Tuesday, September 30, 2014

On Being Able to See

Over the summer I got prescription sunglasses. I need glasses only for distance. And like many blue-eyed people I need sunglasses whenever I step outdoors. Prescription sunglasses that would let me actually see things in focus more than a handful of yards ahead of me while I'm out in the world were an entirely logical thing to acquire. And yet, life being what it is, I'd had the acquisition of them on my to-do list quite literally for years. So, at long last, I finally did get them, and it's changed my life a little bit. Not only did I find exactly the frames I wanted (which to my eye are so impossibly chic I hardly can believe it's dorky old me who gets to wear them), but, more profoundly, my experience of walking through the world has subtly changed: I can read the signs and see the leaves on the trees and the expressions on people's faces. Everything looks crisp and amazing and I find I'm more likely to register and appreciate the beauty of the world around me. It's pretty cool. So this post is really just an ode to these here sunglasses, with a bonus item at the bottom showing Mabel trying on all my old pairs of sunglasses that we found in a drawer.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Vikky Alexander

I really like these deceptively simple weirdo collages by Vikky Alexander. As first seen here.

Summer in San Fransicso

This is the first photo of a new era. The first photo I have taken with the polaroid emulating film from the Impossible Project, after my stock of long (long) expired real polaroid film finally ran out. I'm still learning the quirks and light-sensitivities of this new film--a learning curve made trickier by the fact that it is not really "instant" film in any true sense of the word, the images taking about half an hour to develop and reveal themselves--but so far I'm pretty happy with it. The old film had degraded so far that it was becoming more and more and more unpredictable, whereas this one, I assume, will becoming increasingly predictable as I learn it's nature better and better.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Seemingly Endless Poem Series About the Spring of 2006 Continues

April 26, 2006
Today at lunch

I found myself deciding
almost-but-not-quite unconsciously
not to cross the street
in my usual efficient way

where if you’re at a corner
and your ultimate destination is across both streets
you go first in whichever direction the light is green

but instead to stay over
on the sunny side of the street
and feel the sun on me
a little longer

image source is here

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Taking the Show on the Road

The other weekend I packed up my wheelie suitcase full of books, took Bart out (way way out) to Pleasant Hill, and gave a talk to the east bay chapter of the California Writer's Club. It was funny because it was kind of a reverse-a-quake version of the talk I gave at the ICON illustration conference over the summer--both were introductions to visual publishing, just that one was for illustrators and this one was for writers. So when I talked to the illustrators I'd say something like "you might work collaboratively with a writer" when I talked to the writers I said "you might work collaboratively with an illustrator." Of course there are lots of differences between the two crafts and their respective ways of thinking about and making books, but as far as helpful info I can offer to each goes, it's kind of just two sides of the same ball of wax. And I really enjoy what I do and the kinds of books I work on, and they're a kind of book that not everyone thinks about when they imagine being an author, so it's fun to feel like I really do have something perhaps new and perhaps useful to offer people when I'm chattering away at them.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Percussive Maintenance

Luddite that I am, I still haven't figured out how to embed video on this here blog. So you must instead click on this here link to enjoy "Percussive Maintenance," a short movie by Duncan Robson about people in movies banging on machinery to fix it. I do recommend you bother to click through. Luddite that I am I adore this little film. As first seen on Colossal.

Monday, September 22, 2014

New Sofa! Mother's Day!

Back on Mother's Day, when we still had our old living room arrangement, we had just gotten our new sofa, and Mabel sat on it.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Legion of Honor

Here are a few more things that Mabel and I saw at the Legion of Honor the other day. The first half of these photos are some of her favorite sculptures, and the second half are some of my favorite portraits. I've been looking at these painted faces since I was round about Mabel's age, and they feel to me exactly like people I know; old friends I haven't seen in some time, but whose company I recall with pleasure. I wonder if she will feel the same way about the bronzes and marbles when she is an old lady. I hope so.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Long-Continuing Poem Series on the Subject of the Spring of 2006 Carries On

April 25, 2006
We bought plants for our house over the weekend too

and they’ve been making us quite gleeful ever since
Three small bushy geraniums
fuchsia red pink
to go in the window on the sideboard
and replace the very sad little twigs
that were languishing there
cuttings we took from the garden a year ago
that refused to ever branch out
and would only sprout leaves from their very tops
and had recently stopped doing even that
They were kind of depressing truly
and these new ones are so chic and happy looking
Plus two small succulents which we potted in teacups
and put on the sunniest window ledge in the living room
where they are pretty much the sweetest things ever

image source is here

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Marimekko Publishing!

I mentioned this in passing the other day, but want to just take a moment now to pause and relish the fact that this Fall marks the start of the big Chronicle Books / Marimekko publishing partnership that I've been working on for the last year and a half (it's what I was doing, for instance, on this strange and top-secret very short trip to New York last year, and also on this lovely day down by the water with visitors from Finland in San Francisco not so long ago). So very very thrilling to bring a book (Marimekko in Patterns at top) and two paper products (collection of 3 notebooks, left, and box of 100 postcards, right) from this most legendary and iconic of style, design, and textile houses out into the world, with much much more to follow in 2015 and beyond! The book comes out at the end of this month, and the notebooks and postcards in mid-October, and all three are available for preorder now on chroniclebooks.com or wherever you like best to shop for books and goodies. Hooray!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Tiny Building of One's Own

I've talked before about my writer's-office-in-a-modern-outbuilding fantasy. If we all want a room of our own, what better than to take that imagining a step further? A tiny building of one's own in the backyard--especially when, like this one, it's in a charming London back garden. Designed by architects Weston, Surman, and Deane, and first brought to my attention by Gardenista, this charming little retreat is so pleasing as to give the introverts, solitaries, and quiet workers (not to mention the anglophiles) among us palpitations. I have relatively few desires for a bigger fancier house, but a very small office building all my own? Oh yes, I covet.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cool Kid

They say that the essence of cool is not knowing you're cool. Never, ever, trying to be cool. If that's the case it goes a long way toward explaining why Mabel is by far the coolest person I've ever met.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Ancient Glass

The other day Mabel had a day off school and she and I went out to the Legion of Honor. We saw many of our old favorites in their beautiful permanent galleries--she likes the big vaulted rooms full of sculpture, I like the portrait paintings. But what happened to catch my eye particularly this time, that I'd never spent much time looking at before, was a case of ancient Mediterranean glassware. For one thing, the idea that things made of glass have survived the vagaries of the world for so long is a bit mind-boggling (and who doesn't enjoy having their mind pleasantly boggled from time to time?) but beyond that, of course, is the fact that this stuff is just stunningly beautiful. But the pieces are relatively small and their case is tucked in a hallway, which sort of accounts for the fact that they've most likely be hiding right there in plain sight for the thirty-odd years I've been going to that museum without me ever really noticing them until this day. An oversight I now correct.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Long-Running Poem Series About the Spring of 2006 Continues Today on Poetry Thursday Thus

April 24, 2006
On Saturday we went for drive with mama

down the peninsula
to a nursery to buy plants
then on to a late lunch in one of our favorite little towns
and coming part of the way back home on highway one
We saw many things

the very green hillsides and views of hillsides that kept cropping up
white egrets standing at the edges of the very full reservoirs and marshes

the pleasantly muggy interior of this nursery that seemed to go on and on
with flowers forming blankets of nearly solid color
impatiens, geraniums, hydrangeas, marigolds
red, gold, pink, yellow
stretching as far as you could see

warm sourdough bread
velvety artichoke soup
and a crab melt for lunch
followed by the best blueberry pie

the ocean stretching away in the sun
toward a knife-edge horizon
and the waves and the cliffs on the coast

image source is here

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Book on the Bookshelf

The big redo of our apartment this summer involved lots of moving around and changing up of bookshelves. Not a bad thing since buying new bookshelves and rearranging books on bookshelves are some of my favorite activities (along with buying books, reading books, oh and of course making books). Here are a few sneak peeks of the larger whole--

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lynn Yaegar

Last week's Tuesday Inspiration post about the super cool style of Kim Hastreiter led the divine Ms Sonya Philip (who knows more than a thing or two about fashion uniforms--if you're not familiar with her own look rad look and her 100 Acts of Sewing art project, you should be. check her out!) to point me towards the signature style of Lynn Yaegar. How was this woman--and her amazing wardrobe--not on my radar? Such an oversight. She's spectacular. See: