film friday: the graduate

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"There is nothing better than discovering, to your own astonishment, what you're meant to do. It's like falling in love." -- Mike Nichols

Last scene from The Graduate, in honor of its brilliant filmmaker who passed away two days ago. If you haven't seen it yet, go watch this movie. It is perfect in every way.

Here's to you, Mr. Nichols.

for a traveler

by Jessica Greenbaum

I only have a moment so let me tell you the shortest story,
about arriving at a long loved place, the house of friends in Maine,
their lawn of wildflowers, their grandfather clock and candid
portraits, their gabled attic rooms, and woodstove in the kitchen,
all accessories of the genuine summer years before, when I was
their son’s girlfriend and tied an apron behind my neck, beneath
my braids, and took from their garden the harvest for a dinner
I would make alone and serve at their big table with the gladness
of the found, and loved. The eggplant shone like polished wood,
the tomatoes smelled like their furred collars, the dozen zucchini
lined up on the counter like placid troops with the onions, their
minions, and I even remember the garlic, each clove from its airmail
envelope brought to the cutting board, ready for my instruction.
And in this very slight story, a decade later, I came by myself,
having been dropped by the airport cab, and waited for the family
to arrive home from work. I walked into the lawn, waist-high
in the swaying, purple lupines, the subject of   June’s afternoon light
as I had never been addressed — a displaced young woman with
cropped hair, no place to which I wished to return, and no one
to gather me in his arms. That day the lupines received me,
and I was in love with them, because they were all I had left,
and in that same manner I have loved much of the world since then,
and who is to say there is more of a reason, or more to love?

Via Poetry Magazine (May 2014)

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Sometimes a poem comes to our lives, at exactly the right time, and speak to us 
in such a personal way, as if they understand exactly what we are going through. 
They gift us with a moment of clarity, a window to our hearts.

november and middlemarch

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I would not creep along the coast, but steer
Out in mid-sea, by guidance of the stars.

-- George Eliot, Middlemarch

I was cleaning out my "drafts" folder and found these photos, from years ago, taken with a disposable camera at Ocean Beach. If I remember correctly, the light was brighter then, though I actually don't mind these grainy images as they seem to reflect the pensive mood that I am in. Autumn always inspires introspection, and even more so lately, as I've experienced some personal setbacks that made me to slow down, and re-evaluate what is really important.

A few days ago, I read the last page of Middlemarch, after carrying it around for three weeks. I felt bereft, and yet elated. To have read it, especially at this time in my life, is like a quiet affirmation. And how does one make of a book like that? One that is so inherently human, so psychologically on point, it was sometimes difficult to recognize parts of yourself, with all your faults and expectations, reflected in its characters? I know I've yet to comprehend how much this book has touched me, but I feel like I am seeing the world through different eyes, partly because of it.

Has any of you read Middlemarch? I'd love to hear your thoughts. I was dying to discuss it with someone while I was reading it. In fact, it was one of those times when I wished I was a literature major in college, for I would've loved to have a long discussion about Middlemarch, and all it's complexities.

natsukashii (懐かしい)

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natsukashii (adj., Japanese) / Pronunciation: nahtzkah-SHEE
A small, ordinary thing that suddenly brings a fond memory flooding back to you. There is no direct English word for it, although it is often translated as "dear", "cherished", or "beloved".

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Last month, I had to say goodbye to my little sanctuary by the sea. A beloved coffee shop had closed forever, and as I was sitting there on it's last day, trying to be calm and accepting, I saw the paper cranes I gave them, neatly lined up along the windowsill, and I couldn't help but feel so very sad about it all. So many memories, gorgeous sunsets, and lovely people I met through the years. Sunny afternoons spent reading, writing letters, gazing out towards the sea.

I wrote these lines, from a poem by Tomas Tranströmer, over and over again:

Suddenly it turned dark as in downpour.
I stood in a room that held every moment -
a butterfly museum. 

the way back

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I've been thinking about blogging lately, how it has changed, for me at least, and how difficult it is for me to blog now. I'm not really sure how it happened, or if I just prefer other social media platforms, like Instagram, but one thing is for sure, I do miss blogging.

I miss the freedom that blogging allows, to write about anything that moves and inspires me. I miss having a core group of blogs to read, and bloggers I interact with on a consistent basis. I miss the routine and comfort of this little space.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I really hope to blog more again.

In the meantime, here are some things that inspire me lately:

Happy November, my friends.