Autobiography of Eve - Ansel Elkins

 Adam and Eve - Suzanne Valadon
Adam and Eve 1909,Suzanne Valadon
Wearing nothing but snakeskin
boots, I blazed a footpath, the first
radical road out of that old kingdom
toward a new unknown.
When I came to those great flaming gates
of burning gold,
I stood alone in terror at the threshold
between Paradise and Earth.
There I heard a mysterious echo:
my own voice
singing to me from across the forbidden
side. I shook awake—
at once alive in a blaze of green fire.
Let it be known: I did not fall from grace.
I leapt
to freedom.

Reading List: Summer 2014

Hi! How is everyone?

Troglodyte impersonator that I've been this past year,  I have finally emerged from my cave into the bright summer sun.

Really hope it's balmy where ever you are.

I've put together my - very random - summer reading list, in no particular order here.

In case you would like to read about the books or maybe purchase them, I've provided a link to my favorite independent bookstore, The King's English. (I'm not affiliated with them in any way other than I spend way too much time and money there. Plus, there is a brilliant art gallery, 15th Street Gallery, and three (three!) fabulous restaurants, Mazza , Fresco Italian Cafe, and The Paris Bistro, literally next door and across the street). Seriously, Barnes & Noble and Amazon are overfed behemoths and don't need your business to survive, so if you're not interested in TKE bookstore, check out your local independent bookstore.

If you are ever in SLC, plan on spending a lot of time at the juncture of 15th and 15th.

Hope you find a book you will enjoy from the list:

Wild - Cheryl Strayed
The Divorce Papers - Susan Rieger
The Stone Diaries - Carol Shield
Writing Down the Bones - Natalie Goldberg
The Dog of the South - Charles Portis
If You Want to Write - Brenda Ueland
The New Yorker Summer Fiction: Love Stories
How to Be Interesting (In 10 Simple Steps) - Jessica Hagy
Red - Terry Tempest Williams
Now Write! Fiction Writing Exercises from Todays Best Writers & Teachers - edited by Sherry Ellis
Disgrace - J. M. Coetzee
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - James Joyce
Housekeeping - Marilynne Robinson
The Lost Legends of New Jersey - Frederick Reiken
A Moveable Feast - Ernest Hemingway
I Just Like to Make Things - Lilla Rogers
Loverboy - Victoria Redel
Runaway - Alice Munro
Wilson: A Consideration of Sources - David Mamet
Dangling in the Tournefortia - Charles Bukowski
Strange Pilgrims - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Among Other Things, I've Taken Up Smoking - Aoibheann Sweeney
The Golden Notebook - Doris Lessing
Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software - Steven Johnson
Waiting for Godot - Samuel Beckett
Cleopatr: A Life - Stacy Schiff
30-Second Theories: The 50 most thought-provoking theories in science, each explained in half a minute - editor Paul Parsons


lisa congdon

I found this today and teared up when I read Rumi's words.

Over the years I mistook a few turns along the road as the way forward. I've been going in circles. Like the song says, "all this time I've been finding myself and I didn't know I was lost." 

After I got back from Paris, I just stopped blogging, for months. If anyone was disappointed, I apologize for jumping ship without notice.

What I've been doing with the days is travelling home, back to myself. I'm painting again. I'm writing. I'm editing everything out that can't fit in my knapsack.

I'm not sure what direction I'll go with this blog, other than posting quotes, and art, and music that captures my imagination. Thanks for reading.

Travel Photo Essay: Paris 2013 - Protest Outside of Notre Dame

We had just left the Shakespeare and Company bookstore and were circling back to Notre Dame when we saw close to twenty police vans racing up the street. And then we saw the crowds and heard the chanting. The French are known for staging protests, and while we were in Paris our bus had to be rerouted because of a protest staged at St. Michele, and we had heard of two other protests. This demonstration was in reaction to the passage of gay marriage. As we walked from the protest we saw a police boat heading up the Seine, apparently to arrest the two protesters suspended from the bridge. The day we left for home, a man took his life inside the cathedral in protest of the passage.

Travel Photo Essays: Paris 2013 - Crying in the Louvre

I am always moved when I visit museums or sacred spaces of any kind. No matter how I try to steel myself I tear up and cry when I stand before art or altars. The Louvre is overwhelming. The collections are vast. It would take months, perhaps years, to truly take in the art.

I hid out in a window well in one of the sculpture galleries as I composed myself, and took these photos of the glass pyramid and St. Germain.

We stayed until closing the first day, and then spent a few more hours the following day. If you have time for a quick lunch, the Louvre's Cafe serves the most delectable chevrè (goat cheese) quiche, AND an assortment of desserts.

I love images of Mary, or the goddess from all cultures.

In front of Vigee Le Brun's Self-Portrait with her daughter Julie

In front of the madhousecrowds amassed in front the Mona Lisa

The painting opposite of The Mona Lisa, The Last Supper

The Islamic art gallery is housed in a courtyard under an undulating gold geodome you can see from the main galleries.

This Moment: Paris 20 May 2013

Cars speed down the narrow cobblestone road outside the hotel. Pigeons peck the ground. A man in an acid green uniform sweeps detritus into the gutter. Foey, Senso, Yolo and indecipherable tags are graffitied in black over the On passé La 6 stenciled on the facing brick wall. A bird chirps in clipped bursts in the tree outside my window. Motos line the alley. The curtains are open and a light is on in the apartment opposite. I now understand the urge to peer into the private lives of others. A woman with flyaway blond hair pulls a small suitcase up the street. The morning air is brisk. Pigeon voices murmur like muffled protests. We are going back to the city of the dead, Pere Lachaise cemetery this morning. I wish to find Colette and Oscar Wilde. My daughter Jim Morrison. An entire city block of marble that holds the bones of the famous dead. One more day is all that is left of our time in Paris. In the Louvre's women bathroom, I felt an urge to take out my pen and write my name in the hollowed out crevice between two marble wall tiles knowing it would be grouted and sealed, so that something of me would remain behind. Surreptitious graffiti as proof that I was here. The city feels familiar, as if we are returning to a place I've been before. Paris feels like home. After we have flown back across the ocean to our desert, the city will exist, in the land of dreams.

Travel Photo Essay: Paris 2013 14-21 May - First Impressions

To say Paris is a gorgeous city, is an understatement. At every turn, my daughter and I were greeted with stunning views and experiences.

And the people! The people are gracious, friendly, and above all, patient, even when visitors stumble about trying to understand the subtleties of the culture or massacre the beautiful language. Don't listen to the well-intentioned advice about wearing money bags, or  horror stories about gangsof pickpockets, or tales of common rudeness.

We felt safe everywhere: on the streets, bus, metro, and train, cafes, restaurants, markets, museums, galleries, stores, neighborhoods, etc... We also felt welcome, despite shortcomings with language and local culture.

My daughter and I are spending the year learning the language via Rosetta Stone Francais, and plan on going back to visit for at least a month.

First Day: We landed at CDG around 9:33 after close to 24 hours of flying, connecting flights and a couple delays, we were in a taxi and at our hotel by 10:30. We dropped our luggage and headed up rue du Chemin Vert.
We seated ourselves at a small table at a cafe across from Pere Lachaise Cemetery. We ordered coffee and hot chocolate. Then we ordered brunch. My first meal in Paris was Salade Nicoise. My daughter had crepes.We learned that drinks are served in the area in front of the cafe, and meals are served inside.

Street scene on Rue du Mènlimontant.

We stumbled on to the entrance for Notre Dame du Perpetuel Secours. The entry to the church is a portal through apartments. Walking down the street I would have never known it was a basilica/church. This photo is taken from the opposite side of the street.

Pere Lachaise Cemetery is a literal city of the dead with its own street names and map of its permanent residents. We came back to spend more time here the last day of our stay.

Grand and delapidated doorways are a ubiquitous sight in the city. We had no idea what their purpose was until we saw people enter and caught a glimpse of the courtyard and apartments through the open doors.

We jumped on a bus and rode through the city. We passed the Place de la Bastille July column on our way through neighborhoods. History and beauty are on every corner. Paris is a gorgeous city and I will admit, it was love at first sight. We were gobsmacked the entire bus ride.

This is a view of Seine and Notre Dame cathedral in the distance.

Champ de Mars Bus 69 dropped us at its last stop in front of the Eiffel Tower. We could not believe our luck. Bus 69 was our go to bus the duration of our trip.

The weather was mercurial, overcast and then sunny as you can see in the photo below.

A carriage horse resting in the park opposite of the Eiffel Tower. A local resident was taking photos also, and suggested I capture the Eiffel Tower in the background.