Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Richard Scarry's 21st centurn Busy Town

 This is awesome. And a little sad, because it's true. 

I love love love Richard Scarry's books, love his artwork, and love that I get to introduce my Savannah Banana to it soon!

Back to work today after a wonderful week at the Farm. Missing it more than a little today.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ben Gibbard - Farmer Chords (Live Acoustic On KEXP)

No one at the Farm has had as much impact on my music-cation as TSO. He introduced me to all of the bands/artists listed below, and who knows who all else.

Today as I am preparing to leave I am thinking back to my summer in grad school; TSO came for a visit that took us up for a long weekend around Traverse City, hiking Sleeping Bear Dunes, and all the way back to Detroit for a Ben Gibbard concert. How different our lives are 7.5 years later.

Thanks TSO for all of these folks:
  • The Postal Service
  • Ben Gibbard
  • Death Cab for Cutie
  • She & Him
  • Fleet Foxes
  • Blitzen Trapper
  • Dar Williams
  • Gillian Welch
  • Ingrid Michaelson
  • Iron & Wine
  • Madeline Peyroux
  • Matt Nathanson
  • Damien Rice
  • MIKA
  • Nickel Creek
  • Regina Spektor
  • Rufus Wainwright
  • Sufjan Stevens

Monday, January 5, 2015

Joe Purdy - I Love the Rain the Most

For a while B1 & B2 were living in the Buffalo area, which put them about 1/2 way between me and the Farm, and made for a couple visits and a memorable New Years Eve carpool to the Farm. On one visit B1 & B2 introduced me to Joe Purdy (some of his music was featured on Gray's Anatomy). Kinda forgot about him until just now, totally ordering some of his music when I get back to work!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Bob Dylan _ Oh Sister

I have never met someone who loved Bob Dylan as much as ValleyGirl. A year or two younger than me, I always thought of ValleyGirl as an old soul.

When we met I hated Bob Dylan, hated hated hated, until one day something got into me and I liked him...a little bit, at least.  And while I will NEVER be in love with him the way she is, I will always have a soft spot for certain Dylan tracks, this one in particular. I can't help but picture ValleyGirl simultaneously strumming her guitar, playing harmonica, and singing "Oh Sister."  

Saturday, January 3, 2015

a simple exercise

Many are the gifts of Farmers.

Wayne, the head of the Farm department, always mystified me with his ability to rattle off stanzas on command. Filthily clad in jeans and flannel, gnarled hands, smelling like cows and manure or haying season, Wayne would show up for breakfast--always late--and occasionally surprise everyone with a poem or two. I didn't even know Updike wrote poetry until Wayne shared this: 

I sometimes fear the younger generation will be deprived
  of the pleasures of hoeing;
  there is no knowing
how many souls have been formed by this simple exercise.

The dry earth like a great scab breaks, revealing
  moist-dark loam--
  the pea-root's home,
a fertile wound perpetually healing.

How neatly the green weeds go under!
  The blade chops the earth new.
  Ignorant the wise boy who
has never rendered thus the world fecunder.

--John Updike 

Friday, January 2, 2015

answers to what comes next

Sweet B1 and I spent so much time together; before B2 and her married, before sweet Everett came along, we were housemates. And in that time she shared many wonderful poems and poets with me. On a car ride into town one weekend afternoon, B1 recited this entire poem, and I fell in love with it on the spot.  
"How to Like it"These are the first days of fall. The wind at evening smells of roads still to be traveled, while the sound of leaves blowing across the lawns is like an unsettled feeling in the blood, the desire to get in a car and just keep driving.

A man and a dog descend their front steps.The dog says, Let’s go downtown and get crazy drunk.

Let’s tip over all the trash cans we can find. Thi
s is how dogs deal with the prospect of change.

But in his sense of the season, the man is struck by the oppressiveness of his past, how his memories which were shifting and fluid have grown more solid until it seems he can see remembered faces caught up among the dark places in the trees.

The dog says, Let’s pick up some girls and just rip off their clothes. Let’s dig holes everywhere.

Above his house, the man notices wisps of cloud crossing the face of the moon. Like in a movie, he says to himself, a movie about a person leaving on a journey. He looks down the street to the hills outside of town and finds the cut where the road heads north. He thinks of driving on that road and the dusty smell of the car heater, which hasn’t been used since last winter.

The dog says, Let’s go down to the diner and sniff people’s legs. Let’s stuff ourselves on burgers.

In the man’s mind, the road is empty and dark. Pine trees press down to the edge of the shoulder, where the eyes of animals, fixed in his headlights, shine like small cautions against the night. Sometimes a passing truck makes his whole car shake.

The dog says, Let’s go to sleep. Let’s lie down by the fire and put our tails over our noses.

But the man wants to drive all night, crossing one state line after another, and never stop until the sun creeps into his rearview mirror.

Then he’ll pull over and rest awhile before starting again, and at dusk he’ll crest a hill and there, filling a valley, will be the lights of a city entirely new to him.

But the dog says, Let’s just go back inside. Let’s not do anything tonight. So they walk back up the sidewalk to the front steps.

How is it possible to want so many things and still want nothing. The man wants to sleep and wants to hit his head again and again against a wall. Why is it all so difficult?

But the dog says, Let’s go make a sandwich. Let’s make the tallest sandwich anyone’s ever seen.

And that’s what they do and that’s where the man’s wife finds him, staring into the refrigerator as if into the place where the answers are kept-the ones telling why you get up in the morning and how it is possible to sleep at night, answers to what comes next and how to like it.

--Stephen Dobyn

Thursday, January 1, 2015

new beginnings

My Farm housemates and I read the entire Chronicles of Narnia aloud, something I'd never managed to read all the way through in my childhood, and I absolutely fell in love with the series, and particularly with Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. 

Writing about Eustace Scrub on New Years Day feels right, because if ever anyone needed a new beginning, it was Eustace Scrubb. This passage is about Eustace, who, through his greed, was turned into a dragon and was unable to return to his human form.

“Then the lion said - but I don't know if it spoke – ‘You will have to let me undress you.’ I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.

“The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I've ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know - if you've ever picked the scab off a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.”
“Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off ... And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me - I didn't like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I'd no skin on - and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I'd turned into a boy again..." - C. S. Lewis,
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader