Friday, December 31, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I missed it.
Woke up at 3am and it was over.
Moon was gorgeous though!
But if you caught it,
I hope it was spectacular in your area.
Happy Winter Solstice!
Monday, December 20, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
As if to answer the question in my last post, a documentary on Paris and its artists (between the years 1905 and 1930) makes its nationwide premiere tonight at 9pm on PBS. The 2-hour documentary, 'Paris: The Luminous Years- Toward the Making of the Modern' by Perry Miller Adato (who has won awards for her documentaries and includes the likes of Dyland Thomas, Mary Cassatt and Georgia O'Keeffe to mention a few) includes archival footage as well as interviews and never-before-seen photos of the artists and writers of the time. It explores the artists and their relationships as well as how these relationships affected their lives and work.
The film includes words from a stellar line-up of modern art celebrities such as Jean Cocteau, Aaron Copland, Marcel Duchamp, Sylvia Beach, Marc Chagall, Stravinsky and others.
"It's the period from 1905 to 1930 when everybody, almost nearly everyone -- it's just amazing -- who did anything that was important in the arts, in nearly all the arts, was in Paris," explains filmmaker Perry Miller Adato. "Sometimes only for a couple of weeks, sometimes for a couple of months, others for their whole lifetime, but it didn't matter because no matter how short or long it was, it changed their work, and it changed their life."
Tune in tonight for a look at how our favorite city became the inspirational meeting point for the creative minds and souls who inspired each other and then nearly a century of future artists.
(Quote from Monique Marcil's article more of which you can read here.)
Monday, December 13, 2010
I have yet to walk through this park without being able to take my eyes off the tower. Funny that something so despised by the French in the beginning should become such a national symbol. Like the Golden Gate Bridge and Big Ben, anyone who sees this symbol in a photo or tv clip knows instantly where they are.
...taking notes on the interior of the cafe...
What is it, do you think, that inspires such devotion to artistry in this city?
Monday, December 6, 2010
One of the things I have started again,
If I close my eyes, I can smell le cafe at my small red table,
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
What about you? What were your favorite books of the year?
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
This sunset walk along my favorite site for strolling
in Nafplion, Greece
makes me think of ancient eyes watching this same dramatic scenery
a thousand years ago.
It must have looked similar~
Even some of the tastes were the same,
the land of golden olive oil and grapey, fermented wines.
I wonder if the sage greenery
and red ochre cliffsides looked the same~
the blue water
like a giant mirror to the stars.
Myths were built amid such beauty~
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Here's how to play:
*Grab your current read,
This week's choice is Diana Abu-Jaber's "The Language of Baklava":
"Mrs. Manarelli travels around the neighborhood with covered bundles that at first I think are babies. Then she comes to our house and I find out that it's food: pasta slippery with fresh pesto, or a plate of grilled sausages, or a whole roasted chicken. She cooks and then she looks for people to feed, because Johnny is always on a diet and Marco is delicate and sensitive and allergic to everything. When she and Bud meet, it's as if they've found each other at last. She raps on the glass of the kitchen door as Bud fries some lentils and tomatoes and onions. 'Hey you?' she calls. 'Whatcha doing in there? What is that in the pan?'"
I recently heard Diana Abu-Jaber speak about her writing and was as enthralled with her voice, her personal storytelling and anecdotes, as I was with this book. While she writes fiction as well, this 'culinary memoir' is deliciously filled with mouth-watering descriptions of her father's Jordanian cooking (and colorful personality) and each chapter includes family recipes, several of which I plan to try. I highly recommend her book, as well as her way of describing the world, and wish you luck while reading it. Keep something to snack on nearby.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
“Buddhism holds that everything is in constant flux. Thus the question is whether we are to accept change passively and be swept away by it or whether we are to take the lead and create positive changes on our own initiative. While conservatism and self-protection might be likened to winter, night, and death, the spirit of pioneering and attempting to realize ideals evokes images of spring, morning, and birth.” ~ Daisaku Ikeda
Needed to hear this today. And I'll take spring, morning and birth!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Thought you might enjoy another shot of Bourtzi from a different angle.
And a different boat.
Care to join me?
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
(Photograph copyright Kirsten Steen)
Today let's travel back to Greece!
Specifically Nafplion, a favorite haunt of ours.
Out beyond the little boat is the tiny Venetian castle
known as Bourtzi
also once known as home of The Executioner.
(Long ago, the town didn't believe the executioner should live within the city
one of actress Melina Mercouri's marriages
Saturday, November 6, 2010
It's my third visit to Colonyhouse (for photos and more info, click here) and I've booked myself a few more weeks next year, the luxury of uninterrupted writing time being hard to come by in the real world.
The once-a-month writer's week at Colonyhouse is normally one full work-week (technically Mon-Fri.) but one of my writing companions had 2 extra days coming so ours has been a FULL week. Such a gift! (And thank you again!)
I've been rereading Jonathan Livingston Seagull and, while here, dreamed of a spiritual bird sanctuary/zen-like retreat which I later realized was only a few blocks from the (real-life) place I go in my mind for meditational/guided imagery sessions.
Not certain about the meaning of the all the bird symbolism this past week (there were even more references to birds) but I know it will all be revealed. The fun is in the magical path (the journey/process) leading to the answers (the destination).
and right next door is the Bread and Ocean Bakery/Bistro which makes a sticky bun seasoned with cardamom (!) and their own homemade chai,
serves dinner in the evenings...
and also sells a coffee brand I hadn't seen before. Sleepy Monk Coffee (locally roasted in Cannon Beach), organic and fair-trade. Loved the logo and coffee roast names.
There isn't much that's not charming in Manzanita...
and I'm looking forward to my next writing re-treat
Monday, November 1, 2010
We found it fun and informative~
Pick your seat in the sun, don your headphones
I like being able to hop off and stop into a cathedral for a taste of ancient dust
(I'll be on the lookout for this party hat to wear on my next birthday!)
Monday, October 25, 2010
Tuesday November 9th, 2010 at 7:30pm, the American Library in Paris will present a lecture and slide show on the world of artist Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) given by Chris Boicos.
Born to an affluent family in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania (ancestral name Cossart), Mary Cassatt went against her family's wishes in pursuing a life of artistry-- much less in Paris. Frustrated with her male instructors and fellow students at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, she took it upon herself to study the old masters.
Moving to Paris with a few family chaperones in 1866, and as women were not yet allowed to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, she requested to study with one of the school's masters being accepted by Jean-Leon Gerome. She became friends with Edgar Degas and was invited to exhibit with the Impressionists, becoming the second woman in the group next to Berthe Morisot who also became her friend. Degas introduced her to working with pastels as well as etching, both of which she became proficient in.
Against her father's wishes (who offered throughout her life to help pay for her living expenses but never her art supplies), her instructor's patronizing and the French school's refusal of female students, she made her own way, becoming well-known for her tender scenes of mother and child. In later years, she took up the Women's Suffragette movement and in 1915 exhibited eighteen works in support of the cause.
For a look into her life and work, join Chris Boicos, Founder of Paris Art Studies (and former Art History professor at USC in Paris) at ALP.
ALP is located at:
10, rue du General Camou
(a couple of blocks from the Eiffel Tower)
75007 Paris, France
• Tel. +33 (0)1 53 59 12 60
For more information or a schedule of upcoming events, go to
(Photo above, a Self-Portrait of the Artist, and info via Wikipedia)
Friday, October 22, 2010
Inherently, there is no wall or anything to trip over. These things are mirages they've created from the thoughts they gave rise to. Do not insist upon your own fixed ideas. Your persistence is your own narrow mind. If your mind is broad, it can easily embrace the entire world. However, if your mind is narrow, even a needle cannot enter. You have to keep letting go of your stubbornness, and always be deeply respectful of all life and things. This is returning to and relying upon the Buddha-Dharma. This is also how to become a free person. Always be humble. Be humble. The fragrance of your broad and generous mind will warm others' hearts." ~Zen Master Daehaeng, No River to Cross: Trusting the Enlightenment that's Always Right Here
I love this quote. It reminds me that my thoughts and judgements about other's behavior are just that, my own thoughts and judgements which keep my mind narrow. Still working on the 'fragrance' of my 'broad and generous mind'. Trying to remember humility and compassion.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Hosted by MizB at shouldbereading.
Here's how to play:
*Grab your current read,
*Open to a random page,
*Share 2-3 “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page,
*Please no spoilers!
*Share the title & author.
Today's selection is from Tiziano Scarpa's 'Venice is a Fish':
"In any other boat in the world, a single oarsman, with a single oar, on one side only, would end up turning comically in circles. On a gondola, thanks to the boat's asymmetrical centre of gravity, it darts straight ahead, switches into reverse, slows and accelerates, brakes, halts, heads off diagnoally, turns a right angle, keeps balance, deadens the waves. The oar spoons the water, spanks it, scoops it, digs it, cuts it, kneads it, tickles it, turns it like a ladle, forces it like a crowbar. The oar dives suddenly, re-emerges floating almost horizontally at water level, but if necessary it plunges vertically, in a few free square centimetres, with a flick of the wrist it twists like a screwdriver, elegantly disengaging the twelve-metre black wooden beast from an impossible jam." (p.43)
This eloquent description almost makes me want to go back simply to watch the oars of the gondolas and their water dance.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Random Writing Prompt:
Create a story around the owner of the mop you see leaning inside the fountain. Is the owner male or female? Young or elderly? Cleaning the fountain? Their own home? Or working for someone else? Or... does it have certain traveling powers?