Archive for March 2011

Amazing Sights In Downtown Manhattan (Sunday, March 19, 2011)

March 20, 2011

Demise of the Asian Elephant

March 20, 2011

The above, which I admit is a little bathetic, is a response to terribly sad article by the Associated Press today, “Last Stand of the Asian Elephant,” about the struggle between Asian elephants desperate to maintain habitat (and already decimated in ways that destroy traditional social structures) and local inhabitants.  Both sides are suffering;  the elephants, amazingly crafty at times, wildly angry at others, have wrecked destruction and violent death, but, of course, human beings tend to excel at those sorts of things; an awful situation.

You Can Find Them Anywhere – Even with Pearl!

March 19, 2011


Pearl- (Like the world) Unstable.

March 18, 2011

Pearl Going Unsteady

So much that’s difficult going on in the world, I decided to focus on matters closer to home today.  Pearl!

Only she’s also losing stability; she also can be a source of distress.

The fact is that Pearl will be sixteen later this year, and though she capable of brief rituals of puppyesque enthusiasm, her legs are skewed and her vision is terrible.   She is capable of running into even major obstacles (park benches) much less minor ones.   Her walker has to continually watch for even very shallow stairs or steps.

Still, she’s intrepid, walking slowly, trotting briskly, (or simply allowing herself to be  slightly dragged) forward.

Ongoing Nuclear Disaster Draws Fear (Japan)

March 17, 2011

Fear Continues To Spread.

Bad News, Writing, The Warm Fuzzy Blanket

March 16, 2011

I am so distressed by the situation in Japan that I am finding it difficult to think about other things.

The heartbreaking loss, the continuing catastrophes, the overload of uncertain information–all make the situation completely torturous.

Then again, torturous situations seem to abound these days–the onslaught of pro-Khadafi forces in Libya; the onslaught of the Republican Congress at home; the never-ending winter in Battery Park City.

I am not saying that these onslaughts are in any way similar; only that their combined force makes me feel like crawling under a blanket.

Which brings me to the subject of escapism.

And, since I am on the subject of escapism, writing.

How do you keep going as a writer when you feel like just crawling under a blanket?

In the face of terrible events in the world, in the face of personal obscurity, there can be an extremely strong sense that one’s writing really is pretty trivial.

This is an especial problem when your writing really is pretty trivial.  There is a big part of me that would like to write profound, thought-provoking, English-language-expanding books.  But the fact is that my mind tends towards the silly. (The verbal equivalent of cute little elephants.)

Right now, I am in the midst of a final, or next to final, draft of an extremely silly novel, a teen novel, no less.

I have given up at about this stage on other manuscripts.  What’s different this time is I’ve enlisted the help of others–a young illustrator, and a young editor (more on them another time.)

Involving other people makes it a whole lot harder to just bunk off.

Still, that blanket lures me like a woolen Siren.  What I’m trying to do at the moment is to just put it over my legs (a layer beneath my laptop) and not completely succumb.

Workers at Fukushima.

March 16, 2011

Heart, thoughts, prayers, go out tonight to the brave and selfless workers at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Taking the Fragile Bull By the Horns?

March 16, 2011

There are a variety of lessons coming out of Japan right now–in disaster preparedness, the stalwart nature of the Japanese people, nuclear power back-up systems (and the possible futility thereof); lessons too about the incredible bravery of nuclear plant personnel.

One of the most immediate teachings concerns the fragility of life (a lesson that for me, at least, is oft-repeated but little-absorbed.)


How quickly one’s agenda become detritus around one’s feet.

How suddenly the “put-off” becomes the “no longer possible,” all those fault lines beneath our plans turning out to be, in fact, faulty.

Time to re-examine priorities.  (Oh sure.)   To figure out the difference between all that onerous stuff one tells one’s self one has to do, and all that onerous stuff one really does have to do.

This is very hard.  All those tasks feel like a bull we’ve got by the horns.

Do we really need to fight so hard?  (You try letting go.)

Will we actually be gored?  (Maybe.)

Can we tame it?

Hard to know.  Harder still to appreciate the view through the horns.

PS- I just thought that one way to tell the difference between the onerous tasks one thinks one has to do, and the onerous tasks one really does have to do may be to substitute the word “honorable” for onerous.

Impression of Images of Japan Post-Tsunami – A Detailed Shattering

March 14, 2011

The news out of Japan continues to be heartbreaking.  The translated words of  survivors are  devastating, their  stoicism inspiring (and devastating).

The landscape is, of course, devastated.  One of the most shocking aspects of the images, for me, is simply the clutter, the jam of detritus, the  crisscross of shard, the shattered layering of mud and rooftop and car, fender and mattress, washing basin, chair, the wayward smile of child’s illustrated toy.

One doesn’t associate this kind of disarray with Japan.  Crushes, yes, odd disjointed pairings (Colonel Sanders in the Ginza), but always, always, even in the plastic samples of dinner offerings in restaurant windows, there is a carefully decorous attention to detail.

I think of a visit there many years ago.  Every leaf in our host’s not-inconsiderable garden seemed to extend from its twig (every twig from its branch) at a gently harmonious angle; the man-made and the organic accompanied each other like thirds or fifths or beautifully atonal sevenths in a single line of music.   Yet the details were executed so thoughtfully that the garden (okay, forget about the plastic food) also seemed perfectly natural, randomly special–signs of forceful manicure a la Versailles were no where visible.

In the images of the last few days, one is conscious of a great and terrible force, careless of both men and the man-made, nature at its most ungentle,

Worried about Japan

March 13, 2011