Author Archives: deemallon

It’s the smoke

Been tired this week after lunch. In the morning, I’ll make a couple calls, walk the dog. Then do a little gardening and write for a couple of hours. Then all I want to do is sleep.

A friend said, “It’s the smoke.” The Bootleg Fire. Canadian fires. You can’t really see anything here, but others nearby have noticed.

Almost done with the Durrow novel. Protagonist, Rachel, is the daughter of a Danish woman and a Black GI. Father takes off and entire rest of family (except Rachel) dies after a fall off a nine story building. We read to find out whether it was murder or suicide. We read to see how this biracial girl grows up with her Black grandmother, trying to understand herself and her world (first Chicago, then Oregon — Portland, I think). We read to see how Rachel will make peace with her past.

I’m reading it on my kindle reader in the phone so I can tell you I have roughly 23 minutes left. I guess I’ll go finish the story.

Update: it turns out I only had about five minutes left of reading, which is too bad because it means that the BIG moment we’d been waiting for came and went too quickly.

Yackety yack

My brother knows birds. He tracks three kinds of owls in his area and a pair of peregrine falcons. Above, I captured about six seconds of a great horned owl swooping off its roost. Earlier, two of them had tangled just above the empty pool.

The squawking black birds are not crows, I now know, but ravens.

I shot this little video at around 5:50 am while waiting for the Uber ride that never showed. That’s another story, as they say.

Home again and it’s not raining but oh lord is it muggy. Except in the basement where I sometimes rig cloth from a bin to tie around my waist for a little warmth.

It cracks me up that this was my assemblage as I commented on Jude’s blog — something about the healing powers of minimalism.

Once in the chaos of the studio, I just took up one WIP after another and made progress on three or four of them. There’s a simplicity to that. A sustainable rhythm.

But first, I stitched around the portrait that served as the recent collage prompt for the #pariscollageclub weekly challenge over on Instagram. Given the baroque tendencies I generally express with collage, the simplicity of the outline was refreshing.

This moon went on what’s becoming a butterfly quilt. I can’t tell you how much I love it.

Widened this house after overcoming my aversion to using appliqué on a 100% pieced design. It’s not like it’s a hard and fast rule or anything, but it’s one of the few places a sense of purity can creep in. Because I seamed the slope of the roof, the section isn’t wholly appliqué. A hybrid approach.

After hand-stitching the new house-half in place, I think it’s gonna work. All of the indigo in this composition was dyed by me in South Carolina.

Here is the start of this week’s collage challenge. Baroque, right?

Tomorrow I get to write with others again after a little break. I can’t wait! Found a great prompt in a recent New Yorker article about the new Anthony Bourdain documentary. Will share after it’s been written to!

Cooked gardened cleaned

At my brother’s, I cooked, gardened, and cleaned. It was hot and dry and, unlike here, SUNNY. We watched a lot of TV, too. It’s kind of one of my jobs. Was happy to turn my brother onto Shetland and Justified. Last visit it was Vera.

He was feeling so much better than last visit that he was episodically downright chatty. The old Billy. Is it too much to hope that the fevers and abdominal pain are over for now?

The drugstore on Eagle Rock Parkway was closed when I went to pick up some meds. American life at its worst: a young store clerk tried to apprehend a shoplifter and was shot and killed. There were balloons and flowers and Jesus candles lining the sidewalk. People huddled in grief. It was hard to be too upset about the inconvenience of going to the place on York Boulevard, three miles away, with a clerk who could barely ring up items, meaning it took an eternity to get through the five people in front of me. Okay, so I got annoyed in spite of the tragedy.

Zooey, the 15 year old black dog, does not seem to be in pain but is bladder challenged. She has trouble getting up and can barely walk, so there is a constant race to launch her toward the rear door and get the slider open. She needs to go A LOT. Three times during the night, often. A whole other layer of caregiving but also a lesson in survival. She has sooo much personality.

I doubt I’ll see her again.

Delilah is the other dog, mentioned before. A right lioness. Formerly anxious (still anxious with fireworks) and now dignified and mostly calm. I’d take her home if I could!

Because of the Covid-surge, I’m not sure when I’ll be back. There’s much more to say about everything but I have other writing to get back to. I hate it when I lug my laptop on a trip and don’t even open it! This time I edited six chapters during my flight home, so at least there was that.

More about ravens tomorrow. Talk about chatty!

Twitter curse

Several weeks ago, in an exchange with a friend on Twitter about the effects of climate change, I typed: “We don’t really get rainstorms anymore.”

Well. It’s been pretty nonstop ever since. Go ahead. Blame me.

The intermittent dry days have been lovely, though, and the Northeast really, really needed the rain. On clear days, we open the house. Run the fans.

All pix from the yard.

When I woke at around two last night, I’d been dreaming about Candace Owens. UCk. How random! How indicative of (too much?) time spent on Twitter!

Today I bake a birthday cake. Tomorrow I’ll make chimichurri and we’ll fire up the grill. It’s supposed to clear, so I’m assuming we’ll be able to celebrate outdoors. Hubby catches up to me this weekend. Medicare — here we come!

Sunday, I head back to LA.

Holding the ecstatic center

Apparently that is something I do — “hold the ecstatic center.” Really? A trusted source. Many decades of association. I try to worm out of it. Then I try to wear it.

It’s a powerful reflection, thrilling, really.

I certainly can own surrender and ecstasy as recurring visual motifs.

This morning I’m inspired by dogs jumping into swimming pools, by photographers catching women airborne, by fifth generation islanders celebrating a birthday. By my Tuesday Group.

Below is an assemblage of SoulCollage cards, digital collages, collages made responding to this year’s Paris Collage Club weekly visual prompts (over on Instagram) and paper collages made during Acey’s collage tour (last year?).

** initial dancers from Alvin Ailey’s dance troupe, subsequent tattooed dancer from recent West Side Story production, photos from NYTimes. “Male exiting subway with grace” probably came from Vogue but maybe it was Vanity Fair. There are National Geographic images sprinkled in there, shots from Skateboarding Magazine. The Black woman with wings was featured at a Boston MFA show before the lockdown. I’m sorry I don’t know the artist’s name. You’ll recognize Oprah Winfrey, Julia Child, Sigourney Weaver, and Michael Jackson (yes I’m leaving him in!). The whirling dervishes are from the mystic branch of Islam, Sufism and St. Francis makes a small appearance at the very end.