san francisco. december 2010.
When author Maurice Sendak died a couple weeks ago he not only left a hole in the literary world, but in all of life as we know it.
Having loved him and his work since I was a kid, I devoured anything I could about him. Of all that has been written about him, or interviews he did, it’s this bit from “Maurice Sendak: On Life, Death And Children’s Lit” on NPR, that I love most:
“Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.”
Because that’s what a wild thing does when they love something so much: they eat it.
montmartre, 18th arrondissement. paris. april 2012.
I’ve had this song on repeat for well over a week now. I can’t seem to get enough of it.
The rainy days without you
I’ve done everything I planned to
Now I hope for days below zero
Front lights and snow fall
A ring and a rung from a phone call
By christmas you’ll be home
I don’t wanna know what it’s like to spend the holidays on my own
I don’t wanna hear another christmas song about love when I’m on my own
sunset over manhanttan as seen from park slope. may 2012.
In 2005, I read an article in the New Yorker about the writer Henry Roth. The writer of the article, Jonathan Rosen, wrote of Roth’s struggle with depression, self-loathing and a whole other myriad of issues that had long plagued the writer’s life.
I read the entire article but it was this paragraph below and the final sentence, in particular, that forever resonated with me:
But Roth, despite his own dramatic detour, did not remain in outer darkness. When I visited him, he had shattered the block that had imprisoned him and was on the verge of publishing the first installment of a vast, multivolume work, “Mercy of a Rude Stream.” His hands were warped by rheumatoid arthritis; the very touch of his computer keyboard was excruciating. But he still put in five hours a day, helped by Percocet, beer, a ferocious will, and the ministrations of several young assistants. Roth would not die like a pomegranate, with all his seeds inside.
Neither will I.
I will not die like a pomegranate with all my seeds inside me.
For that reason alone, I love pomegranate seeds for what they represent: words yet unlocked.
a couple in tompkins square park. may 2012.
Since moving to New York City, I have always lived in Alphabet City. First I was on East 7th Street between Avenues C and D, and now I’m on East 2nd between First and A. I sometimes forget just how legendary this neighborhood is for the underground music, writing and film scene. I sometimes forget that the likes of Allen Ginsberg lived, at one time, on my street but just a block away when he wrote “Kaddish,” the riots that took place in Tompkins Square Park in 1988, how movements and people who would define generations squatted in these buildings, that Jean-Michel Basquiat decorated these haunted empty and scary streets with his graffiti that would eventually take him to stardom.
I was too young to have been privy to this, and by the time I arrived the neighborhood was no longer deemed terrifying; the heroin addicts had been cleaned up and gentrification was just a couple years away. Now these streets are littered with NYU students and people who, like me, pay a pretty penny to live here. However, despite this I have found a home in Alphabet City and it’s the past echoes that keep me here. I’m quite certain I could not live in any other neighborhood in New York City.
It’s hard not to love a place with such a gritty past.
prospect park west rooftop. view of manhattan. 20 may 2012.
You want me to haunt you? But you started sprouting your wings, I could lie to love you but my mockingbird’s gonna to sing…
how one walks away from brooklyn in 2012.
Every time he left my apartment and shut the door behind him, I heard this song in my head. I blame my father’s incessant listening to it when it when I was a kid; but more importantly, I blame the lyrics. I knew that someday all I’d have was a photograph to preserve the memories of him…
Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left you
east village. may 2012.
Sometimes the best in us is the worst of us. And even better: the best part of us brings out the worst of us and others. In either situation, it results in a catastrophe… a beautiful catastrophe.
A Very Short Song:
Once, when I was young and true,
Someone left me sad-
Broke my brittle heart in two;
And that is very bad.
Love is for unlucky folk,
Love is but a curse.
Once there was a heart I broke;
And that, I think, is worse.