Archive for the 'memory' Category

12
Apr
17

The Photo Box

I’m “self-publishing” my memoir, “The Photo Box”, in the PAGES section of this blog. Chapters are being added serially, usually twice a week. Take a look-see at what’s happening as I explore my past and that of my family.

Thank you for your readership.

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16
Feb
17

64 Things I’ve Learned in 64 Years (not by any means an exhaustive list)

  1. mud tastes better than you might imagine
  2. troubled times do build character
  3. i will never like math
  4. love finds you
  5. tall is good
  6. i am as graceful as a cantaloupe
  7. dancing makes you feel good
  8. never mix, never worry
  9. tell the truth, even when it’s inconvenient
  10. don’t argue with a fool (it’s harder to do than it sounds

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  1. pet a dog every chance you get
  2. accept the fact that some people are cat people
  3. mustard yellow is not my color
  4. long walks are soul-cleansing
  5. talking to yourself is okay
  6. not everyone is your friend
  7. listen to your heart
  8. learn a foreign language
  9. work smart, not hard
  10. if you fall off your bike/horse/pedestal, get back up, brush yourself off and try again

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  1. not everything in life is analogous to a sport
  2. read the newspaper; you’ll always be able to carry on a conversation with a stranger
  3. bald is good
  4. men, grow a mustache at least once in your life
  5. kiss friends and hug them
  6. be passionate about doing good
  7. give love unconditionally
  8. hold hands with your lover
  9. resist tyranny
  10. jump in mud puddles and dance in the rain

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  1. no one wants to hear you complain
  2. listen carefully and more often
  3. come with a solution to a problem
  4. some people are jealous of you
  5. show off in moderation
  6. honor the dead
  7. honor the living
  8. sharing is caring
  9. do something for a loved one without being asked
  10. be solicitous to strangers, but not obsequious

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  1. treat everyone with respect
  2. go to an art museum
  3. see a play
  4. better yet, act in a play
  5. learn how to debate
  6. ask for help
  7. give help when asked
  8. hold a baby
  9. i love new york (but i don’t want to live there)
  10. laugh at stupid jokes

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  1. puns are fun
  2. pinch yourself
  3. believe in something
  4. act your age (joking! what does that even mean?)
  5. stretch your legs before getting out of bed
  6. don’t lick a mustard knife and take a sip of coffee
  7. take your lunch to work
  8. start a savings account and pay yourself monthly
  9. take care of yourself, someone may depend on you
  10. have a hobby

066

  1. love often and deeply
  2. snoring happens
  3. see the sun rise
  4. this was easier than i thought it was going to be

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16
Feb
16

so, um, 63 (how the hell did that happen?)

Now more than ever, aging takes on its own personality. It wasn’t something I gave too much thought to when I was 20, 30, 40, or even 50, but the 60s put a new, pardon the expression, wrinkle into the concept of time.

IMG_0350It’s different, somehow, this new notion of time, age, and the space one inhabits–moves through. It’s both slow and fast, muddy and clear, predictable and completely random. Sigh. (He thought to himself, that by now, it would have been easier.)

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I’m not quite sure what to make of 63 yet, but I’ll tell you this: I’m glad I’m here to be 63. Which is something, I promise you, that I never thought I’d ever say.

03
Jan
16

notes on gardening in the new year

we’ve been through a lot, she and i.

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she stood on a globe with shooting stars circling it, a butterfly perched on her right hand, offered up to the gods like a tithe, the astral winds pulling at her gown, defining her voluptuousness. it would have been easy to walk right by her, many had, but she drew me to her with her simple, pleasant expression, her rather demure demeanor, eyes downcast, hesitant and hopeful as if at the next moment she would lift her face to you and speak.

she came home with me from an antique store on clark st. just north of fullerton in chicago on a rainy day in 1975 when i was on one of my long walks. i think i paid $95 for her (a lot of money then) and was told she was made around the turn of the century (20th) and was composed of ‘white metal’–which, at the time, i was too afraid of not knowing what it meant, that i didn’t ask what ‘white metal’ was–it was years later that i found out, but many years before wikipedia. i set her on the top of an old wooden secretary desk in my high-rise studio apartment and she resided there, close to the ceiling for a few years, taking note of my failures (many) and triumphs (few) and then followed me from one encampment to the next, losing the butterfly along the way, (was it 18th st., wolfram st., wolcott ave., piiholo rd.? idk.), until i landed in california (amethyst ave., crystal sands dr.) where she became a garden ornament.

she didn’t weather well. an arm fell off. i saved it for a few years, then threw it away when she separated from the globe she’d been standing on. i kept the globe and stuck her one foot into the ground and watched the ivy claim her, and then i would pull that away, but the ivy had different plans and the next time i found her she’d been embraced once again by it’s tendrils and intentions. the globe on its art nouveau base still exists and is sitting next to her, just out of view to the left. the gilt has long disappeared and she’s been pock-marked from the heat, the dry, the rain, and the sun until her surface is rough and uncomfortable to touch.

a few months ago, i rescued her from laying upright against the base of the birdbath where she’d taken up residency a few years before. protected from the bird’s droppings by the overhang of the clay bowl, but still majestic in her own way. this ‘rescue’ involved laying her on a patio table and ignoring her for months, not sure what to do with her. i’ve been slowly ‘de-accessioning’ the garden: when plants die, i’m letting the ivy take over, when the honeysuckle needed removing, i pulled out the trellis and threw it away; the decorative birdhouses that housed hummingbirds and wrens, but fell on hard times, have been tossed, my intention is less time devoted to maintenance, although my gardening motto is “benign neglect”. it’s just too much anymore–as long as the garden’s schedule conflicts with my own. there may come a day when i’ll “re-up” and have the time to devote to it, but that’s not now.

but what to do about her? and her companion, whom i’ve not even mentioned–she once held a round walnut clock in her outstretched art deco hands, perky breasts and luxurious thighs sitting on a walnut base, but somewhere along the line, she lost those and became a sister to the goddess. she, too, has stories to tell, but she’s the soul of discretion, you’ll not get a word out of her.

for now, they’ll lay here, moldering, but not unloved. one day, i may have the heart (and the courage) to toss them, but not yet, i’m not quite ready to let go of those times and motivations, those yeses and nos, the glitter and the tarnish.

11
Dec
15

Just Published! A Photo for Your Wallet

Exciting news! A chapter, “A Photo for Your Wallet”, from my memoir-in-progress, “The Photo Box” has been published online by Bull Men’s Fiction and is currently headlining their home page. Click here to read it!

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14
Feb
15

62 things that have happened over the last 61 years and 363 days

  1. rescued from the shelter
  2. wore a pot as a hat
  3. had a mom and a dad
  4. lived in germany
  5. made the ‘crossing’ on a leash
  6. picked tulips (not ours)
  7. watched my parents flirt when my dad was picking cherries from the top rung of a ladder and my mom was on the ground looking up at him wearing a dress with an apron
  8. suddenly no dad
  9. walking to indian trail elementary school in highland park by myself
  10. wearing corrective glasses that had one frosted lens over my good eye–ran into a lot of things, got bruised
  11. moving from illinois to south dakota with a basketball in a bird cage
  12. replacing the basketball with petey bird, one in a series of parakeets all with the same name
  13. getting picked on by the neighborhood boys for being a sissy
  14. snowflakes
  15. mary moved in with us and became my ‘dad’
  16. straight ‘a’s for the first time
  17. nickname = butch, which the men in the family used, but the women all called me butchie. of course, it was what stuck.
  18. a crew cut
  19. brown as a button
  20. cleaning frozen dog waste in a blizzard with my mouth open
  21. braces
  22. cello, because when i asked the play the french horn, the orchestra teacher said not with braces you won’t and handed me the cello
  23. got beat up by a smaller boy when i was walking home carrying my cello
  24. got picked on by the 9th grade boys — duck tails and rolled up sleeves — for being, you guessed it, a sissy
  25. matriculated to high school
  26. starred in a play of “The Shoemaker and the Elves”
  27. decided i liked being on the stage
  28. straight a’s (i tried to make it a habit, but math and science got in the way. still managed to graduate summa cum laude from high school)
  29. won trophies for acting
  30. dated charlotte wendt until she broke up with me because i wouldn’t go any further than kissing her
  31. had an idyllic summer doing children’s theater in the park
  32. went out of state to college
  33. smoked weed, took drugs, drank to excess, still managed to get straight a’s
  34. sugar beet factory, ’nuff said
  35. auditioned for the goodman school of drama, got accepted
  36. saw mao zedong (albeit a painting by warhol)
  37. moved to chicago
  38. waited tables at arnie’s for 6 years
  39. partial list of celebrities i met then: ginger rogers, bette davis, princess grace, robert altman, carol burnett, christopher reeve, gloria swanson, dorothy lamour, rex reed, lauren hutton, et. al.
  40. served henny youngman a bowl of soup with a fly in it
  41. smoked weed, took drugs, drank to excess, partied all night (managed to only pass out in one bar, though, a minor miracle in-and-of-itself)
  42. woke one day hating myself (not the first time, but this was the turning point)
  43. out-of-work for a year, got by with a little help from my friends
  44. my mother died (bereft)
  45. frog-leaped into the art business
  46. suddenly had a career where all of my peripatetic education came together for the first time and actually made sense
  47. fell in love
  48. went to france (where they kiss on main street)
  49. hosted wonderful christmas eve parties
  50. friends died, too many funerals
  51. moved to hawaii (perhaps a bit of running away)
  52. little beach on maui, no need to say any more than that
  53. made more friends
  54. moved to california
  55. left one job after 12 years to work at an even better job (now for 22 + years)
  56. held an oscar (the award, not the gardener…although)
  57. drove up highway 1 to san francisco (but we left our heart in carmel-by-the-sea)
  58. bought a house — in california — close to the ocean — still live there (consider this a minor miracle)
  59. worked on a museum exhibit with the academy of motion picture arts & sciences
  60. worked on a museum exhibit with the smithsonian
  61. still in love with the same man, nearly 33 years together
  62. took this picture today:

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07
Oct
14

chelsea station magazine (published)

a chapter, “sic gloria transit [jason]”, from my memoir, “evelyn & son, ltd.” has been published in today’s chelsea station magazine. click through to read. as a bonus, the art illustrating the piece was created by yours truly in 1980 — contemporary to the story.

"allegory of fortune" by dosso dossi--image courtesy the getty center

“allegory of fortune” by dosso dossi–image courtesy the getty center




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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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