Full and happy

Los Angeleno by birth, Northwesterner by choice, Second-hander by nature. Librarian, housebound chef, father, and lowly subject ruled over by the needs and whims of a very old house.
Partial to Mexican, Italian and Vietnamese cookery but will eat damn near anything. Collector of many strange things..the result is chaos and anarchy and a very pleasant place to live.
There is pleasure in accumulation, not just "collecting": music, books and film, in all their multi-formated glory. Outsider artists and those kinds of prints you would recognize if you took liberal studies classes in college. Cooking implements and gadgets for recipes still untried or those ventured. Glasses for most types of libations. Flowers in the garden, herbs in the pot.
It's a life of the senses and a good home life reflects that. Walking helps take in all the rest. Requires no special equipment, opens up the pores, brightens the taste buds, clears the decks for further adventures, puts on the miles, widens the eyes and helps fuel the imagination.

Live boldly, play graciously and love with all your heart knowing that true love comes only once or twice in this lifetime. Speaking of which..donde estas, Empress of my Heart?


"Lack imagination and miss the better story" Yann Martel

"Life is a great adventure and I want to say to you, accept it in such spirit. I want to see you face it ready to do the best that lies in you to win out. To go down without complaining and abiding by the result....the worst of all fears is the fear of living." Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.

"Not I - not anyone else, can travel that road for you
You must travel it for yourself" Walt Whitman

And above all, friends should possess the rare gift of sitting. They should be able, no, eager, to sit for hours-three, four, six-over a meal of soup and wine and cheese, as well as one of twenty fabulous courses.

Then, with good friends of such attributes, and good food on the board, and good wine in the pitcher, we may well ask,

When shall we live if not now?

-From Serve it Forth,
M.F.K. Fisher

Saturday, August 3, 2013

"The lives of the dead"

We're already talking about Dia de los Muertos at work, kicking around the idea of setting up a display with all our cool celebratory skulls and paper cutouts and masks and all. I think it's great to bring our patrons into that very sacred and yet very public celebration. It's important not only for cross cultural purposes, but to help those that are afraid of, for whatever reason, the Halloween/All Souls/All Saints Day festivals to live alittle, celebrate life for the moment and celebrate the lives of those people that came before them.

I still remember the night being alive with the scent of five foot josh sticks when I was day tripping in Singapore years ago. My ship pulled in during the Hungry Ghost Festival and the world was alive with the spirits of the dead. I know that when I put up an altar in my home for All Souls Day that I feel the house become alittle bit more alive with the ghosts of my parents and abuelos and all the wild Mexicans and border crossing Indians and Southern fools out of my past. The house becomes damn near crowded with the drunkenwhoops and etheral nortenos and wails of remorse. But I like it that way. Fill my life with meaning, show me the way through your mistakes, your joys, your discontents, your pleasures. Let me show you a good time, don't let that enchilada plate go cold, don't let that Budwieser get too warm. Eat, while I spin big band and CCR and mariachi and burn incense and candles and the midnight hour in your memory.

So I read with interest the last chapter of The Things They Carried. It was a paean the dead, a remembrance, a love letter. It was a moment of celebration, celebrating love and life and loss. Unless those who came before us were monsters and without a shread of redemptive qualities about them, how can it not be a bittersweet moment when we set up those photos and candles and momentos? Those things are as important, but not as important as the stories we tell about our people, for without the stories, without having someone to pass the stories down to, those photographs become as meaningless as tombstones in an abandoned graveyard. Someone stumbling on those photographs someday might ask "Who those people? What ever became of them? What kinds of lives did they lead? Were they good? Kind? Wicked? Or were they alittle bit of all of that?"

Tim O'Brien put stories about the dead this way:

"But this too is true: stories can save us....in a story, which is a kind of dreaming, the dead sometimes smile and sit up and return to the world....The thing about a story is that you dream it as you tell it, hoping that others might then dream along with you, and in this way the memory and imagination and language combine to make spirits in the head. There is the illusion of aliveness" from The Things They Carried

I am ready once again for October to come, to celebrate my people. In the meantime I want to do something even more important, and that is I want to celebrate life.

As Tim O'Brien and his comrades would say, there it is.


No comments: