18 July 2017

sixty second love letter (one)



a sixty second photograph that is really a sixty second love letter to a place I love so much it makes my bones hurt: san francisco.

I last traveled there in august of 2016, thanks to my dear friend tracy. sometimes I think I miss it more than portland. but I don't want to talk about it.

year two of the sixty second photograph project and we're not making films every month like we did the first year, just every once in a while, you know, all quarterly-like. which gives us all a little more breathing room, I think. I first shared this film during the great in between, aka my six-month silence here. I put it out there with the rest of the lovely films, said nary a word about it. now feels like a good time to say a word about it.

tracy, this is for you. you are all up in this film, even if your face isn't.

(music: queen by the octopus project)

27 June 2017

in between


a few things happened since I last wrote in december.

ava dyed her hair bright pink. ezra grew a hundred inches and then, turned thirteen. 

I read seventeen books. sampled eggplant ice cream, took my first large format photograph, bumped into my modern dance hero on the new york subway and broke the beloved hammock in the backyard, though not all necessarily in that order.

new people moved into the houses next door and across the street, a real coffee shop opened up in our neighborhood and the cherry red cardinal who regularly flits around the backyard was given a name. larry. his name is larry. 

I showed ezra how to detect perfect avocado ripeness, introduced ava to the goldfinch and made ward teach me how to make a good cup of coffee. I drink coffee now. one morning I just woke up and said, this is madness! give me coffee! true story.

I broke down, finally bought a proper bra. rearranged the bedroom furniture in a blind fury, road tripped to nashville for junk and funnel cakes, shot my first record album cover, participated in my fifteenth polaroid week, contemplated a job (once again) waitressing at waffle house and realized rage vacuuming is probably the only workout I'll ever really need.

ezra learned to hold his own in the basketball games that take place on the courts at the park. ava went to her first prom, had a horrible time and my heart seized up and broke the way it always does when my kids get hurt. I stood beneath a few trees-- the old angel oak in john's island, south carolina and a cherry blossom tree in brooklyn. both times, my knees went wobbly and I felt glad to be alive. 

I started to write here at least a dozen times, probably more, but the words turned soft, dissolved into nothing, always. this country unraveled in ways I (naively) thought not possible, and america repeatedly confirmed in horrific, heartbreaking new ways what I already knew to be true: it does not value the lives of black and brown people. I questioned the church. not my faith, not God, but the church. in the months that fell between december and june, I grappled, stumbled, felt hopeless.

to be clear, I continue to grapple, stumble, feel hopeless. but in between, God. avocados to check for ripeness. pink hair, subway magic, childhood milestones. red cardinals named larry, new neighbors who grow sunflowers and sit on front porches while children jump through sprinklers, new neighbors whose parents are from different countries. good trees to stand under, meaty books to read and, thank the good Lord, hot coffee in the morning. 

in between, privilege to check, again and again. conversations to have, hard conversations. learning to do, learning, learning, learning, always, reading, acknowledging, learning. in between, ways to give, work to do, a chorus to join, the great, unending push forward. 

in between, we have voices, we have hands, we can work. 

in between is when everything happens.

21 June 2017

I miss this space

and I'm going to start writing again. I am.

14 December 2016

if you are struggling



"if novelists know anything it's that individual citizens are internally plural: they have within them the full range of behavioral possibilities. they are like complex musical scores from which certain melodies can be teased out and others ignored or suppressed, depending, at least in part, on who is doing the conducting. at this moment, all over the world-- and most recently in america-- the conductors standing in front of this human orchestra have only the meanest and most banal melodies in mind. here in germany you will remember these martial songs; they are not a very distant memory. but there is no place on earth where they have not been played at one time or another. those of us who remember, too, a finer music must try now to play it, and encourage others, if we can, to sing along."

-zadie smith, from 'on optimism and despair'a beautiful, brilliant piece I implore you to read.

30 November 2016

dear november



you were one heck of a month, november. and not just because I miraculously managed to share something here on nearly all of your thirty days. you were one heck of a month and I'm not sure I mean that as a compliment.

still, I remain hopeful.

I suspect you do too.

28 November 2016

as in, yurtsgiving (2013 edition)













































yurtsgiving, as in thanksgiving that happens in and/or around and/or near a yurt.

three years ago, when we were still living out in portland, the madison family said, hey! let's camp! let's camp for thanksgiving! and we said hey! let's camp! let's do it! though we feel we should tell you something. we've never camped before.

which is maybe the first time we'd admitted it out loud, while living in the pacific northwest. because, and maybe this will come as a surprise to some of you, this is not something you openly admit when you live in the great pacific northwest. you do not openly admit to not liking coffee. and you absolutely do not openly admit to never having camped. you just don't. believe me.

and it's not that we didn't want to camp. we just didn't know how. neither of us had ever gone as kids, neither of us had grown up camping. we didn't have any of the stuff. and you need the stuff. you can't just show up and camp, you need the stuff. furthermore, you need to know how to do the stuff. and we certainly did not know how to do any of the stuff. and so this is how we went almost seven years living out in the great pacific northwest (the unofficial camping capitol of the free world) without ever having camped.

clearly, yurtsgiving changed all that. for the record, I do realize yurt camping is maybe not the same as, ahem, real camping. though I'm here to tell you it sure as hell is when you've never been camping before. as the people say, you've got to start somewhere and that little yurt nestled in a forest along the oregon coast was our gateway drug. that little yurt in nehalem bay is where we fell in love with bacon cooked over an open fire and crazy camp raccoon shenanigans and midnight stargazing and campsite turntables and picnic table thanksgiving dinners and, well, camping.

twas our last thanksgiving while living in portland, twas a heckuva way to go out.

27 November 2016

26 November 2016

on this saturday night, I am:

dreaming of korean spas. and red enamel dutch ovens. plus that last piece of pecan pie in the fridge. and a washing machine and dryer that live and work in the same house that I do.

finishing the last of the cleaning of a post-thanksgiving kitchen, the washing of the last dish, the storing of the last of the leftovers, the last of the very last.

editing photographs, editing editing editing, all the live long day, desperately trying to catch up.

writing postcards to donald as part of an avalanche effort-- in hopes of keeping more racism and white supremacy out of the white house. wait, is that really a thing I just wrote? a real live thing? what year is this? WHAT YEAR IS THIS.

mourning the end of this here break. and the last of the ambrosia. and the mashed potatoes. and goodness, am I mourning the last weeks of the obama administration (am I ever, boy am I ever) but more than anything, I am mourning the fact that there even has to be something like an avalanche postcard effort to keep white supremacy out of the white house in the first place.