March 19th, 2014 | 8:00am

 

His friends ask us why we’d go to Liverpool. We don’t have an answer to give them and I forget the true one. We look at each other, shrug and say we’d heard it’s the most romantic city in the world.

 

March 18th, 2014 | 8:00am

 

On the last day of the conference, we take a short bus ride to Woonsocket, Rhode Island, a sleepy town in the Blackstone Valley, just south of the Massachusetts state line. Situated along the Blackstone River and close to the Eastern Seaboard, the area was at the forefront of early American industry, powered first by water and later by steam. Today, a bright winter afternoon in February, snow melting underneath a clear uncurtained sky, the town center of slow-moving traffic and brick storefronts fringed with weathered canvas awnings has the distilled reverie of an elegy.  

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Dieter Ziernig
March 12th, 2014 | 8:00am

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Dieter Ziernig

Baku is a city intent on reinventing itself block by steady block. Apartment high-rises and office buildings from the Soviet ‘70s -- pock-marked and stained gray by pollution -- are transformed in white stone at a frightening pace. Baku today reminds me more of Vienna or Zagreb than a former Soviet republic that clings to the edge of the Caspian Sea.

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March 11th, 2014 | 8:00am

1.     The Origin of the Species.

 

Put the yellow kettle on. Ignore the floors in desperate need of cleaning. Fill the small metal base of the Bialetti with water (just to the safety valve). Spoon coffee from the ice-cold Viennese candy tin into the funnel. Screw the top on (tight, but not too much so) and put it on the stove. Don’t let the flame overtake it. Tuck the yellow and green-leafed curtain behind its hook. Look out at the ugly building across the way, the Greek and American flags, the third floor doors to an abandoned idea of balconies.