who lives in Israel, was still thinking about scenes from Night Swim--a year after reading it. She wanted to ask me a few questions, too. The result is this post from her blog: My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors. 

Rena has lots to say about different kinds of books, her reading experiences, and her own writing, which you can explore on her website and blog.  Her first novel is called "Framing the Sea." I hope you'll see what else Rena is up to. Here's where you can find her online:

Rena on Twitter:
Rena on Facebook:
Rena's website:

And, now, here's the first half of Rena's post about Night Swim:

Night Swim – One Year Later and a Q&A

"I read Jessica Keener’s Night Swim one year ago. The book arrived in the mail to my office and I was immediately intrigued by the cover and the story. I read the book in nearly one sitting – I could not put it down. At the time, I really wanted to write a review of the book, but life got hectic, as it tends to do, and I never got around to it. When I saw Jessica post recently on Facebook that she was celebrating her book’s 1-year anniversary with a 50-state Skype book-club blog tour, I realized that even though I read the book a year ago, so many things still stuck in my mind. And that made me think, wouldn't that make a great blog post? To talk about a book one year later and specifically highlight the things that stayed with you. What higher compliment to pay an author than to be able to say: “I still remember…” Then I talked to Jessica about her experience of the past year and asked her some questions – Q&A is below after I record my thoughts about the book “one year later.”
So, this is what I still remember:
  • Peter’s guitar, his chats with Sarah
  • How a discreetly placed hand on the small of someone’s back at a party can mean so much, and be so striking an image
  • Sarah’s mother who is not only described as sitting with a back as straight as a violin bow, but whose life and actions mimic the sound and sigh of the violin she can no longer play
  • Sarah’s mother’s car approaching the intersection – the crash – I can still see that moment in my mind
  • The house, which becomes a character in the novel – dark, heavy, sad, depressed in its own right
One year later I still remember these moments, and I suspect that if I remember them now, so vividly, I will likely remember them for many years to come."
Rena then asked me  a few questions that no one else had asked. To see my answers, and the rest of her post, click here.
Thank you, Rena!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Cloud Serenity

 Here are a couple of cloudscapes from yesterday.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

From my transplant journal, Feb. 1980

Feb. 11, 1980 Monday Clear, cold--etc

Observations about the laminar air flow room: 

The constant hum of the air flow

The red lights outside the room on the "control panel" indicating that all things are working

Metal bedpans

Blue, sterile cloth wraps

Floral design on electric curtain

White, lift-top table with mirror in it, rolling feet

Though I had been released from the transplant unit at the hospital, I had to remain in a kind of solitary confinement at my mother's apartment. It was wonderful and strange to be "out." At the same time, I was not allowed to see anyone except my mother, my boyfriend, and my father. My parents were separated at the time. It was the flu season and my immune system, immature and vulnerable, made me highly susceptible to life-threatening infections.I also still had a shunt in my thigh, a kind of plastic umbilical cord that had been surgically implanted in my leg before my transplant so that medications and blood could be monitored without sticking me with needles all the time. The shunt was a daily reminder that I was not yet fully birthed from this womb of my former disease.

A page from my transplant journal: Please Sterilize Immediately

and these drawings for a book cover for a book that I had not yet written.

Here, I have not yet lost my hair.
Good and bald, now.
Those people under the clock are some representation of my doctor and my primary nurse.

I often felt as if my hospital bed were some kind of canoe, that time was a river on which I was traveling, riding waves of  memory and desire for my future.

Monday, February 4, 2013

February, month of purity

Did you know that Februarius, named after the Latin  februum, means purification? 
Its birthstone is amethyst, which is also sometimes called "gem of fire." It's one of my favorite stones that I keep near my computer. For more fascinating info and details about this beautiful stone, go here.