15-04-20 – One Week, 4 Marathons

I went to Boston to see my parents this Sunday, quite forgetting that today was the Boston Marathon. It was mighty cold as a spectator at the penultimate hill (the one in Newton before Heartbreak Hill). However it was extremely appropriate that I ended this stretch of time with this, my fourth marathon.  Of the four that I saw, it is the oldest.  The Boston Marathon was first run in 1897 and is the world’s oldest annual marathon race. It has never been cancelled, even during World Wars 1 and 2.

Now the original and still first definition of a marathon is a foot race on a road that goes a distance of 26 miles and 385 yards. However, over the years the definition has expanded to embrace a task of very long duration.

The third marathon I saw this week, on Sunday, was an open rehearsal of a one woman piece, by my old and dear friend, Lisa Wolpe, Producing Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company, which she founded in 1993. The show is called Shakespeare and the Alchemy of Gender: In Search Of Shylock. She is on her way to England to perform at Stratford on Avon on April 27th which is one heck of a way to celebrate Katherine and my wedding anniversary! Why a marathon? Back, several years ago (ahem), when I directed Lisa in David Hare’s Fanshen, her interest in Shakespeare was already apparent, as was the fact she was a rare and gifted talent. After college she delved into Shakespeare and in a sense has never come up. This show evolved from a solo show she has been performing for many years and she is still working on it. I doubt she will ever be finished as the best work never is. Down the road, when she brings this piece or it’s companion pieces to your area, or stages a production of Shakespeare or performs, please make sure you see her.

My second marathon, Saturday, was a showing of slightly less long term, but still old friend, Brad Brown. His piece, Love Gasoline, is at GRIDSPACE in Brooklyn through May 25th. This is an extract, if you will, of Brad’s piece, The Look Stains, which he has been working on since 1987. Unavoidably it is about the passage of time and the effects that the interactions of materials, both organic (including humans) and inorganic, have upon each other. His work is in many museums including MOMA, and The National Gallery and he has also been published. Again please check out his work.

Finally, my first marathon is from my “youngest” friend (and actually it will probably please her to know that is an accurate temporal statement in all senses of the word), Andra Watkins. If you are a regular reader of QH, you know Andra already. If not, she is the author of a novel,To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis and a memoir/travel book, Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace. This marathon was a Thursday production, the day I received her latest book, Natchez Trace: Tracks in Time A Book of Photography. These three books are linked and you should read them all, in sequence if possible. After, To Live Forever, was published, Andra conceived of the idea that the best way to publicize the book, which takes place for the most part on The Natchez Trace, was to be the first living human to walk the whole thing. This used to be commonplace, although the sensible and/or well off folk rode horses. She used the opportunity to rebuild her relationship with her father which led to Not Without My Father. Now if you are walking 15 miles a day, everyday, you have lots of time on your hands. Sensibly she used the time to take photographs. They are an excellent documentation of the Trace and quite worth seeing even if, unadvisedly, you do not get the first two volumes in the trilogy…

So, just writing this has tired me out. For me and the QH, this is a marathon of words. Five Marathons in one week?








Andra at The Jones Library

Wednesday – The Jones Library – Amherst, MA, GO! Make a long distance memory with me.

Andra at The Jones Library.

9-11-14 Dichotomy

Katherine and I went to the The New Museum on Sunday to see the “Here and Elsewhere, a major exhibition of contemporary art from and about the Arab world.”

It is an extraordinary exhibit especially for anyone who believes that there is anything resembling a monolithic view in the culture of the Arab world in the 21st Century. On first view I particularly appreciated the work of  Hashem El MadaniFouad ElkouryTanya Habjouqa; and Ziad Antar but it is a massive exhibit and I intend to return before it closes on September 28th.

That has nothing to do with dichotomy. The exterior of the New Museum on the other hand…


What brought this all to my mind however is something that happened last night. As many of you know I am a big supporter of Andra Watkins, the bad ass Accidental Cootchie Mama and her first book, To Live Forever An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis

Andra did a reading last night at The New England Mobile Book Fair. If you know Andra at all, you know she is a quintessential, if twisted, SG (Southern Girl). Who showed up but my parents, who while not being Northern WASPS, exemplify the Yankee spirit.

As nearly as I can tell, a wonderful time was had by all. My parents tell me Andra is a born performer and gives great book tour.  They bought a book, they posed for pictures and then all went home for a good night sleep.

If Andra comes to your town, my parents say: “Two thumbs up! Check her out!”

9-10-14 Hey, You, Boston Metro Area Folk!!!

You can still make it to this event at the New England Mobile Book Fair

My friend Andra Watkins says:” If you’ve convinced any members of your Boston area family/friends to read To Live Forever, I’m having an event at New England Mobile Book Fair tonight, September 10, at 7pm. I’ll talk about my Natchez Trace walk and show photos, and we’ll have drinks and nibbles, plus I can sign books for anyone who has one (or for anyone who wants to buy one at the event.) Please tell them I will make my Southern accent extra special.”
If you can, go see her and say hi for me.

To Live Forever Tour Stop: Ross Barnett Reservoir

The continuing adventures of The Accidental Cootchie Mama

The Accidental Cootchie Mama

When Em and Merry flee a certain mode of transportation in the rain, they find themselves on the shores of the Ross Barnett Reservoir. 33,000 acres of water. A full eight miles of Natchez Trace along its banks.

I was lucky enough to walk its length in daylight. No rain. Majestic herons flew along its shoreline, while geese lounged on one bank. I asked several folks if they had any luck with fishing, and I marveled at power boats that disappeared on the horizon.

While Em and Merry skirt the lake in record time, it took me several hours to walk its length. I listened to their voices splash with the waves. And I breathed deep. I even paused to survey all that glorious water.

I wasn’t running from anyone. Maybe that’s why walking The Rez was one of my most peaceful days on the Natchez Trace.

Click here…

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3-7-14 A New Perspective On The Weekly Photo Challenge

The challenge this week, as you might have guessed, is perspective. This is an interesting challenge because there are so many ways into it.  Here are just a few from Merriam-Webster:

1 a : the technique or process of representing on a plane or curved surface the spatial relation of objects as they might appear to the eye; specifically : representation in a drawing or painting of parallel lines as converging in order to give the illusion of depth and distance
b : a picture in perspective
2 a : the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed <places the issues in proper perspective>; also : point of view
b : the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance <trying to maintain my perspective>
3 a : a visible scene; especially : one giving a distinctive impression of distance : vista
b : a mental view or prospect <to gain a broader perspective on the international scene — Current Biography>
4: the appearance to the eye of objects in respect to their relative distance and positions

Many different ways to go here. I think I will be returning to this all week, although I may have a different perspective on that tomorrow.

Perspective #1


The view (perspective) here is tight and close. Can you tell what it is? (without looking down that is.)


If we pull back and change our perspective

Perspective #2


I took these shots for the Amy Arbus class assignment “timeless”. I thought that bread making was pretty much a timeless activity. I also thought that it was probably pretty damn near impossible to shoot self portraits of bread making and come out with a good loaf of bread, good photographs, and a clean camera. I was right. The bread dough was so overworked I had to dispose of it. The camera survived, and I think I may have come out with a few good photographs. Perhaps I will show them someday.

Here are some other perspectives on perspective:













3-6-14 Spring Forward

Since we spring forward this weekend, I thought I would take one more look at winter. I’m sure this has happened other times during the winter but I never saw it before. Two days ago I was walking through Bryant Park and passed by the fountain. It was a cold day.


A really cold day.


My friend Andra who is walking The Natchez Trace is having not great weather but at least she doesn’t have to deal with 18 degree weather. On her blog this morning, she was kind enough to answer i question I sent her. Check out her blog and check out her book!


3-1-14 A Public Service

It seems like weeks since we have had snow in the northeast.  The weather folks are predicting that somewhere between 1 inch and 12 inches will fall from Sunday into Monday (way to cover yourselves, guys…)

Since you may have forgotten what a snow storm looks like I thought I might remind you.

Public Service-1

Since I know that no one can read everything in a day I thought I would remind you that Andra Watkin’s novel


was released today

You can read more about it at Andra’s place (Andra Watkins)

11-11-11 The First Lighthouse Of The Hudson

A story accompanies the post today, written by Andra Watkins, author of The Accidental Cootchie Mama. Andra has spent the week writing “Stories About My Father” and asked me to participate today. She has written a truly lovely story. Please follow this link to experience both pieces of the work. I suggest you read the story first and then come back here to view the slide show. Thanks to Andra for inviting me to contribute in a small way to her work.

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N.B For those who are worried that I have abandoned my Hudson River roots, have no fear. The First Lighthouse on the Hudson River.