Small Times Life

Indira Ganesan, Tulip with Effect, 2012

One of the pleasures in small time life, as well as living in a small town, is locating a local florist.  I’m lucky because our florists are both sophisticated and kind.  If on a winter day I wander in, and all that is on my mind are tulips, I’ll get tulips and boxwood, which I hurry home to place in a vase.

Indira Ganesan, Simple Black and White, 2012

Later, I take iphotos.  A friend of mine, a photographer, uses a Leica, because she finds in it the beauty I find in an Olivetti.  She also uses her Leica to take photographs, whereas I merely admire old typewriters.

Indira Ganesan, Tulips & Jasmine, 2012

I’ve rearranged my work space, hoping in the process to find a writing process that will stick.  I have a prized office, but I am going to make it into a library and meditation space.  I’ve moved my desk upstairs, where my perspective has more depth.  I know I am trying to recreate a design that took me two years to achieve in Boulder, where I rearranged furniture constantly in order to let the novel write itself.  It is an exercise in futility, but I think it has some purpose.  I need time to sit comfortably–indeed, find my comfortable seat.  One has to trust the environment implicitly to get to work.  Moving is arduous.  One feels guilty in leaving behind friends, one wonders why it was even necessary, why the hand was forced for economics, and then one wonders what it is one is trying to achieve.  Some can write anywhere, and so one feels guilty that one is squandering a space of time.  Then one looks up, sees the time, and gets to work.  The  flowers are essential, crucial.  Our lives are delicate and strong.  I don’t know how to end this piece without acknowledging the terrible loss suffered by parents and family and friends in Connecticut today.  I don’t know how we bring ourselves to this moment.

I advocate for banning guns.

An argument from Bill Moyers:

Ravi Shankar


English: Ravi Shankar performs in Delhi with h...
English: Ravi Shankar performs in Delhi with his daughter Anoushka in March 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


English: Master of Sitar, Ravi Shankar. Deutsc...
English: Master of Sitar, Ravi Shankar. Deutsch: Ravi Shankar, Meister der Sitar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


It is with a heavy heart that I write a post today.  Pandit Ravi Shankar passed away yesterday at 4pm in La Jolla, CA.  He was 92.


I opened the online New York Times early  this morning, simply out of a nostalgia for the days when I would begin my day with its news, instead of say, writing or checking email.  The announcement caught me by surprise, and after reading the article and looking at The Guardian,  I posted a video of a concert of his I found on YouTube, a gentle nine-minute piece rom a raga, “Anandi Kalyan.”


The process of celebrating, honoring, and grieving a great or famous soul’s passing is a curious one.  When John Lennon died, I found out with a clutch to my heart as I slowly realized the radio was playing song after Beatles song.  We who listened to WNEW-FM that night listened along with –was it Vince Scelscia’s?– shock.  When Michael Jackson died, so far before his time, I heard it on the radio in the car somewhere.  I live far from a city now, so of course, I did not hear Ravi Shankar’s sitar on the radio this morning, though I tried.


All day, I went about the daily activities, including a visit to the dentist, but like the stricken character in Chekov’s story, “Misery,” to whom could I speak to of my grief?  Zakir Hussein said that Panditji has gone to join the gods in heaven with whom he belongs.  I suspect there are hundreds of people right now, perhaps thousands, playing his music and remembering.  I was lucky enough to see him play in Boston with his daughter Anuoshka with my brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law, and I don’t think we could have clapped enough or hard.


Let’s keep listening, keep clapping.  He leaves us his daughters as his legacy; he leaves us his music.  He leaves us wanting more.






Raga Bhimpalasi (live at Monterey):


Gat Kirwani:


With Philip Glass, from Passages:






December’s Start

Victorian, circa 1870
Victorian, circa 1870 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A cup of hope.  I drank a cup of coffee given by a friend the other day and it was delicious.  I who am so picky about the beans, the origin, the roasting times, a perfectionism that might have  likely led to my toothache, which happily, is receding, found it delicious without knowing anything about it except its name, “hair of dog.”

One more month in this year.  The darkening days that will soon turn light again, the host of holidays approaching, and cards to be written.  And posted.  Last fall I sat down meaning to send change of address cards to all my friends, but only got as far as “K.”

Let me bend with grace and reason, then, and pen some cards and notes of thanks, as we near the end of this year to soon begin another.