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!
Posts Tagged ‘Chicago
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.
i lived vicariously through my friend t.s. (hi, sweetie, ❤ u!) a model of incomparable beauty (truly), but one year
the carol ware fur salon (at bonwit teller or i. magnin? i can’t remember, but it overlooked the watertower on michigan avenue and was the ne plus ultra of fur salons in the city at the time–197_) put on a runway show in the wicker room of arnie’s restaurant where i was working. so i’m standing there minding my own business, when ms. ware comes up to me and says, “you, what’s your name?” “bobpatrick,” i replied. “come with me,” she said taking me by the hand and into the hall where she promptly pulled a man’s fur coat off the rack and handed it to me, “you’ll wear this,” she purred as she helped me into a nutria-lined trenchcoat, pushing me into the room to walk the makeshift runway that ran between the tables where much of chicago’s beau monde was seated.
so i walked, bitches. i tied the trench’s belt, i untied it and opened the coat to show off the nutria lining, i walked to the end of the runway and stopped and stared off into space with a look of “let them eat cake” disdain gracing my 20-something mustachioed face…and turned and repeated ‘the walk’ back through the tables.
ms. ware gave me another coat to wear and later, after the event was over, asked me if i wanted to do it again at her shop. which i did and while there, when i thought i knew it all, i suggested to her “what if i put a belt with this mink coat,” she stopped cold, turned her steely gray eyes to me, half-glasses perched at the end of her nose and said, “do not gild a lily.” a lesson i’ve tried to remember throughout the intervening years (unless, of course, i’m in a particularly rococo mood, then everything gets gilded.)
nothing happened. the snail made its way slowly across the sidewalk, ignoring the leaf i had placed in its way, and leaving behind it its silvery trail of slime. there are times in the late afternoon when the sun is just so in the sky that the sidewalks shimmer with snail’s trails, beautiful silvery ribbons of goo with little breaks every few inches where the snail has pulled up and off the sidewalk in order to move itself forward. at night they congregate in a mosh pit of snail love, all one upon the other; if you’re very still you can hear henry rollins and black flag just before he throws himself shirtless off the stage into the arms of his raving fans [although that may be my memory of seeing them perform at the mud club in chicago in 198_, but whatever. –author]
i discovered lawrence durrell in a dusty old used bookstore on clark street in chicago around 197_. the title, justine, captivated me for some reason–i know of no justine in my life that might have had some correlation to the feeling i had for that word and its possibility, its shades of meaning. i flicked through the pages, scanning words, but not the thoughts behind them, that came later, once i’d gotten home with it and sat down by the window in my tower. i read it. and then i read it again as soon as i had finished it the first time–fearful that there was much i had missed; i was right.
on a subsequent visit to the same bookstore, i looked for other books by durrell and found balthazar and its inside cover revealed that it was part of a larger work, the alexandria quartet, of which justine was but the first of four novels, characters all interwoven in the dry streets of alexandria, as durrell said, “the sackcloth of reality.” since then, i’ve read those four books at least three more times, you might say that it’s become a ritual (and you would be right.)
p.s. i was going to call durrell’s travel writing ‘lighter fare’ but then i remembered sicilian carousel which if you haven’t read it, i highly recommend, both for its whimsy and its scholarship.
p.p.s. every garden should have at least one yellow rose.
daily, i am reminded that i know nothing. (nothing, of course, is relative.) daily, i am reminded that i do know something, but that there is much i do not know. (knowing, of course, is relative.) daily, i am reminded that nothing is knowing. (both of which are incompatible, because, even the lowliest of us knows something.) daily, i am reminded that i know something, but there is much left to learn. (learning, of course, is relative.) daily, i am reminded that i am learning (much.)
research meditation information procrastination
i’m sorry you missed the sunrise this morning. it was magnificent. but instead you chose to mope around the foyer, striking dramatic poses & sighing heavily, “ah me.”
night, michigan avenue looking south from the sheraton hotel, spring 1973
mary (moorhead, minnesota, 1973, silver gelatin print)
sunrise, march 26, 2011 at 6:45 a.m. pdt
i am just a wee bit of a chatty cathy today (just ask m. for confirmation) as i did not sleep well last night & woke up about 3:30 & just laid there, my mind spinning & stopping (topics: minou, my aching lower right jaw — which was why i was awake — the dilaudid that i’d taken for the pain & which most likely was the cause of my wakefulness, work — which i won’t bore you with — writing, posting, blogs, minou again — seriously — facebook, the pain, am i dying — of course i am, we all are kind-of-thoughts,) & i was flopping from the fetal position to flat on my back & back again to the fetal position (lying on my right side only); one pillow over my head & then off again, finally just muttering to myself, “get the fuck up,” downing in quick succession two mugs of coffee, well, i’m sure you get the idea. so, yeah, my lips are flapping.
was it john cheever or john updike (i get my johns confused sometimes) that said he liked to write about middles, because that’s where the extremes of life meet? after typing that sentence i’m sure it was updike. but it got me to thinking that starting a book in the middle might be a good idea, if i were in the market for a good idea, that is. which i may be, but i don’t want to talk about it, because if you put it out there, then there’s some expectation of results & i am not result oriented (i force my nature to be that way in my professional life; those people have expectation that must be met, besides i’m spoiled by the benefits associated with results & by the society that bestows those benefits based on the results one produces.) la la la la la la la la la (really robert, you shouldn’t sing.) middles. yes, i think so.