in any other way ..

April 30, 2012

And I sometimes forget that not everyone heard the sound of engines rumbling low to the ground and then the sound of police sirens and fire engines running down the street, outside the window. Emergency, except this is New York, and it always is. And I sometimes forget that I didn’t hear it once, I heard it twice, those engines rumbling low over my head. And then the sound, an impact I had never heard until I heard it again, but I am inside and I am at my desk and I am answering emails and no one is in the office yet.

And I sometimes forget that not everyone was there when it happened. That they didn’t smell it for months coming out of the ground, throughout September and October wondering if it will ever stop because it feels like it is in your hair and in your skin and its not like anything you can describe because it doesn’t smell like anything you want to relive. And the smell lingers outside the house and outside the office and it’s much too close but it’s far away enough that I don’t have to breathe it except when I can see those clouds that come out of the manholes. And then I hold my breath like a little kid sitting in a car that is driving by the cemetery. It is a long minute.

And though it has been ten years I cannot go because it’s just too strange to act like it’s business as usual because there are some things that I don’t want to remember and I don’t want to forget. We did a book right after and raised money because it was the only thing we knew how to do and that felt like something, because you wanted to contribute. But I had to release myself so I gave away the book because I will not look at violence like it is art.

Only now it is odd. Because I peruse blogs for photos and I find these images of planes upon impact and buildings ablaze and people jumping and it has become an aesthetic to be consumed. It is but a photograph littered in between hundreds and thousands of photographs of teen angst and lust and drama and dreams.

And so it has become a photograph. And this makes me think. About what it is when reality becomes but a memory, a memento, a token of life lived compressed into two-dimensions. An image. A decorative thing. I wonder what happens when something is both sacred and profane, and its meaning changes as it intersects with those who will never know it in any other way.

lost illusion

April 30, 2012

Writing a novel
is for people who live in their heads
and must escape from the world
because the world is too intense.

Love is like quicksilver in the hand. Leave the fingers open and it stays.
Clutch it, and it darts away.

His voice was as intimate as the rustle of sheets.

Most good women are hidden treasures who are only safe
because nobody looks for them.

Artwork by Diego Rivera
Quotes by Dorothy Parker

Sea Cliff, San Francisco, Sunrise 6:57am, Photograph by Eric Cahan

Authorship is not a trade, it is an inspiration;
authorship does not keep an office, its habitation is all out under the sky,
and everywhere the winds are blowing and the sun is shining
and the creatures of God are free.
—Mark Twain

Learning never exhausts the mind.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it.

Artwork of & by Pablo Picasso.
Quotes by Leonardo da Vinci

today was a goood dayy

April 27, 2012

I know who I am and who I may be, if I choose.

One man scorned and covered with scars still strove
with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars;
and the world will be better for this.

In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.

One man is no more than another if he does no more than another.

Thou has seen nothing yet.

Artwork by Rene Magritte
Quotes by Miguel de Cervantes

what remains ..

April 27, 2012

Perhaps nothing is so romantic as what remains after that which was great has long faded away. The Romantic era of the nineteenth century was founded upon this, the idea that emotion is an authentic source of aesthetic experience. And the emotions Romanticism values most are those the remind us of the frailty of human life. Horror, terror, and awe allow us to stand face to face with the sublime in order to understand greatness is beyond the realm of the known.

I have always said that if you want to leave your mark, make a building or a book. Because both these media transform our experience while upon this earth. And in this way, perhaps there is nothing quite so compelling as a book about buildings, or, rather, for me, a book of ruins and remnants to excite the imagination. The Sites of Ancient Greece (Phaidon) features a selection of aerial photographs taken by George Gerster, shot from the perspective of the gods themselves. Taken over a period between 1996 and 2006, with more than 100 photo flights, Gerster’s lens reveals a new understanding of the space where the past and the present connect….

Read the Full Story Here

The Aphaia temple on Aigina, Saronic islands The ancient Greeks had a keen eye for a location: the Aphaia temple is compellingly situated on top of a pine-covered hill. The building is modest in scale but perfect in execution. The famous marble sculptures in the temple’s pediments, which depict scenes from the Trojan War, are now on display in a German museum, the Munich Glyptothek © Georg Gerster


The acropolis of Lindos, Rhodes, Dodecanese In Greek myth, Lindos is a very special place: this is where the goddess Athena sprang from the head of Zeus, making her father so happy that he let gold rain down on the island of Rhodes. There was a sanctuary dedicated to Athena on top of the rock from the tenth century BC. The Knights of St John transformed the acropolis into a mighty fortress that was successfully defended against Turkish naval forces twice © Georg Gerster

thank God i am an octopus

A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.

Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities.
The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit
to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.
It is the source of all true art and all science.
He to whom this emotion is a stranger,
who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe,
is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.

Quotes by Albert Einstein
Art by Edward Hopper

Pleasure is often spoiled by describing it.

Beauty is the promise of happiness.

A very small degree of hope is sufficient to cause the birth of love.

The pleasures of love are always in proportion to our fears.

Power, after love, is the first source of happiness.

Photographs by Roberto Badin
Quotes by Stendhal

I love you
and because I love you
I would sooner have you hate me
for telling the truth
than adore me
for telling you lies.
—Pietro Aretino

next of kin

April 21, 2012

What you seek is seeking youu…

Last week I said, “Which came first? Language or thought?”

Miss Fitts and I had been deep in it, a conversation that went so far beyond the boundaries of understanding that I began to see it, to feel it, to understand. Without words. It was non-sequential thought; it was simultaneous. It was the right brain asserting itself, reverting itself, returning myself to a time before words, to the space where words are meaningless because truth is not… verbal.

But we need words, we have a reliance upon them. We have evolved to believe that they hold the key. Freaky brains these. In asserting the dominance of words, we assert a false superiority, the thing that separates us from animals is the illusion that we are not one. Add to that, a very flawed model for how the brain works, created by very flawed people: scientists. God save us from science. Before we kill ourselves off.

I already know what kind of person becomes a scientist, a doctor, an “expert.” Yea, the same kind of person who becomes a politician. The road to hell is paved with good intentions; the good intentions of small minds. And what these good intentions have wrought, we don’t know the half. Because we don’t want to know. Because we cannot bear the guilt and the responsibility of our species.

Next of Kin is one of the greatest books I have ever read. It is a story of greatness, of humility, of what we simply cannot accept. The human mind is not superior, nor is it something without history. It evolved from the hominids that produced the great apes. And we, we are simply a different kind of chimpanzee.

What separates us from chimps is our ability to enslave. And with that ability to enslave, we exalt ourselves as great. Recognizing this, it is worth considering we need to sit all the way down. We know so little about what we are, let alone who we are, let alone why we are, though it seems obvious at that. We are the only creatures to envision the end of times, because we are devising our fate as such.

But before this time comes, we each have a mission while on this earth. To fulfill our destiny is to think beyond our small world. There is something so much greater than I. Me. Mine. Next of Kin reminds me, without words, of my purpose in life.

Next of Kin: My Conversations with Chimpanzees


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