library ladders and a good writer

I just read a delight­ful piece in the times. I had­n’t real­ly been cap­tured by one of the CITY arti­cles quite like this one. The writ­ing con­jured up sounds and smells that made me feel quite warm inside, like a silky bit­ter hot cocoa. The piece was writ­ten by Car­o­line H. Dworin whose oth­er work can be found at her web­site. You should read her work, because as she so sim­ply says, ” She is a good writer, and she means well.”

This sto­ry remind­ed me of the moments in Har­ry Pot­ter where he goes to Mr. Olli­van­der wand shop. Mr Olli­van­der climbs a lad­der and reach­es around many card­board box­es look­ing for Har­ry’s wand. I also thought of the numer­ous fab­u­lous art stores with wood­en floors and lad­ders to reach stores of lith­o­g­ra­phy inks and papers.

This is just one of the glo­ri­ous insights into a place where time stands still and qual­i­ty of mate­ri­als and prod­uct are part of what defines the Put­nam culture.

This floor is an orphan­age of bro­ken lad­ders, the bleak­er ver­sion of those below. Gregg still res­cues lad­ders from clos­ing busi­ness­es, and some­times even buys them back for $25 or $50. Once, while hav­ing din­ner in a down­town restau­rant, he spied one through the win­dow of a clos­ing book­shop, and wrote a let­ter to the own­er ask­ing to reclaim it. His friends and fam­i­ly are mys­ti­fied by this abil­i­ty to pick out his lad­ders from a dis­tance, as if respond­ing to some low-fre­quen­cy cry.

Most­ly I thought of this mag­i­cal way that the lad­ders still speak to their makers.

You might want to order a lad­der while you still can. Who knows how much longer they can hold off progress.

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photobooth saves the day

We were head­ing to Pitts­burgh to meet with heavy­bub­ble agent #1 Matthew Naftzger. Mar­garet got the Red­cap at 30th Street Sta­tion and I drove off to park the car. By the time I walked from the garage at 17th and Chan­cel­lor back to 30th Street our bags were on a dol­ly and our Red­cap was wait­ing for me to arrive.

We took the ele­va­tor down to the plat­form and board­ed our wait­ing train. It was dark and most of the pas­sen­gers were nap­ping recov­er­ing from their ear­li­er start I guessed. We tossed our lug­gage over­head and then set­tled into our seats with a cou­ple bot­tles of water and I put on my bright pink trav­el Crocs.

I put some of my small tech­nol­o­gy — cam­era, ipod, and ear­buds, in the elas­tic fish­net pock­et on the back of the seat in front of me. Set­tling in to watch the train depar­ture from Philadel­phia to points west.

As we pulled out from under the sta­tion to the sur­face of west philadel­phia I began to look up at the pass­ing neigh­bor­hoods. I was engrossed in the view of pass­ing rooftops. Time passed and we mean­dered through the sub­urbs and then burst through to the farm land of Lan­cast­er. I reached for my cam­era to catch an image of a four horse team work­ing an Amish farm. Turned the cam­era on and noth­ing hap­pened! All kinds of things went through my head, “Crap, did I drop it?” … Then it came to me like a water bal­loon on my head — I had left the bat­tery in the charg­er, plugged into the wall recep­ta­cle in the stu­dio. I could see it in my minds eye.

No pho­tos on the out­bound trip. Maybe I could get a bat­tery and charg­er in Pitts­burgh. I have my lap­top, I’ll google for a store. Wait, I HAVE MY LAPTOP. Lucky me. My Mac­book Pro could act as my cam­era. I opened ‘er up and launched Apple’s Pho­to­Booth app. My lit­tle built in cam­era turned on. Yippie!

The image cap­ture expe­ri­ence became more fun. I even took a cou­ple short test movies to play with and here’s one for you to take a look at. This clip is all about rhythm. The pat­ter of light, the famil­iar sound of the rails, the change in sound and light when one car ends and anoth­er begins.

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