Monday, February 26, 2018

Week in Seven Words #386

The conference room smells like grease, leather, and aftershave. The attendees, mostly men, scarf down pizza and sit on colorful plastic chairs. They're talking about cutting-edge technology, while pretending that they're in a school cafeteria. There are board games stacked on every table.

The giant seated ballerina looks like a float that broke off from a parade and came to rest among skyscrapers.

Ten years ago, did you imagine your life as it is now? (When I ask her this, she shakes her head and frowns.) So that means that ten years from now, your life may also become something you can't currently imagine. Hopefully in a good way. You aren't stuck.

After demanding that he prove his identity, they ask him a bunch of questions about himself. Like, "What's your nickname for string cheese?" He answers each one, but they look skeptical, telling him that they're not sure it's really him. These are the kind of mind games older siblings come up with.

Building a fragile trust with the baby, who smiles with saliva-bubbly lips and then breaks into a wail.

Sunlight, green leaves, and a pale gray pond in the early morning.

Balloons float off into a dusky sky as the orchestra warms up.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Five Short Stories Set on Staten Island

Staten Island is an underrated borough, sometimes talked about as if it's basically a landfill with some homes. However, there are beautiful places on the island, like these:



And there are plenty of interesting stories to be told there. The ones here are from a collection called Staten Island Noir (part of the Akashic Books noir series, which collects stories about crime and mystery from around the world...). So all of the stories here are dark in nature. A couple are quite funny though. And yes, a landfill plays an important role in a couple of them too (that's inevitable, for Staten Island).

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Week in Seven Words #385

The barefoot woman on the terrace is singing as she arranges her body into meditative poses. Her voice, clear and high, reminds me of the music of Hildegard von Bingen.

The tiramisu melts at the touch of the fork.

I feel like a package on a conveyor belt, directed first to the booth with the camera models, then to a counter for processing the order, followed by another counter for the payment, and then to the pick-up area, until I'm finally deposited through the automatic doors to the curb.

The first thing that delights him about the trip is the length between stops for the express train. For her, it's the garden where she hovers over flowers with her camera.

Exploring an herb garden: the spidery magic of milk thistle, and sharp, refreshing scents of rosemary and sage. The gardener gives a talk on women's medicine in the Middle Ages, including plants, like birthwort, that led to serious health problems. At one point, she begins referring to menses by its old-fashioned euphemism, "the flowers." Someone becomes confused about which flowers she's discussing.

The accuracy of the text is questionable, but the illustrations are compelling, inviting the reader to discover obscure connections between plants and people.

Her horror story begins with a man sitting alone on a boulder in the woods. It ends with a giant, murderous avocado bursting through a kitchen door.