Come back in next life as? A good novelist. A palm tree in Hawaii.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being at home, watching a good movie with my husband. Dining out with good friends.

What is your greatest fear? Fear.

Which living person do you most admire? Both Obamas.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? Bigotry. Narcissism.

What is your greatest extravagance? My Toto toilet.

What is your favorite journey? Coming home.

On what occasion do you lie? When it might hurt someone to tell the truth.

Which living person do you most despise? The one who thinks only of himself. (Fill in the blank.)

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I’m so glad we had this time together.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? My husband.

Which talent would you most like to have? To play a mean piano. Also, to tap-dance like Eleanor Powell. (For those who are too young, check her out on YouTube.)

What is your current state of mind? Acceptance.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My tendency to worry about the future if there’s nothing you can do about it.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Career-wise, it would be being the first woman allowed to host a comedy variety show.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? Person: A good novelist. Thing: A palm tree in Hawaii.

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? My spoiled cat.

What is your most treasured possession? My late daughter’s cross necklace.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Hopelessness.

Where would you like to live? Right where I am.

What is your favorite occupation? Making people laugh.

What is your most marked characteristic? Optimism.

What is the quality you most like in a man? A sense of humor and kindness.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? A sense of humor and kindness.

What do you most value in your friends? A sense of humor and kindness.

Who are your favorite writers? John Steinbeck, Joan Didion, Stephen Sondheim, and lately, Randy Rainbow.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Atticus Finch.

Who are your heroes in real life? First responders. Caregivers.

What are your favorite names? Carrie, Jody, Erin, Kate, Zoey, Jack, Charlie.

What is it that you most dislike? Egotism and rudeness.

How would you like to die? In my sleep.

What is your motto? To be untouched by success and untroubled by failure.

~ Carol Burnett, from “Carol Burnett Answers the Proust Questionnaire” in Vanity Fair, June 17, 2020.


Portrait: Detroit Free Press. Carol Burnett @ The Golden Globes in 2016

Driving I-95 S. With Freddie.

Tuesday morning.

Early morning traffic is frictionless, commuters float down I-95 S.

It’s 42° F. It’s January.  Soft, light rain. Electronics somehow (?) sense that the windshield is damp, wipers flap intermittently. Miracle. All of it.

It’s quiet in the cabin.

No radio.

No talk shows.

No podcasts.

No playlists.

The soft hum of the engine. The shifting of the sole of my right shoe on the accelerator.

And, those pernicious bumpin’ Thoughts. [Read more…]

it never shuts up (never)

In case you haven’t noticed, you have a mental dialogue going on inside your head that never stops. It just keeps going and going. Have you ever wondered why it talks in there? How does it decide what to say and when to say it? How much of what it says turns out to be true? How much of what it says is even important?…If you’re smart, you’ll take the time to step back, examine this voice, and get to know it better. The problem is, you’re too close to be objective…Notice that the voice takes both sides of the conversation. It doesn’t care which side it takes, just as long as it gets to keep on talking…If you spend some time observing this mental voice, the first thing you will notice is that it never shuts up. When left to its own, it just talks. Imagine if you were to see someone walking around constantly talking to himself. You’d think he was strange…If you watch carefully, you’ll see that it’s just trying to find a comfortable place to rest. It will change sides in a moment if that seems to help. And it doesn’t even quiet down when it finds out that it’s wrong. It simply adjusts its viewpoint and keeps on going. If you pay attention, these mental patterns will become obvious to you. It’s actually a shocking realization when you first notice that your mind is constantly talking…

~ Michael A. Singer, from “Chapter 1: the voice inside your head” in the Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself


Photo: Le bain ©️David McTanné (via Your Eyes Blaze Out)

It’s been a long day

breathe-gratitude-long-day


Notes:

It’s been a long day

paul-apalkin

Here is what I love about the brain:
How it remembers.
How it sews what soft it can
into a blanket for the nights
when I am cold with trouble.

~ Sean Patrick Mulroy, from “The Offering” in Tap Lit Mag (Fall/Winter 2016)

 


Notes:

Indulging in Easy

rest-relax-chill

I relish those spontaneous times when I decide to stroll with my wife and dog through the park near our home in Amsterdam. Or when I take time to read a novel for fun. Or when I stop for a lovely glass of wine along an outdoor cafe along the canal because it seems like the thing to do. How about just taking time to take time?

Ah, the infinite moments to enjoy, presented to us on the conveyor belt of our existence….

There are times when making no sense makes sense. Just being, hanging out, following the whim, the momentary inclination. How long can you indulge yourself, though, purely, without hesitation, doubt, or a troubled thought about what it should be troubled about…?

Stop! Do something else. Do nothing. Try it. Anything. It’s not about our doing.

~ David Allen, from Indulging in Easy


Note: Photo via Mennyfox55

Walking Cross-Town. With Thunderdome.

Night-Traveler-trying-to-locate-Broadway-and-Jefferson.-L.A.-Examiner-February-4-1953

The cross-walk.
The yellow cabs.
The street lights.
The cart vendor stacking his bananas.
Real things.

Yet, Upstairs, is the real show.
I turn the dials.
The brightness.
The contrast.
The tint.
And finally, the color.
The picture in picture is sharp, vivid.

I turn my attention to the World,
Gray, blurry, rushing.
A slide projector, click, click, click, click.

But the Tom-Toms beat in Thunderdome.
The Man swings his sticks.
He whips his shoulder-length hair back,
it’s sopping wet from perspiration, it rains. [Read more…]

Switchback: From Bliss and Back

2A17E4AD-B394-4F8A-BA7A-76D0A0E567DF

A vicious switchback,
the bliss of last Saturday Morning,
to a routine checkup with the Good Shepherd Vet,
to this.

I clench my jaw while he opens his.
The steroids, tiny pink buttons, are wrapped in lunch meat.
He swallows the care package whole, nose up, sniffing for more.
“Sit!”
He sits.
The medicine dissolves, his belly warms from the Buttons.
His glassy eyes look up drawing up Hirshfield’s Hope and Love:
“I know that hope is the hardest love we carry.” [Read more…]

What’s under it – hell, a snake pit, the repository of nightmares?

blue-art

I was way back in terra incognita with a friend.
At the edge of a black-spruce bog in a thicket
we found a moss-covered cement slab with iron rings.
We are fearful.
We questioned,
what’s under it – hell, a snake pit, the repository of nightmares?
My friend indicates it’s up to me,
I mean the contents.
We lift the slab aside.
The pit is full of brilliant blue sky.

~ Jim Harrison, from “Dream as a Metaphor of Survival,” Just Before Dark: Collected Nonfiction


Credits: Quote – Memory’s Landscape. Art: Trang Bui – Kind of Blue I via Exercice de Style

 

It’s been a long day

water-blue-art-painting-self-portrait

The odd little magpie of the mind.
Nothing is finally finished, then?
The past emerges and re-emerges.
It builds its random nest in the oddest places.

~ Colum McCann, Thirteen Ways of Looking


Notes:

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