Archive for January, 2013

When home found me

January 23, 2013

I found my home in 2011 when I moved to Sunset Park. Before that, I was living in the center of Manhattan. It took me fourteen years to realize that the center of Manhattan was nowhere I wanted to be. Moving to another borough was cathartic but of course represented a specific sort of trauma. Moving to the apartment below my best friend represented another. A little more than a year has now passed, and most if not all of the pieces of the habitation puzzle have clicked into place. I have gained two more best friends in the process. The four of us had a birthday brunch last Sunday. We knew one another’s pauses, hiccups, chirrups, hurrahs. For a middle child, this is heaven. At the moment I call it a nighttime heaven. I mean I see brilliant stars everywhere I turn, since nighttime is my favorite time of day. When home finds you, you will never want to leave. “Never” is a long time, and an unreliable qualifier, but since I tend to love a long time, and am an unreliable narrator, it’s okay.

Please read Suzanne Guillette’s deep, rich interviews about various beautiful homes throughout New York City.


Study in squares

January 8, 2013





January 6, 2013

My parents visited me today. Dad, eighty-something, had a cold, and slept on my bed for an hour, while Mom, sixty-something, looked through my photos of Istanbul and then folded my laundry. I have several photographs of them holding hands walking either away from me or toward me. I suppose I take only photographs of them when they’re holding hands. The gesture still has the power to surprise me, because Mom can be a little shrill with Dad sometimes and because I’ve wondered whether Dad, in the past, ever resented her shrillness. But Mom said to me once, “You are not allowed to judge our relationship.” So I no longer judge it, just as I try not to judge others’. A coherent relationship is so much more than the sum of dissatisfactions, tiffs, and compromises—there is the comfort of habit, of a shared language, even if you don’t speak the same language, even if you don’t think the two are themselves speaking the same language. When I saw them today, Mom berated Dad for taking cold medicine during the day. In another household close to me, the woman has been berating her husband for not drinking water to stay hydrated.

I have faith in love.

Rather, I have faith in togetherness.

A couple of years ago in San Francisco, when I missed my flight back to New York and couldn’t reach Anna Shapiro, my dear host, I walked into a theater with my suitcase to take in The White Ribbon. When I stepped out of the theater, it was evening and Anna had left me a message. I returned to her parents’ house, ecstatic to discover the world just a little less moored than two hours before, and dismissed any worry about the rest of the week, year, life.

Now Haneke has created Amour.

I’m told there are no spoilers in Teju Cole’s review of the film, but I won’t read it yet anyway, till after I watch it on Thursday.


January 4, 2013

On my commute this morning, I read from an e-reader. I’d left my proofreading at home, and panicked that I wouldn’t make Monday’s deadline—forty-five minutes, to and from work, equals roughly fifty pages—then remembered that I’d e-mailed myself the book’s PDF and could access it on the reader. The entire experience felt strange and a little illicit, even though today you’ll find most people on their commutes using e-readers as books and game consoles (never the latter, I’ve vowed). Two months ago, for a while I was carrying three or four slim books everywhere, including the requisite exquisite Aira; I had picked up multireading again. I don’t think today’s divergence will change that, though lately my considerations for book purchases have leaned towards e-readerly texts (only I can’t find anything I want, such as Andrzej Stasiuk’s Fado, which would have helped me traverse Istanbul’s cobblestones a lot faster, a lot slower, a lot more internally and congruently).

Meanwhile, Ken Chen begins his introduction to Drunken Boat #16 with “And so” and ends it with the following sentence: “The only thing all these selves [in this issue] have in common is walking through the streets of the cities of the world.”

Indeed: when we “And so,” we are walking through the streets and thinking about things we’ve lost to the past. Or not thinking so much as reentering. We are reentering the path of our thoughts in the wake of these thoughts.


Again, my group of photographs in this issue.

As innerly as possible

January 2, 2013

Thanks to Kai Ma, the editor extraordinaire of Open City magazine, some of my photographs have been gathered in Drunken Boat, issue #16.