Feb 18, 2023


Walked into a room filled with stars thanks to a friend’s disco ball. Took a moment to play with the sun-stars in the living room while listening to music before catching a subway and a train. Looked up to a ceiling of year-round stars thanks to Grand Central and people with big vision & nature love. 

I love stars in the daytime. 

In the coffee line at Grand Central, a man behind me ordered mint tea then changed, with gratitude, to a cinnamon tea. He was a kindness turbine. The man behind the counter asked him where he was from:
Man: Dominican Republic.
Man: I thought you were Indian.
Man: It’s all the same thing. We’re all from the same place.
Man: (laughing) Maybe.
Kind people tend to be kind, because they know its value and the value of time. They work consciously and with intentionality to create kindness for others, such that getting tea becomes something much greater than getting tea, for everyone in the room. 
I hoped he enjoyed his tea, and he wished me a good weekend, and I wished him a good weekend, too. There is friendship to be found with one another, all the time, with people you won’t encounter again except through one another’s humanity. 
On the train, I longed for perfect conditions: quiet and to look at the Hudson in a forward-facing, westerly seat. 
Young people exploded like a comet into the train car.  
I moved to another car — far, far away and sat in a backwards-facing blue seat still facing the river on a quiet car.  
Soon, another explosion of young people rocketed in and it was: erfect ; ) the way life actually is. 
Now a mom & a little boy join me in the seat, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I look out the westerly window, and I find that there are things to notice looking backwards. 
Tonight I’ll talk to my honey Marisa on the phone who has been care-giving for her mom for a few months, connection undeterred and always sparkling amidst a challenging time and dotted with planned visits to see each other.  Marisa always finds something to smile about, like I’ve seen again and again in both her parents, her mom deriving joy in sunlight, her dad in the late afternoon & evenings. I’ll tell her about my day which is now still unfolding. Last night she read me a passage from a book about how a memorial service, like I’m heading to now for a friend, can be a helpful thing despite the sorrow, and I’m grateful. 
The mom & little boy hop off the train now, the little boy putting on cozy, dazzling blue gloves. They’re Prussian blue, I realize, a paint color that a very dear and kind man mentions in a beautiful song.
Written on the Metro-North Railroad Hudson Line train, January 28, 2023.


Jul 26, 2022

Tall Ceilings and All the Feelings

The essay below, “Tall Ceilings and All the Feelings,” is about a love of architecture, one of the things I wanted to do when I grew up.  It’s also about how certain spaces activate spiritual yearning as well as a perpendicular kind of sexual awakening. 

Tall Ceilings and All the Feelings

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with tears in my eyes and I’m not sure how they got there.  It’s usually because I’ve fallen asleep listening to a piece of music.  Lately, I’ve been listening to Cathedrals, an extraordinary song covered perfectly by Cry Cry Cry.  One of the questions the song asks is: Where is home?  The song also conjures up the possibility that one may — or may not — feel at home in the arching arms of a city cathedral.

I feel at home, from architectural and sentient angles, inside the impossibly beautiful La Sagrada Familia by Gaudi in Barcelona, where a man’s unfinished plans convey reverence for animal kingdom, for sand castle play, and for catching rainbows through window eyes-nostrils-tongues.  I feel at home inside St. John the Divine in New York City — its skyward ceiling, its granite pillars quarried in Maine, its divine blue glass Rose Window, its humble Poets Corner, its space restored after terrible fire, its artist’s loan of a Phoenix dragon flight.  I feel at home, too, across the street from St. John the Divine, at a spiritual enclave called Hungarian Pastry Shop, a place beloved by writers, students, and people in conversation, quiet study, or reverie.  I feel at home inside State Street Church in Portland, Maine which used to host music concerts, but which I don’t think does anymore.  It was there that I first heard saxophonist Joshua Redman in-person and folk singer Dar Williams and activist-acapella group Sweet Honey in the Rock. 

I also feel at home inside Portland Museum of Art. Museums are types of cathedrals, don’t you think?  Some of them, like the entryway of PMA, have gloriously high ceilings, inviting one to fully arrive and to…look up!

I also love the Portland Public Market which I wish was still open, but which was turned into office space.  It used to be such a wide open and important community space with fruits, vegetables, tacos, fish, pies, sushi, beer, ice cream, coffee, and flowers.

I loved working there.  I worked at the flowershop inside the Portland Public Market at age 22.  The colors and names and personalities of the flowers made me do a heart-smile, everyday.  And the people did, too — the customers and everyone who worked at the market.

The flowershop was on the other side of a kiosk shared by the coffee shop.  There was a girl my age who I thought was so lovely who worked at the coffee shop.  I asked her if she wanted to go get coffee sometime, but, like, on our day off and maybe someplace other than the coffee shop where she worked.  She said yes.

We met at Arabica on Free Street.  She told me about her studies of Milton which I found so impressive.  I’d read excerpts of Milton in college so far and hoped to read all of “Paradise Lost“ when I returned to college for my senior year. 

After coffee, I asked if I could show her something I thought was beautiful.  She said yes.  We walked a few blocks up Free Street, and I pointed to the Portland Museum of Art.  “It’s right up here.  It’s just something I’ve noticed.” 

We stood outside the entrance to the closed museum, looking through the lateral walkway which is comprised of a linear fountain of echoing arches.  It was dark enough for the outdoor lighting to be turned on, illuminating the tunnel of arches. “Isn’t it just so beautiful?  The feeling of looking through the arches?”  She smiled, admiring the arches, and said it really was.

The next thing I invited her to was a reading at a local bookstore which I believe is closed now.  The reading was with Steve Almond who writes fiction, essay, political commentary, and at the time quite a lot about sex which I didn’t entirely realize.  His energy reminded me a lot of playwright and actor Eric Bogosian.  She said yes. 

There wasn’t any seating left when we got to the reading, so we were invited to climb on top of the bookcases and sit up there.  We were happily surprised by the invitation and totally game for the climb.  It was amazing to look out over the reading and listen to Steve’s provocative, freeing sex-politics words.  I was wearing a rainbow sweater. We were so close to the ceiling now, almost like “fallen angels…” with “…oily feathers” (lyrics from Cathedrals).

I remember when her boyfriend came to the market.  He seemed to be looking for someone, or something, at the flowershop, a bit testy and unpleased, but with a strange smile.  I felt camouflaged behind the orchids and amaryllis, and also like I didn’t look like much of anything or anyone at all, which was helpful.  But I do remember ducking behind the counter as he slowly circled the kiosk.  I pretended to look for a pair of yellow-handled flower clippers on the floor until he was gone.

One time, not long after this encounter, I was processing spider mums at the store counter. Spider mums arrive like all the flowers do, in a long slender box.  The buds of the spider mums are each encased in a gentle netting to protect them.  All you have to do, after a fresh cut (and, if memory serves, before treating the flowers to a luxurious “hot bath“ to revive them after their long journey), is to pull gently upwards on the netting around each bud. The petals will then spring out, finally released into their full beauty and splendor.

As she walked through the opening in the shared counter and we said hi, I held out a mum toward her by its stem and said, “Look at this…” and I lifted the netting up off of the bud, like a magic trick. The flower exploded into existence before her eyes, and her cheeks turned many shades of pink and red simultaneously.  She laughed and smiled and said “wow…!” It surprised me, too; I hadn’t meant to pull the netting up so quickly.  It was exciting, and I smiled gently at her, knowing it was my final gesture to her before just saying hi, in a friendship way, in future.  It felt safer for me and much better for her.  But it had been so lovely.

The Portland Public Market had such beautiful, tall, arching ceilings.  Almost like a cathedral.

 (July 25, 2022 ๐Ÿ–‰ AG-E)

Joni & Brandi & All the Women & Gentle Everyone & Armchairs & Music & Joy!

๐Ÿ˜Ž ๐ŸŽจ ๐ŸŽธ ✨

In her memoir Broken Horses, Brandi Carlile talks about her wife Catherine throwing down hard ๐Ÿ˜‚ when they were dating, saying that if Brandi didn’t listen deeply to Joni’s music, Catherine really didn’t see a future for the two of them. 

Brandi fell in love with Joni’s music, particularly Blue — and more deeply in love with Catherine ๐Ÿ˜‰ and vice-versa — and part of what makes Brandi a good egg : ) is not just that she’s a powerhouse singer-songwriter with the twins + cellist & entire sweet band, but that as a producer and music-community person, she champions women who are somewhat out of or entirely out of the limelight of the music industry and reminds everyone of their greatness, widening listenership into other genres — Joni Mitchell…Tanya Tucker… Mavis Staples… (all still pure greatness who never went anywhere, but part of a fickle-seeming business which appears to sometimes prize very young talent).

Brandi works on many projects at once, and in her book, she mentions Joni inviting her over to her house to jam with friends.  Catherine would tell her: do more of that, please, make time for that.

In the Newport Folk Festival footage, it is so striking to see a livingroom-setup of beautiful, cozy armchairs on stage — maybe like a Joni jam shared with the public.  Seated in an armchair next to Joni ๐Ÿ˜Ž is Brandi ๐ŸŒˆ and so many other friends.  Behind Joni, is Winona ๐Ÿ’š During Both Sides Now, Winona looks heaven-ward and it feels palpable that she’s thinking of her mom, Naomi. It’s heart-breaking and maybe also healing for Winona, hopefully ๐Ÿ™ to be washed over with song from her mom’s contemporary.  Winona’s subtle harmonies are stunning and feel heaven-sent.

Getting to hear Joni’s voice and see her up there onstage, even on a small phone screen, felt in the realm of spiritually profound.  Immediate tears.  I had craved and needed that very sound. 

Joni’s friends, known or unknown, too, no doubt envisioned and helped with aspects of that show and saw that stage picture like a dream, too.  All this to say, behind every great woman (and sometimes seated next to), is the encouragement and influence of another great woman, championing one another.  Brandi champions Joni, Joni inspired Brandi, Catherine champions & wrangles everyone ๐Ÿ™‚ and on and on…  That’s kind of the best of what music-community is ❤️ (And sweet dudes and non-binary friends, too, who support powerful women, but lots of divine women to appreciate.)

Only Murders in the Building: Bunny Folger



Credits:  Photo 1: Only Murders in the Building title screen, Hulu.  Photo 2:  Screenshot during episode entitled, "The Last Day of Bunny Folger." Release date: July 5, 2022, Dir. by Jude Weng.  
So exciting to watch theatre great Jayne Houdyshell crush it on "Only Murders in the Building."
Overheard next to me on the sofa, “I would watch an entire series about the character of Bunny just going about her day,” spoken by Marisa, my partner ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿฆœ

Houdyshell captures a particular type of New Yorker — outwardly surly, intensely loving.  

It’s a glorious ensemble.  I love Selena Gomez (fangirl here!) as the very chill, knowing, deadpan Mabel, foil to the comedic soft shoe of Steve Martin & Martin Short as Charles & Oliver. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Generational comedy splendor.  
Excited to see what unfolds. ✨๐Ÿ๐ŸŽง
(July 12, 2022 ๐Ÿ–‰ AG-E)

Jul 20, 2022

On Leadership & Labor

The Lineman, 1949 - Norman Rockwell
Norman Rockwell, "The Lineman," 1949, oil on canvas, 107 x 144.5 cm. © Norman Rockwell. Fair Use.  
My great grandfather was Henderson Sterling Gates.  I’m told that he worked his way up in the telephone company in Texas, from a labor position to leadership.  I’ve always pictured this as his getting to the top of a telephone pole.

At the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA this past fall, I was captivated by so many magazine covers and paintings, such compassionate and political works of art, one of which was a beautiful painting called "The Lineman."  I think it reminded me of my great grandfather, and it felt like humble leadership and deft, caring labor made equal. 

Henderson is a Scottish surname which may be why I find myself most at home wearing plaid and why Vanessa and I frequent the annual Scottish Day Parade in NYC each April (aka the New York City Tartan Day Parade).  My great grandfather’s chosen profession may also explain why my mom’s side of the family values crystal clear lines of communication : ) ☎️๐Ÿ“ž⚡️♥️ 

(July 11, 2022 ๐Ÿ–‰ AG-E)

Jul 18, 2022

Where We Live

 Below is a recent personal essay.  It's a follow-up to "On Writing" posted previously. 

A tall, skinny, menacing man came to our house on Crestwood Drive in Houston and met with my parents. The man was offering a large sum for our unique house.  I later learned that he didn’t want to move into our house, which I didn’t understand at all, but rather to level it and develop the area around it.  My mom said a very firm “No” to the man.  She feared what he wanted to do with our house and the ravine behind it and how the sale would change the neighborhood.  Many people on our street were older and needed protecting; every house was unique and beautiful on an unusual, winding, special street. 

My parents argued after the meeting with the man.  My dad took one more meeting, this time on his own, with the man.  My dad said “Yes” to the deal with the man.  When he told my mom, she was stunned and furious.  My dad revealed to my mom the extent of our money problems.  My mom said to tell the man “Absolutely not” to the sale; she would find another buyer.  My father did, and the man was furious and galled at having a gentleman’s agreement broken.  My mom found a buyer she trusted and liked and at a sum that she understood we now needed. Simultaneously, and after almost 18 years of marriage, my mom decided to begin the process of divorcing my dad.

Vanessa and I went down to Texas for our dad’s 82nd birthday a few years ago.  It had been quite a long time since visiting and seeing him, and it felt a little strange, but really right.  He had come up to New York for arbitrations a few times; one of the most recent times, he was leaving New York just as Hurricane Sandy was blowing in, one of the last flights out.  We were excited to see our family — our brother James who I still call Jamie; his wife Jennifer; their teenager(!) kids, Alex and Izzy; our extraordinary niece Jessica, a teacher; her hubby Steven, a tattoo artist; their littles(!) Janeia and Leslie ๐Ÿฅฐ  We were excited to meet all together at Chuy’s for Tex-Mex.  In the parking lot, Vanessa said, “Sea roses!” and the two of us put our noses into the sweet bushes.

Vanessa and I started the drive from downtown Houston to my dad’s neighborhood; Houston is sprawling.  Vanessa routed us near Memorial Drive; like Central Park in Manhattan, getting to the park can help you understand where you are. We were using GPS, but I felt comfortable without Siri, tracing our location on the phone with my finger and telling us where to turn.  When we moved from Texas to Maine, when I was 8 and Vanessa was 9, we had a stack of AAA maps with orange highlighter to denote the recommended route. Vanessa and I would take turns tracing the orange highlighter with our fingers and telling our mom where to turn.  It was thrilling that she entrusted us with the navigation.  I love to read maps. 

We found ourselves at a roundabout, which I find generally confusing and somewhat counter-intuitive, and I gestured to the incorrect spoke of the wheel.  We were now setting out in precisely the wrong direction.  We kept driving, I was profusely apologizing, Vanessa was calming me down, and I started to notice how distinctive the trees and shrubs were.  Texas vegetation. Mexican vegetation.  Mexican tile terra cotta roofs.  Green, green lawns.  It was so beautiful.  It was familiar.  I hadn’t seen it in so long.  The streets seemed to have flower-related names.  Rose...Blossom. We were lost, but it was beautiful. 

We turned on a street that we both agreed felt really right, and when we got to the end of the block, we looked up at the green street sign. The sign said, impossibly: Crestwood Drive.  I began to cry. We had gotten lost in our old, enormous city and somehow found our way home.

Vanessa is a mischievous, knowing soul, but she insisted that her only intention had been to get us near the park, like old times and en route to my dad’s neighborhood.

We turned left onto Crestwood Drive and through the intersection that I remember my mom navigating when we were little; sometimes it took ages until it was safe to turn left onto the main road, Memorial Drive.  There was a traffic light there now.

We drove into our part of Crestwood Drive which now had mini-mansions on it and which was adjacent to a development behind it, packed with more mini-mansions.  The developer — or someone like the skinny, tall, menacing man with a similar deal — had gotten his way, made a sale, a series of sales, that had forced the project through.  The street, I noticed, still had its wild, untamable, winding shape. 

We arrived at number 32.  I sobbed seeing the front gate, a remnant of our old house and selves. Behind the gate was an unrecognizable monstrosity.  Our house was gone.  In its place was something I knew was beautiful but wasn’t to me.  I longed to walk to our kitchen door and go inside and to see the sunlight pour into the back of the house and look out at the ravine behind our peaceful home.  None of it was there.

Shortly before the trip to Houston, I’d seen the movie “A Wrinkle in Time.”  On the plane, there was an inflight magazine with a feature article about Ava DuVernay and Storm Reid and the making of this movie.  I’d remembered reading the book in 4th grade, but details were foggy.  When I saw the movie with friends, I wasn’t concerned with whether the movie was faithful to the book; I wanted to finally understand the detail about the wrinkle.  I was fascinated by the way that a man could find his way into another realm through the frequency of love.  During the movie, I had what I felt was a “heart-bloom” sensation in my chest. My heart was remembering and releasing something which I hadn’t felt in so long.  It was a warm feeling and like the opening of a rose.  A father had gone away and gotten lost.  His daughter went to go find him and bring him home.

The roundabout, counter-clockwise and dizzying, had offered my sister and me a time travel machine of our own. 

I remember being in the backseat of the car, my mom in the driver’s seat, Vanessa in the passenger seat, en route to see a movie.  “What is it called?” I asked my mom. “Back to the Future.” My mind ranged, trying to understand the words. Vanessa understood the premise quickly and was excited. “It’s with Michael J. Fox.  From Family Ties,” Vanessa said. “Alex P. Keaton,” I said slowly and quietly and to no one.  We finally turned left onto Memorial Drive, and we were off!

We loved the movie, and next time we brought Kevin, my big brother from my mom’s first marriage.  We were so excited, we whispered everything that was happening and about to happen.  Kevin was a patient 20-something, but he laughed and said, “Hey, I’m trying to watch the dang movie!” We laughed and loved him.

I live now in Brooklyn Heights which I’ve called home with my partner Marisa for 8 years.  My new friend Jean, who has lived on the block for 49 years, tells me that we’re on the “derelict” block of Brooklyn Heights.  I laughed when she said it, “So I’ve heard.  I bet you’ve seen it change a lot over the years — but has it…always had the same feeling to it?” Jean looked at me, curiously, “I like the way you worded that.  It has changed, yes, and it has always had the same feeling to it, yes. She added, “And it’s been on the up-and-up for 49 years!”  I laughed and hoped to learn more about the block from Jean next time we found ourselves together at the laundromat.

When my mom was pregnant with my brother Kevin, she lived briefly in Brooklyn Heights, over on Clark Street.  My mom tells me that she and her first husband Dick kept enough money for the cab ride to the hospital in a jar on the mantle. Sometimes, as I walk through the neighborhood streets, I think how beautiful and strange it would be to run into my mom.  Like Marty McFly and his mom Lorraine in “Back to the Future.”  And also kind of like this beautiful song called “Emerald” by a singer called Dar Williams, where a woman gets a glimpse of her younger self driving along the same road she’s traveled many times before.

I’ve thought about what I’d say to my 24-year-old mom as my 42-year-old self now; I’m the exact age my mom was when she gave birth to me, and it’s this: 

“One day you’re going to meet a man who is a troublemaker.  You get to decide if you want that energy in your life.  You’ll be his moral compass. He’ll rely on your guidance, because he gets very lost.  Maybe you & your little guy Kevin should just adventure together.  Maybe keep pursuing your own life and career. The troublemaker and you will have two girls — later on, a happy surprise for both of you.  You and the girls will go on a great adventure together to a place called Maine, but you get to choose your road and you get to use your compass just for yourself.  You can be on the road with a career in the arts and as a writer and activist in Houston.  You really do get to decide.”

On Writing

Below is a personal essay I wrote recently.  It's about writing.  And my mom :) Hope you enjoy!

My mom is a wonderful writer, and it was a big deal when she bought an Apple IIGS in the early 90’s. My sister Vanessa and I loved making gigantic banners on the computer, because the printer paper was all connected end-to-end. Sometimes we removed the edges with all the holes, sometimes not.  Sometimes my dad would visit from Texas, so we’d make a banner that said “Welcome Home, Dad!” with large clip art images on either side of the words (maybe clip art was early emoji?).  As I grew up and understood that even though my parents seemed like best friends following their divorce, his home was really just in Texas, so we’d amend banners to: “Welcome to Maine, Dad!”

When I was in 6th grade, my mom went back to school for a second degree in English, and you can chart my own academic success to watching my mom model how to be a scholar.  I went from being an extremely lackadaisical kid who once got in trouble with my 3rd grade teacher, Ms. Beck, for staring at the sun — to suddenly (or finally) understanding how to read and how to write and how to focus.  (Note: I loved Ms. Beck. ๐Ÿ’— She brought in her records and made lyric sheets so we could sing and learn songs like “The City of New Orleans” by Arlo Guthrie.)

My mom got into the Honors Program and wrote papers on her Apple IIGS, but I know she at first struggled with a style of essay writing that she simply wasn’t taught in the 40’s and 50’s. My mom had been the editor of her high school newspaper and went to college to become a teacher.  College writing in the 90’s was structured differently — around getting to have and express a personal opinion, around having one’s own thesis.  She worked hard and became a scholar, reading and re-reading and note-taking — and then writing and crafting well-reasoned arguments. 

In school and college, I got discouraged if I didn’t understand something right away or wasn’t quickly proficient which led to a pretty joyless battle with perfectionism ๐Ÿ˜‚but I learned ultimately that it’s not the sign of a lack of intelligence if something is hard or takes longer which was what my mom was modeling. 

My mom took some creative writing courses, too, including non-fiction and memoir which she loved. She got in trouble once, because her professor said what she’d written couldn’t possibly be true. He thought she was lying.  He said it was too tragic and beyond belief.  She said it was true. They agreed to disagree.

When I was a little kid, before there was an Apple IIGS in Maine — my mom had a typewriter in Texas.  It was the most exciting thing I could think of.  In Texas, as a 5-year-old, I could find my mom in the kitchen — or in her bedroom which had a giant window which I later learned was called a “picture window” and was popular in the 70’s and 80’s — or in her study.  My mom’s study was the one place in the house that my dad didn’t go.  It had books inside — a window looking out at giant trees — and: the typewriter.  Next to the typewriter was a stack of yellow index cards.  The second most exciting thing I could think of were: yellow index cards. ๐Ÿ’›

Recently, I was in the great state of New Jersey at a big box store with my partner Marisa visiting her parents, and I spotted a stack of yellow index cards.  I remembered sneaking into my mom’s study and threading a yellow index card into my mom’s typewriter and typing something.  No clue what I wrote.  A word.  An idea.  A punctuation mark.  A letter.  Probably “A” for my name.  Or little “a” because it’s just so lovely looking.  But whatever it was, the feeling was thrilling. I don’t know if I had the good sense to take the typed-on index card with me on my way out of my Mom’s study or what…but I lived for that thrill at age five.

So, I bought the yellow index cards that day in Jersey, and I keep them on my table / desk and I write ️ ideas on them.  Song lyrics.  Funny little things.  Well, funny to me ๐Ÿ˜‚  Recommendations from a friend of a podcast or book to check out. A writing idea. 

I asked Vanessa, who has always been a wonderful poet, if she ever went into the study, too.  She was 6 to my 5.  She did : ) she remembers the yellow index cards and the typewriter.  Writing is a sneaky, subversive, self-making act.

My mom is 84 now, 85 this October, and writes everyday.  Her laptop is kaput at the moment, so she writes by hand.  Anyway, yellow index cards.  It’s amazing to be reminded…

It's Hot Out -- Maybe Go See a Movie?


Temperatures this upcoming week looks quite hot, peoples… Be sure to hydrate.  Get some ice ready and ice packs ๐ŸงŠ Find another refreshing bev of choice that isn’t too caffeinated to jazz it up for yourself; Marisa & I really enjoy Arnold Palmers which are half iced tea, half lemonade ๐Ÿ‹ Consider a cool shower ๐Ÿšฟ Keep window shades / curtains down in the hot sun ๐ŸชŸ What else ๐Ÿค”

A/C is hilariously complicated in an old building — we have to turn off all other electronics to turn our window unit on ๐Ÿ˜‚ Some peeps don’t love A/C — they’re not a fan, so to speak.  They prefer: fans.

If you’re ocean bound ๐ŸŒŠ or other large water source bound, just gauge how long you’re in the sun, even under an umbrella ๐Ÿ–. Hot sun. ๐ŸŒž Coat it up with sunscreen, damnit.  Coat. It. Up. ๐Ÿงด

Maybe visit some A/C someplace else. Adventure to the grocery store!  Maybe it’ll be fun. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿฅฌ Journey to the inside of your car ๐Ÿš˜๐ŸงŠ

If it feels safe to you personally ๐Ÿ˜ท maybe a movie would be ๐ŸŽž fun?  My friend Lani Starr told me that the Leonard Cohen documentary “HALLELUJAH” is outstanding.  And I would highly, highly, highly, highly recommend “MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON.”  It’s a documentary, too. Bring tissues. ๐Ÿš It’s “life-affirming” ๐Ÿ˜ญ and so funny and fun for whole fam ๐Ÿฅฐ

Jul 17, 2022

Who broke the introvert?



    In the movie Sneakers (1992), the computer hacker Whistler (David Strathairn) gets a hunch about the newly-acquired "black box" which holds highly-classified information.   At one point, Whistler's glasses become the dual projection screens for a river of highly-sensitive information that he has concluded just moments before to be available and capable of decoding, "Bish?  I...think you'd better come over here."

    Whistler is blind, and it's beautiful to watch, throughout the film, as he teaches his colleagues how to experience the world as he does -- through sound, through intuition, through the logic of natural conclusion, through a decoding of one's surroundings, and through a very memorable and excitingly successful van-driving scene.  

    Whistler is a teacher, in addition to hacker, and his intricate role on the team suggests to the movie-goer that we may each and all hold access to previously unavailable, sensitive, thought-ungettable information.  Perhaps this secret information is even within ourselves.

    As a card-carrying introvert, I am accustomed to a kind of necessary quiet.  There is a part of my mind that feels somewhat non-verbal, even if wildly and annoyingly verbose within.  I love to think and talk in pictures; I love emojis and clip art; I love to watch TV and films.  And I don't think I'm alone in this.  Reading is a joy, but I might read a page and then drift for a wide swath of time, because the words bring about the need for a wide open space to process the words, the feelings they bring about, the pictures they conjure up.  You, too, dear reader?  Reading is often compared to travel; it may be that both author and reader have their own ideas about the travel itinerary and the accompanying landscape.  

    There was a Buck Moon recently and a major event related to Pluto and a massive discovery in the study of the universe and galaxies by NASA and another crucial hearing..., all of which may explain a new-found access to rivers of information.  Whatever the cause, when an introvert has figured out how to have access to and to decode information, it might be interesting, as a thought experiment, to share the findings, "Bish?"  

     I've been doing a lot of writing lately.  You, too?  I look forward to sharing some recent and future writings here on this blog as a centralized place to share and archive.  It may not be interesting or starry stuff, but like Whistler, I have a hunch to go ahead and tinker and decode and see what happens.  Thanks so much for reading ๐Ÿ˜Ž



Dec 2, 2021

from Every Girl A Sorcerer

On the corner of Hopper Road & Magritte Lane, lives a damsel in this dress, see. 
It's a green dress which has accompanied this damsel around the world and for years now.  Just the two of them as well as a surprisingly compact portmanteau with many splendid treasures tucked within -- a mandolin, a cloak covered in stars and moon and said to be possessing magical qualities, a tea cup and saucer and solar-electric kettle, a geode filled with hot purple light, crystals in colors typically only made visible above and below and behind and in all ways prepositionally related to the stripes of a rainbow, many assorted keys, ancient scrolls and miniature tomes, elixirs in bottles changing daily in color like the sea and the sky, and many other items to discuss, including, of course, a special compartment for this one particular green dress which had arrived on a crisp autumn day, years ago, 20 years in fact, on her 22nd birthday to be exact, wrapped in pristine glassine, delivered to her home address with a note in mysterious, yet strangely familiar longhand that read:
To adventure is to live! ~S.
And that was when, compelled by the invitation of an intriguing note and a dress the color of the earthiest, truest green, her adventure began.   

© 2021 Amanda Gates-Elston