Posts Tagged ‘writing


a week of first paragraphs: saturday


“olive will come down in about ten minutes; she told me to tell you that. about ten; that is exactly like olive. neither five nor fifteen, and yet not ten exactly, but either nine or eleven. she didn’t tell me to say she was glad to see you, because she doesn’t know whether she is or not, and she wouldn’t for the world expose herself to telling a fib. she is very honest, is olive chancellor; she is full of rectitude. nobody tells fibs in boston; i don’t know what to make of them all. well, i am very glad to see you at any rate.”

–henry james, the bostonians


notes on motes (and other revelations)



landscapes in the early morning light (shortly after sunrise)

a few days ago when it was still in the 80s and the santa ana winds were blowing from the northeast and out across the ocean i managed to get over to the other side of our coastal mountain and watch the sunrise over the mountains to the east, the ones that cradle the orange county valley and separate us from the desert.

this weather event (it’s what they call it here, an event) produces stunning sunrises and sunsets (see my week of one day’s sunset, 2, 3, 4, 5 here), but the timing of your arrival can be a bit hit or miss, especially if you’re walking a dog, which i was on this day’s early morning.

as much as i wanted to get to a point where i could see the sun actually top the mountains on its rise from the eastern world, my canine companion was more interested in the early morning smells of dogs and rabbits and coyotes and birds and grass blades and cracks in the sidewalk and the sprinkler timers and a tree or two and succulents and gravel and streetlights and a stone bench and had to stop several times and sit down to scratch an ear that’s been aggravating him recently and while he was down he might as well lick his penis, cause that’s what dogs do and then he’d look at me like “what next?” because he’s blind and i have to keep him heading in the right direction so he doesn’t run into trees and large rocks and junipers and stone benches and succulents and cacti and sprinkler timers or off into the street or down the wrong driveway as they slope away from our community’s circular main road so i set aside my needs for his, after all, he means more to me than the opportunity to take photographs of the sun rising over the eastern mountains of orange county so that i can post them on my blog(s) and facebook in order that people who pay some attention to what i’m doing will ❤ or comment or re-blog or whatever it is they do when they find something i’ve written or photographed moving or funny or ironic (irony having not died as many felt it would when “seinfeld” went off the air in 199? or was it 200? who can remember or care for that matter it was so long ago and that hair of elaine’s drove me crazy), so we continued on our way and all the while i could sense that i was missing that moment, that special time when the sun is just creeping ever so slowly up and over the mountaintops and its radiant crown (think crown like the statue of liberty’s) moves into view and everything takes on the golden glow of apollo’s chariot as it races across the heavens toward the darkness in the west. too many metaphors <sigh>

the trees turn toward the light, a move so subtle that you may miss it should you be distracted by the glory of early morning sunlight, lining up along the parade route like ensor’s acolytes in his “the entry of christ into brussels” from 1889–have you seen that painting? it hangs at the getty center in l.a. and has always been a favorite of mine, you can see and read about it here–crowding around the sunlight without fear of igniting themselves, self-immolation not on their card for today.

this is the apocalyptic eucalyptus from my 2009 post “trees that i am friends with” which…i cannot believe that i’ve been contributing to my blog for over three years now. i admit it seems as if i’ve been doing this all my life, but only recently realized that i have committed tens of thousands of words to, to, to what exactly i have no idea, but i will say it has brought me some comfort and joy.

and at last, with some flag-waving, the dog and i turned our backs on the sunrise and the fog laying quietly in the valleys and arroyos as the grand landscape unfurled at our feet.


variations on a theme (stare down)

1. it’s a good thing that a lot of words have come before because i’m not sure where they’ve gone to now.

2. but speaking of the words that have gone before: now i have to make them into something.

3. which means that i have to re-read all of them with a more critical eye.

4. which means the self-love portion of the task has come to an end.

5. and that the true me must emerge in my quest to share what happened to me.

6. i think i can do it.


bromeliads (and my stop-and-start-itis)

i can’t seem to commit words to paper (metaphorically, obvsly) these past few days.

there are about 1,000,000,000,000,000 posts in ‘draft’ status that i just can’t seem to complete. [editor’s note: he’s exaggerating. there are really just 1,000,000,000 posts in ‘draft’ status.]

in compensation, the bromeliads bloomed this year after splitting into three plants over the past 5 years. that’s something, right?


facing north, then facing south

no matter which i angle i go at it

no matter how hard i look for my voice (for this particular tale from my past)

there is nothing. i can’t decide if it’s because the time was too perfect, i was too happy; if writing about happiness is more difficult than writing about any other emotion. what i’ve managed to conjure up is unsustainable. i’ve left it for a couple of weeks hoping that inspiration would strike (me dead), but there seems to be nothing to say about it that doesn’t sound stupid, inane, peurile. the best thing for me now is to let it go and maybe one day it’ll all fall together or  it won’t and that chapter will be a blank page where my happiness once lay.



click to enlarge



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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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