After reading Michael McGirr’s wise The Glory of a Summer Sleep in the New York Times, we thought, Yes, our brain is tired from daily writing, we need to take some time off to refresh.  McGirr writes:

 A wanton slumber on a hot afternoon offers the luxurious expanse of wasted time. The world can keep turning without us for a while.


Then we got a notice for Jury Duty and we found a trove of essential, time-sensitive tasks that had fallen by the wayside. How could we plough through these obligations AND rest in a beachy, refreshing way?


Florine Stettheimer ‘Asbury Park South’; Collection of Halley K. Harrisburg and Michael Rosenfeld, New York

We took a cue from McGirr:

I have learned that when you cannot sleep, the discipline of silence can serve as a substitute, a kind of waking sleep allowing us to let go and live in the present. This does not mean it is passive or vacant. It means we…

…surrender control and begin to listen.

We hatched an experimental plan: we will take time off from writing Improvised Life and interleave the necessary work task with small pleasures we hope will be tiny vacations: Listening as Vacation.

First off, a visit to Painting Poetry, the Florine Stettheimer exhibition at the Jewish Museum, which is a half hour walk away by forests, gardens and a lake (Central Park).  Even the paintings we’ve view online (and have woven in here)  have a languid summer effect that we sorely need.


Florine Stettheimer ‘Birthday Bouquet (Flowers with Snake); The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Kansas City, Missouri


We’re pretty sure that getting DONE with obligatory tasks will prove refreshing.  ESPECIALLY if we lard our necessary busyness with seeing friends, wandering, reading, listening and some silliness, like Kikaku’s haiku written in the seventeenth century:


Summer airing –
    trying on a quilt,
strutting around.


We’ll take naps, knowing the Buson’s amended haiku will come true:

Short nap –
spring summer was gone.



We will be back just after Labor Day.


In the meantime, we invite you to wander through our vast archive/attic full of ideas, poetry, people, art, invention…


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