23 May 2010

mistress mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

walking through my garden still makes me philosophical, introspective, incites me still to seek mental refuge.  i haven't been back there for almost 2 years.  but today, some mixture of the sun, the clouds, and the smell of the earth through the screen door beckoned me back...

27 April 2010

on grief

Once upon a time, there was a little girl, growing up alone. She wrapped around herself a world of words and pages, of musty library books smelling of all the minds they had touched before, of ancient, enduring wisdom, of paper and sawdust and the deep green forests that lay beyond the pages, stretching in her imagination all the way to the sea. She hid herself away in nooks and corners, behind a sofa, beneath a sheet draped over a bunk bed, weaving in her own childish way, little worlds.

24 October 2008


autumn is officially here (i prefer to call it “autumn” and not “fall,” “fall” being entirely too inelegant a word for this most regal of seasons – spring is too adolescent, summer too self-assured and cocky, and winter is like the incontinent older relative, who shits himself embarrassingly, all white, powdery profusion).

23 September 2008

expat syndrome, take 487

one of the most debilitating side effects of the expat syndrome is trying to reconcile oneself to the fact that the people you love are spread out over countries, over continents. that’s the thing that makes you most restless, no matter which place you’re in – there’s always going to be someone missing.

22 August 2008


in my line of work, you learn that people lie. they cheat and deceive. they're miserable and rude, without recourse or consequence. they hold in their heads simultaneous hypocrisy, claiming open-mindedness and whispering bigotry.

some people are just stupid fuckers.

but other people - the rare, the few - can be absolute angels.

it's nice when you find one of those other people. just saying.

20 August 2008

distance and proximity

recently, i tried to get together for dinner or a movie with one of my oldest friends. she lives in town a, which is a 30-minute drive from me in town b. distances have never been an issue - far-flung pastures are part of the american way of life. that's why we drive suv's and use up a large chunk of the earth's natural oil supply. but given that i work in town c, which is about 45 minutes away from her in town a, this is how our conversation went:

me: "hey, we need to get together."
her: "definitely! it's been waaaaay too long."
me: "we need a break!"
her: "we need to get together and vent!!"
me: (excited) "oh, by the way, they're playing 'brideshead revisited' not far from where i work! we both wanted to see that right?"
her: (pausing) "well, i was thinking we could meet at the bookstore near my house."
me: (calculating mileage in my head) "oh. hmmmm. maybe we could meet halfway?"
her: "yeah, how about the applebees in the middle?"
me and her, simultaneously after a silent pause: "still too far."
me: (sigh)
her: "yeah. damn gas prices."

i miss personal contact. i miss my cafe coffees and hot chocolates with friends in the highly accesible town square. i miss riding the bus or the bahn or the metro. i miss seeing a different country after taking two meager steps out of my own. i'm sure my european friends and relatives are feeling rather smug right now, about their wonderful public transportation systems and the cleverness of town planning by their european ancestors. yeah well, we've got purple mountains majesty and amber waves of grain - i've never seen 'em, but i hear we've got 'em. and they're great for making ethanol.

25 July 2008

we always went at night. during the day, we dreamed...

it's been almost 10 years since my last visit to my uncle in jeddah - 10 years also since i last went to mecca. i was there in the summer of '99, so my memories may no longer be accurate, and since saudi is usually at its most alive at night, the things i've seen can't be trusted either. images and people and places become blurred at night, their harsher edges photoshopped out by the darkness.