Napkin Art

My new nickname for Philosopher is Sadhu, Sanskrit for “spiritual seeker.” I think the word might be similar to the Buddhist “bodhisattva.”

My younger son Freeboarder is leaving for art school in a few days. His nickname remains the same. As I write this post he’s somewhere in the city doing ollies with his new board.

Sadhu came over to stain the deck for us, and he left some napkin art in his wake.



Do you notice the resemblance between his doodle and the 18th century headstone I saw recently in the Berkshires? When he was a very young child, we went to this cemetery while we were walking up Cone Hill.


Sunday Concert

Film Critic and I are sitting on the lawn, at an outdoor concert, listening to the BSO and Emanuel Ax play Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22.

My feet and my ears are in heaven.



Wind and Waves

Today is our last full day at Folly Beach in South Carolina. The wind is strong, and the waves are breaking at a perpendicular angle to the shore.

I saw two guys wind surfing on boards that looked like snowboards. They were riding the waves all the way down miles of beach, at times shooting up twenty feet in the air. The upper body strenghth it must have taken to hold onto that parachute sail… .

My son and his friend walked out into the surf, and the current took them down about five hundred feet. They kept getting out of the water and walking up the beach and swimming down current, as if it were a river.


On Friday I finished grading the last of my freshmen compositions for this school year, earlier than most instructors because I had only one section. But because of the grading, I wasn’t able to write a circus-related poem for Big Tent Poetry, although I did generate a few ideas.

What came to my mind as I thought about the circus was the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida. I went there once about eight years ago, and still remember the mansion John and Mable Ringling had built on the edge of the Gulf. We toured the house, filled to the brim with objects of art–paintings, sculptures, fine furniture, silverware, etc… . The house has a name, Cà d’Zan, which means “House of John” in Venetian Italian. What does it mean when you name your house after yourself, besides that you’re filthy rich? According to the website, Mable collected postcards of their travels throughout Italy and showed them to the architect who designed Cà d’Zan.

The circus museum next to the house didn’t interest me too much, but I do remember the replicas of  both serious and comedic whitefaced clowns. I had never thought too much about clowns until I visited that museum, which is where I learned about the different types.

Once when I was teaching high school Spanish I put a picture of a clown on the board and asked the students, “What makes you laugh?” It was a generic teacher assignment I had found in a writing prompt book.  Many of the kids ignored the question, and focused on how clowns scared them.

What I dislike are paintings of clowns. They don’t scare me, but a difficult to articulate nausea passes over me when I see one. Maybe this feeling is what I need to write about. I think it’s more than an aesthetic aversion to the paintings.

Andre the Giant Sticker

Andre the Giant Sticker