Thursday, July 2, 2015
June 20, 2006
I saw a funny thing today that I don’t know what it was
A cardboard cut-out hanging on a string from a telephone wire
shaped in such a way that the wind caught it and it spun round and round
It was a picture of a little fat pale green cartoon bird with a human skull for a face
Was it intentional?
It seemed so
In which case was it art?
Or some sort of secret message
like how the shoes over the wires supposedly indicate drugs?
Or was it the result of some sort of bizarre accident involving
an art student flinging a piece of work into the air?
And if by any chance that was the case why was it flung?
So many questions
I also have this vague nagging feeling that I’ve seen something like it before
Sometime in the medium distant past like maybe near Bill’s old house?
A different size and shape and style and color
but something that hung and spun in the same seemingly-deliberate arty way
I take the fact that I can’t quite remember as an indication
that I have no slot in my brain for such items
no category under which to file the memory since
not only do I not know what this thing is or what to call it
but I almost don’t know whether or not to believe my perception of it
That’s what they say about the uncanny too
that weird things
coincidences, synchronicities, odd moments we can’t explain
happen pretty often and may even strike us at the time
but that we almost immediately forget about them because
we have no category to lump them in with or account for them under
Or anyway so they say
image source is here
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
If you are a book-lover Shakespeare and Company is something of a required pilgrimage when you are in Paris, and for very good reason. Though it is not the original store founded by Sylvia Beach for the Lost Generation, it nevertheless very much retains at least what we now imagine to have been the spirit of that original. It is also crazy popular. Though it would be easy to be annoyed with the wall-to-wall throngs I actually find them quite encouraging--they really did mostly seem to be browsing and buying books, and not just being lookey-loo tourists--and most of them were young people. Young Americans traveling abroad buy books! What could be more encouraging than that? Here are few books I was excited to see on the shelves there:
Was ridiculously chuffed to spot The Thing The Book, which I edited, sharing pride of place in the front of the store with Grace Coddington and other luminous art and design titles.
I also worked on If I Were a Book. And The Water and the Wild is a Chronicle book as well, from our children's department.
A favorite colleague of mine edited Welcome the Day (the white book with the red flower and yellow sun, above). I actually emailed her this picture from the store.
I wasn't kidding when I said the other day that I did zero work in Paris--taking these three photos of Chronicle Books in the wild was, I'm pretty certain, the only time I thought about my job the whole time I was there. But what a happy and exciting thing to have for that one moment of job-thinking!
I do not know why the name of San Francisco's own legendary bookstore City Lights is emblazoned over the door, but I do know that I very much like the fact that it is.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
On our first day in Paris we luxuriated in being there. We spent a long lazy morning in the Luxembourg gardens, sailing boats in the Grand Basin and just wandering around the park and spying out the beehives.We went home for a nap and then went out for a walk around the 6th Arrondissement, where we were staying for the first couple of days--we ate macarons, and popped into the legendary children's store Bonpoint (where there was a full-size wooden playhouse for Mabel to play in) and the church of Saint Sulpice, and spotted a bookstore called the San Francisco Book Company (and felt flattered), and just generally admired the streets and the buildings and the fact that Holy Crap we were in Paris!
Monday, June 29, 2015
One of Mabel's favorite things to do on the weekend when we do laundry is to play with the laundry basket--most often it's a boat and both clothes hangers and stuffed animals are involved in the elaborate saga of this boat. She climbs in and out of it over and over again--something she's been doing since she was a tiny toddler and her whole body fit inside instead of her giantess legs dangling out for miles the way they do now.
Friday, June 26, 2015
We went to three museums when we were in Paris. Today let's talk about the big beautiful Impressionist Gallery at the Musee D'Orsay, shall we? I love seeing Impressionist paintings in person. We've all seen them reproduced so many many times that, when I see reproductions, even good ones, I have a very hard time actually seeing what I'm looking at--all I see are a million coffee mugs and mouse pads and prints hanging on the walls of dentists' offices. But when I see them in person. Bam! I suddenly remember how utterly totally radical these pictures were in their day. How they cracked not only the idea of painting, but indeed the very idea of seeing wide open. Go on with your bad selves, you Impressionists you. I found this group of landscapes, with all their blues, particularly pleasing. Take a look!
Thursday, June 25, 2015
June 19, 2006
This weekend was super busy and involved:
seeing lots of friends
having some rosé and some bubbly water
the bubbles in the glass rising to the top
pretty much constantly when its first poured
going to the farmer’s market
and buying a ton of berries and stone-fruit and cauliflower and herbs and flowers
fresh lavender for the dining table which looks great and smells amazing
and mixed poppies for the hall that are so cute and cheerful and wrinkly
watching the world cup
getting a zipcar and picking up new bookcases
the soft almost satiny look and feel of the pale wood
of the unfinished pine bookshelves
almost fuzzy like a peach
then rearranging all the books
All of which was really fun
We also cleaned the house
which was not as fun but deeply satisfying
Today I had cinnamon graham crackers
instead of regular ones
for my midmorning snack
they were gratifyingly gritty
And I went book shopping and bought myself a stack of books
to compensate for having to be back at work
after such a nice weekend of real life and great weather
Two of the books were hardcovers
and I realized that I’ve recently abandoned a lifelong policy
of always waiting for the paperback
This is in part due to having a bit more money
but also life is just too short
and my reading desires shift and change too often
to postpone such an elemental pleasure
as reading what I want to read
when I want to read it
I also noticed that the bottom shelf
of all the bookcases in the store
is angled upward
so that a browser can read the spines easily
without having to bend over
One of those thoughtful things that works so well
you don’t even see it
Until you do
image source is here
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
I did not do one lick of work in Paris, and therefore cannot do a Publishing Wednesday post about my trip. Instead, I will tell you about a field trip that I went on with the Chronicle Books Art Editors right before I left town. We headed to the Outer Sunset (for those not in San Francisco this is a remote, beach-y, fog-bound neighborhood way out by the ocean, which has recently started to become a hotbed of art activity, cool stores, great coffee, and the infamous $4 toast).
Here is what we saw:
Above, an amazing art deco school building I passed by on my way to meet my pals.
Flowers in the bathroom of the delightful Andytown coffee (we also went to Trouble Coffee for the aforementioned toast, but I forgot to snap a pic).
This image, and the four below, are from artist Leah Rosenberg's Every Day A Color installation at Irving Street Projects which was AMAZING. Leah met us there and told us all about the project--for which she painted the walls of the studio a different color each new day, leaving just a little stripe of the previous day's color behind. As a lover of color, of course I adore this.
Next we went to Three Fish Studios and chatted with, and admired the work of, the delightful husband-and-wife team Annie Galvin (above) and Eric Rewitzer (below).
We then popped into a few retail shops including Mollusk surf shop, where I spotted the cool print above (and where they were clearly a bit perplexed by us five publishing girls who really obviously do not surf),
and Case for Making, where I bought far too many pencils and erasers.
It was a good day.