Saturday, June 23, 2007


"Art is the enemy of the routine, the mechanical and the humdrum. It stops us in our tracks with a high voltage jolt of disturbance; it reminds us of what humanity can do beyond the daily grind. It takes us places we had never dreamed of going; it makes us look again at what we had taken for granted."
- Simon Schama

Last week I received my advance-order of Historian Simon Schama's Power of Art from BBC America, and have been enjoying the episodes on David, Rembrandt, Turner, Caravaggio, Picasso, Bernini, Rothko and Van Gogh. Below is a photo of Schama on the left, with Andy Serkis who plays Van Gogh on the right.

Schama has the gift of storytelling, and this series takes it to the max with some re-enactment. But what I am in love with is the language of Schama's scripts. Our English language is always in flux, changing and growing and shrinking. Schama uses language as a painter uses color and brushes to enchant our imaginations and attention. He is a master.

On YouTube, there's an hour-long lecture by him re: his book Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution given at Google in Mountain View:

The P of A series is also showing on KQED Channel 9 in the Bay Area at 9pm on Mondays. Check it out.

There is also a C BBC take-off on YouTube of Schama in which it seems he participated, at least vocally: Simon Schama and the Power Rangers of Art

Americans find Brit humor pretty goofy, but I love it. It shows the Brits still know how to laugh at themselves, unlike us Yanks.

Meanwhile, I've let the laundry pile up and am struggling with the last chapter of my novella. I need to make that last chapter as finished as the first, and that is not easy. I found my original first draft written 7 years ago and it is still nearly word for word with refinement. But the ending, the ending must be changed almost completely.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


After spending millenia cleaning up, how else would women make graffiti?

Here is a tutorial put out by a group calling themselves Knitta who make colorful, cozy and removable/replacable wraps for urban objects:

Here are examples on monorail pillars, parking meters, ambulance antennae and even on a part of the Great Wall of China.


A photo of my Dad who would be 97 this year. This photo was taken in the 1930s. Born of sharecroppers, joined the Navy in WWII and, after a wartime marriage, settled in San Francisco.
Happy Father's Day.

Friday, June 15, 2007


No posting for some time because I've been wrestling with a conundrum. It's my sixth year working at my current City job and I'm well aware I've never lasted longer than six years at any 9 to 5 job.

By the sixth year, it becomes clear that I have no interest in, or even conception of, office politics; that I resist change (especially at the expense of quality); and I'd rather be somewhere else. I've tried transferring out of my present department at least three times, but there's been no transfer spot for me. Not even at my beloved library, where I'd happily shelve books all day if they'd only let me.

I know I can be hard to get along with, have a bizarre sense of humor, and know so many trivial things from 50 years of compulsive reading that people think I'm a know-it-all.

A friend once told me she has her own business because she can't work for anyone else. She also doesn't support herself from her business; she has rental property and an undeclared side thing going on that really pays her bills.

A coworker put it well: this is a "get-by job". You come in, do your work and just get by. No risk, excitement, or fun.

My excuses are many: Too tired after putting in 8+1 hours a day to do anything else when I get home except the minimum, too busy with my family, too this and too that.

I comb arty neighborhoods for possible studio space. I've even rented space twice but found I never went there to do creative work. Just too tired, etc., etc., etc.

Don't wait too long, I hear a voice inside, railing me. I've lost friends younger than I am now to cancer, heart attack, and stroke.

To be continued....