Friday, January 21, 2022

Using 6 Words (and an Image) to Tell a Story

Sunset, facing East, reflecting off Queens.

I'm fascinated by six-word stories. (I consider hyphenated modifiers two words.) 

Entire website ecosystems promote the practice.

There's a masterclass for hopeful practitioners.

Then there's me and my photos. Following are twelve six-word captions. There's more at #6wordcaption on Instagram.

Reflecting on First Avenue's infinite possibilities.

Returning home in March 2020, forever.

I stood alone, surrounded by history.

Gazing at Bethlehem's Star over Teaneck.


Suspended between NYC and New Jersey.

We all used to be puppies.


Mom, waiting for me to return.

I will never understand my cat.


Morning drama at the East Balcony.

Found a waterfall on 51st Street.


Pedal swans waiting for tonight's storm.

My grandfather's workshop, which never ages.


Saturday, January 8, 2022

I Can Be a Hero...

On exhibit at Fotografiska NY in 2020:
Ellen von Unwerth's photo of David Bowie and Kate Moss.

... Just for one day.

Have you ever had a social media post go viral?

I experienced that on a small scale earlier today, with this Twitter post of a throwback photo of the epic Jersey City mural by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra:

Bowie's artistry deserves universal praise, so tributes on what would have been his 75th birthday meant something to many.

What I particularly admire is how Bowie remained productive, provocative and relevant as he grew older. I only wish I could be as creative.

His song "Life on Mars" gives me chills. I parroted it (without reference to Hermione Farthingale's hair) as part of a writing exercise this past April (read more here and here). New Jersey poet Alicia Cook had provided a prompt to write a poem with the line "life only exists where there's water."

I naturally thought of Mars. It was also days after the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in Minnesota. So for my exercise, I wrote this "Eight Line Poem," named after the song that immediately proceeds "Life on Mars" on Bowie's "Hunky Dory" album.

Is there life on Mars?
Life only exists where there's water,
in lakes hidden below the icy surface.

Here on earth,
it's a God-awful small affair.
Life only exists where we let it:

Take a look at the lawman
beating up the wrong guy.

As I grow older, I've grown to appreciate the limits of my creativity... and relevancy. But every once in a while, I write something or post an image that means something to someone else.

I love the magic of that.

Social media—as dangerous as it's proven to be—is also empowering.

One of the most extraordinary things in my life is that I'm able to publish without permission.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Enzo the Sloth Is the Artist We Need in 2022

A sloth painted this.

Upside down, on his back, holding a brush between two toes.

One grown daughter had ordered this painting by Enzo the Sloth via Etsy as a Christmas gift for my other grown daughter. She loves sloths (and dogs and black cats and T-Rexes) in the same whimsical way her dad loves penguins.

This proved to be the perfect gift for her.

Enzo, naturally, took his time with the project, and there was a bit of a scare he wouldn’t finish by Christmas.

The artist came through, though, to the delight of our entire family.

I’m no expert on sloth art, but I believe this might be Enzo’s masterpiece: a wonderfully expressive self-portrait of the “Enzo” the artist dreams of becoming.

It looks like he’s skateboarding, bringing to mind a BuzzFeed story about what Emma Watson said made her fall in love with Tom Felton while making the “Harry Potter” movies:

“I walked into a room where we were having tutoring,” Emma explained. “The assignment that had been given was to draw what you thought God looked like, and Tom had drawn a girl with a backward cap on a skateboard.”

In Enzo’s self-portrait you can see his two curved toes with arms spread as he speeds through mid-air toward a magnificent, graceful landing. He’s blithe and unencumbered by physical limitations.

There’s no looking back for this sloth.

Enzo is my inspiration for 2022.

A photo of Enzo, masterpiece in progress.