What are we now but voices
who promise each other a life
neither one can deliver
not for lack of wanting
but wanting won’t make it so.
We cling to a vine
at the cliff’s edge.
There are tigers above
and below. Let us love
one another and let go.

Eliza Griswold | from Wideawake Field, 2007

Juana Olga Barrios | Maura, 2018


♥ + ♥


The New York Times has many excellent writers. While I am fond of the Charles Blows and Maureen Dowds and Frank Brunis, I spend most of my time hanging out with the arts and leisure writers. My favourite new literary critic is Parul Sehgal whose searingly intelligent reviews of both fiction and non-fiction works have introduced me to some really brilliant writers these past few years, ones I might have missed or passed on had she not written something that caught my attention.

 “My mother had a marvelous, idiosyncratic library — lots of André Gide, Jean Genet, and Oscar Wilde, lots of philosophy, and lots of Jackie Collins. But she was terribly strict, and the library was off-limits to us. Naturally my sister and I became the most frantic little book thieves; I must have spent the first decade of my life with a novel — and usually something massively inappropriate like Judy Blume’s ‘Wifey’ or Gore Vidal’s ‘Myra Breckinridge’ — stuffed in the waistband of my pants.” Of criticism, she says simply, “I just got addicted to the form, its constraints and possibilities.”



Cheer Up Luv

7 People on Choosing to Be Celibate

OMG | Good Hair Day Pasta

Juana Olga Barrios | Colour Studies, 2018


This is an extraordinary collection of short stories, an exceptional new voice in the literary world. Apparently, she has a memoir being published next year. I will be first in line at the nearest bookstore to buy it!
“I have always been a teller of stories. When I was a young girl, my mother carried me out of a grocery store as I screamed about toes in the produce aisle. Concerned women turned and watched as I kicked the air and pounded my mother’s slender back. “Potatoes!” she corrected when we got back to the house. “Not toes!” She told me to sit in my chair—a child-sized thing, built for me—until my father returned. But no, I had seen the toes, pale and bloody stumps, mixed in among those russet tubers. One of them, the one that I had poked with the tip of my index finger, was cold as ice, and yielded beneath my touch the way a blister did. When I repeated this detail to my mother, something behind the liquid of her eyes shifted quick as a startled cat. “You stay right there,” she said. My father returned from work that evening, and listened to my story, each detail. “You’ve met Mr. Barns, have you not?” he asked me, referring to the elderly man who ran this particular market. I had met him once, and I said so. He had hair white as a sky before snow, and a wife who drew the signs for the store windows. “Why would Mr. Barns sell toes?” my father asked. “Where would he get them?” Being young, and having no understanding of graveyards or mortuaries, I could not answer. “And even if he got them somewhere,” my father continued, “what would he have to gain by selling them amongst the potatoes?” They had been there. I had seen them with my own eyes. But beneath the sunbeam of my father’s logic, I felt my doubt unfurl. “Most importantly,” my father said, arriving triumphantly at his final piece of evidence, “why did no one notice the toes except for you?” As a grown woman, I would have said to my father that there are true things in this world observed only by a single set of eyes. As a girl, I consented to his account of the story, and laughed when he scooped me from the chair to kiss me and send me on my way.”
“Beyond the table, there is an altar, with candles lit for Billie Holiday and Willa Carter and Hypatia and Patsy Cline. Next to it, an old podium that once held a Bible, on which we have repurposed an old chemistry handbook as the Book of Lilith. In its pages is our own liturgical calendar: Saint Clementine and All Wayfarers; Saints Lorena Hickok and Eleanor Roosevelt, observed in the summer with blueberries to symbolize the sapphire ring; the Vigil of Saint Juliette, complete with mints and dark chocolate; Feast of the Poets, during which Mary Oliver is recited over beds of lettuce, Kay Ryan over a dish of vinegar and oil, Audre Lorde over cucumbers, Elizabeth Bishop over some carrots; The Exaltation of Patricia Highsmith, celebrated with escargots boiling in butter and garlic and cliffhangers recited by an autumn fire; the Ascension of Frida Khalo with self-portraits and costumes; the Presentation of Shirley Jackson, a winter holiday started at dawn and ended at dusk with a gambling game played with lost milk teeth and stones. Some of them with their own books; the major and minor arcana of our little religion.”


For the last six weeks, I’ve been drawing and painting from live models, something I’ve never before attempted. It’s so intimidating, those first few minutes when the model sets up and I am facing a blank canvas and the voice inside my head is saying !!!#*&^%$#@#$%^&*!!!. Then, once I block it out, quickly put in the values, and decide on a palette, all the angst lifts and I am lost in another world, looking back and forth at the shapes in front of me, rather than the person. Much as I try to slow down and get the proportions correct, I also like disregarding them so I can create something that in my mind is more painterly. I’ve never been interested in realism, despite acknowledging the skill and brilliance of realist painters. That’s what photography is all about for me, and even then . . . filters! manipulations!

Have loved this process and my return to oils after spending the last twenty years playing with acrylics.


Pretty phenomenal when a revered artist changes course and takes up a new medium through which to express herself.



I am so impressed, Hayley. BRAVA! ♥



On our first date, he bought me a taco, talked at length about the ancients’ theories of light, how it streams at angles to align events in space and time, that it is the source of all information, determines every outcome, how we can reflect it to summon aliens using mirrored bowls of water. I asked what the point of it all was, but he didn’t seem to hear me. Lying on the grass outside a tennis arena, he held my face toward the sun, stared sideways at my eyeballs, and began to cry. He told me I was the sign he’d been waiting for and, like looking into a crystal ball, he’d just read a private message from God in the silvery vortex of my left pupil. I disregarded this and was impressed instead by the ease with which he rolled on top of me and slid his hands down the back of my jeans, gripping my buttocks in both palms and squeezing, all in front of a Mexican family picnicking on the lawn.

read the rest of The Weirdos, by Ottessa Moshfegh


Five months after Hurricane Maria, the women of Puerto Rico are the ones making shit happen.

Extraordinary photographs by Richard Mosse accompany the essay.