come away with me, or how to get lost on one kings lane

There’s a certain kind of magic when the city is bathed in
light, buds begin to bloom, and parks swell with people.
With those perfect early spring days in mind, we gathered
all the elements of a chic Parisian apartment in a softer,
lighter palette. Your sunny hideaway awaits.

Click!

Marta_Chair

the marta chair

Lately I’ve been addicted to the One Kings Lane ads that clutter my inbox every day because they use editorial storytelling to sell a heap of beautiful things I don’t need and can hardly afford.  This is an online retailer disguised as a design blog, and they push out clever emails inviting you to various themed “events” featuring all the designer-selected furniture, decor and linens you’d need to achieve the desired look.  The key word being

desired.

I used to delete these emails without question but that was so yesterday.  One or two forays down the lane and the storytelling’s got me hooked!  I think last week or today or the day before some day they lured me into “The Gentleman’s Study” and before that I wandered through “The Lost Art of Afternoon Tea” and lingered there for a few minutes until moving on to ponder how I might “Achieve the Library Look.”  Noted tastemakers have done all the shopping for me —  they’ve trotted the globe gathering vintage fleamarket finds and art deco jewelry, tufted linen club chairs in soothing Montauk hues and decorative books to line my shelves.  It’s all taken care of!  All that exhaustion, all the decision-making — at someone else’s expense and artfully arranged.  It just sails across the lawn and lands smack on your doorstep every morning before sunrise.  You can just wake up, grab your morning cup and find yourself transported to an elegant English Manor or some other equally imaginative landscape, all while snuggled in your robe and slippers with your hair still in a scrunchy!  I’ve gotten so drawn into the storylines I’ve begun pinning $199 turquoise vintage typewriters to my Interiors Pinterest board with no hope in sight.

But this post isn’t about that typewriter.  Of course if you love me and have some change to spare I wouldn’t mind if you snatched it up before it sells out.  Maybe stow it away in the garage until my birthday — I won’t mind waiting and I promise to fall over with surprise before finding the perfect spot for it in my study.  No, what I really mean to blog about is not that typewriter at all or my wasting time on One Kings Lane but something else entirely.  After a few minutes browsing a recent event entitled “Wake Up In Paris,” I wandered over to the “Weekly Click List” and bumped right into a plug for a lifestyle blog called Modern Hepburn.

Did you say, Modern Hepburn?  . . . CLICK!

Modern Hepburn is a simple, elegant tumblr site, a visual feast filled with beautiful photographs and lovely quotations.  More Katharine than Audrey, it’s one woman’s decisive digital scrapbook with minimal text or commentary.  Unlike this blog with its heaps of blathering, you can make a quick visit to Modern Hepburn and just take in all the beautiful things.  One step up from Twitter and yet another from Pinterest.  It’s more like a graceful glide from the tree instead of a mindless chirp.  Now there are many creative tumblrs like this because that is sort of what tumblr is known for, being more like a portfolio or pin board, but what I love about this particular site is its entire page devoted to hands, two of my favorite things.  I love hands.

hands clasped.  hands outstretched.

hands holding other hands.

hands pressed in prayer.

This Modern Hepburn, whoever she is, is someone else on the planet who loves hands.  And now there’s this lovely place to go when I need one, when I’m writing about them.  Hands.  Where, because I don’t have that $199 turquoise vintage typewriter, I will be able to use my computer to scroll through the photographs, upload one to my blog and share the stories they tell with you.  Stories of kindness, generosity, and hope.

 

An average of seventy-four species become extinct every day,

which was one good reason but not the only one to hold someone’s hand.

~ Nicole Krauss “The History of Love”


 two or three little birds: hands

tumblr_n29u17kahN1syearho1_500I wrote this post after two weeks spent driving across four states in the southern united states, and the only thing I could think to write about were the father and son holding hands on a train:

But at one moment during his conversation with me, the man took his son’s pale hand in his and held it gently, patting him softly with his other hand.  Their fingers seemed worn smooth with familiarity and they playfully intertwined as the man continued in his quiet way to tell me about visiting his brother one time in the prison I had passed just outside Bakersfield.  It was a seamless gesture of affection, but I noticed it, and I can’t seem to get the image out of my mind.  The way his son rested peacefully with his touch.  The love between this elderly father and his adult son traveling together on a train to spend the day in Santa Fe.

holding hands, 24 july 2014

tumblr_ltwe2dfJVc1qi8o10o1_500And this describing my favorite hour of the week with my favorite people doing my favorite things:

We’ve spent another Sunday morning sitting close to one another for a whole hour, though, locking arms and holding hands, singing . . . smiling . . . praying

resistance is futile, 10 november 2014

tumblr_n1ieqlc77E1r21xm5o1_500

More hands . . .

Heraclitus says, day by day, what you do is who you become, and isn’t that wisdom for all of us to think about?  I know this is going to sound sillyhearted, and God if I can’t get the memory out of my head of my friend recently referring to me in jest as Mother Teresa, but I’m going to say it anyway.  I do.  I really really do want to spend my days holding hands.

leap, 11 september 2013

 

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the closest distance

Tell the story that’s been growing in your heart, the characters you can’t keep out of your head, the story that speaks to you, that pops into your head during your daily commute, that wakes you up in the morning.

~ Jennifer Weiner

The Closest Distance  A project by Larissa Board, a recent Studio Art graduate of Lewis & Clark College and an aspiring filmmaker.


 

As a mother of two creative kids, it’s hard to see the arts and literature fall away with the Common Core Standards.  My oldest middle schooler has not read one novel this year in her English class but has been assigned a biography and non-fiction book report.  My youngest is still in Catholic Schools, which in my opinion tend to nourish the painters and storytellers among us more than other schools do.  With an overt emphasis on the practical at the expense of the imagined, how can we inspire anyone to dream?  Encourage those who make art and support them with your time and treasure.  Buy books.  Watch movies.  Go to art galleries and hang whatever you can afford.  Take your beloved to the symphony.  Or just drop a dollar in that open guitar case next time you’re downtown.  And most importantly, support the creative life in our schools.

Support Arts Education through the National Endowment for Arts

Thank Heaven for Artists! NEA staffers thank artists who have inspired them

Who inspires you?

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on art and those other elements

O'KeeffeTheir fleshy curves and folds so unlike the artist’s own toned body suggest possible associations with other elements of human anatomy.  This was written on the gallery description accompanying one of Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings that I saw at the de Young Museum recently.  I presume the curators sought to explain the context behind the piece, and how O’Keeffe had suggested it depicted her legs as she rowed across Lake George with her lover Alfred Stieglitz.  Um.  If you say so, Georgia.

While I was growing up there were fine art photographs and gallery pieces hanging on the walls of our dining room.  Two prominent Ansel Adams photographs.  A Ruth Bernhard nude.  And a Georgia O’Keeffe reproduced print.  Long before I had a single course in critical theory or art history, I looked at that O’Keeffe — each night at dinner to be exact– and what did I see?  A big vagina.  In the gallery today?  Vivid colorful unmistakable vaginas.  Flowers, feminine and splayed open with onlookers gazing into them to study their brush strokes.  The sensuality (and scandal) in these images I suppose is what has drawn people to O’Keeffe’s work, but I’m still giggling from across that table.  Especially at the people who are not seeing the big hoohaw in front of them and still hang it on the wall.  The artist herself bristled at this interpretation of her work and insisted she was not working with “feminine iconography” but only painting what she saw in nature: and that would be flowers, people!  Um.  If you say so, Georgia. But these look pretty much like vaginas to me:

Blue Flowers     okeeffe     series1

Why protest so much?  I think she should have run with this, don’t you?  What’s wrong with feminine iconography?  Men and women.  Straight or gay.  Human beings are drawn to the feminine life source.  We associate the feminine with creativity, with comfort, connection and love.  Feminine iconography has been rendered in art throughout history, from carved idols to cave paintings to modern photography.  It even shows up in contemporary architecture and gasp in the Church.  This past Christmas I took my mother to a choral concert at a magnificent cathedral recently constructed in the Diocese of Oakland.  It’s a Catholic church, mind you, and when I took one look at it, what did I see . . . a big vagina, of course.  To be more specific, it’s a cavernous womb.  A light-filled holy place of worship beautifully named Cathedral of Christ the Light but now affectionately called among other things “The Vagina Church.”

I am sure the Bishop who presided over the design and the architects and builders insist, like O’Keeffe, that this is just a majestic glass building.  I am sure they didn’t gather around the conference table bursting with giggles and obsession with feminine iconography and say, I know!  let’s design the facade to look like gigantic labia and oh, let’s have the visitors walk through those labia and into the sanctuary — the womb of Mother Church — where a five story high phallic hologram of Christ awaits them behind the altar.  No.  I’m sure they’d dismiss any of these associations with those other elements of human anatomy as simply preposterous because they make us uncomfortable– it’s just a work of high tech modern design, people!  But you take a look at the photos and decide for yourself.  Regardless of what you or I see, this building is a beautiful expression of the artistic vision, and like all works of art, O’Keeffe’s paintings or the magnificent Cathedral of Christ the Light, they engage us in a conversation about the mysteries and wonder of creation.  With a notably feminine touch.

christthelightentry     christthelightceiling     Cathedral_interior1

If you go, Modern Nature: Georgia O’Keeffe and Lake George is at the De Young Museum in San Francisco through May 11, 2014.  Highlights for me were her Lake George Barn paintings, the quotations scattered throughout the gallery space, as well as the collected letters of O’Keeffe and Stieglitz, a ten pound tome entitled My Faraway One available for purchase in the gift shop.

. . . he said I was a flower of the mountain yes so we are flowers all . . . .

~ Molly Bloom’s soliloquy from James Joyce’s Ulysses

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