Saturday, August 28, 2010


aspiration-painting2 Self-help sections of bookstores are crowded with two types of books: those promising a way back (with -ing in the subject: recovering, healing) and those promising a way forward (with –al in the subject: motivational, inspirational).  At the far end of the latter lie the Aspirational guides to becoming who you aren’t.


An insightful essay, author and title long forgotten, celebrated the bittersweet rise of aspirational journalism: glossy magazines filled with watches you’ll never wear, car’s you’ll never drive, parties you will never be invited to.  The Tyler Brule sort of existence.

Aspirational literature is different: it seems to bring distant things within your grasp.  Travel, art, languages, cooking, all the things we could do, could become, if we only had the time.

DRH - NM Watercolor I have a list, scribbled stubbornly in the margins of my to-do lists: Read, Write, Teach, Sail, Travel, Paint.  “Learn Dutch” is now the lucky seventh.  This vacation week, I scored high: I finished a (not very good) novel that I’ve been plodding through, polished off a watercolor painting, traveled to Sweden, and sailed the Archipelago.

‘not a bad week, as things go.

‘Aspirate” is also to push out an obstruction with a strong burst of air.  Maybe it’s the happy sigh that comes from a good vacation.  And, perhaps, a good vacation is one that let’s you become who you could be.


Title painting by Madhavi Sivan, artist

Bottom painting by me, aspiring.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Stockholm by night

Okay, off to the boat!  Stockholm has been wonderful for a couple of days, ‘hope the weather holds in the Archipelago.  A quieter night last night, too: the Classic American Car show that has been roaring through our quarter seems to have rolled on after the weekend.  The cars were wonderful while they lasted though…