Wednesday, October 22, 2008

As Long as We Are Young

In an effort to console me over the super 8 footage of our friends that I lost in Bucharest, a friend told me, "But we'll have our memories as long as we are young.  So don't be sad and keep on filming."  I suppose we will, Dom.  Oh, let's never grow old--how sad of a thing life would be to forget.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"C'était Quand-Même Une Belle Epoque"

As Rod says:
"We had joy,
We had wine,
We had seasons on the Rhine."


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Be Always Welcome Here

The world can be a loving place.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Here Hear

"Q. - What would be the test of corruption?
A. - Becoming really insincere--calling myself "not such a bad fellow," thinking I regretted my lost youth when I only envy the delights of losing it.  Youth is like having a big plate of candy.  Sentimentalists think they want to be in the pure, simple state they were in before they ate the candy.  They don't.  They just want the fun of eating it all over again.  The matron doesn't want to repeat her girlhood--she wants to repeat her honeymoon.  I don't want to repeat my innocence, I want the pleasure of losing it again."

--This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Monday, June 9, 2008


Here is a little sign that was on my friend's apartment wall in Girona, Spain:

La vida es bonita 
No la olvide 
Serás felíz.
Life is beautiful
Do not forget it
You will be happy.

Life is good in Girona.  Here's proof:


Friday, April 25, 2008

We don't get older, we just get riper

Here is a lovely little memory that Janet Flanner, former Paris correspondant for The New Yorker, writes in the introduction to a collection of her segments from the 1920s and '30s.  She tells of one day when she met Picasso after seeing him in the same café nearly every night years before but never having the courage to speak to him.  

"As I walked into the salon, which was as crowded with varied art works as an auction room, Picasso turned to me with his hand outstretched in greeting, and then, with a loud cry of astonishment, shouted, 'You!  Why didn't you ever speak to me in the old days at the Flore?  For years we saw each other and never spoke, until now.  Are you just the same as you were?  you look it!'  By this time he had his arms around me and was thumping me enthusiastically on the shoulders.  'You look fine; not a day older,' and I said, "Nor do you,' and he said, "That's true; that's the way you and I are.  We don't get older, we just get riper.  Do you still love life the way you used to, and love people the way you did?  I watched you and always wanted to know what you were thinking ... Tell me, do you still love the human race, especially your best friends?   Do you still love love?'  'I do,' I said, astonished at the turn the monologue was taking.  'And so do I!' he shouted, laughing.  'Oh, we're great ones for that, you and I.  Isn't love the greatest refreshment in life?'  And he embraced me with his strong arms, in farewell."

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Friendly Hello from the European Union

The sun is shining in Alsace 
"Vous êtes jolies, toutes les deux."

(as said to Rodica and me by the slightly batty old French man who meanders along the Quai des Pêcheurs while smiling and nodding from under his European Union baseball cap.)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Instants Anonymes

This exhibition, currently showing at the Musée d'art moderne et contemporain de Strasbourg (assembled by Patrick Bailly-Maître-Grand), compiles a collection of over a century's worth of family snapshots, nearly 800 in total.  These forgotten moments, pulled out of boxes and photo albums, dusted off and hung on the wall probably for the first time, evoke the simplistic charm of everyday life and all of its petits bonheurs which pass so easily to the back of our minds.  Although set in a time long past and taken by amateurs wishing for nothing more than the preservation of a moment, these instants anonymes constitute one of the most quietly beautiful art exhibitions I have ever seen.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Jools and Jim

"Voyagez, écrivez, traduisez. Apprenez à vivre partout; commencez tout de suite. L'avenir est aux curieux de profession."

Travel, write, translate. Learn to live anywhere; start right away. The future belongs to those who are curious by profession.

Jules et Jim 
(François Truffaut, 1962)--

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Series of Minor Kidnappings

It has been almost two months since we embarked on a little trip to Morocco to visit a dear old friend, yet I still don't quite believe many of the things that happened actually occurred in real life.  It's too much to recount all of the incredible details of the (sometimes harrowing, though always memorable) adventures we experienced, so I will be concise.

I walked the streets of a city that was built in 800 AD (which I can't imagine looking very different, even 1200 years ago).  I ate kefta burgers at night on a roof that overlooked the Medina and drank coffee in a café with a bright orange sign.  I shared the back seat of a taxi with three of my friends for the 9 hour drive through the Atlas mountains until we reached the Sahara, where Mama Africa and the black desert sky provided us with a blood-red lunar eclipse as a welcoming gift.  I rode a friendly camel away from our casbah and slept in the tents of nomadic Berber people who fed us tagine and gave us good water to drink.  I felt the stillness and peace of the Sahara at night and ran along her gracefully sloping dunes (which, incidentally, felt like marshmallows beneath my feet).  I left feeling new.  (And also, quite queasy thanks to my faint-hearted American digestive system's unfavorable interactions with Moroccan sanitation policies.)


Thursday, February 28, 2008

A little bit of Annie

Since I am sick today (thank you, Africa), and since I'm wearing a black turtleneck, I think I will set aside tales of Moroccan exploits for another time and instead share with you a little poem in honor mon cher ami in Towson who lays away money for a Hermes 3000 manual typewriter.  This one is somewhat atypical of this particular poet but I love it nonetheless because it reminds me of my home and all the dear friends whom I think of so fondly.  

I Remember by Anne Sexton

By the first of August
the invisible beetles began
to snore and the grass was
as tough as hemp and was
no color--no more than 
the sand was a color and
we had worn our bare feet 
bare since the twentieth
of June and there were times
we forgot to wind up your
alarm clock and some nights
we took our gin warm and neat
from old jelly glasses while
the sun blew out of sight
like a red picture hat and
one day I tied my hair back 
with a ribbon and you said
that I looked almost like
a puritan lady and what
I remember best is that
the door to your room was 
the door to mine.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Black History Month

Yes, it exists in France.  I think.  Actually I'm not even really sure.  But I do know that last night a few of my friends and I attended an American-soul/operatic celebration of Black History Month in a small Alsatian town, approximately 45 minutes outside of Strasbourg.  Bribed by the American Embassy with free transportation and hints at hors d'œuvres (read: champagne), we thought, "pourquoi pas?"  In true American fashion we arrived at the cultural center of Fülfenhagenahëanwhöanen (this is not the actual name of the town) in a charter bus big enough for 60 people (there were 10 of us) which was longer than 5 French cars and probably created more carbon emissions in one night than a French person does in a whole year.  We didn't hate it.  After all, what better way to rep' the Land Of The Free And The Home Of The Brave than to roll up in a needlessly large vehicle that takes up the whole street?  

The evening's performance was given by Mr. Kevin Maynor, and featured the ivory-ticklin' piano skillz of the blush-sporting Mr. James Olsen.  Mr. Maynor delivered song after song, inspirational quote after inspirational quote, video clip after video clip, long into the night--even after the management had subtly hinted at an imminent end to the art by turning on the auditorium lights.  As I watched Kevin wave his arms and point fingers at the crowd as he shouted his passionate speeches (in English), I was reminded of videos I've watched of dictators giving similar discourses at rallies in languages I can't understand and realized how scary this must be for the audience of francophones.  At this point I quietly laughed, causing the old French man to my right to turn to me and wink.  (This never happens in France!)  Proof! once and for all that Black History Month really does bring people together, albeit in sometimes unconventional ways.  

Kevin Maynor, Pure Bass

Don't worry, I'm not going to include "Black History Month" by Death from Above in this post.


Monday, February 4, 2008

I live in France


More to come.  



"Sensation" by Arthur Rimbaud

Par les soirs bleus d'été, j'irai dans les sentiers,
Picoté par les blés, fouler l'herbe menue :
Rêveur, j'en sentirai la fraîcheur à mes pieds.
Je laisserai le vent baigner ma tête nue.

Je ne parlerai pas, ne ne penserai rien:
Mais l'amour infini me montera dans l'âme,
Et j'irai loin, bien loin, comme un bohémien,
Par la Nature, herueux comme avec une femme.


On summer's blue evenings I will take the beaten paths,
Pricked by spring corn, crushing the short grass :
In a dream I will feel the coolness under my feet.
I will let the wind wash over my bare head.

I will not speak, I will not think :
But my soul will swell with infinite love,
And I will go far away, very far like a gypsy,
Through Nature, happy, as if with a woman.