Friday, December 31, 2010

Expanding Waist

A sad moment is when I take out with much anticipation a very favorite dress to wear for the night out that I hadn’t worn for a few years and find that I no long fit into it -- however hard I struggle. I get furious and scream “damn you,” though I am myself to be damned for allowing my waist to wax rather than wane. If I wore it more often, it might have remained fit, I wonder.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Heavy snow in NYC - ニューヨークの大雪

Like white cowrie shells
those snow-covered cars in tow
inching along the street.


Friday, December 10, 2010


The more secrets we harbor, the more anxiety we nourish lest the secrets get exposed, and the more we become desperate for security measures; then, the more we prompt curiosity and suspicion and eventually reconnaissance among others. This goes for governments. Climate of fear brews animosities. Establishing an amicable relationship among peoples and nations automatically removes a need for espionage. So, there.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Criticism is more often understood as censure. “Don’t be so critical,” we hear people say, by which is meant, “Don’t be so judgmental.” Critics are therefore expected to pass a value judgment on the work they criticize. But this is not exactly what critics should be doing. In my opinion, the critic’s primary task is exegesis. The critic explicates; she excavates layer by layer like an archeologist and exposes the significance of the work under consideration that a casual reader or viewer is likely to overlook or ignore. Lesser works are less likely to fall in the critic’s hands because they provide less matter of interest to expose. Therefore, it is by not choosing to discuss certain works that the critic affirms the merit of the work she selects for discussion and by default belittles the works she ignores. It is at once nasty and futile, and totally uncalled for, to censure a work in publication, except when it is necessary to counter the prevailing but false favorable reviews. Negative criticism is useful most of all in the private discussion with the author of the work when the latter is disposed to listen, as in the teacher’s “crit” of a student’s work. Above all, the critic should eschew writing about a work she dislikes, or feel disinclined to like, by her personal predilection. Reasons for liking a work brings out more in the work; they interpret. Reasons for disliking a work may explain the critic’s taste but not the work’s merit.

Window shopping

New York is a wonderful place to go shopping with all its glamorous shops with endless variety of consumer goods, if you can afford to shop, or, if not, go window shopping to delight your eyes. But, ironically, by the time I made a complete move to the city, at 77, I found myself with very little interest in shopping. It is probably true that material needs diminish in old age. I don’t need new dresses as for now; I have more accessories than I can use; I have no room for new furnishings. I never had appetite for luxury items, though I used to buy modestly priced works of art. Now, I have no more wall space left in my apartment for even one more picture; I disposed of a stack when I moved out of the house in Swarthmore. My appliances and electronics are all still in good shape; I replaced some of them when I moved in the apartment. I still buy some books, CDs, and DVDs; but space for them is also running out. This is all perfect because my disposable income goes heavily into theater tickets, leaving little for anything else. Consequently, I have also lost appetite for window shopping, because without a prospect of future shopping there is not much need for scouting for new things to buy. Beautiful apparels in shop windows are beautiful; but I am not enticed. It is true that my wardrobe gets out of fashion year by year, and window shopping keeps sharpening one’s discriminating taste. But, to quote Coco Chanel, “La mode c’est ce qui se démode,” and I have a certain taste for a select "mode démodée." I dabble in the art of looking presentable, if not more or less elegant, in an outdated, and often inexpensive, outfit. I manage. New York for me is not for shopping or window shopping. Well, if I had a windfall of inheritance, I'm sure I'll change.