creative ramblings & reverie

Friday, April 30, 2010

Writing Spaces

Reading the stones is what the archaeologists do—the only way we have of writing life again onto the silence of the ages. I've been lured by the chance to do that, have written a whole novel around the idea, the pursuit.

image: National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. Reproduction of a Maya stela from Quiriguá, Guatemala, Wolfgang Sauber


Having ridden camels, photographed tawny lions with their great clouds of breath frozen in the winter air, kayaked down ancient Hawaiian waterways, followed Napoleon across a high pass of the Alps and then the Barbary Pirates down the coast of Mallorca, I find working on Excel spreadsheets underutilizes my talents.


walked to Italy for Calvados after dinner
climbed police barriers in Paris, while gendarmes with rifles guarded the roofs
danced polkas with an island chieftain on Pantelleria
bought wood from Jesus
ridden horses with the Mescalero Apaches
come second to geysers in my parents’ affections
eaten smoked octopus and eel as a small child
had to buy my way out of Mexico
come under death threats in Miami
taken 25 Slavic scholars and a bagful of quarters to Cancun
photographed Mont Blanc at night
crossed the Alps on a schoolbus
stayed in a small Swiss town where an escaped Nazi war criminal was caught
smuggled liquor through hotel lobbeys in Washington DC
laundered book bags full of cash with a CIA agent
vacuumed the study of Willa Cather’s Archbishop
held the door for Umberto Eco
had my picture taken with Jacques Derrida in his purple silk shirt
found myself standing on Charles Darwin
been allotted a square foot of land on a Scottish island
lived in a monastery
gone to a bachelor party with Journey
been a groupie for a reggae band
popped balloons with a golf cart
nearly drowned in a parking lot in New Orleans
been invited to a gallery opening with the Mayor of Besançon, France
fallen in love with a famous French artist in Palm Springs during a weekend of riotous living
left my husband for an Austrian composer
climbed volcanoes with molten lava underfoot
lived among tribes and sandstone palaces built high into the cliffs
evaded an escaped lobster in Sicily's Valley of the Temples
eaten at midnight on a harbor with an ancient city underwater in it

REFERENCES upon request.



I have:

Played dress-up in the study where “Lost Horizons
was written
Waded in the Bay of Fundy
Lived across the street from a Tibetan Rimpoche and his retinue
Been the wardrobe mistress for an outdoor production of Dido & Aeneas
Relocated a newly released Chilean political prisoner and his family with 48 hours notice
Been surprised by a park ranger while skinny dipping in Lake Powell with a bottle of strawberry wine
Visited the home of Christopher Isherwood which was definitely NOT like the recent movie
Watched the lights of France come on while eating dinner on the white cliffs of Dover
Been asked if I wanted a date with Warren Beatty by someone who knew him
Staged a spectacularly money losing art auction for charity
Rafted through the Grand Canyon without benefit of engines while catering for 20 people, most of them quite mad
Walked from Santa Monica to the Malibu Pier and back to be stopped only by the rising tide
Drunk vodka from a teapot
Successfully edited numerous scientific papers while remaining oblivious to their content
Ridden on the back of a motorcycle at night on a high canyon road
Fallen unwisely in love on more than one occasion
Never ridden a camel


Friday, April 16, 2010

Writing Spaces

Illuminated manuscripts, exquisite combination of contemplative text and unabashed color.

Image: Livro de Horas de Dom Manuel, c. 1517 - c. 1538, António de Holanda e outros


The following just made my day: While walking to the Stanford Bookstore, I saw a very elderly man driving a scooter. He looked quite happy and was definitely speeding. Of course I had to look at his black baseball hat, which I assumed would be for one military service or another. Instead it was lettered CRIME & PUNISHMENT.

And earlier this week I loved that someone set afloat a flotilla of little rubber ducks on the fountain in front of the Old Union.