Saturday, August 1, 2009


Was astounded by a piece that Jenny B found at the Big Chicken Barn in Ellsworth, by Maine artist Francis Hamabe. Line drawing of fabulous ones at cocktails, collaged with local chart paper. Maine navigational maps. What a find.

This is part of Hamabe's Zen series.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009


We become primed for what's going to get us down. Even the pretty days this summer come with the promise of a next-day wash out. Until today. The Universe said it: "Knock it off!"

This is what Castine was like today.

- Chandelier from John Patrick Shanley's dining room, Manhattan.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


The Blue Boat

If the boat is ugly, but the bay is beautiful,
is the sail a good one? And if the other boats
are beautiful, but their hulls and sails are stenciled with ads,
is the weather still beautiful if the winds are light?
And if the winds are steady enough to take us out of the calanque,
tacking from deep inside its high cliffs,
and out across the bay to the base of the mountain,
then back to the cliff with the cave that looks
like the mouth of a giant with tonsils showing?
And if the boom hits me in the head, but I'm carrying
aspirin? And if the back of the boat is leaking
but the front of the boat is automatically bailing?
And if the "president" of the club, who rented us the boat,
offers us white wine grown here in Cassis
when we return, and we spend an hour talking,
is that part of the experience?
And does experience matter more than pleasure?
And is pleasure better than peace? I've nothing
but peace today—and sore bones—
sitting alone in my apartment in Aix
without any phone. My head's stopped hurting.
I'm completely free, but is that better
than assigning myself some task? For example
editing the photos from yesterday? Here is the boat
the spiders had been living in till we cleaned it.
And here is the foot of water sloshing in the bottom
when we still couldn't stop the leak in the stern.
And these are the huge swirling speckled cliffs
you can't see from the land. And here's me
beneath the shade of my straw hat,
pale as a mushroom dragged out of its cellar,
looking like a scholar who thinks everything's in books,
seduced by a blue boat, and the sea.

- Alan Feldman, Kenyon Review, Summer 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Poet Robert Lowell was called Cal here in Castine, and perhaps everywhere he was allowed to be himself. The following is Chapter 4 of Philip Booth's "Trying to Say it Out Loud: Outlooks and Insights on How a Poem Happens". Booth was a resident of Castine too.

Against sunset, against summer's end, against the prevailing sou'westerlies which stress and release even the peninsula's strongest elms, Cal plays tennis almost every afternoon on one of the two courts next to the High Road. The company at these late-afternoon sessions of round robin doubles is socially elect. the voices are pure Eastern Shore, West Hartford and Boston, but the talent is severely mixed: Cal wins one set with Janet Hughes, twenty years his senior, then loses a second set with Sally Austin, skilled and barely of age. His legs never get him to the right place on the court at the right moment, but he compensates by attacking the ball with all the immense strength of his upper body. His reflexes, if not always coordinated, are quick: even when his stroke flails he scores points with his running monologue - this particular game variously reminds him of Philip of Macedonia, his first wife, and Aristophanes. Elizabeth, exhausted after two sets, gangles on the sidelines under the cedars.

Cal is about the serve. Sweating hugely, he strips his shirty (violating the only club rule ever posted), and says, "This may make me as famous as Rene LaCoste...." Wherever fame may reside, it will not reside in his service: he throws the ball too low, ducks with his knees to accommodate the failed altitude, pushes at the ball from too short an arc, and with great speed squashes it into his Partner's left buttock. She smiles back wildly at Cal, and he invites everybody for supper.

Everything stops. Cal glances hugs at Elizabeth, and turns back happily to his tennis partners. "If you can't do that" he says "at least come for drinks."

Philip Booth, 1996

Monday, July 27, 2009


Life is ahead; size, scale, volume and scope are no object.

Isabel's Eighth. The Lieser's House, Castine

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Inspired Patterns, Architectural Digest magazine, July 2009

“You have enough pattern and color to keep you entertained: I feel that it all weaves together my husband’s shipwreck culture with my fashion and crafts culture."

- Owner, Veronica Webb