This is the second part of a two-part Dispatch. The first part is available here.
I navigate by haphazard emotion, glancing over the wonderful cards that describe the provenance of the art, the investments of the rich across centuries. Willem Claesz Heda’s “Still Life with Oysters, a Silver Tazza, and Glassware” has what the title says it has and also a stamped checkerboard knife fitted for Old Dutch clutches, Schermerhorns buying up property on the docks of New York, New Amsterdam, monochrome banquet pieces slapped onto walls like flatscreens, overturned chalices and cutlery, tarnish and husk, the bitter translucent lemon dripping gold leaf citrus, succulent on the table, the pip as acidic as the pupils in my eyes.
This is the first part of a two-part Dispatch. The second part is available here.
“Beginnings are always delightful; the threshold is the place to pause.
My luggage trips over the pavement and the brownstone bella vista is dappled by trees I will soon learn are called Callery Pears, the ones that smell of semen, vulgar but pleasing, high on the listicle of “Disgusting Smelling New York Trees, Ranked,” a sign that I have finally arrived in Brooklyn in proper spring, the jizzy crush of it.
On Wednesday, April 13, at 7 PM, the Forbes Library will host a panel discussion and Q&A with The Common, featuring novelist Edie Meidav, podcast editor Steven Tagle, and Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Acker. Each will read briefly from recent work, discuss balancing the writing and teach life, and talk about The Common‘s role in the literary landscape here in the Valley and around the world.
On Friday, April 8, from 6-9 PM, The Common and the Five College Arabic Initiative will co-host the Fifth Annual Arabic Night. The night will feature the launch of The Common‘s eleventh issue, Tajdeed (Renewal), a special issue dedicated solely to translated contemporary Arabic fiction. In addition, the night will feature Professor John Eisele, professor and Director of the Arabic Studies Program at the College of William and Mary, as well as live Arabic music performed by the Layaali Music Ensemble, a Middle Eastern dinner and various student performances.
Delhi, Dharmshala, McLeod Ganj, Dharmkot. New friends and newer friends over masala chai. Deodar forest in rain. Mist rising. Monkeys on a cold tin roof, scorpions in the corridor, beetles inside clothes, slugs the size and shape of fallen leaves. Clean, spare, sharply elegant—Vipassana. Silence. Thank you for all the blessings, they came in handy.
“I realized these were all the snapshots which our children would look at someday with wonder, thinking their parents had lived smooth, well-ordered lives and got up in the morning to walk proudly on the sidewalks of life, never dreaming the raggedy madness and riot of our actual lives, our actual night, the hell of it, the senseless emptiness.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road