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Sticky Notes

Music can take me back more than any other media. Or sense. Even new songs that are of a certain familiar style. It can happen very suddenly that I’m a productive member of the human race, working away diligently and with contentment in my soul, and then Spotify will switch to a song and the work drops away as I listen closely to the lyrics. An hour later, I’m in a music spiral, with the door locked and nothing to show for my time except for cheap thoughts and scribbled out sticky notes. This is one of those sticky notes. What does it mean to be fucked up? It can …

Conflict Avoidance

Posted on 2 min read

I’m eating store bought sushi and drink a premade smoothie when the woman comes up and starts gesturing. I look around. I haven’t said a word to anybody, because the few tables at the front of the grocery store are completely empty. “Sprinchst du Englisch?” I ask. “Nein.” She keeps gesturing, and I realize she doesn’t want me sitting there. I think because I was supposed to have bought something from the bakery by the entrance. “I thought this was a part of the grocery store.” I try to explain. She gets aggressive, her voice carrying across the store. “Ok, I’ll go buy something,” I say. I try to finish …

Prix Fixe

Posted on 1 min read

Every time I come to Paris, it’s different. More approachable. Friendlier. Is it because I have more money? It’s like New York in that way. Manhattan felt untenable in my 20’s: hard to traverse, too expensive, too old. Paris was worse. And now, for the most part, my interactions are patient and connected.  The people seem happy. Their English is better than where I live in Germany, and the French language easier to get my hands around than German. As long as we avoid the main sights during tourist hours, it’s so livable that I forget that it’s Paris. I like how it feels here. …

Henri

Posted on 2 min read

Oppéde is a somewhat modern French town close to the villa. It’s less beautiful than the other impossibly beautiful small towns in the area (Gordes, Ménerbes, Roussillon), probably because it is more recent. A run-off of people who descended from the hillside after “Old Oppéde” began to dissolve a hundred years ago. We start off early and hike up the hillside into Old Oppéde, knowing that it is a “ghost town”, but little else. What I discover is probably the most beautiful place I have ever seen. It’s not actually a ghost town, but it was at one time, and what does remain is mostly ruins. The only homes that …

Soft

Posted on 2 min read

I get to the villa in the Luberon region of Provence late on Monday after a horrific crisscrossing of Germany, Belgium and France. France is once again one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. In the past it has been Paris (obviously) and rural Bordeaux. Now it is the small villages stretching east of Avignon. The compound is built around a vineyard outside of Oppéde, below the ghost town of “Old Oppéde” that sits visible in the hillside. And what strikes me beyond even the undisputable beauty, is how little I have to say about it. It’s not because I find it uninspiring. I just can’t believe …

Glasgow, First Impressions

Posted on 2 min read

The young Scotsmen waiting to board their flights all have the same haircut: buzzed on the sides, cropped short to middle length on the top. It’s jarring only in its mass coordination, as if an entire demographic decided to replicate a specific footballer. The officer working passport control is friendly and chats with me about his trips to Minneapolis.   “Welcome to balmy Scotland,” he says, as he hands the passport back to me. The taxi drive into Glasgow is shockingly colorless. And it’s only after I’m dropped off at my hotel and I explore on foot that I begin to get a feel for the place. All the buildings …