My mother took this photograph of me and my Dad in 2016. We were visiting the William Merritt Chase exhibition at the Boston MFA.
We got a wheelchair for my mom, so she wouldn't have to walk. She was extremely nervous about the outing. In her last years (my mother passed in 2018), she had diminished lung capacity owing to a severely dysfunctional diaphragm. We had a big argument in the car before we got to the museum.
*At* the museum, we had a wonderful, wonderful time. WMC may not have been the most original painter of the 19th century, but he is a painter's painter, with luscious brushstrokes and a sensualist's love of color. And he's one of those 19th century artists who got to spend a lot of time on beautiful beaches, and in lovely country homes, shaded by old trees. I'm glad I have this picture, to remember.
William Merritt Chase could have been another John Singer Sargent, but--he isn't. Sargent. Had something bigger or more complex going on. This said--I'd be happy to have a good WMC at home on one of my walls!
For years, this was my local used bookstore. I missed buying a first edition of The Game of Thrones there. I missed buying a 12 volume set of My Bookhouse, a beloved childhood companion (the edition we'd grown up with was my father's, an early 1930s printing, and it's become too fragile to trust in a young person's hands... and many of the volumes are "read alone," not "read aloud"!).
But I also purchased many excellent books there. A replacement copy of Farley Mowat's Never Cry Wolf. Connie Willis's Bellwether. And many more. Books and Christmas shopping. But evidently, between myself and the rest of my community, not enough.
In all the years... I was too shy to ask "why 'Sixth Chamber'?" and after that it was so familiar that I never thought to look it up. Only as it was closing, did it post my answer, on its Facebook page. The name came from "A Memorable Fancy," written and illustrated by William Blake (1790), a passage/page from his longer work, "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell":
I accept that the world is changing, but this change, this closing of my used bookshop--it's a bad one.
I wish Carlson all the best as she works her way through this painful episode. Hope she makes it to the other side & back to joy.
I am currently going through a French language obsession. Or, more precisely, a French word obsession. In trying to understand why, I'm seeing myself loitering (with great pleasure) at the building blocks stage of things.
I'm very much enjoying these Sicklemoon decks on Tinycards (that's a vocabulary App, a subsidiary of the language learning Duolingo program, and a log in is probably needed to see them). Each of these decks, like a sort of "sonnet plus one," has fifteen entries, each on a closely related theme. I think that's related to the way the program is set up, but to me, they are like fifteen word poems, introducing me, almost from a child's point of view, to snippets of French life: "Les Animaux de L'Étang." "Les Animaux de la Plage." "Les Fruits de la Forêt."
The pond one is a particular favorite (also the berries). Who needs to know the French words for waterstrider and whirlygig beetle? Evidently... me.
They're words--they are names--in an Ursula K. Le Guin sort of sense. Knowing the names... I think that still bestows real power--even if only a brief flare of it.
And... drat. The formatting has cropped off the accent aigu from the capital "E" of étang.
Actually, I was tidying something boring and this sketchbook turned out to have been shoved in there by mistake.
I'm pleased that it turned up, and really like what I'd forgotten I had drawn.
I'm going to try something new... I'm reconfiguring my social media use.
When you've maintained (in a general, if not in a organized, ongoing sense) a website since 1995, you periodically realize that what you are doing with your site isn't working.
Facebook has been a part of that--it's so easy to share my ideas there, that I haven't taken the time to share them here.
But today... I have a new App installed today, and I am going to see how this goes.
Sites I recommend
These ones are maintained by long-time personal friends.
is a consummate artist. There are so many images to enjoy on this site. His carved wooden long-leaf red pine Rhinoceros (which he made for me when I was ~11 years old) is a personal favorite.
Is the U.K. based caving gear store run by serious hard-ass Tony Seddon. This link goes to the 'caves' section of the store's site--complete with alarming portrait photo of Tony ("After 7 days underground and 700m prussiking").
The Oxford University
Maintained by Steve Roberts, a guy who is extraordinary in so many ways, I'll just limit myself here to saying "Steve is a man who knows about motors."
John Bedell is an archaeologist, historian, and father of five living in Maryland. His blog is a fascinating grab-bag of historical, artistic, and political materials. This entry about work and leisure gives a good example of his voice.
This is Liz Manicatide (now Liz LaManche), principal at Emphasis Creative's personal art & graphics site. I love Liz's work, panache, and aerial artistry, which leads me to-
Flying Squirrel Consortium
Phil Servita's site, and the place to go for custom fabricated circus equipment (either freestanding or fixed point), and aerial classes, if you happen to live in the area.
Paul's site is... unique, authentic, & expressive, and pretty much exactly what I think of when I think of a website as an artform.
Metro Bikes Trails Guide
(St. Paul, MN)
"Reviews and Reports on over 70 bicycle paths in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area!"
Maintained by the tireless Seamus Flynn, and a great little site for those local to the Twin Cities area.
I enjoy the Ukrainian/Russian artisanship on this website.
Sites I enjoy
I don't know these people, but I appreciate their work.
What's That Bug?
The title says it all. A useful site for both the non-bug-phobic & the consummate bug-phobe.
Margaret & Helen
Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting…
I'm not a grandmother (or raging!), but I appreciate this site. Especially the fact-checking part.