Saturday, November 27, 2010

Photos/Ponderings: Dichotomies

sailboats, boat show, annapolis, MD night, reflection

Perhaps, we like dissonance because it is so full of expectation for resolution.
Perhaps, we like observing other people's tribulations from within our own safe shells.

No matter how long difficult times last, there is always hope of conclusion and mending, even when it should be left behind.
No matter how implausible an ideal denouement may be, we cling to it rather than take the tougher, circuitous path forward to our eventual goal.

And when we do have to accept an undesirable outcome, when one occurs despite our efforts, we change our way of thinking so that we may say, Yes, this is what I meant to happen. It is good.

sunset, dock, bird, silhouette, chincoteague, VAPhotos are both mine from this Autumn; Top are sailboats in Annapolis Harbor during the Boat Show, the sunset is from Chincoteague Island, VA. Both will get bigger if you click on them, but please don't steal w/out credit and due publicity.

ps. It seems that my photo posts are package deals with ponderings. And alliteration.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Signs of weakness, or, On being vulnerable

Unsolicited signs of affection, thoughtful little gifts, unexpected phone calls, showing up at the door unannounced, expressing opinions that you're sure are wrong, or at least unusual, admitting when you hurt and when you love, pointing out mistakes, offering help to friends and strangers...

I know this has been said before, but what's the benefit in hiding yourself? By not expressing our unique opinions and acting as we feel, people stuff themselves into the shapes they think everyone else wants to see. Then we become predictable, at worst, uninteresting and monotonous.

But, in hiding our real feelings, intentions, inclinations and not acting spontaneously or ad-libbing it once in a while, we are also safe. If you don't go to her door at 10 o'clock at night to tell her how you feel, you certainly wont get shut down, but you might also be missing the love of your life. Or at least the love of the next year. If you present what you think is a harebrained idea at the morning meeting, maybe everyone will think you're crazy, but then again, maybe that's just what they need, and chances are more crazy ideas will advance your stagnant career.

So, speak out and risk something every day, perpetuate unexpected deeds, and for heaven's sake, quit stalling your life.

Photo is mine, 9/4/2010 on the drive to Chincoteague, VA.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Quotations: I have taught myself joy

In my own worst seasons I've come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: the perfect outline of a full, dark sphere behind the crescent moon. Until I learned to be in love with my life again. Like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, I have taught myself joy, over and over again.

Barbara Kingsolver, High Tide in Tuscon.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Toothsome quotations: WASPs vs. YSL

The linguistic philosophers of France, especially the late Roland Barthes, understood how French cuisine and French culture are related, and how both fit with structuralist philosophy. A Parisian dinner is mean to be a single elegant statement, like a well-turned sentence or an outfit from Yves Saint-Laurent. The Anglo-Saxon view of a banquet can be expressed in terms of the history of the world. You begin with soup – water with things swimming in it – then move on to the aqueous kingdom, then to flying creatures, then to mammals. Finally you celebrate man in cheeses and desserts, both products of sophisticated culture. This is the diachronic view, which the French reject. They prefer to see the various courses as syntagms, or sentence components – soup adjective, fish noun, chicken adverb.

-Anthony Burgess, "The Language of Food" in Homage to Qwert Yuiop, found in The Ravenous Muse, Karen E. Gordon, ed.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Toothsome quotations: 'In herbis'

In an age when just the composition of a salad required a great knowledge of herbs, their flavours and combined tastes, it was commonly said that "In herbis, et in verbis et in lapidibus sunt virtues" ("There are powers in herbs, words, and stones"). The syncretic character of late medieval cuisine... finds a mirror-like reflection in the taste for farce and linguistic blending, and in the interweaving and overlapping of words. Farce, whether "stuffed" or "mixed," makes up the combination of seasoned ingredients which conspire to please the palate; it is the dietary archetype at the origin of linguistic structuring and presides over the stuffing of vocabulary and locutions.

-Piero Camporesi, Bread of Dreams, from the collection The Ravenous Muse, Karen E. Gordon, ed.