Sunday 31

You're Not a Kid Anymore. I'm thinking of a line from a 1963 song, "Bobby's Girl," by Marcie Blaine, this morning:

You're not a kid anymore
You're not a kid anymore

It just comes to me as my neighbor croses the street to help me finish shovelling the snow from the end of my driveway and he says something about it being a year that quickly disappeared, a year his older daughter turned 13, a year he realized he's not a kid anymore.

The song continues:

When people ask of me
What would you like to be
Now that you're not a kid anymore
(You're not a kid anymore)

Well, what the singer wants, is to be "Bobby's Girl," and the lyrics, and other "girl group" lyrics, are mentioned here. It's interesting to recall a few other popular songs from 1963: "Johnny Angel" by Shelly Fabares, "Roses Are Red" by Bobby Vinton, "Sherry" and "Big Girls Don't Cry" by the Four Seasons, "Soldier Boy" by the Shirettes, "Runaway" by Del Shannon, "Locomotion" by Little Eva, "Return to Sender" and "Wake Up Little Susie" by Elvis Presley, "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" by Neil Sedaka, "The Twist" and "Let's Twist Again" by Chubby Checker, "Monster Mash" by Bobby 'Boris' Pickett, "Venus in Blue Jeans" by Jimmie Clanton, "He's A Rebel" by The Crystals, "Moon River" by Henry Mancini, "My Dad" by Paul Peterson, "Hit The Road Jack" by Ray Charles, "Itsy Bitsy Yellow Bikini" by Brian Hyland, and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by the Tokens.

Not a kid anymore. According to The Economist:

The twists and turns of youth and age are pushing in all sorts of different directions. The difficulty lies in balancing those trends against each other...But who are the young?...People now feel young and look young, for far longer than in the past, and social mores have altered to allow them to express that feeling, whether in dress or behaviour...The line between youth and age has become blurred, and is likely to get even blurrier.

Not a kid anymore. Which brings me here, back to that song, and back to my neighbor's lament; time passes and here we are on the last day of the year. I'm concerned with both the moment as talked about recently by Mitsu at Syntheticzero, and the momentuous, the never-ending story, but where am I, now, today and where do I want to be tomorrow--this is what I am thinking about today; it was a year in which my salary (my commissions) was halved and I questionned every thing about my identity.

Saturday 30

A Story As Old As Boy Meets Girl. I find some interesting observations in this year end issue of The Economist:

It is a story as old as boy meets girl...who became man and woman...who (either before or after that step into adulthood) becomes father or mother...who grow old...and who become more and more puzzled, or even resentful about the behaviour of the younger generation. Yet that story, which is explored innumerous ways, direct or indirect, large or small, in this special Christmas issue, is bringing with it some new twists. These twists arise from science, from economics and from society--all of which could pop up in that etranl mirror of power and change, politics. For, in the broadest sense of all, the clash or contrast between youth and age could prove to be one of the defining issues of the 21st century.

That is a rather bold claim to make, a mere 12 months into (or, for centurian purists, a few days before) that new century. In truth, the defining issues of the next century cannot yet be defined, any more than for the 20th century they could securely been outlined in 1900. But demography, at least,is the most forecastable of trends......and it is worth recalling that even in 1900 one thing was, or should have been, clear; that industrial and social chnage in developed countries was shifitng millions of people into the cities and the factories....

The twists and turns of youth and age are pushing in all sorts of different directions. The difficulty lies in balancing those trends against each other. both the poor world and the rich, (battles between the young and the old could) come to dominate politics in the same way as battles between workers and bosses, rich and poor, did in the past.

Yet that conclusion is too glib. For this aging of the population structure is not the only change that science, economics and society are bringing.

...All the opportunities, or problems, caused by these demographic trends, of ageing populations, or newly youhtful 70-year-olds, or even of ageing Chinese, will come to pass (or at least to dominate) only in a world that develops in a fairly benign way. They will, in other words, be problems of success: in generating economic growth, in maintaining peace, in avoding other shocks of the sort that could alter birth or death rates......

Friday 29

Utopia. When I was in New York City last week for three days to host the party for the publishing industry, I took time on Tuesday to meet my friend, Anezka, and her class from Parsons School of Design at The New York Public Library to see the exhibit entitled "Utopia: The Search for the Ideal Society in the Western World." The exhibition traces how women and men have, over the space of several thousand years of Western culture, imagined, depicted, described, and created new versions of ideal societies. Utopia is the result of a collaborative effort between two of the world's great libraries, the Bibliotheque de France and The New York Public Library, and it represents the first time that two such institutions have merged their staffs in order to produce a unified exhibition. Although the history of utopias proper begins with Thomas More's famous work of 1516, ideal societies have been a part of human existence since the beginning of time. Before More coined the word "utopia," these places went by names as varied as Paradise, the Garden of Eden, the New Jerusalem, the Promised Land, Prester John's Kingdom, the Island of Saint Brendan, the City of God, the City of Ladie, and the Land of Cockaigne. Occupying the distant realms of the afterlife, legend, faith, and myth, these societies were inhabited by a select population of the just, the blessed, or the exceptionally virtuous. To arrive at any of them required a metaphysical transformation from one's flawed, human self into a being worthy of inclusion in these special places. This conversion was achieved through death, a dream, the whim of gods, a spiritual pilgrimage, philosophical enlightenment, or the purification of the soul. In More's Utopia, ordinary people inhabited the island rather than the blessed or virtuous. Through a clever pun on its Greek roots, utopia mean both "good place" and 'no place." More's detailed descriptions of the island kingdom sparked the creation of an entirley new literary genre, inspiring similar fictions up to this day. Renaissance architects were also looking at ways to construct the ideal living space and their experiments sought to bolster the belief that human behavior could be changed by the built environment. The revolutions of the late eighteenth century introduced the possibility that utopia could represent the ultimate goal of human progress, and the publication by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels of the Communist Manifesto in 1848 offered an entirely new approach to a utopian future; they proposed that a better society would be possible only through a violent proletarian revolution. The catalogue asks:

Is the Internet a 'place' where a utopian community can be created? As communication and activities occur increasingly online, and the real and the virtual continue to commingle, how are notions of utopians evolving? Are physical bodies necessary to the creation of a utopian society, or can one be populated soley by alternate online identities? Is an ideal 'community' made up of virtual identities a utopia?

According to an article in The New York Times "The library's exhibition...has a rich companion version at The site's depth, breath and use of color suggest that the Internet is well suited for displaying art and arhitecture..."

I left thinking how much reading I planned to do in 2001, reading books as a result of Utopia: Samuel Butler's Erewhon, Voltaire's Candide, Charles Fourier, Erasmus, Rabelais, Marco Polo.

Thursday 28

The Cabinet of Dreams. What I kept and what I threw away or packed away. There is a story here; after the packing. And I packed away the old cassettes I thought I'd never listen to again, or at least for a long time, to make room for the new--the CDs. I packed away Pure Prairie League and Helen Forest,

Wednesday 27

Angels We Have Finally Heard! We enter Virgin records on Broadway after learning TRL is cancelled today. It is when I pass through the glass doors to

Tuesday 26

Danielle and Lianne in New York City. We're on the road by 8:30--Danielle, Lianne, my Dad, and me; on our way for two days in New York city.

Monday 25

Merry Christmas! More Silence.

Sunday 24

The Wallet. The Sleeping Woman. Let There Be Peace On Earth. We sing this in church and my sister, Darlene, turns to me to say "this was Mom's favorite hymn:"

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me;
Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be.
With God our creator, children all are we.
Let us walk with each other in perfect harmony.
Let peace begin with me; let this be the moment now.
With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow;
To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

Friday 22

Let Us All Say "Amen." Christmas is two days away and I want to give thanks tonight for the people of the world who have given me so much this past year: It was Heather who I came to first on account of an article about her in The New York Times. She took me to places I had never been,opening my eyes and mind to new learning. And then it was my daughter's old boyfriend, Tom, who taught me to use Front Page Express and start my first weblog. He said "Now, you just got to start experimenting." And then I soon discovered the ever thought-provoking Mitsu, who in turn took me to Judith who told me beautiful and fascinating and entertaining stories of New York City and brought me to wonderful links. Mitsu also introduced me to the well-read Caterina and the beautiful life-poetry of Jouke, and the fascinating Paul. Somewhere along the link I was fortunate to discover the innocence of Alysha, the trials and tribulations of Jen, and the love love love and humor of Heather who encourages me every day to love life, to write, and to take more photos (many of myself in reflected surfaces to post at Jezebel), and I'm often reminded by the ever thoughtful Elise why I marched on Washington in the 70s to protest the Vietnam War and why I had SDS posters hanging in my dorm room at Villanova University (Thank You, Elise), the extraordinary writing of Patti, a talent that reminds me of Raymond Carver and Bobbi Ann Mason, and Crystallyn, Nicole, David, and Helena---Thank You---and Bobbi, and Yen, where I always find wonderful stories and photographs and I've enjoyed Isomorphisms, Sylloge, Purifiance, Karmabytes, and Rebecca's Pocket, Thank You because last but certainly not least, you introduced me to Kaycee, who has taught me so much about life and love. Thank you all. God Bless. And to all a goodnight.

Thursday 21

The Silence of Christmas. Today I read that the real Christmas is a quiet thing. You hear its silent song in your heart. A little over 100 years ago, Phillips Brooks--the longtime Episcopal preacher at Trinity Church in Boston--heard the song of Christmas in his heart. And he wrote about it in a poem that has become a famous Christmas carol: "O little town of Bethlehem." The poem describes the "still" starlit night when Jesus was born. Then, Brooks shares a wonderful secret; that the real Christmas--the coming of Christ--extends way beyond that night in Bethlehem. It comes again and again to hearts warmed by love, faith, humility. It comes silently. "How silently, how silently,/The wondrous gift is given." Maybe, in a sense, celebrating Christmas means celebrating Christ's silent healing. And when you think about it, Christmas has the power to transform---silently, instantly. It changes you. It pours new peace, love, meekness, humility into your heart. And new quietness.

Wednesday 20

The Party. Today I was the Master of Cermonies of a Holiday Party for nearly 300 people from the publishing industry in New York City. This was my third and probably final time. Here's my speech :

Tuesday 19

The Man from Cairo. It is a wonderful ride from my hotel, The Hudson, to meet Nicole, my Holiday Party co-chair, circulation director at Dennis Publishing, to the Hyatt. It is because of my driver, the man from Cairo. He is moving to Arizona on the 29th and he tells me about his interest in Russian literature ("I love to be at home listening to opera and reading Russian literature.").

Monday 18

Three Days in New York City. The Man from Ghana. When I get off the ferry from New Jersey to New York and into the cab, the driver puts his hands up near his face and moves them to and fro as if he is praying or seeing visions of angels near the earth and he says "you know what I'm doing?" and I was going to say "praying" and he says "I'm looking at the chads" this my driver from Ghana.

Sunday 17

Are we alone? A lecturer at Hayden Planetarium, Joe Rao, tell us about a coming attraction: the final eclipse of the second millennium will be a partial solar eclipse on Christmas Day. This event will be visible over nearly all of North America except the far northwest and southeast. The eclipse can be seen throughout the 48 contiguous states and will already be in progress at sunrise for Washington, most of Oregon, northermonst California, northern Idaho and northern western Montana. Farther east, the eclipse will occur later in the morning, while it takes place in the early afternoon along the East Coast. Sky watchers across the Great Lakes, northern New York State and central and northern New England will see at least 60 percent of the sun's diameter covered. In these areas, some might even notice subtle changes in the intensity of sunlight and the color of the sky and landscape. About 40 percent coverage will occur for the Northern Plains and Central and Eastern States. Much of the Southwest, the South Central states and Florida will see 20 percent coverage, while less is eclipsed for southwest Aizona and in the central and southern parts of California.

Saturday 16

A Gift. "Dad can you come and say good night to me. Sweet dreams. I love you." This is all I really want for Christmas---love love loe, all you need is love.

Friday 15

O Holy Night. I say to Daryl "Thank You for reading The Polar Express with me last night. It really meant a lot to me." And he says, "Me, too, Dad. I love that book. I wish I could draw like him." The last page:

At one time most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I've grown old, the bell still rings for me as it does for all who truly believe.

That was all I really wanted for Christmas--to read together. And for Daryl to play Martha My Dear for me on the piano.

Martha me dear though I spend my days in conversation
Remember me Martha my love
Don't forget me Martha my dear

Or this song:

There are places I'll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends, I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I've loved them all
But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life, I'll love you more

Thursday 14

Snow. School is cancelled and I work from home.

Wednesday 13

Homeless. "Thank You. Thank You," the man at the homeless shelter says. "I really mean it."

Tuesday 12

A Letter to the Editor. I write The New York Times:

I love the work of Sol LeWitt. However, there is another show in town that is also "an antidote to the several other museums around town...a digestible, brightly-colored package" and it can be joyfully discovered at Forum Gallery where the dramatic, expressionistic, beautiful and boldly colored paintings of Xenia Hausner in her first one-person American exhibition are being introduced to New Yorkers. Anyone interested in serious painting must see this show before it leaves New York. It is another perfect holiday gift.

Monday 11

A Woman's Wit. My daughter writes about a woman's wit (soon to be posted)

Sunday 10

Twice Blessed. Quoting Galway Kinnel, my minister, upon finishing my most recent long poem, tells me I am twice blessed. He says because I believe I am blessed I am therefore twice blessed. He says he liked the part about the snake:

I dreamed I had a snake fourteen football fields long
It followed me everywhere I went
I would feed it mice and rats from my hand
One day the mice and rats were all gone
So I gave the snake my hand and said eat
The next day I gave it my arm
At me it sadly looked but I said it was okay
And one day we were just
One the snake and me and we
Slithered into the forest

Saturday 09

Without Danielle. This year, today, for the first time, we buy our Christmas tree without our daughter who is working. I am sad. And I realize that my poem for this year, 2000, is still unfinished, angry, and without an end.

Friday 08

John and Ann. And Cosmic Connections. Twenty years ago today John Lennon was assassinated outoutside his apartment building at 1 West 72nd Street, New York City. In memory:

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today......
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace......
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one......
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world......
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one.

I have not see my friend Ann in well over one year and we meet to see the Xenia Hausner show and have lunch together. It is her birthday.

Thursday 07

Xenia Hausner. Today, I saw the best painting exhibit I've seen in years --ever since I saw the Odd Nerdrum show, at the same gallery no less. Xenia Hausner: Heart Matters is the Berlin artist's first one-person exhibition at Forum Gallery and her first American exhibition. With unflinching directness, she engages the viewer using bright, radical colors and aggressive brushstrokes. Her paintings are dramatic and expressionistic. Born in Vienna in 1951, she began her career as a scenic designer at the Vienna Burgtheater in 1976, after studies at the painting academy in Vienna and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. From 1977 to 1992, Hausner designed more than 100 theater, opera and film productions, icnluding those at the Shiller Theater, Berlin; the Thalia Theater, Hamburg; the Vienna State Opera; the Salzburg Festival; the Covent Garden Opera, London; and the Theatre de la Monnaie, Brussels. Beginning in 1992, she moved to Berlin and devoted herself completely to painting. Her work was introduced at the Martin Gropiusbau in Berlin in 1996 in an exhibition entitled "Die Kraft der Bilder" (The Craft of the Artists), and she was soon afforded one-person exhibitions in Salzburg and Vienna. Later in 1996, she had a one-person exhibition, "Menschenbilder" at Galerie Thomas in Munich, and Galerie Thomas introduced her work to an international audience with a featured presentation at Art Cologne. In 1997, a one-person exhibition, "Liebesfragmente" was presented at the Museum Quarter Kunsthalle of Vienna and at the Ludwig Museum in Leipzig. Her technique is bold. The paintings are beautiful.

Wednesday 06

Wrestling with "ART." All day I wondered and wandered about (this, as I woke early--"Bruce, wake up, my car is dead" and then driving Betsy to work in my car, Danielle to school, returning home, walking Daisy, filing the battery connections, getting the car started, waiting at the auto center while a new battery was installed, retruning home, walking Daisy, talking on the phone to a possible new employer, driving back to Danielle's school with her forgotten book--The Collector, thinking about what Gary Snyder said: "Such a round of chores is not a set of difficulties we hope to escape from so that we may do our 'practice' which we hope will put us on a 'path'---it is our path."), thinking about the works in progress I saw yesterday, the "mission statements" and later crticism/critiques I heard and then later in the day after I bought Betsy her birthday presents, I read this November 2000.

Tuesday 05

Conceptual. It was invigorating (albeit HOT) and intellectually stimulating to sit in the Parsons School auditorium and listen to four artists talk about their works in progress.

Monday 04

Talk with me. I have been asked by an old friend, Anezka, who teaches Digital Design at Parsons School of Design to travel to New York City tomorrow and review her students MFA work in progress.

Sunday 03

YOU are the light of the world. Everyone of us has so much to give. Our inner reserves of love and wisdom are infinite. Saint Francis said:

Lord, make me an instrument of they peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where their is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

Saturday 02

Making a wish. Two Hundred years ago children might have hoped for a single piece of candy, an orange or a handkerchief for Christmas. The vast majority of gifts were made by the giver, and practical -- mittens, mufflers, socks or food. A wealthy woman of the 18th century and early 19th might yearn for a tortoise-shell comb or a pearl brooch. Curiously, adlut men, as the head of the household, weren't believed to be appropriate recipients of holiday gifts. By the end of the 19th century, people had begun to buy manufactured goods for one another, and on a grander scale. Bibles --leather bound, hand-tooled and embossed with gold -- would be a generous offering. Food remained a popular gift, but it, too, had become ornate; carmelized sugar and chocolate were molded to look like mutton chops, bacon, sausage or boiled lobsters. Holiday wish lists through the 20th century show the steady expansion of American's material desires. One hundred years ago, women might long for a Bissell carpet sweeper. Today, a holiday vacuum cleaner would probably earn the giver an icy stare. In the late 18th century, gifts for adults tended to be modest both in size and price: for a woman, a fan, tea strainer or small piece of needlwork; for a man, a moustache cup, carriage robe or snuff box. Children might hope for a sled, a drum, marbles, mechanical toys or dolls.

Friday 01

Hope. Emily Dickinson, 1861.

"Hope" is the thing with feathers --
That perches in the soul --
And sings the tune without the words --
And never stops -- at all --
And sweetest -- in the Gale -- is heard --
And sore must be the storm --
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm --
I've heard it in the chillest land --
And on the strangest Sea --
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb -- of Me.