Archives for posts with tag: Silver Birch photo


I have been black and blue in some spot, somewhere, almost all my life from too intimate contact with my own furniture.” FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT

I lived for many years on the Far Northwest Side of Chicago, about 10 minutes from Oak Park, Illinois — site of many historic buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Since I have seen first-hand much of the unpadded, upright furniture of whence Wright speaks, the above quote makes me smile.

But, for me, the quote has deeper meaning. What writer, poet, or other artist hasn’t ended up black and blue in some spot or another from his or her own creations? I have always been interested in the artist’s relationship to the artwork — a concept explored in a profound way in Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein.

Are we responsible for our creations? Do they have a life of their own apart from us? Does our art change us — or is it merely an expression of who we are? More on these thoughts in upcoming posts. In the meantime, feel free to leave comments! I’d love to hear what you think.

Photo by Silver Birch (Street Art, Vermont & Sunset, Los Angeles)


…human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”

Excerpt from Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Photo by Silver Birch (Olvera Street, Day of Dead Celebration)


According to Fred E.H. Schroeder, in an article for The Guide to United States Popular Culture, concrete lawn geese  arrived in Kentucky and Pennsylvania around 1980. The phenomenon soon spread to dressing up the stone (and later plastic) avians. According to articles in the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune, the goose fashion fad originated in the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, or Ohio — no one is sure). Some owners buy complete wardrobes for their geese — with a definite leaning toward holiday attire. (For more about the history of lawn geese, click this link.)

(Photo by Silver Birch shot with disposable 35mm camera on the Far Northwest Side of Chicago on July 4th a few summers ago. )


“If we walk far enough,” says Dorothy, “I am sure we will sometime come to someplace.”

From The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

(Photo by Silver Birch shot in Griffith Park, Los Angeles)


It’s a great huge game of chess that’s being played — all over the world — if this is the world at all, you know. Oh, what fun it is!”

Alice’s remark from Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

(Photo by Silver Birch shot in suburban L.A. shopping mall)


Gnomes live ten times faster than humans. They’re harder to see than a high-speed mouse. That’s one reason why most humans hardly ever see them. The other is that humans are very good at not seeing things they know aren’t there.”

From Wings (1990) by Terry Prachett — find it here.

(Photo by Silver Birch shot on Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake, Los Angeles)


Wearing a purple scarf  sporting a snowflake motif  — a item of clothing that must have some Bukowski-related sentimental value; if not, cool fashion choice for a summer night in L.A. — Harry Dean Stanton oozed charisma at the Charles Bukowski tribute on June 30th as he shared tales of his encounters with Buk and read from the great writer’s oeuvre.

Harry wrapped up his performance with a song (“Cancion Mixteca”) in Spanish, featured in the iconic film Paris, Texas (1984). In the Wim Wenders masterwork — written by Sam Shepherd — Harry Dean Stanton (as Travis) delivers a compelling monologue about his conception in Paris, Texas. Fellow performer Joan Jobe Smith was eager to meet the actor — because she was born in Paris, Texas. Hear Harry sing the hauntingly beautiful “Cancion Mixteca” at this link.

(Photo by Silver Birch, Los Angeles, June 30, 2012)


At the Charles Bukowski tribute on June 30th, actress Rebecca DeMornay revealed that Buk was — and is — a major influence on her as an actress and writer. With wit and enthusiasm, Rebecca read several Bukowski poems, then returned to the stage at the end of the evening to share her thoughts about Bukowski and women.

Around the time Rebecca started her career in Hollywood in the early 1980s, she began to read Bukowski. People asked how she — an avowed feminist — could applaud the work of someone who portrayed women in a less-than-flattering light. To show that Buk loved and respected women, Rebecca read a Bukowski poem that can only be called a paean to females of the species.

From all women who admire Bukowski — including Wendy Rainey who gave a heartfelt reading at the event — thank you, Rebecca!

(Photo by Silver Birch, Los Angeles, June 30, 2012)


I just finished rereading The Great Gatsby (read it free here) and decided that all the novels I dive into until September will be revisits to favorite books. Next on the list: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates (originally published in 1961).

I picked this novel because it seemed a logical sequel to Gatsby — a sort of “What would have happened if Gatsby had married Daisy?”

This will be my third reading of Revolutionary Road — a novel I consider a prose miracle. And  I’m in good company.

The Great Gatsby of my time…One of the best books by a member of my generation.” Kurt Vonnegut

“Here is more than fine writing; here is what added to fine writing makes a book come immediately, intensely, and brilliantly alive. If more is needed to make a masterpiece in modern American fiction, I am sure I don’t know what it is.” Tennessee Williams

If you want to read along with me, you can find Revolutionary Road here. (Yes, this is the book the Leonardo Di Caprio/Kate Winslet movie was based on — but, as usual, the book is better than the screen version.)

(Silver Birch Photo: Window of dry cleaners, Harlem Avenue, Chicago)


When I moved to California a few summers ago, a beautiful California 10-striped junebug greeted me. It makes sense that the state’s variety is pinstriped and different from the ho-hum solid green types found elsewhere. Celebrate the last day of June 2012 with some June-related activities.

(Photo by Silver Birch shot outside Skylight Books, Los Angeles. Visit Skylight Books here.)