Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sure, Most of the Time

One more quote from Mr. Roger Rosenblatt, because it is the kind of October day when one thousand possibilities extend their wings, and the monarch butterflies flitting over Clark Street are trying to find one another:

" There's only one point to writing. It allows you to do impossible things. Sure. most of the time it's chimney sweeping or dung removal. Or plastering. A lot of the time writing is plastering or caulking or pointing up the bricks. But every so often there is a moment in the dead of the morning when everything is as still as starlight and something invades your room, like a bird has flown throw the window, and you are filled with as much joy as panic. And then you think: I can do anything."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Fan of Nouns

Check out Roger Rosenblatt's heartrending and beautiful memoir Making Toast.  

But what I want to quote is a snippet from his upcoming new book (January 2012) Kayak Morning:

"I am a fan of nouns. I tell my writing students that if they need three modifiers to describe something, they've probably chosen the wrong something. The noun carries its own weight, and the right one will not be made prettier or tastier or more important by anything that decorates it. It has all it needs. It contains what Emerson called 'the speaking language of things.' The noun. The heron. The tide. The creek. The kayak."

What nouns have delighted you recently?  For myself I say hawk, ash, half-moon, cloud. Sparrow, river, hand, ring. Fall, hound, walk, leash. Eavesdropper, porch light, goldfinch, magician.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Two trees committing random beauty on a sidestreet.

I went downtown today to see the current exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Photography.  I always like going there because it's free and because it's small--I can take in the entire exhibit without any museum fatigue.

After I was done there, I decided to walk home, a distance of maybe seven or eight miles.  I actually did not make it all the way on foot.  I twisted my ankle on Michigan Avenue with a wrong step off a curb, and decided somewhere around Fullerton Street and the lake to head inland and give myself over to the Clark Street bus. Herewith a few photos from my journey:

The Chicago Marathon runners were still in evidence downtown, which made the city tired and slender and beautifully fit. The afternoon was golden, leaves like confetti shift and dance on the streets.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


October the month of my birth and October that blue sky with the heron crossing it, blue walking stick winging against a blue sky and me underneath in the light--trees verging on golden. The night smells of campfires and a half-moon, the morning is scented with dead leaves, a spice. October, the trees are trying on party gowns; want it or no we betroth ourselves to winter.  Look at the white flashing: the undersides of a dozen pigeon's wings. Look at the goldenrod come into its glory on the embankments of commuter trains. Let us all praise famous but unnamed rivers. Let us celebrate chrysanthemums as blue as night. Let's give our checkered wool caps to the wind.