19 November 2009

six words {abandoned}

change leaves fall colors walls abandoned

photos : by c

p.s. my sister came up with a name for her long long long-awaited science blog. yes, just this week. more on that to come. and on the newspaper i've been creating with the kids, we're about to publish the second issue. and more info on everything else too. and yes i know i've disappeared... but not completely-- x c

24 October 2009

to fall leaves

--changing only as the leaves, falling, flying, turning, 
moving with the wind and against it
across empty parking lots searching, lost, but
just having fallen, again every season
find these colors fading and now and again--

rough winds disturb the poetry of the leaves

--they go with it thus,
let it take them far,
it has they'll fall, they have,
hit the pavement lightly,
lose sight of what was as it
wrecks havoc on what was coming into view
from above and despite-- and at the will
at the whim of your capricious nature--
like the seasons i've known them all

and at times i've even loved them
loved the rain loved them in that rain,
wind at times has changed direction,
and changed-- and
fallen-- still and standing
up against the wind, grasping on
to every last second of fading daylight

to fall, having fallen long ago 
and again and leaves to fall here
amidst fall and caprice-- and
the leaves fall, and the leaves change color,
and leaves--
change the color darkness seasons evolve
and wind, and nights and you become colder
and wind and color and early dusk and--
leaves-- and leaves-- to leave-- and fall--
to fall


(been super busy with the newspaper will write more soon!) 

x c

05 October 2009

suburban nights on the edge of fall


just, you know...... where we find ourselves. in the midst of-- in the midst of season and sentiments that--

-- that when you change the lighting just like so-- seem like any other location yet like nothing else, and nevertheless, it's...... what we've got right now, so what we must come to appreciate in small details such moments of delight, and light that often blurs as heads turn and headlights-- cars pass, eyes close in frustration as minds turn blank lulled by the mundane sound of the same steps in the direction we're always headed. and with any small drop of luck from that fountain in the middle of the over-used, crowded strip mall where kids run around without proper parental supervision and parking lots are battlefields where the one spot that's left empty is where you discover the guy next to you parked way over the line and your s.u.v. just will not fit-- but with any drop of luck from that out-of-place, ornate copy of a spanish, andalusian-esq fountain smack dab in the middle of this suburban strip mall, any coin you manage to pick up rather than step over and actually wish on a toss, you will come to find a drop of acceptance, no, even better--- you will see, or at least catch a glimpse of what i'm really doing and if nothing else, appreciate my attempt to capture light in what we have here, to appreciate what we're participating amongst, the bigger picture, and to know (at times) that the coin you --just this time-- didn't step on but instead tossed in the fountain on a wish, to almost believe that the light and focus, the changing seasons and perspective and colors, just might-- could-- will--  bring us just a splash closer-----

so ya, suburbia.

see my suburban dust flickr album!

x c

03 October 2009

News in (big) print

So now that I’ve got my age-appropriate glasses on (wink wink from behind the drugstore reading glasses that I tried on here and here and in the blurry process found out that 30 wasn’t exactly the right moment— at least for my eyes and this accessory— though they seemed so happy together) nevertheless it’s time to be serious and get down to business. And ok, I’m not sure if this counts as serious or business but you know how I have a writing program for kids (if you didn’t know that, check out their blog : writing from the rooftops) well now I will be starting a school newspaper with them! It’s already become a lot of work and yesterday we had our first official ‘meeting’ and— wow—

—but I mean, it’s going to be great, I just have to really get it organized. The cool thing is that, not only are the kids exceptional at writing, but the ones who I’ve already been working with (that you know and love : Abby, Pyper, Olivia ..perhaps.. if we can tear her away from the junior high saga I got her to start writing which documents life at her new middle school, and Raquel who you’ve yet to read much about, but will—) are now assisting me with the newspaper operations. And that’s pretty cool. They helped me run the first meeting and explain the elements of the newspaper to the interested students who came to find out what the newspaper was all about.

The girls were really enthusiastic and there to make sure everyone understood what was going on...a prime example of this came when were sitting in front of the rest of the kids and some of their parents at this initial introduction newspaper meeting, these talented, enthusiastic, helpful aforementioned girls decided to impersonate ‘Chantal’ for the crowd just so they could get to know me (this hadn't really come up before when we'd discussed what we'd do in the meeting...), so Abby took my big dark sunglasses off my head and wore them on her little face and crossed her legs under the table and made a face that I'm almost certain I never make and Pyper started writing like crazy in my notebook and Raquel reached for the multitude of bracelets on my arm that she told the rest of the group I aaaaaallllways wear... and the meeting kind of progressed like that..... so I just said something like, wow guys it sounds like you all have a lot of newspaper ideas to talk about, so why don’t you just do that now and I'll walk around and get to know you, now that you know me—

—but they are full of personality and energy and ideas and passion on and off the paper. After the meeting and before we locked up the classroom I captured some of it as I was watching Pyper dance in front of the fan...talk about charisma, just look on my flickr, none of these photographs were posed, that’s how full of life these girls are. And they really bring something into mine. So perhaps this newspaper is going to be a lot more work than I signed up for, but the potential words (and photo ops with my new cute little blue camera the Algerian gave me that’s way better than reading glasses from the drugstore as a gift at 30) are too good to miss. And so, it might take a while, but we’ll be there— to get those moments in print (...and I just might need those reading glasses by the time we’re done!)

x c

01 October 2009

sunday comics--

he's mr.
So and So
and i'm ms.
I Think You Know

music boxes 
kindred spirits
sunday comics

i knew 
the words


sunday comics 
with Linus.  

yes, THAT Linus. 
who else.  

yes really, the REAL Linus from the peanuts cartoon strip (minus the blanket, he left it in the car) the most amazing man you ever did meet-- cartoonist, painter, writer, thinker, joker, smooth talker, my mentor, sunday lunch date, partner in crime and pen pal.... ....Linus doesn't have a computer, or an email address, he doesn't use the internet and still draws his cartoons by hand and submits them in the post.. so we send each other good old-fashioned letters. "we're the exception" he announced with a grin to me and everyone else at the lunch table this past sunday, referring with pride to our out-dated habit of correspondence via handwritten letters sent in the mail.

Linus has been a mentor to me in my writing and in every other creative endeavor i've attempted. he's also just somehow always been there letting me know it's ok to see things in a different light, to try things another way, and to live a life that others might never really understand, he supports me as i attempt to discover what to do with all the extra details i continue to notice about this world.

he told his parents he wanted to be a cartoonist at the age of six. he used to wait on the porch for his father to come home from work every night with newspaper in hand, so that they could read the comics together. he worked with charles schulz (creator of the peanuts comic strip) and reminds me all the time that schulz used to tell him that even if he wasn't paid to draw the peanuts comic strip, he would have done it every day anyway, that's how much a part of him it was, that's how much it meant to him. and i got it. so did Linus. 

at the age of 83 he's still working hard and has made his living as a clever cartoonist, a brilliant artist (his paintings are fantastic) and a colorful comic on and off the page. So ya, this Linus is real. Just wish he could read my blog, i've showed him a few times how to access this internet thing, but it was just an art from another time that he didn't seem to grasp, so instead i'll print it out and send it to him in the mail.

sunday comics--

x c

photos : by c
more sunday comics photographs : flickr

last time i mentioned Linus : here

22 September 2009

trying on the reading glasses at 30

had a dinner party last night in the warm still summerish air of the candle-lit backyard, in the company of a few good friends from college and paris who i don't get to see very often, the algerian, and my parents (my mom planned it as a surprise thing for my bday today) it was really nice, really good friends, really good conversation, really really really laughing. really.


and i figured since i'm 30 now and people seem to think that's a big deal and old, that i should act old and look old, so i should maybe wear my mom's reading glasses (the drugstore kind) i mean, 'old' people wear reading glasses right? ;) so i wore them all night i can't say they (the glasses) made it easy to see when walking around, especially outside at night... but i suppose like all things... like this new age..new decade... i'll get used to it. and on the bright side, i am excited for the potential of a new accessory--- and if all else fails, i'll wait another 10 years and try again...

x c 

(check out the full story on my flickr!)

20 September 2009

just wanted reflection : got life reflected

(six word story)

...during photo shoot with my photographer friend cristian el chico de camisa morada, i might just have convinced him to start a little photography somethin' with me... it's in the works. so what you think about that! (but he needs a blog... right?)

(more) photos : by c : here

x c

the weight on my shoulders : now in color

the other day i bought that orange purse
the one i was wanting
the one that was too expensive.
and i don't know--
why or how--
because i know
clearly i know--
an object
a purse
can't change the world--
but merely hold the money that
won't buy you happiness--
but somehow--
the other day i bought that orange purse
and the weight on my shoulders is now in color

18 September 2009

any time you need a smile just look at this photograph : and have a good weekend

her laughter
shattered my silence—
a faint light
flickered in darkness
as pieces of her laughter
touched me
let them fall
and her eyes big
–gleamed with
something else to
tell me on another day
as her nose scrunched
and the corners of her mouth
could no longer contain
her laughter

(for abby)

 photos : by c
(for more visit my ever-growing fickr)

bon week-end x c

16 September 2009

science is the new black (now a series)

so until my smart science sister has that science blog of hers i told you about up and running (yes it's still in 'development' phase) i'm going to do my own version of vague-she'll-laugh-at-me-science-ish posts until she finally can't take it anymore and gets so embarrassed for me that she just decides on a title for her authentic science blog, registers it, and writes her first entry (which, by the way, i encouraged her to write about when she recently explained to my parents how to make a home-remedy disinfectant using a bottle of vodka-- or at least-- that was the story they gave me when i found the empty bottle of really old vodka on the kitchen counter, that's what they claimed to have used it for.)

and since science is the new black, today my vague science-ish topics will be as follows :
(because i personally believe that in science organization and lists are probably important)

• the book my sister is reading
• a quote from darwin (that i got from my sister)
• the effects of medications on creativity (a personal anecdote from yours truly)

the book my sister is reading right now sounds fascinating, i'm actually dying to read it. and that never happens when she's reading about proteins or cells. this book literally combines our two passions, our two ways of looking and thinking and understanding, our two worlds of thought-- literature and science, poetry and uh-- you know-- science... just kidding. but seriously it sounds like an clever and involved book that she will read slowly and digest every detail and i will read sentence by sentence and get such inspiration with each sentence that i'll stop to write for a day and them come back the next day to read the following sentence. the book is called proust was a neuroscientist by jonah lehrer a young writer who has now got my attention. i'm going to pick up this book in the next few days.

next on our agenda is something i keep thinking about, and she (my sister) keeps thinking about -- and i'll let you think about it now. it's her 'status' online, a quote by darwin. read it. over and over.

"it is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change"
charles darwin

and lastly, since we're discussing neuroscience and change, we can touch on the recent happenings in my headache saga. this new treatment i've been on (aka the reason for my blog absence, twitter disappearance and unprecedented block of the writing kind) is an anti seizure medication, the latest method in migraine prevention. but here's what i've noticed. (other than the obvious side effect of losing my thoughts in mid-sentence-- everything just goes on pause--- the ideas and words evaporate and i completely forget what i was saying) it's as though it has literally stopped the 'seizures' of thought, of passion and inspiration in my head. let me insert here, poetic surges of inspiration and passion and thought, because other things like focus on work and developing curriculum for my writing students has increased, productivity and creativity in this area has expanded, but where, i keep asking myself, are my desires to immerse myself and wade out too deep in poetic words and flashes of haiku that stop every other happening in the world, every other thought, poems that come over me like-- (see this is where the words would have come over me, or simply flowed from my fingertips and metaphorically showed you the arrival of the poems, instead, there's a pause--- a slight hollow buzz) or perhaps i'm putting too much pressure on myself and i'm still in the adjustment phase. i know. the words are in here, but perhaps a seizure of words isn't so bad every once in a while, when all of a sudden i fall down because this idea hits me like-- well like-- well-- you know--

the first in the science is the new black series : here : the beginning of the end some might call it, my sister might call it etc...

x c

14 September 2009


somehow opened up to this article in the paper (no kidding, the real newspaper) the other day. the san francisco chronicle features classic articles from years (and years and years) past... i thought this one from june 3, 1963 by stanton delaplane was really great.

Chronicle Classic :
Delaplane flying high

The new TWA polar flight is nonstop from the U.S. West Coast to Paris, France. 

It takes 10 hours and 5 minutes and is crammed with so much passenger activity that everybody must work hard and seriously to accomplish his task before the wheels touch down. 

Each passenger is expected to eat a five-course luncheon and a six-course dinner. Between these he must view a full-length feature movie. He should - TWA expects every man to do his duty - precede each meal with an appropriate martini. 

The airline surveyed martini drinkers recently. It found West Coast lushes were ordering the bottled Heublein's martinis. Then they would order a straight gin. They were spiking their martinis. 

Therefore, TWA ordered West Coast martinis mixed at new odds of 16-to-1 - gin versus vermouth. Two of these and the stewardess resets your controls to automatic. You are no longer considered fit to fly yourself. 

On the west-to-east crossing, the movie is a late, late show. The jets simply eat up time. So you go to the movie in the afternoon and you get out in the middle of the night. 

Coming back the situation is reversed. 

You start lunch at midday. And when you finish it is still noon. 

This is very confusing and TWA is justly proud of it. It is not only on its toes with competing airlines. It is way ahead of the passenger.

(article continued-- full version-- and other classics : here)

07 September 2009

any corner

staying out of the lines it really doesn’t matter where blurs blush turns to look could have happened anywhere any corner but this in passing and now--

photos : by c

06 September 2009

why isn't it just a waste of time

the answer in your
hands puzzle pieces-- if this--
or-- this-- but you know--

haiku : by c : chandeliers on the floor
photos : by c : flickr

03 September 2009

science is the new black

my sister is starting a science blog.

no— wait— don’t stop reading this— don’t run away or fall asleep!!! it’ll be good stuff, her target audience is people like me— a science blog with info that your average everyday chantal would come back to and actually want to read more of : science issues that concern, interest and touch all of us, and written by this incredible mix of charm and brains, serious focused concentration and loud music. she's one part laughter : one part nerd : one part shopping (yes nini i realize that’s three parts.)

so she called me for help and inspiration with setting up the blog. last night we were on the phone for two hours figuring out all the details— and by all the details i mean just the name of her science blog !!!! uuuuggghhh you precise methodical science people (hi nini thx for reading today love you) then she decided to sleep on it and figure it out in the morning. so if anyone needs a list of about 40+ science-y blog titles (but with charming creative hard-sought-after twists) just let me know......... and i will be sure to let you know when she finally types in that carefully crafted title and proceeds to the next step in the process of creating her blog. we may have to pull an all-nighter when it comes to choosing the blog colors (love you nini!)

and if you’re wondering, her name’s janine, i call her nini. you just don’t find many nerds as cute as this one...... she talks about cells and proteins with so much enthusiasm and genuine enjoyment— the same way i talk about clothes or coffee or haiku... but she also genuinely loves what she does, as i love words and writing, and she wants to find ways to make areas of science more accessible and enjoyable to others. this blog will just be the start of her attempt, and i’m sure i will have to learn a thing or two!! she’s also a fantastic cook and quite a mélange of health-conscious (understatement) gourmet (yes, oxymoron— gourmet grad student, but she is) and plans on sharing recipes and food tips on the blog as well. if the title ever gets through the final selection phase, i’ll let you know, cuz she’s got a lot on that plate.

and hey, maybe with her help science will be the new black. hey! that’s not a bad name for a blog.... science is the new black i’m gonna call her rig
ht now. i’m sure she’ll veto that one too... ;)

x c

"facts are not science --
as the dictionary is not literature."
martin h. fischer

photo credits 1 : jerry yoon 2 : chantal (aka c)

02 September 2009

scribbling what i know

scribbling words spilling coffee cleaning up my messes scribbling coffee spilling poetry on napkins. i write.
leaving traces of haiku on scraps of paper everywhere and working with young writers inspiring them through their own words

photos : by c

my haiku blog : chandeliers on the floor
my new and old photos (suburban dust / parisian stuff / etc.) : flickr
in the words of my students :
writing from the rooftops

01 September 2009

blink-- you'll miss it

photos : by c

the sun set sky blushed
over busy streets wires crossed

birds sang traffic-- slowed--

30 August 2009

in this light--

photos : by c

in time-- in words in

silence --in every hour years
light dark eyes and will---

28 August 2009

the tunnel, the end, in this light--

photos : by c

well, maybe i used to have a really different sort of life a few years ago, the kind where people still tell me,
wow that's the kind of life i only dream about, what was it like, it must have been amazing. and sure yes it was. these days i don't even mention it anymore. time to-- because-- you see, between that and the world constructed in my mind through creativity and words, and from behind these headaches and sunglasses, i haven't seen much of reality. i haven't even looked at what's right next to me because none of it even resembled what i thought it would or should or-- or what i thought i knew i wanted it to look like. the life i was supposed to have. and that probably sounds familiar and i guess they say it never is or does or will--

photos : by c

and then i just sort of-- after all this time, started taking pictures everyday of every day with my old, temperamental digital camera. we have an on-again-off-again relationship in that it only actually takes pictures on occasions, when i hit it or shake it or when it's not telling me 'memory card error' or 'corrupt data' or when i can at least identify who is in the blurry photos. but it works. sometimes. and in these photos i've captured-- there's simplicity in the perspective, change, colors, fade, or focus. seeing things in another light or if nothing else-- trying 'in this light' and muting the shades of my words, to the simple, the corners of my world right now. corners of my mind and the corners that i've discovered right here, i was perhaps even hiding in them, and now i see, i don't have to go anywhere and they are taking me somewhere completely different.

photos : by c

it's been three years now since i moved back home from the five years of my life that i spent in paris but you won't see any pictures of eiffel towers these days, just cars and pavement buildings and suburbs for now and hours that glow when you really can't tell where i am or where any of us are. and i'm not looking away from these photographs anymore because they're even better in this light--
this isn't to say that i've figured it all out and everything is suddenly perfect for me, because you should have seen me yesterday, but i have my good moments, i don't think that the light at the end of the tunnel was just the flash of my camera, i think you were there with me and actually we both could have seen it but we just didn't-- too busy hiding in the shadows. and really, everyone has pictures of the eiffel tower, so in a way our subtle every day photos are most spectacular because no one else has captured lived laughed or written the moment in this exact light.

x c

23 August 2009

--under construction--

not the blog, just my mind.

it's rather simple. like the old nokia cell phone i've reverted back to using in the past few weeks since my smaller more socially acceptable cell phone died. wires crossed uncrossed and now at rest. a little over a month on a new headache medication and the world seems to have slowed, calmed, nearly emptied-- through this view out the same sunglasses i always wear, it's in a light i've never seen before. simple. just phone calls received, dialed. text messages-- not enough memory to save the ones from last week so just delete and start fresh. a familiar phone-- so old i think it's probably back in style-- remember the old nokia you could drop in the gutter and take in the shower and spill coffee on and step on or drive your car over and it never broke or stopped working-- it's that one, and it works perfectly and it makes me laugh when i use it and it's easy. it's simple. {abby one of my young students thought i accidentally brought my house phone to the cafe the first time she saw it! she still calls it my house phone} but you know what, it works better than any of the fancy mobile phones i've used for years and it's reliable. the reception is unbelievable and the battery never dies it's suddenly everything i needed.

as i've often mentioned i've been battling chronic headaches for years and going through a series of new medications and treatments. the latest approach was the most drastic, and i've found some headache relief, but all at once everything else seemed to change as well, thoughts come slower and are often lost right in mid sentence, and words---
well-- i feel like we're starting over again. this has been a transforming month. another life. things are somewhat simpler, and i almost like it. but some of it has also been unbelievably frustrating and disheartening and just exhausting.

in the midst of all of this i had a visit from my dear norwegian friend and i will share some of our photographic explorations of suburbia. and then there's something that i found which i'd thought existed but also somewhat took with a grain of salt--as myth-- urban legend, turned out to be walking with me all along just like they said but-- you know how things come and go and if you listen closely you can hear me whispering it right now, but maybe you can feel it under my words, and words to come. until then, and until i figure out how to merge the new and old ways of living, thinking, functioning, observing, appreciating and most importantly writing, i might play around with posting some of the photos i've been taking lately with my really old, faulty digital camera, as for the past month, my words have been lost somewhere inside this head of mine that's trying to find its way through the pain and back again speaking the same language, and learning yours.
the headaches aren't completely gone, and even though at times it makes me dizzy, somehow things stopped spinning. please excuse my unplanned absences as i adjust to all of this and still find my words, and you-- and back again.

x c

photos : by c