Around the one-year anniversary of the shutdown, Round Weather, a small gallery in Oakland, put on After the Fire. Two centers of gravity in the exhibit exerted an influence on me, in concert, that made me feel like one eye rotated inward to spelunk in my skull and heard the plinking black of evolutionary and […]


Prone on the floor, I have a vision I have the body of a caterpillar and the head of a pig. My skin and invertebrate inners take the shape of the juts I crawl over, my many legs ripplingly suctioning to surfaces. When I snort and sweep my rude pink snout against the ground to […]

Almost two years ago, inward crisis spilling out led me to look again for help. Where I found help has been asking me to come to my own understanding of a power greater than myself and come into relationship with that power. Again, I essay myself into—into understanding and relation. I want to begin with […]

The nightmare energy in me thought to write about the talking points Noam Chomsky’s been trotting out lately. One of his set pieces these days wonders that human intelligence has invented two methods of self-annihilation, which we now tend toward—nuclear war and global warming—while it has also undermined our only protection—public institutions. I felt, can […]

A scene from a drama keeps occurring to me. The roles are variables, containers for values that satisfy the problem, and can only be cast by the one imagining the drama. That is, this scene can only really be played out in the imagination and then in life, not in photographs, on the stage, page, […]

On my BART commute under the bay to and from the City’s financial district, most of the riders around me are on their devices. Scrolling through Facebook (or, as Jorrit calls it, “MyFace”) and Twitter and Instagram feeds. Skimming and clicking through headlines. Messaging with their quick, coordinated thumbs, tapping or drawing cursive geometries across […]

In this era of post-truth politics, I’ve heard over and over again from those I’m predisposed to listen to the urge to “take back the narrative.” The Moral Majority: take back the narrative. Obamacare: take back the narrative. Entitlement programs: take back the narrative. Free speech: take back the narrative. The ubiquity of the expression, […]

On the other side of Ways of Seeing, I’ve been thinking about how the activity of figure drawing could be an antidote to the visual language of publicity. Surely, formal figure drawing sessions use a set visual vocabulary that belongs to the tradition of oil painting Berger connects to advertisement; the models I’ve drawn usually […]

Walking around the cemetery where the Black Dahlia’s buried, my friend and I talked about romantic love again. I’d revived the topic with him because it’d been poking me and he is one of the few who can remain earnest and uncynical in the face of themes so large, so muddied, so prone to platitudes, […]

“You hear that?” I asked Jorrit as we basked at our Beals Point campsite after breakfast. “That’s the sound of industry and birdsong.” Somewhere a utility vehicle’s back-up beeper was sounding off. The traffic on Auburn-Folsom thrummed, the mean hum lumped only by the whine of speeders and the volcanic farts of beaters and motorcycles. And the birds spoke […]