July 10th, 2009
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Dear Shridhar,
I received your package last week in the mail. I should tell you that it is quite fun to receive packages here in the countryside of canada because you must go down to the post office and then walk home with treasures in hand, wondering the whole time what they are and who sent them. It is quite exciting to receive something from Bombay and I thought quite a bit what a contrast it must be for the package. What has the package seen and heard on it’s travels?
I imagine the streets of Bombay crowded, hot and full of color and life, (maybe a few animals). The sounds must be overwhelming at times, car horns, people yelling. Are there plenty of street vendors, what kind of food are they selling? Richly spiced things, with cold drinks to save travelers from the heat. How I would love to be there if only for a few minutes.
While the center of this tiny town is often quiet and lacking in excitement, save for a few summer tourists stopping into the bakery for a coffee and a pastry. It has it’s own sleepy charm I suppose. Just a short walk from the past office is a swimming pond, usually filled with a few screaming and happy children at this time of year. The smell of the ponds is a definite Ontario delicacy, green and earthy, I would bottle it if I could and wear it as a perfume.
So I wander slowly home and excitedly open your package, which I must say came at a most appropriate time given that I was in between books and unsure of which way to proceed next. The slightly dog-eared copy you provided was the perfect thing. Do you know I almost always let the universe tell me what I should read next? It comes in the form of recommendations from strangers, or serendipity. This is the best way to read. I also prefer previously read volumes as they seem to contain some of the energy of the last reader, their thoughts may be still stuck on some of the pages and flitting about around the margins.
So some things I wanted to tell you and as I am lacking in time a list might be best.
1. I have heard that imaginary voice speaking to me also, through all of my favorite authors at various times.
2. Wong Kar Wai is also one of my favorites. Ever shot is like a painting.
3. I am enjoying “how are things?” very much. It reminds me quite a lot of “the species of spaces” by Georges Perec. If you haven’t read it you must go out and find it now! I am sure you will fall in love with it and want to carry it around with you.
4. I love that you carry Calvino around with you. I do that to with certain books, even if I don’t have time to read them. I think that maybe the words will affect my day somehow, seep into my body when I’m not looking.
5. I very much love the wall hanging! It is hanging on our front porch, a pocket for special things. Your letter is in it.
6. Congratulations on joining the plot to take over the world. You are right it is our plot now. All the best to us.
All the best to us.
a most gracious thank you to you. I am so very grateful for your words and your special spirit. I have no doubt that I will see your brilliant films on the big screen some day.

June 24th, 2009
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i like any kind of plastic grid-like material. like orange construction fencing. this held some kind of fruit. or maybe it was onions, i can’t remember.
i don’t know why I am drawn to these things but i am. i also love orange rope and those thin orange sticks they put into the ground on construction sites.
my thoughts are very scattered these days. I keep sitting down to write and my brain gets too anxious. (maybe it’s because I am reading too much Bucky, the forward written by his grandson states that reading him can be a bit “disorienting”.) I love that he constantly made up his own words to get his ideas across. you kind of have to “see the bigger picture” with him, instead of trying to decipher each sentence and find meaning in it. it’s better to find meaning in the greater whole.
i have been working on purging “stuff”, and get a bit overwhelmed by the process of it. there is a point where you have to push through and get past the “stuckness”. you can also apply this concept to creating something, as there are often block that come up that make you want to quit. you get overwhelmed at some point and think “this is not working”, I’m not very good at it. but what you don’t know at the time is that the place you have to push through to is very close, just inches or minutes away. it might be a simple as moving one item. but you don’t know that because you’re stuck on the side of uncompletion which feels bad (read: self criticism). those of you reading this who have given birth may recall that the moment most women want to quit is right at the point of “transition”, (when the body is coming through the birth canal). But at that point you are almost done!
this is why it has become so helpful to me to perceive everything as an experiment. because the next step then becomes about trying anything. just make a move no matter what it is and a different conclusion than the one you are faced with will arise.

June 17th, 2009
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from the American Book Center in Amsterdam, (just voted the best bookstore in the world by a newspaper in Ireland).
it’s my birthday in a few days and this is a really great early present for me. I wish I was there in person to see it. (I love that it looks like they caught a couple in the throes of a kiss but they are just walking past each other.)
it may be hard to read but the display is of this image.

June 11th, 2009
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I made a small change this week that has made my life a bit better. (I’m not talking about the wallet, though I should report that that is going really well also. i no longer overstuff because you can’t or you will break it.) Whenever I would go out into the world I would bring my journal with me everywhere, (which I still love to do). I have always been a big advocate of the “one book” for everything, and I still am. But while browsing in a bookstore I found these tiny little moleskins and decided to conduct an experiment. These books are so small they fit in all my pockets so I can bring them everywhere without having to lug around my heavy journal. I always have a fear of not being able to write something down. So if I get an idea while in the woods, as I often do, I just reach into my pocket to jot it down (I admit I was afraid to try this). And the best part is these little books get placed into my bigger book (into a handmade pocket), so that the ideas are not separated from the bigger picture. The one book lives! It’s ingenious. It’s light. It’s spontaneous.
I love anything that can fit in my pockets.

June 8th, 2009
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Some amazing ideas at the idea tank, from the Buckminster Fuller Challenge. Makes me go crazy with ideas for changing the world.
I just ordered the re-released version of Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. I am entering into research mode again. *Please let me know if you have any recommendations based on what you have seen me write about on this site (specifically Perec, Munari, David Abram, Fuller, Bachelard, etc.).

June 5th, 2009
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“As the industry nears its 100,000th post-recession layoff, dragging newspapers, magazine and television with it, it’s become apparent that selling ad space is an unsustainable revenue model for media as a whole. It is from the chaos of this moment that the relationship between content and capital will be defined for generations to come. Either quality content and valuable journalism will prevail, or a failing ad industry will survive by cannibalizing faltering media outlets: pitting the sponsored versus the authentic in a deathmatch for attention, relevance and the almighty dollar.”
Douglas Haddow from the article “Pop Nihilism -Advertising Eats Itself” in Adbusters #84

May 31st, 2009
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i feel too busy, yet not productive. some days it feels like I can never get anything done, (should I say some months?)
my little man is not sleeping soundly at night and so I am very tired on top of it. walk around in a daze.
I did get out for a walk in the woods yesterday, alone. it felt really good. i must take the time to do it more. i can feel the well filling up slowly again, it’s felt a bit empty lately. I never worry about it too much when that happens. it’s just part of the process. I just wait for the excitement to come back and it always does. a project idea comes in and then I am unstoppable.
been cooking a lot. I like the Candle Cafe Cookbook. today for lunch, kale and red pepper slaw with tofu, which we make all the time. we’ve been having a lot of different salads, made with everything you can think of. my goal is to make salads out of every kind of vegetable.
so good.
the baby wakes.
p.s. have a gander at THIS mini trailer home (though not very portable).

May 28th, 2009
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this tiny house
article my secret to living with less
the hermitage
you’ve probably seen these ones already, tumbleweed.
coming unmoored.
on a different note but related, are you a “wallet overstuffer”? I have been one for many years now. Here is a solution I am going to try as an experiment. the jimi. I’ll let you know how it goes.
here is an interview I did for PBS.

May 25th, 2009
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so little time to write these days. we are outside so much more. exploring. everything in the world is new. T experienced sand for the first time yesterday and it was life changing. he just sat and stared and ran it through his hands for twenty minutes with no signs of stopping. I think he would still be there if we hadn’t picked him up to take him home.
I have become totally obsessed with small living spaces. this is not new for me, just revisited every so often. In part as we have been paring down our worldly possessions for a while now. I aim to live as minimally as possible. there is a weight associated with owning and storing things, and I feel much lighter to let go of attachment. much lighter.
My husband and I have a dream of traveling around in a tiny camper for a year (this came from reading Emily Carr’s journals about her little grey elephant, a camper she used for writing and painting on location). this is yet to be a reality because in order to tow anything you need a car with a bigger engine (read: not fuel efficient), which kind of defeats the purpose for us. The environment is a factor in living as a nomad for a time. So we wait until something a bit greener emerges. Here is my dream pad, a Tonke camper from Holland (sadly it is too pricey and requires a big truck bed):

we have looked at every possible configuration and not found any environmentally friendly/affordable option. either there are construction problems, (offgassing, made with cheap materials), or they are too heavy to tow with a lighter vehicle.
so it is still a dream. but it’s a nice dream to have.
I’ve also been reading some interesting stuff about Berber houses in Morocco and Algeria. I love that each part of their small houses have symbolic meaning, and ritualistic purpose. But most importantly every part has an important daily function. No part goes unused, or has more than is needed. If only all houses were this well thought out.
an aside:
We met a friendly Berber man while traveling in Morocco, in the town that is almost entirely blue, Chefchaouen. he taught me how to tie a proper Berber turban. it was a magical moment in a magical town where the air smelled of cedar woodsmoke, and tasted like overly sweet mint tea. One day I would love to go up into the hills there and meet more of the Berber people. You could see them coming down the mountain with their donkeys and bright clothing to sell their wares (woven carpets).

p.s. One of my readers brought up the point that “the Tonke, looks great, and would probably be a joy to travel around in, but aside from the towing engines not being fuel efficient, as you mentioned, it is also made out of rainforest woods: teak and mahogany. Rainforest destruction accounts for roughly 20-25% of global greenhouse gas emissions, not to mention irreparable damage to delicate ecosystems and biodiversity.” an important point. (thanks for that Olga!)

May 18th, 2009
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I very excited and flattered that my design won a recent competition at Social Designer.com! The challenge was to design a tote bag using type that had a green message. A percentage of profits from all sold will go to Global Green, a charity that aims to “foster a global value shift toward a sustainable and secure future by reconnecting humanity with the environment.” (Very much like myself).

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