Sunday, July 28, 2002

Enrico IV is the only one smiling. Among thousands of immaculate renaissance faces clothing the walls of Florence's Ufizzi gallery, Enrico IV alone shows any signs of happiness or joy. In his very formal portrait, wearing a large poofy jacket and tights, he ispositively jolly. His neighbors--from Cupid, Venus, and Baccus to Jesus and Mary to Rembrandt to scores of Italian heads of state--wear most often a solemn, detached demeanor, broken only by love or anguish. Was everyone really this morose during the renaissance, or, as Josh suggested to me, were smiles simply out of vogue?
once again, very little time to post. my mood: elated. a quick list of highlights:
an allnight sunset melting into sunrise over the atlantic enroute from New York to Brussels
drove mopeds through the rolling hills of tuscany, through vineyards and olive groves and vineyards and olive groves
mass in santa maria novella
shabbat services in perhaps the largest, most ornate synagogue I have ever encountered, in florence.
gelato. fresh pasta. more gelato. more fresh pasta...mmm.....
swimming in the mediterranean after hiking along the cliffs of the cinque terra.

Monday, July 22, 2002

time is limited, so I will keep ruminations to a minimum, and instead provide the basics, which can be digested with a single stomach.
Past week= amazing. Absolutely amazing. Several days with Morgan. Beach. Boston (IMAX=Kilamanjaro=I want to climb a mountain. Now.) Shabbat in New York with Ethan. Carlebach Shabbat shacharit. I cried. Several times. Afternoon in central park. Long run. Trivial Pursuit on the great lawn. Picked up Lucas after shabbat, drove out to his farm on long island. Beach.

Basically lots and lots of doing nothing in particular. I am thoroughly out of practice, and was worried about how I would perform at being on vacation, but so far I am 'not doing' marvellously.
I will attempt to chronicle my times in Italy on paper, because I do not think I will have adequate internet access to keep up with everything on line (I am at Josh Sunshine's grandparents' house, preparing to hop on a red-eye to Brussels tonight). Happy Birthday to my mother. Happy Birthday to Ester. To all who might happen upon this entry who I could not see before I left on my journey: I love you, and I will make my glorious return August 8th.

I'll find my way back to this distant planet soon enough.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

At some important moment in my life, which is and will remain unmapped in my memory, I made a firm resolution--unqualified, unapologetic, distilled from questions and uncertainties that usually dance around even my firmest conclusions.
That resolution: I will never allow anyone to waste my time.

So today, when Alexandria Toyota decided to impose its hosptality on me for some nine hours, I suppressed annoyance and anxiousness, and all the schemes deferred and compressed. Part of not wasting any time is not being distracted by what else you could be doing with your time, or by what else you will eventually be doing with your time. Another part is refusing to wait. Waiting, to me, entails trashing valuable minutes, days, on hours and getting nothing in return. So instead of waiting, I had my day, rereading From Beirut to Jerusalem.

Tomorrow I set out on a great journey, whose beautiful form has been no more than sketched with the lightest charcoal. Am I ready? Be prepared, the boyscouts say. The readiness is all, says Hamlet.

Sunday, July 14, 2002

Stanley Kubrick visited me last night
told me to look at life broadly
Creation to greatest conceivable breadth
Myself tiny within it
beautifully ephemeral

Stanley Kubrick visited me last night
patted my head
reassured me
told me I was beautiful to struggle vainly and dream
over what it is to is
told me, whatever is is, is over soon

Stanley Kubrick visited me last night
but it wasn't Stanley Kubrick at all
I had stared at millions of pixels assembled by legions,
and somehow seen Stanley Kubrick staring back at me
I couldn't even find him in the credits.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

I fell in love with a strawberry at 3:31 pm. Again at 3:47.

All the tell-tale signs I have been taught--emotions so intense that they evoke nausea, an affection that focuses the mind's concentration singularly on its object, feelings of clarity and certainty, of delerious happiness--were clear.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Lettuce and several other vegetables began as weeds. So did penecillin, in a sense. Until Fleming, or the people who we have to thank for lettuce, many had already rejected these well-disguised blessings, and comfortably labelled them


The genius of Fleming, as my godfather loves to tell me: Fleming encountered the same insidious invader on his petri dish that many intelligent scientists before him had seen and discarded immediately, mourning their ruined cultures. But Fleming saw something different. Something powerful. Something important.
We must work hard to bring lettuce out of the weeds.

Most importantly, we must look sharply. With new eyes.

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

a brief log of coincidence:
last night at Fort Reno park, wandering amongst a crowd of probably two thousand people, I literally bump into Brown friend and co-INDYphile CJ Fahey from Norther Virginia, who had, in turn just bumped into another new INDY editor, Ben Yaster, from Baltimore. CJ then, in turn, proceeded to introduce me to his friend from high school, who then proceeded to introduce himself as Elana Garon's boyfriend.

A guy I think was Stacey Rozen's boyfriend from high school works across the hall from me at NIH.

Two shabbatot ago I had shabbos dinner at Shoshi Lew's house with her friend Liora from college, who knew both Ester and Jeremy Ruberg from Camp Ramah..