beautiful Boston

I haven’t been out and about as much as I should have this past week, as I’ve been tied to the final read-through of the book I’m submitting. It’s a wild ride. We are still finding small errors, which means small errors will escape me and go to press (this is hard to take but true) but on the whole the thing is huge and beautiful and a giant accomplishment. I feel proud and tired.

carson beach boston

Last night I tried to go to the beach, and didn’t find the secret tucked away bus stop(s) for the #10 until it was really too late to get there before sunset. But I had a nice walk, and found new close-by stuff, and Evan (who took a chance and came with me) was a good sport about it.

Many things I try to do actually do not work out the first time I try them, a fact which seems unsurprising to me. One must try from all directions if one is serious about a thing. Sometimes I try too hard, which is almost as counterproductive as not trying hard enough.

I need to learn to beat that one.

pretty boston

Doriot and Ryan and Kellner come in to play starting tonight, and about in that order. It’s going to be fun. I’ve done a lot of good scouting and saved some good first experiences for them. I want to go to the top of a tall building (I understand the Prudential tower has an obs deck) and to the newly redone contemporary art museum, I want to go everywhere and do everything.

Ryan wants to take us over to Providence, we want to see the beautiful Constitution again, the new thrills at the Cloud Club, all of that. Kyle and Trillian are invited; we are starting regular weekend dinner parties, like the old Friday Night Dinners Dave Grinspoon used to have in Denver.

Invitations are issued across the land! Finery is being rustled up from thrift shops; the Boston Costume Closet is already quivering with great stuff.


won’t you play that song again for me
about my lover, my lover in the grass, yeah, alright
you’ve told me about my destiny

I’ve had an intense weekend.

I was trying to explain to Evan the other night about what or who I am. I don’t know how to tell it. I can tell him that people confess to me daily; they tell me their sins, their fears, they ask me to provide fertile ground for their dreams, amorphous and fragile, as only intentions can be.

Often the people who confess to me are looking for God (a concept I am intellectually aware of but do not actually see in play in the Universe) so I try instead to be something like an angel, acting as a frequency modulator, helping them match the wavelength of their desire to their physical reality. Either can flex to meet the other, I can help.

I think of myself as a channel, a conducting fluid, made of the dust of the Universe. It’s not that I don’t have original ideas; I am made entirely of original ideas; I create my life in front of me as I walk; it is frankly astonishing and I don’t know two things about it: how to explain it, and why everyone else doesn’t do it too. I never know what to say to people who stubbornly refuse to create anything, even an original thought.

Now that I can see relationals (I’m not sure what else to call the lines I see connecting all things) it’s easy to see what’s structure.

Constructs can be swept away with a single word, if the word is the right shape.

Structure must be factored into all calculations. There are many tools at our disposal, such as scaling, which feels very Alice In Wonderlandy. Scale yourself down, or scale the material up, or step further away or move closer in; the math changes on everything as you move the pieces. Sometimes very slight adjustments will bring a system into balance.

A system in balance produces, a system out of balance consumes.

orange line

Orange Line

It’s crazy how empty Boston is in the summer. Well, I say that like I know. I don’t know. But I see incredible beaches, huge beaches, with ten people on them. Platforms in useful, central train stations with ten people waiting. The trains and buses are full enough, but the wide spaces are wide open.

Also, how amusing that of the ten people waiting for the Orange Line last night, six of us were wearing orange.

Orange at the Orange Line

Although you can only see a hint of the girl in this photo (I didn’t have her permission to photograph her) you perhaps get the great ’60s vibe- orange minidress, big avocado green bag, big round ‘fro. I am seeing a lot of big ’60s hair here on all fronts, often happily combined with hot colour and vintage flair. It’s excellent, I’ve been hoping for this for a long time. Especially from women of colour; I’ve been selfishly hoping ‘fros would be fashion-forward again because I love them.

People are very beautiful here, at every level and in every variant of society, such beauty. I asked Evan, because I don’t know what he sees, “Do you notice?”

He never seems to stare at anyone; unlike me, he would never turn completely around to watch someone walk away, or tell them on the street that they are gorgeous, glorious, he does not wolf whistle at flash muscle cars or say hey to the boys and girls on the stoops, in the shops. He is warm and friendly, but plays it cool on the street, minding his own business. He does not chat people up, but his face is open.

He said, “Yep, I’ve noticed that it goes along with big cities, but I’m not sure I know why.” I mumbled something about urban life being more demanding, asking more, and generally attracting people who were willing to try harder in general, but it was only half of an answer. I don’t really know why either. I thought I did, but as I roll it around in my mind, I find that every time I follow a thought-thread down to the root it isn’t attached.

I say, “Like attracts like, and beautiful cities are full of beautiful people…” but I know it’s more complicated that that.

“Is it hard to make arrangements with yourself?”

I’m working now on finishing the details of Volume II. Today I start laying in all of my page references, which is a scary thing because for every section I do that for, the pages become fixed. Nothing can move from the page it is on from here on out. It feels good, though, it feels just right.

I’m looking forward to moving through this coming next week, because it is inevitable that things that have been in the works for a long time are going to wrap up. Not just my book, other things too. Many long-term things are coming to a natural end, many new ideas and timelines are flowering in our minds and hearts. It’s exciting, but it’s also painful, and Bill and I each feel it.

If we just keep breathing, and working, though, we know that soon we will be holding hands, walking together in Boston, and our whole little family can be together for a soft moment in time.

I love Boston so much.

Cate Jones got a great page number for her Raven, 111.

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 8.59.10 AM


Time. I need more of it.

And it isn’t something I can create. So I have to get slashy. Time moves very fast here in Boston, and there are no cats near me to help me slow it down. All I can do is ride the ride. And eat the food.

Evan and I found Cardullos yesterday; I walked by it on the way to the Harvard Square T station, and was instantly diverted. We reeled out with two bags full of amazing deli items, handmade pasta, amaretto honey… I told Evan he’s likely to be getting texts from me, asking him to pick up something yummy on his way home.

Evan Sweet


Their high school is almost on the Harvard campus. That should be interesting.

Everything is interesting!

I got word from one of my embedded agents in Collinsville, Illinois yesterday that the Giant Catsup Bottle is for sale. The whole property (the old Brooks factory) is for sale. The Catsup Bottle is at risk of being turned into a beer bottle. It’s hard to know what to think. I have people on the case, of course, and will report developments.

Here are some touching Catsup Bottle moments from recent history. Below, after teaching at the excellent bead and fiber shop The Bead Place last year.



Bill, receiving his cherished tree ornament in a Cat in the Hat tie.

patterns resolving

Boston Commons

Ryan and I went out for a walk yesterday afternoon after a nice work day, and I took a rather postcardy shot of the Common. I continue charmed by every vista, lured by every alley, looking into the eyes of strangers.

public alley

I think I’m finally caught up with my email! If you’re waiting to hear back from me on something, best let me know again. I got buried this past weekend when many were moved to correspond.

sewing machine window boston

This is a real city. So everything that can be in a city will be in this city, somewhere. That is simply true, and if there are exceptions they are ephemeral, accidents of spacetime. Like the David Bowie exhibit, on tour from the Victoria and Albert. It isn’t coming here.

It’s going to one place and one place only in the US, and that lucky place is Chicago. It’s just a fluke. And a huge Hell Yes to Chicago, city of my heart. People sometimes forget about Chicago, and to land the Bowie there is a stroke of genius.

Anyway, Bowie-deprived as I am likely to be, I dive into Boston alleys and doorways, I look forward to exploring alone, exploring with friends. Doriot arrives in a week!

Fabulous Turret Hats

Will you LOOK at that excellent turret-cap, the one that looks like water flowing? It strikes me as easy to make a great turret-cap out of an ordinary one, but I suppose if every turret-cap was exciting it would simply be too much for people.

I haven’t posted any photos of our astounding summer flat in the South End because I feel tender toward the privacy of my host.I’ve taken it furnished, down to the books and paintings, and it is her sanctuary, a space of her heart, and I sense that she is a sensitive person who is trusting me. But it is beautiful. And I am intensely grateful.

We’re a good bit closer to figuring out our Fall housing. I think we’ve settled on a nice place in Cambridge, up by Harvard Square. Hopefully, it will sort itself today into a pattern that looks beautiful and is nicely resolved.

It seems that we will be able to provide what is most needed; a Cambridge address for the lads, an easy commute to school for all boys, and a space that’s big enough to have guests, a porch to sit on, a huge kitchen to fill with love and friends and bottles of WINE. Feeling grateful.

Cambridge kitchenour likely Cambridge kitchen

Michael Pope came over last night, late, and the four of us sat around until 3 in the morning, Evan doing his own thing, Ryan and I mindmelding with Pope. We talked about everything, but we just licked the surface of course. Michael told me the story that I have always wanted to hear, the story that I always try to live.

The idea is that one can experience a soulshaking moment and absorb it whole, but that there is no obligation in that experience to then take a sledgehammer to carefully built structures, lost in the fever dream that entirely new, better, shinier lives can be built around the churches of those moments.

I think that it takes some experience with soulshaking moments to be practical about them; most people do not have them frequently enough to recognize them as, if not common, then at least commonly available to those who are willing to have them.

It’s understandable to me that people ruin their lives for one of those moments if one is all they have ever ever known. In that heady, terrifying, exhilarating circumstance, one moment might seem (and in fact might very well be) a tiny porthole to a heaven as yet only dreamt of, a train that once past, is gone forever.

Last night, Ryan and I locked ourselves out on the balcony outside my bedroom for the second time, and had to call to Evan to let us in.

Evan just raised one eyebrow, like Spock, and opened the door.

exhausting / thrilling

What a ride.

BubblesThe stupendous Bubbles Car Wash, South Boston.

The exhausting part of my yesterday and today was essentially meaningless- too many people adding too much noise to my system, and not giving enough back. My many and varied correspondents sucked up goatloads of my time, asking, demanding, and sending me an astonishing and discouraging 500 emails and texts over the course of the weekend.

The thrilling part was, of course, everything else. And there is so much everything else.

Having time with Evan (without the chaos of the whole family added in) is an ocean of happiness for me, a sea with no edges; he’s so calm but also so full of life and questions and just learning to be independent. It’s been fun for him to have Ryan around this weekend. Fun for me too.

Evan and Ryan

I love Boston so oddly hard. I want to learn every part of it, I want to live in three places in six months, I want to know every bridge, every beach, every library, every concert hall.

I was surprised as could be to see what South Boston is actually like. It’s so close, but so completely unexpected. It’s like the Cape. Ocean, bays, parks, canoes, kayaks, bikinis. One of the MIT profs I’ve been talking to lives in South Boston.

The water is incredible- two protected bays, and Castle Island- nice and swimmy, with a gradual slope and the friendly sort of sand, the kind that brushes off when you want it to.

with ryan at the beachStanding knee-deep in the glittery water, I am only about two miles from the heart of the Financial District, and less than three miles from MIT. It’s so trippy- such short distances, and yet people here make such heavy weather about them. From downtown, I feel like I can be anywhere in no time at all.

Of course, in a car, it take an hour to go three miles here. It’s not a great city to drive in.

Today, I looked at an amazing place in South Boston, and online at places in Cambridge (which has zones that are even further from MIT than Back Bay, the South End, or South Boston) and places in Boston. So far I haven’t considered outlying burbs, because that’s not why I’m here. I want to be in the beating heart of the city. I’m so weary of burbs and everything that goes with them.

10408981_581001768686704_4191537576563152701_nOf course, life is long, and I will be in charge of myself in no time at all, with no bunnies to fledge, and I can do as I please, and live wherever I like.

Trying to do what’s best for everyone is always a bit of a challenge. A welcome one, and God knows I try, but a challenge nonetheless.

South Boston What

Above, Evan and Ryan across the street from the place we went to scope out, a block from the ocean, and below, the two bays- one a block away, one two blocks, with sandy beach running the whole length. The part with the pentagonal fort is Castle Island.

I am stunned like a fish that this wonderland is so close to downtown, but another world.

South Boston, you took me completely by surprise. Is there a single part of this city I am not going to fall for?

16,Castle Island