My Snowball Palace in Hell

January 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

Drove 154 home. I simply had no patience nor energy for 9 and knew the grossly impaired motorists would break my heart harder than Monday already had:  quitting time was five-thirty and I left at forty-five past seven. As easy as Thursday and Friday had held me was as toxic as Monday had tackled me.

Me: “I feel terribly.”

SB: “Well, thank you for feeling so terribly – nobody else does.”

To a better Tuesday.

first favorites

January 5, 2014 § Leave a comment

Good work is a gold mine.

The glow hadn’t gone; it stuck around to keep company throughout the weekend. Declining my friends and neighbors, I wanted and kept Sunday to myself in relish of the residual fortune: I had held my own, I had kept my word, and I had physically proved I wasn’t another pussy-footed office-chair pansy.

I hope that construction comes quickly.

And Monday? It still doesn’t exist as far as I’m concerned. But when it does, I’ll have my arms open, slightly still missing the asbestos.

mid-week especial

November 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

Forever in favor of celebrating an oncoming Hump Day: stolen candid smuggling Waterford crystal, donning fake Whalers (RIP) gear. Cheers to a positive downslide of the week.

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capital

November 2, 2013 § Leave a comment

Nice restbit.

Welcome to all wide-open.

I broke up with New York; towards the anniversary of my four (plus plus) years it had become a bad boyfriend. I left a few prints and paintings in the old apartment; I left some furniture, left some clothes. I got out; I made it out – alive. Emergency exits are possible for good reason. The space had served me well – quite well, really, it deserved that credit to its character – but the time had long since come, and I was gone.

Now now now.

Well settled in the state that bore and raised me, the state I love with something so sparklingly separate from novelty, from romanticism; outside the rim of rose-tinted lenses and free from the juvenile sensationalism, achingly obvious and blessedly necessary to one’s late teens and early twenties, I straighten my gaze to the sun, bleeding its final rays across the sky on Summer’s last and bow deeply down to any and all fates involved.

 God is good, and you always knew. You always knew.

(Angles and Angels of) Eightness

November 2, 2013 § Leave a comment

“Beauty and utility are inseparable…what say you, wives, to this?”

Orson Squire Fowler, The Octagon House: A Home For All

The core rendering of the Octagon is the alliance of two squares: the first remains straight; the second is rotated into a diamond shape. Such united squares take on complimentary functions: the diamond evokes activity, arousal; the square enkindles stability and conservation.

Following the key’s handover, the first activity I took was to walk through each room of the house, touching everything. I ran my hands over the walls; the floors, internalizing their angles and irregularities, and opened every window; every set of blinds was drawn and swept aside. The house was – beautifully and instantly – my own geometrically divine paradise island.

The Joseph Williams Octagon was erected within the skinny window of 1853-1855, allegedly by architect/builder Charles Stancliff, descendant of James Stancliff, Portland’s first Englishman ever to settle in town. Measuring 20 feet per side, and 48 feet deep front to rear, the foundations are of brownstone, drawn from the Portland Quarries, covered over with stucco. 18 Inches thick are the walls; ceilings of the rooms 13 feet high.

While the action of building in the octagonal form had occurred as early as the 1630s with the Dutch building a trading post in Trenton, NJ, and as recognizably in 1812, by way of Thomas Jefferson’s Bedford County, VA retreat, it was Orson Squire Fowler whom popularized the style. A phrenologist by trade, Fowler regarded his transition into architecture a most natural progression. Described by the Hartford Courant as the creation of one ‘who wrote sex manuals and believed that a person’s personality could be determined by the shape of his skull’, octagonal houses were a Victorian oddity in the beginning; bright and airy with doors from each main room connecting to adjacent spaces, giving the home a wide openness that shocked the privacy-penchant people of the time. Fowler proposed, amongst other virtues extolled, that when compared with a square, an octagon encloses approximately 20% additional space whilst maintaining the same perimeter.

  

Throughout history, assorted cultures and religious institutions have employed the Octagon shape as a holy form of architectural design. Greek philosopher Pythagoras believed the “eightness” of the Octagon was the “Embracer of harmonies” and linked thus to “safety, steadfastness, and everything that was balanced in the universe.” Within the Octagon, there is a “common area” or “field of awareness of experiences which must be balanced, absurd and learned inside the constraints of meanings and purpose.”

The house is presently maintained by the Ferrara family, whom acquired the property in 1959. “Some rooms are square,” said Ann Ferrara, “there are angles in others.” The Octagon has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places, as is its close neighbor, the Gilbert Stancliff Octagon, since 1976.

“My father loved that house.” Sal Ferrara remarked of the admiration that runs deep; my insistent hand-delivery of rent has secured me a place at his kitchen table. “I’m really glad it’s being appreciated by so young a person.”

Crediting oneself with creation of sacred space is, to say the least, a lofty claim. But to Mr. Fowler, I joyously consent my applause; an echo so melodious from inside an Octagon.

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