Writing Soothes

Yesterday was a bum day at work. The kind of day that just wrecks your confidence in people and perhaps even your choices. I should have seen it coming, I spent the weekend pining for a house. I’m in ‘nesting’ mode and that usually means long visits to Trulia.com to browse homes upstate. The Poconos, the Catskills, along the Westchester Reservoirs. I spent most of Sunday with football in the background as old ranches on 2.3 acres whizzed by my screen. This one caught my eye…but it was too close to town, too manicured.

Now, I’m priviledged. I live in a condo in fashionable Williamsburg, with a view of arguably the most social park in the city, McCarren Park. …it has resurfaced tennis courts. I can get my hipster on by just walking outside.

But a man isn’t a man until he makes a homestead. Growing up on a teacher’s salary, my family of 7, sometimes 8, moved around a bit, but we stuck to the outskirts. The rural lands where big houses were cheap and easily accommodated a sprawling growing family with not a lot of money. I attended  (seriously) a one-room schoolhouse in Concord, NH, like this one in Croydon.

Anyway, I digress–at work yesterday–I was reminded that when people are ugly, its often when they’re trying to act “pretty” and “nice”. Coupled with my dissatisfaction that I was far away from owning a home (my savings have been consumed by other things this year), and “pretty-ugly” behavior, I felt a kind of ache in my chest.

Finally, I was able to scratch it late last night–by cracking a key chapter of the novel I’m writing. Here are a few of the research materials, below, held up by tall-ship bookends acquired at Brimfield this fall.

Writing soothes the soul. The ache has faded. Writing is a tough and lonely affair, but oh so deeply satisfying.

The Things I Look For

I’m a big fan of projects like the selby that go into folks homes and muck about until you form some sort of impression of them. Having a bit of a background in ethnography, I thought I would introduce myself through some visual observations–a quick tour of my some cherished things. Now, since I’m showing you around, you’ll have to take my word for it when I tell you I out-smarted the antique salesman in the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul to buy this Ottoman Empire stamp (its true!).

I will do an extended post on my Turkey visit in the near future, but here are pictures of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul where aforementioned stamp was purchased. We bought a number of rugs, and textiles. Half the fun was in the bargaining.

Haggling for Kilims

Here are the three watches I own: a Luminox Navy Seal 3000, vintage Omega dress watch, Bell & Ross Vintage 126 XL.

They range from sport casual to dress, but each has a pedigree that says quality, craftmanship, heritage and utility. I once was in an airport in the gulf of Florida when a self-professed watch fanatic came up to me and asked me about my Luminox. He was gushing, wanted to know if i was military. I told him they weren’t that hard to come by–but he was willing to trade me his Rolex right off his watch. He struck me as one of those impulsive guys with a lot of money who didn’t care about the details. I couldn’t in good conscience trade a $200 watch for a $5000 one, though i was tempted.

Luminox is 16-yr old company, Swiss-made, and got on the map by becoming the official time instrument of the US Navy Seals. Bell & Ross, known more recently for its square dial and crown, is actually just a twenty-year old brand. Omega, of course, is much older, founded in 1848. Vintage Omegas from the 40s, 50s, and 60s have recently come into vogue and can be had at very affordable prices, far under 1k. I got mine at Jack Spade in New York on Warren Street. As a veteran in advertising, I’m partial to great brands. Legacy (or story) + Quality+ Design + Exclusivity = love it.