Friday, March 28, 2008


We almost spent three days trekking through frozen, snowblown Montréal, but ended up on a bus to Philadelphia instead, from one city's Chinatown to another. On mornings we studied maps, then set out with half-formed plans for the day. I think, now and then, the best vacations are spent dodging museums and monuments and more museums in an effort to discover the more intimate, tucked-away histories of a place. We wandered Center City, Old City, up and down South Street, then in and out of neighborhoods I can't name, dropping into bars and shops and record stores. We saw Oneida play, watched a bedraggled dive bar jazz trio, watched a zombified Jesus strutting around on Easter Sunday (hilarious? inappropriate? both?), sought out cozy restaurants and ate well, drank well, slept unexpectedly well in a hotel bed. Then, on Monday, we left on another bus back to another Chinatown. I don't know, maybe the weekend was uneventful in a storied vacation sense, but hey, sometimes the lazy and impromptu and unscripted respites are the most sorely needed and all that.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I found this in a used copy of Jorie Graham's Region of Unlikeness. These artifacts always excite me and break my heart at the same time. While I don't think I could ever give up a book with a personalized inscription, there's an intimate comfort in knowing that, at some point, another person purchased the book with love. But it makes me wonder: why did Maureen and Marshall need to rid themselves of it? Oh such mystery and history.