Superpowers

b&w photograph of people in a quiet sunny green parkObserving and Listening have become almost superpowers in the contemporary world. Such pursuits are almost the opposite of (though are often mistaken for) ‘consuming’, because to truly see and/or hear takes as much patience and skill as any act of creation. They are the wells that feed creation. Processes —both of observation and research— culminate in the process of making, which is, always, one of translation.

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The above was born of a comment left on another artist’s blog; I’ve adapted it to a more generalized sentiment, as I find it to be true.

Apologies for the longer stretches between posts, lately. I’m in need of a schedule to stay on track here, as I re-learn living, and balance with the full time gig/ I’d rather expected more time for writing while I was upstate, but lots of family goings-on took precedence. Happy Summer, and thanks for reading and looking! 

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Yesterday the Spring Equinox; today a Snow Day

snow falling on the view of the playground (photo)

Today is an unexpected day off for me after working more or less every day since February 26! Granted, some of those days I only worked 2-3 hours, but still, this has come at a perfect time, as one of my big project deadlines culminated in our company’s annual event yesterday.

Very nice to have a lie-in today, and I’m still in my pajamas. One of the best views of a snowstorm is the one from indoors, wearing one’s soft pants!

looking out on a snowy street through a fire escape (photo)

Life is what happens while a series of dreams or ideas play out; and then you decide what you’re willing to own.

pic of me, ten years ago, in snow

This photo is from awhile ago, but it’s still one of the truest portraits ever taken of me (thx Tarikh). It’s who I am, want to be, ever will be. (I miss that coat, I’ll always be a bit of an 80’s punk rock kid, for better for or worse)

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Aside, here’s what remained or came out of a brief, untethered dream after falling asleep on the couch and waking at 2 am—

Something equivalent to the lie in my eye
Every time I pass with a smile and a shrug—
But in my soul I’m screaming_
You don’t know me,
And I don’t owe you

Anything.

The day following the feast was sunny and mild

The day following the feast was sunny and mild, inviting of a long wander. Following lunch in a sunny local, we embarked on a meandering walk that included many stops along the way in a handful of neighborhoods.

Eventually we found ourselves again at the harbor, staring out at moon-glittered water in the early dark. We breathed in the salt smell of that black and brackish channel where the sea and river meet; entrance and exit of the city where  boats are welcomed by la dame verte.

There was no ignoring such a noisome spectacle

jack o lanterns on an iron fence

The severed heads had been put on pikes for all and sundry to see; made examples of. The unseasonably warm autumn weather made grotesques of each— death masques submitting to rot and gravity; to the punishments meted by the state.

Passersby turned their heads, and covered their faces with kerchiefs, but there was no ignoring such a brutal and noisome spectacle.

jack o lanterns on an iron fence

A doubtful guest arrived just before those invited

Saturday evening, perhaps twenty minutes before the arrival of some friends, as I sat on the Queen Anne, a shadow shape limped into my peripheral. I said Mouse! And then my tone changed immediately as I saw him slump to a stop on the floor just a few feet from me, and close his eyes. …Mouse?

I thought he may have perished before me in that instant, as he did not move when I interrogated him, nor when I stood up.

My mind searched for what I might do about his limp body. I fetched a wooden drawer that I’d just come across the day before, folded a paper towel in, and used a second to pick the poor thing up. He did not so much as blink when I approached, so I knew he must be feeling very poorly, but he was not yet dead..

I set the box on the kitchen table, and put a tiny butter-pat dish of water and some few pieces of granola in, and left him. He moved around a few times, perhaps trying to get comfortable. I’d warned my guests of his presence, and we left him in there while we gathered in the living room.

Hours later after they’d gone, I went in to check on my new charge, and found the box empty, without so much as a thank you. He clearly had recovered, with speed. Lord knows where he is now, but the insolence! Such rudeness!

Next morning after relaying this new to one of my visitors, I could only joke on the disappearance, “Just like a man!”  And then there’s me— always taking in broken things.

The swishing of cars and in the distance, church bells

pedestrian bridge in Windsor TerraceAnd then there are parts of town that don’t quite feel like New York at all.

I’m always looking for what elements are the disparate ones; what are the real culprits that make it feel different. Sometimes it’s scale; of buildings, of the street or space around the buildings. But sometimes it’s something more invisible. A certain type of window or siding. The way the garden is planted and decorated. 
highway overpass
Every now and then you come upon a whole city block, and the little shops along its length sport cloth awnings all identical, and you have to look around to assure yourself you’re still in Brooklyn. 

The church bells are all pre recorded these days. From far away they sound real enough, but sometimes the volume is up too loud, and if you’re nearby you can hear the distortion.

Continue reading “The swishing of cars and in the distance, church bells”

The newest beneficiary of my catch-and-release program

watercolor painting of a goldfishI’ve been buying pond comets from the feeder tanks at pet stores for years. Because they can grow to be almost as large as koi, I only keep them for a year or two, depending on how quickly they grow. When they reach a point of becoming too large for my tank, I release them into a pond, where they can grow to their full potential.

My favorite pond for this is the beautiful koi and comet pond at the Green-Wood Cemetery, which is very near my house. Anyway, I did this drawing of the newest member in my small fish tank menagerie (which includes 3 neon tetras and a zebra neon). He is currently about the same size as the neon tetras— so tiny!

The conversations among windows that happen in the fading light

photo colorization of windows by Elizabeth Daggar
“Rhythms”

I had a little meander through the fourth and third avenue corridors of lower Gowanus last evening as the light struck things at angles. I added some strategic color to these images; some storytelling.

Shooting in color with a phone at that hour is dodgy at best, yet shot in black and white they lose a little something or maybe just feel so different to how it looked in person. These contrivances, then, to inject some of what was lost (or was never there).

photo colorization of windows by Elizabeth Daggar
“Communications”
photo colorization of windows by Elizabeth Daggar
“A nostalgic accord”
photo colorizations of windows in Gowanus by Elizabeth Daggar
“Morse Code”