Archive for June, 2019

Letter From A Vagabond 06 22 2019 Thoughts inspired by a conversation with friends…

June 22, 2019


For nearly twenty years now or, perhaps as long as twenty years, my friends, Medora and Meryl, and I, gather by phone, for a half hour or hour, whatever it takes or our schedules allow to touch base, to share, seek support and advice, ponder the vagaries of life and of our lives in particular, to celebrate the good moments and hold each other up in the dark moments.

Following one such conversation, I woke the next morning, with a riot of thoughts, and how it was that in the mornings, sometime while consuming the news, absorbing the dreadful state of things, as it usually is, and as it has probably been since time began, I look up from my phone, and realize I am happy, cossetted here in this little cottage, on this island, at this time.

This moment has followed me for most of the last year, as I have wandered the world, a moment, after waking, of contentment, a second of the self at rest, regardless of where I was resting.  It happened in St. Malo, the coastal town in Brittany with which I fell in love, or in Wiesbaden, Oaxaca, Los Angeles, at my friend Larry’s guest house in Stuyvesant. It has been a welcome thread in the past year, anchoring in me the sense I made the right choice in cutting loose the bonds that held me, venturing out into the world again, without the steadying bond of a home.

It was last year, here on the Vineyard, in the “Most Exotic Marigold Hotel” of guesthouses I first noticed it, coming upon me as I lay in bed, reading, gratitude for my life, absorbing, as I age, that I am at peace, mostly, with the hand I have been dealt and the way I played the cards given to me.

Life is never lived perfectly; we lost that option when Adam and Eve took that fateful bite of the apple, but to come to terms with life is a blessing.

Perhaps, still, I will write that novel percolating in my brain, living in snatches on my laptop, perhaps more poetry will find its way to the page.  If not, I think it is okay.

When the time comes, I won’t be holding my hand up, shouting to the grim reaper, not yet, not yet, I still have to…

There really is nothing I have to do; there are things still I would like to do: sail down the Nile, drink a crisp South African white in Cape Town, make another crossing on the Queen Mary II, another stroll around St. Malo.  Those are the things I would like to do but do not have to do.

And, mostly, I have forgiven myself for my human flaws, of which, God knows, there are many.  I do my best, for the most part think I have done my best, mostly imperfectly and that is the way of life.

This is what, I think, age should give us, a chance to reflect and forgive, ourselves and others, who, too, were on their own imperfect paths through this odd thing called life.

























Letter From A Vagabond 06 12 2019 Island thoughts…

June 13, 2019


There has been a struggle going on to get out a “letter.” My thoughts have been Hodge Podge and I couldn’t quite bring anything together.  It’s been frustrating but, well, so is life and the frustration of word smithing is mild compared to the frustrations of living in Syria.

There was an evening that was filled with quiet and the brilliant opalescence of sunset, a slow fade of light into the night, a beauty to be relished as I sat at my makeshift desk in the little Edgartown cottage where I am spending the summer.  Upbeat jazz was playing, and I was tired, a good, having exerted myself a bit kind of tired.

It was sweet.

That was the night, I started writing.  And then something happened out there in the world that interrupted the Zen of my island living and I couldn’t get out a word.  I would flip open my laptop, open the document and stare at the cursor.  Nothing.

Last Thursday and Friday, I did a quick trip to Washington, D.C. for a meeting with WETA, with my friend Dalton, about a project, and then back to the Vineyard.

And I am grateful for the sweetness of these Vineyard days.

There was a morning when I woke before the alarm to a slightly foggy early Vineyard day, watching it blossom to into the best Vineyard day since I have arrived, crystalline clear, warm but not too warm, a Goldilocks kind of day.

Driving back, another day, from picking up my laundry, up in Vineyard Haven, the opposite side of the island, I was thinking about how sweet it was to be on an island.  Martha’s Vineyard is not a small island, but it is an island, cut off in a way, in a very nice way; the way islands are.

For millennia, I was thinking that morning, artists, writers, politicians have sought islands to find perspective. Sappho found Lesbos.  Tiberius lived on Capri.  Gaugin had Martinique, and then Tahiti. Clinton, then Obama, retreated here during and after their presidencies.

For generations, writers have found Martha’s Vineyard a refuge for thought.  The wonderful Geraldine Brooks, whose novel, “Caleb’s Crossing” is an amazing story, based on true events, of the first Native American to attend Harvard, lives on the island.

Her husband, Tony Horowitz, a Pulitzer Prize winner, lived here, and, while on tour for his new book, “Spying on the South,” dropped dead of a major cardiac event, the kind they call “The Widow Maker.”  Historian David McCollough lives here.

Islands give us an opportunity for perspective. And I am so glad I am on an island this summer, as this is a time when perspective is needed.

On the last leg of the journey, flying towards the Vineyard, returning from DC, I was glad to be coming back, to be cossetted on the Vineyard for the summer, with a sense of safety from the madness on the mainland.

For this bit of time, I have found refuge on Martha’s Vineyard, where there is no vineyard, an island, a little bit out of the mainstream, though terribly much a part of the mainstream in that it attracts movers and shakers but where I am distanced, just a bit, from the idiocy around us.