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Old, new, and orphaned moments from a month of Mondays

One.  Every day feels like a reason for new resolutions.  The Chicago Style Guide stands sentry in my bathroom (trust me, this is a GREAT place to keep it when you are not actually mid-manuscript, and don’t actually need it tied to your desk), and a sentence like "A well-structured electronic document will never include more than one consecutive character space." makes you feel like the day will be fine, it will be Just Fine.

Two.  Carlotta texts me the Salinger quote in Italian: "Quelli che mi lasciano proprio senza fiato sono i libri che quando li hai finiti di leggere e tutto quel che segue vorresti che l’autore fosse un tuo amico per la pelle e poterlo chiamare al telefono tutte le volte che ti gira.  Non succede spesso, però."  I had to add the non succede spesso, però.

Three.  Perception is nine-tenths of the friendship.  I’m not sure about the other tenth.  It could be history.  It could be the wine.

Four (after downloading WordPress).  I think of the Ringo Starr print that Kafkas always talked about.  It is most definitely, time.  (And if code is poetry then poetry is code, and ergo sum.)
Ringo Starr - Is It 'Time'

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[mercoledì 29 giugno 2011 ore 20:06:08] []

Settimana della Cultura

Notes on the back of a New Yorker (the May 30th issue -- Cory Arcangel, Rabindranath Tagore, and açaí), about Mary and the Strays:

Songs that make you see James Dean leaning up against a truck with his cigarette packet tucked into his rolled up shirtsleeve.  (But in a good way, Maryann, I promise.)  Songs that are long on the unspoken stuff in the air between two people, and short on regret.  "Everybody’s got a job to do, and if somebody were to make you mine, I’d be working overtime." Raymond Carver would say it’s what songs are about, when songs are about love.  The songs are simple in the way they rhyme, and the why they rhyme.  Maryann is very carefully comfortable with being who she is, so that the music can be too.

It has been such a week of poetry.  A week with music.  A week of words skipping resplendent, extravagant, spread-eagled across the joyful palcoscenico-of-a-melody.  A week of poetry.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[martedì 21 giugno 2011 ore 22:26:08] []

Dog Days

This is a dagger kind of day.  Even Trastevere twilight and everything that happens to be both beautiful and free all around you -- the Pantheon, red-checkered tablecloths and accordion-players-that-for-once-do-not-suck, a white Maserati purring in Piazza Minerva, shoes that don’t hurt (yet) -- nothing sticks.  You have even had a half-hour of the best kind of poetry -- the kind that does not take itself too seriously; it just happens to be heart-wrenchingly beautiful, like clementines and fireworks and parakeets and sky (thank you, Jay Hopler).  And yet you are in such an ornery mood; so tired (already -- it has only been two weeks) of being poor and ever-so-slightly overweight (so TWO reasons to be hungry), that Andrew has to turn you around by the shoulders and push you towards Divin’Ostilia -- go and write something already, for the love of God!

Here’s a story.  In my first year at NYU, I lived with my brother in Hackensack, New Jersey.  I hated asking him for money (because he shouldn’t have had to, because where were my parents in all this, and because I always, always had to ask).  So l managed with one twenty-dollar-bill every Monday: that meant ten dollars for the New Jersey PATH train (from Hoboken to 9th Street; from 9th Street to Hoboken), and ten dollars for the entirety of what I ate from Monday to Friday.  This was usually, invariably, a "lunch" of six Oreo cookies (from the vending machine at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences), and 125ml of Pepsi (from the vending machine at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences).  Once a week, I would "treat" myself to the small fries at McDonald’s (99 cents plus tax makes 114) -- it was heady stuff.  When I went back to Dubai that summer, I was the only kid who had actually *lost* the Freshman 15.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[lunedì 20 giugno 2011 ore 23:01:08] []

Pebbles on a June Beach

FSU: It’s nice to be referred to as a "persona deliziosa"...


Last night I dreamt that I was back at the UN, for some kind of moving walkway speech session by each country’s permanent representative: they spoke to the audience as they moved in a line, one after the other, from the front of the room to the exit in the rear corner and out.  They carried cheap briefcases, wore dowdy clothes, and had careless facial hair -- they all looked like versions of Ahmadinejad.


FSU: The word ubiquitous seems to be everywhere these days.

Word-Nerd Humor


Today I realized, with a start, that I do not miss my office.  The room in which I spent eight hours (actually, usually, more) of every day from July 2008 to April 2011.  I don’t miss it.  The whiteboard -- maybe I miss the whiteboard.  But the office, as a space, as a physical entity.  Am not feelin’ it yo.


Taking your White American Boyfriend to visit your two Pakistani Aunties, is not for sissies.  Especially when your aunts were married at nineteen, and live in a country where "a woman cannot live on her own."  (And even if she does, it’s usually Phase V, and certainly not In Sin.)

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[mercoledì 15 giugno 2011 ore 21:33:08] []

Creative Reading

The other day, Phillip Lopate read at JCU.  I’d known he was coming; I’d dug out my copy of Bachelorhood and found lines I liked:

"In writing this book, I fell under the spell of the personal essay.  It is a form that, to me, has charm and suppleness and warmth."

A moment later, he mentions Joan Didion ("with such distiguished practitioners...").  Like with Sontag, I always feel personally relevant when Didion is mentioned (and more so -- since I have actually read more of Didion; with Sontag it is more of a girl-crush: ooh, that essay in The New Yorker about courage; and ooh, Regarding the Pain of Others; and ooh, that grey streak; etc.).  I feel like I want to raise my hand and bounce on my seat and say yes, yes I know just what you mean.

Later (though we are still in his introduction, mind you), he talks about bachelorhood:

"...the bachelor as stroller, observer, voyeur of the urban scene; the bachelor and his friends, married and otherwise; the bachelor as artist and thinker, as controlled procreator.  Running through all these aspects, and perhaps the overriding sense of bachelorhood, is the notion of freedom.  There is a kind of creative ambivalence about freedom that permeates the bachelor sensibility and gives a twist and tension to the whole perspective.  [...] there is a prevailing need to be in the world but not of it.  The bachelor wants to be left alone, or at least to schedule encounters with others on his own turf and own time.  He wants to be disengaged, not in the sense of wanting not to feel, but in being able to harness and control feeling for some higher clarity."

Every time he says "the bachelor," I hear the Greta-I-want-to-be-alone-Garbo that lives inside me.  And it all makes sense.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[mercoledì 15 giugno 2011 ore 19:24:08] []

Routine Blockage

I can’t tell how to begin, or what to look for.  Is it poetry in the morning, and prose at night?  Is something humorous waiting inside to come out today?  (And if it is, why the heck is it still waiting?)  Should I try writing prompts -- should that be my daily routine?  It has been so long, I feel like I don’t know how to work the machine any more.  Like looking at a treadmill and thinking: I’ve been able to break a good sweat on this thing before -- now if I could just remember what you’re supposed to do...

I know what this hour to myself in the morning is for.  I know it, I like it, I want it.

But.  It’s only another almost-first-day of this routine.

Maybe I can be gentler.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[mercoledì 15 giugno 2011 ore 07:53:08] []

buon giorno principessa.

it's nice to be between routines a bit.

it's nice to wake up in the morning and -- at least and actually -- be able to consider, what to tackle from your once-moldy, almost-given-up-for-gone to-do list.  i tell people i still feel like there is so much i have to catch up on, from three years of having been underwater in the so-called sea of my career (and while we're at it, what a whirlpool of sewage that last year was...).  and after i tell them this, i always falter, because the nitty-gritty of it sounds laughable when you list it: from answering long-unanswered emails, to reading old New Yorkers, to sorting out twelve years of journaling, to fixing the light in the hall closet, to re-organizing the external hard drive of my entire life, to importing Outlook .pst files from all six of my previous professional incarnations onto my PC once and for all -- and did i mention the long-unanswered emails?  there was a lot of next-job-networking too of course (it's been nice to be able to use my own business cards again) -- what JP used to call "my little dog-and-pony show" (and anyone who worked at Razorfish in the nineties, you know what i'm talking about).  the dog-and-pony show takes time, thought, much Google-enabled pre-reading, and almost-as-much Lavazza-enabled enthusiasm (for just the right level of Ever So Articulate Relevance).

it's nice to be able to catch David Sedaris at LETTERATURE 2011.  (it's nice to catch Gary Shteyngart and Nicoletta Braschi too.)

it's nice to be back in my own skin.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[giovedì 09 giugno 2011 ore 07:30:10] []

cooking in Courier New.

this week i pulled up my recipes folder on the external hard drive, in search of Lindsay's cold peanut noodles -- because summer's here, because there are vegetarians around us, because carbs don't count as much when they're Asian.  my "recipes" are a series of no-nonsense Notepad .txt files -- some copy-pasted from emails, some typed-up in helter-skelter-haiku from long-distance-phone-calls.  for example, fried eggs the way my grandma made them -- a family legend that has three generations of raving fans (and counting):
1 - chop up LOTS of onions.
2 - fry with chili powder and salt.
3 - add the eggs -- carefully.

i find the cold peanut noodles, complete with Lindsay's little note on ingredient #12:
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (I usually put in at least 3 times this, and its still never spicy enough for you - but don't kill your guests, OK?)

it's nice to know some things don't change.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[mercoledì 01 giugno 2011 ore 09:32:05] []