At Home in a Transient City

I stood on the confetti-covered pavement, shoulder to shoulder with strangers. Behind me, blankets and people covered a lawn sloping downward and south. Over the hillside-house roofs peaked the ocean horizon at sundown. Before me, a lit stage was set in front of the Santa Barbara Mission, a sandstone Spanish church. Festival-goers of all ages, from old men and teenagers to babies on their parents’ … Continue reading At Home in a Transient City

The Rage of Caliban: Millennials and the New Aestheticism

No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style. —Oscar Wilde, Preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray The video opens with a typical vlog set-up: A woman sits centered in front of the camera, her pristine background out of focus. The Scandinavian minimalist aesthetic is enough to make any 22-year-old vaguely covetous. Her platinum blonde hair … Continue reading The Rage of Caliban: Millennials and the New Aestheticism

These Worlds We Hold: Memory and the Role of Storytelling

  My great-uncle’s full name was Verdon Ganger, but everyone called him Bud. By the time I knew him, Bud was a soft-spoken widower in his 80s, who kept an immaculate garden and took a keen interest in the birds that nested in his backyard. As a little girl, I never bothered to think of him in terms beyond that. Like all the others who … Continue reading These Worlds We Hold: Memory and the Role of Storytelling

Whiskers in the Water

What if I were a catfish, mama? I said, swimmin’ deep down in, deep blue sea Have these gals now, sweet mama, settin’ out Settin’ out hooks for, for me, settin’ out hook for, for me “Catfish Blues” (1941) Robert Petway Brightly colored fishing piers dot the shore of the man-made ponds at Lewis Emery park where, on bright summer days, locals bring their rods, … Continue reading Whiskers in the Water