Not Now.


I’ve told this story before here on this blog but I’ll tell it again because it’s one of my favorites.

Many years ago now, I met a guy at a party, a low-key party in someone’s backyard, not a punk rock/dancing on the bar kind party that I was partial to back then. . .

. . . and he was telling me how life used to stress him out like crazy, which he illustrated with a story about a cross-country road trip he took, from Seattle to New York City.

From the time he got Puget Sound in the rearview mirror until he crossed the George Washington Bridge five or six days later, he was constantly worried, freaked out, even, because ALL he could think about was, Where am I going to park when I get home to Manhattan ?

By the end of that road trip, he knew he had to make some changes in his life to reduce the monkey chatter in his brain. So he quit drinking and took up meditation. Not in that order. And he’s been much happier ever since.

Since then, whenever I find myself metaphorically fretting about where I’m going to park my car next week, I remember that guy, and I calm down and look up meditation classes in my area. I haven’t gone to one yet, because meditation sounds hard and I’m never far away from a strong V&T, which I call Meditation in a Glass.

I’m telling this story today because I came across something on the inter webs this week, a post about how much happier we would all be if we could just live in the “Now”.

If you want to get on my last nerve, tell me to live in the “Now”.

This is the kind of pseudo-pith that commonly gets accepted as wisdom, when actually the words only sound as if they mean something. Which, sure, they do, but only if you’re a college freshman and you’re smoking pot for the first time.

This “Now” of which we are supposed to venerate lasts, at most, for 12 seconds (that’s a scientific fact). So, are we supposed to live in 12-second intervals? How is that done, exactly? Give me the details of this “Now”-living, second by second, and proof of its superiority to the past and future, or else shut the fuck up.

Now, there are destructive ways of living in the future (see: driving from Seattle to New York, above), and there are terrible ways of living in the past (see: The Republican party, USA), but those are not the only two ways of looking forwards and backwards.

Furthermore, since most of our lives are in the past (every 12 seconds, you generate a new “past”), and most of our finest thoughts and feelings (hope, for one) live in the future, I think it’s far better to train your mind to handle the past and future so that you get the most pleasure and joy from them.

I say, treasure your past, because without it you lose your soul-self (see: Alzheimer’s); and create the beautiful futures that you want to work towards to make real. If you do that, I think the “Now” will take care of itself.

In other news, I installed my Haunted Bookshop at the local library:

It’s centered around a beat-up copy of Christopher Morely’s book by that title (ours was printed in 1923) that we got in as a donation to the used-book store that I manage here on the north shore of Long Island.


I sent a press release, of sorts, to the local newspaper about this display:


Roslyn author Christopher Morley wrote The Haunted Bookshop in 1919 and the Bryant Library is offering a very early edition of the book for sale at its Roberta Balfus Bookstore, located in the historic Valentine House next door.

The Haunted Bookshop is part of a collection of over 30 books, each aged 100 years or more, which will go on sale on Tuesday, November 5.

The most notable book in this unusual collection is a book published in 1833 by J. & J. Harper, 82 Cliff Street, New-York, that comes from the personal library of Major General James Barnet Fry, the former Provost Marshal General of the Union Army during the Civil War who saw action at the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861 and at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862 (photo attached, from the Library of Congress, Matthew Brady photographer, c. 1861).

Currently, the books are on display at the Bryant Library as part of an installation called The Haunted Bookshop, on view until midnight, October 31.


(I included some photos of the display, along with a totally fake story that I wrote about the book store that inspired the exhibit.)


The totally fake ghost story of The Haunted Bookshop (the exhibit) is as follows:

Few people know that The Haunted Bookshop, written in 1919 by Roslyn author Christopher Morley, was based on a frightening experience the author had at the Valentine House while visiting it earlier that year.

Mr. Morley refused to discuss the incident in detail, saying only that, “There is something other-worldly, exceedingly inexplicable, in that house.”

He would never set foot inside the place for the remainder of his life.

The Roberta Balfus Book Store is located in the front parlor of the Valentine House, the very room where Mr. Morley’s faith in reason and appearances was shattered.

Rumor has it that there is a hidden dimension somewhere in this room, a “thin place” where time is diminished and reality is as sheer as tattered lace.

            A warning:  Stay far away from this thin place when its portal opens, once a century.

There is no way out when this fragile rift between worlds collapses in upon itself, without warning.


A reporter from the local newspaper contacted me, and she came to interview me and look at the store and our old books for a feature that is scheduled to go to print in their October 11 paper. If it is online sooner, I’ll link to it. She took a lot of photos of the installation but none of me, which is disappointing because I was have an unusually good hair day.

Here’s some close-ups of the creepiness:




Last Sunday, September 29, was the start of the Jewish New Year so Top Cat and I combined our Fall Solstice outing with a New Year’s Eve chance to make some goals for the future.

Hello, Mr. Husky. Would you like a pizza-flavored Combo? No? Is blocking our view good enough for you?

We usually do not see another soul on this stretch of Long Island Sound, but on this evening there was an interesting photo shoot going on down on the beach.




They left before the sun had gone down  completely so we regained our exclusive use of the view. There’s a new graffiti on the porch where we sit:

And then it was suddenly Wednesday, and it was sunny and we got record-breaking 92 degrees, and then it was Thursday and it was 58 and rainy. I already forget how hot 92 degrees is, and I’m only OK about the 58 degrees because Fall jackets are my favorite kind of clothes.

P.S. to Dear Reader Sandra about last week’s photos of Jake Owen’s turquoise suit: Not only would I change may fashion sense for him, but I would also change my eye color and shoe size and left-handedness for him. . . if I were 30 years younger and had a shot.

Rickety handling the change in weather well:

Lickety at 92 degrees.


Lickety at 58 degrees.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Stay warm, or cool, depending, you know, on the situation.

The “Now” is terrible, but our bright and righteous hopes for the future will get us through, hour by hour, day by day.









12 Comments, RSS

  1. Mary Brickman

    The pictures that were taken of your talent ( making things out of nothing but ideas you have) and turning out to be the BEST Halloween things I have ever seen, I hope the local paper gets notification of the talent you show.
    My heart goes out to little Lickety, there trying to find peace in the sun. His coat of fur tells the story. I hope you can hold him often, or stop to talk to ONLY him. It might make his day better. dunno.
    thanks again for a look into your life on Isle of Long.
    Already looking forward to nest week, after I re-read this one again.
    regards, mary

  2. Now one of my friends was predicting Hilary would become president, but I couldn’t see how that would happen. Now you have cleared it up for me. Thanks!
    Oh, that Lickity knows how to relax in any kind of weather.
    Love, love your scary sculptures. Good luck with the open house, book sale.
    If I don’t have something to look forward to in the future, I get very depressed. Starting to look forward to that rock arriving one of these days.

  3. Well I left a comment and it got lost.
    Looking forward to receiving the rock one of these days.
    Good luck to your spooky adventures in the book shop.
    Love, love your sculptures.
    And Lickity certainly can sleep in all kinds of weather.

  4. Janet

    What’s not to love about your post today? Everything made me smile. Your scary sculptures are truly wonderful. As are all of the memes. You got Friday off to a great start.

  5. Casey

    Ah, Lickety, enjoy every second. My cats arrange their entire lives around the future. Future breakfasts, future diners, future snack times. I agree with Marilyn, it is necessary to have something to look forward to. I know that in Zen you are supposed to be present in every moment whether you are chopping wood or carrying water, but I’m not into chopping wood, so when I do the dishes I let my mind wander. Who wants to concentrate on scouring pots and pans?

    WOW, those bonsai are super creepy and effective. They look monumental if it weren’t for the books to give them scale, I would think they were life-sized. I hope you become famous as Long Island’s top maker of cool things.

    Some days, it’s only the hope of seeing Drumpf and family behind bars that keeps me sane.

  6. Leslie

    Dear Vivian, Hey aren’t you glad to hear that T. put Jared in charge of somethings? What could go wrong? If it weren’t for the fact that the fabled whistleblower wrote such a thorough and compelling document, I was thinking that it might have been one of his children stepping up. Wouldn’t that add anappropriate twist of nepotism to this melodrama? I haven’t watched so much tv news for years! P.T. Barnum could not have fabricated a more fascinating spectacle.
    And you have exceeded expectations as volunteer manager of the Friends of the Library bookstore of Roslyn. The display is so elegant and “bookish”, and the special sale of the historical donations is a brilliant fund raiser, which is the primary function of Friends of the Library I believe.
    Just so you know, I received my Stromness Rock packet, and I am so excited!

  7. Megan

    Oh this post brightened my morning. That cat who looks like my Clive is smart, cats generally are, look at all the things we do to make their lives just that little bit more bearable… now if only I could get Whiskas to make tins of ‘just gravy’ my life would be better, Clive licks the gravy off then complains there is not enough gravy. Lickety has it all sussed out, he can find a nice warm soft spot to have a nap in heatwave or blizzard conditions. Casey makes an interesting point, however despite cats always looking forward for some wonderful thing to happen, extra gravy, they also seem very zen and live for the moment hedonistically. Love the display in the library, you are enormously talented and I love the tree books and the turrets, very nice indeed. The thin place is an interesting observation, perhaps we have all fallen through and that is why our reality is so frightening… Enjoy your weekend and good hair.

  8. Kirra

    ‘Meditation in a glass’ is my new favourite phrase – thanks!

    I enjoyed your take down of those annoying uplifting phrases that are so patronizing.

    Your spooky trees are very impressive, congratulations! Hope the book sale fundraiser goes well. You are a top co-manger of the second hand bookshop.

  9. LOL — I love the “violence in the streets” pic! Congrats on your “press” for the library show and the bookstore. Maybe you’ll be able to move along more of that annoying stock now! 🙂 Your display looks amazing and very appropriate to the season.

  10. Oh, what a wonderfully spooky installation! I love each and every one — those we’ve seen and those not! (Boy, that red really pops with the black and the rest of them black and white!) Bravo to you. These no doubt deserve a bigger audience than the used book store but till then, perfect!

    Ah, Lickety. Talk about one living in the now — I’m just glad he gets a new “now” every twelve seconds (who knew?) and has many more sunny days to enjoy.

    I’d love to know the story behind the photo shoot!

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