Blue Nights—the long, light evening hours that signal the summer solstice, “the opposite of the dying of the brightness, but also its warning” ~ joan didion
there are days and there are nights and there have been just over 100 of them since our initial sheltering in place March 17th 2020; and, like a presidency… “the first hundred days” really do matter ~ we create habits and ways of being that extend into the future. whether we think of the 32nd presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelet’s that started on March 4th 1933 or number 45 Trump’s first 100 days, the first 100 days of Obama, Reagan, Clinton, Bush ~ can you remember each one ~ what they brought to the table, or maybe what they took away? How will we look back and think of our first 100 days ~ as individuals, as a community ~ how far we’ve come.. or not … the term (in the US) was coined by Roosevelt himself during a July 24th radio address and the 13 laws that were enacted during his own first 100 days. since then this term has been symbolic as an important bench to the success of a president. But it also refers to “cent jours” between Napolean Bonaparte’s return to Paris from exile on the island of Elba and the Battle of Waterloo, his final defeat after which Louis XVIII regained the throne…
here, it’s the confluence of several factors: the first 100 days of sheltering in place, the first 100 days of the changing nature of how our federal and state governments have responded to the coronavirus, and then the turning inward to our communities, homes and our selves ~ and how these first 100 days have been shaped by our decision-making, our attention + focus, and our choices. Just like Roosevelt’s “fireside chats” that became one of his signatures during his presidency ~ many of us have not only had more time than usual to pick up the phone and talk, zoom, virtually and then in person with our family (since we’re together all day every day) but also there is more to discuss ~ what happens if one of us gets sick, a parent or loved one? what is our view on our role in society to create change, our attitude towards our own identity in different contexts that stretch back to childhood? in what way will i (or not, and how) contribute to everything that is circling around us ~ politically, socially, economically, emotionally?
this is the 4th and last of these gatherings of stuff: books + films, recipes + articles ~ the things that many of us turned to as we sheltered ourselves in our homes. this is also the beginning of re-thinking some of my obsessions since college, a look back on fashion, film and food that will be in the next series of reflections. even going back and looking at “day 14” to imagine what it was like then way back on March 31st just 2 weeks after something so unprecedented happened overnight ~ what are your fear levels and your relation to the media and its seeming ambivalence depending where you look? how much do you miss eating out, trying on clothes, sitting in a cafe having a coffee? yes, all things many of us have the privilege of thinking about amidst the chaos and violence that swirls around us? are you missing your friends and colleagues, work, face to face, long comforting hugs that make you feel everything is going to be alright? the way we used to be able to engage with the world? many of us seem to be going back to before day 1 ~ in our physical actions, whether it’s the ease with which we leave our home, enter a store (with no lines), don’t really stay 6 feet apart because everyone (possibly) is wearing a mask, seeing friends, going back to work.. but how have we transformed the way we see others, the way we think things matter? have you noticed a difference?
“you can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” ~ c.s. lewis
Learning / Reading / Watching / Eating / Experiencing / Listening / Obsessing / Supporting
~~~ LEARNING / more Masterclasses / 32 total ~~~
these classes give me something to look forward to and something to complete… it’s part of how i engage with the world and think about productivity + goals ~ whether it’s expanding my knowledge in one area, or taking on a whole new challenge, these 3 hour+ classes (split into 18-28 lessons) are perfect introductions that are also in-depth understandings of how each person got to where they are and what you can learn from them…
~~~from 80 days post~~~~
~~~from day 55~~~
if you haven’t seen or read any of the conversations with Michael Osterholm (including his March 10th 2020 convo on the Joe Rogan Eexperience
(it’s interesting to listen to it NOW, and think back to where we were early March and now ~ just over 3 months from this podcast ~ with
9,874,277 cases and 495,388 deaths updated June 26th 2020), his book Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs re-released May 2020 but originally published March 14, 2017… talks a lot about coronavirus and its possibility in the future… HERE he is June 17th on Fresh Air with Terry Gross..
** Bonni Cohen + Jon Shenk’s Athlete A (Netflix) / a powerful document on our culture and some of the powerful imagery that girls (like me) grew up with in the 80s… the obsession, compulsion and addiction in all aspects of a sport, around perfection, body image and what we’d do to go there… above: Nadia Comenici’s perfect 10 in Montreal, 1976 / Mary Lou Reton + vault, 1984 / Simone Biles, 2019
~~~EATING / cookbooks~~~
~~~EATING / cooking + doing~~~
* from “7 super savory signature salon salads” ~ (includes Angelo Garro’s Omnivore salt / Jamie Oliver’s butter lettuces / Cal Peternell’s goddess salad / David Tanis’s chicories salad / Mario Batali’s panzanella / April Bloomfield’s radishes salad / and more…)
1. Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum (1941), Hyde Park, NY
2. The Smithsonian National of African American History and Culture (2003), Washington DC
5. Terra Cotta Warriors of Xi’an at Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum (1974), Xi’an, China
~~~LISTENING + WATCHING + REFLECTING~~~
Krzysztof Kieslowski’s La Double Vie de Veronique (1991)
and, this… which i just read in a letter from the 80’s that we were all watching ~ Permanent Record w/ Keanu Reeves + finale song was so poignant as we reflect on this moment in the 80s when we lost so many classmates at Leominster High School. Adrian Nicole Leblanc’s recounting of it in New England Monthly, is still one of those pieces of journalism that I go back to again and again.
~~~Obsessing / Supporting~~~
1. Kathleen Henderson’s work at Track 16 ~ her “Out-Takes” drawings (to support the Dig Deep Navajo Water Project). Check out a review of the exhibition HERE by Leah Ollman, in the LA Times. (above, is one of her works called “Long Arm” 2019, oil stick + oil on paper, 20” x 25.5″
3. The Daily Recount (a daily dose of the news)
4. George Packer’s “We Are Living in a Failed State: the coronavirus didn’t break America. It revealed what was already broken” in The Atlantic
5. Chris Colin’s “News at 11: Kid Reporters Tackle the Coronavirus” in Wired
7. The Kitchen Sisters’ “95,000 Names: Gert McMullin Sewing the Frontline”
8. educators for college-bound students: check out Suzanne Lettrick + Aligned Learning: Global Learning Concierge; and does your college-bound student need “help” or encouragement on their college essay? Amy Glynn is a poet and educator and has been working with students in the Bay Area/Lamorinda for years…
9. Joe Rogan + Jon Stewart (Joe Rogan Experience #1498, June 26, 2020)
10. (below) WWDC’s conversation with Lisa Jackson ~ VP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives and former Attorney General Eric Holder. Watch the whole 22 minute convo HERE which highlights their roles in the Obama Administration as well as social + environmental justice, Marvin Gaye and the role of app developers in contributing to the conversation…
…and a handful of my favorite non-profits…
~~~into the future~~~and what’s next?~~~
“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” ~ ansel adams
some times things come along at the perfect time. i had begun annie leibovitz’s masterclass months ago, but just finished it yesterday. it was #32. and the timing was perfect. it brought together not only the power of the image and capturing a moment that you can hold onto (seemingly) forever ~ things i have been obsessed with in my own work on memory + the past in the short film I made about my father All I Remember; but, she brought up a moment in her life when her mentor Bea Feitler not only taught her how to edit her work but actually LOOK BACK and assess her work, to see what she’d already done ~ the thread that held her personal and professional work together, or maybe differentiated it from each other … in the “Looking back” lesson (#9) Annie says “You’ll be surprised…there will be something there you didn’t expect to see.” and that was part of how she assembled the work for A Photographer’s Life ~ her most powerful and memorable… my next series of reflections will be on: my work in fashion, film, food over the past two decades (through photography and capturing the moment, seeing its relevancy now) … what would yours be?
reflecting on this amazing project that my dear friend + colleague Etienne Fang has been working on locally and globally called Having It All ~ when she asked me about “what makes me complete…” ~ …”But complete? Unfortunately or fortunately, I always want to be more do more. Remember Dead Poet’s Society? “That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?” I have many; have contributed many verses, but still have many more to discover and write.” below, and HERE the full quote + performance to contextualize it.…
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
(cover image / photo: lloyd bernberg / villa novello, italy )