a letter by Georgia O’Keeffe

“To Anita Pollitzer

Canyon, Texas
11 September 1916

Tonight I walked into the sunset — to mail some letters — the whole sky — and there is so much of it out here — was just blazing — and grey blue clouds were rioting all through the hotness of it — and the ugly little buildings and windmills looked great against it.

But some way or other I didn’t seem to like the redness much so after I mailed the letters I walked home — and kept on walking —

The Eastern sky was all grey blue — bunches of clouds — different kinds of clouds — sticking around everywhere and the whole thing — lit up — first in one place — then in another with flashes of lightning — sometimes just sheet lightning — and sometimes sheet lightning with a sharp bright zigzag flashing across it —.

I walked out past the last house — past the last locust tree — and sat on the fence for a long time — looking — just looking at the lightning — you see there was nothing but sky and flat prairie land — land that seems more like the ocean than anything else I know — There was a wonderful moon —

Well I just sat there and had a great time all by myself — Not even many night noises — just the wind —

I wondered what you are doing —

It is absurd the way I love this country — Then when I came back — it was funny — roads just shoot across blocks anywhere — all the houses looked alike — and I almost got lost — I had to laugh at myself — I couldnt tell which house was home —

I am loving the plains more than ever it seems — and the SKY — Anita you have never seen SKY — it is wonderful —


Tokyo Story

I cried a lot watching Tokyo Story and woke up today with swollen eyes. It was unexpected. When Tokyo Story began I thought it would at most be a mildly emotional ride, but I could feel my heart unravelling along with the film as it went on. The way Ozu does it is masterful. There is always this sense that you can’t know what to expect next. A tension that clings to your sticky skin (you can almost taste the summer that’s being portrayed in the film) even though everything seems no normal. The cinematography is beautiful to the point of making me jealous but, again, so damn simple. So simple it makes you fall in love. Just perfect black and white tones and a low, watchful camera angle.

I don’t want to write too much in case you haven’t seen it. But this is a film about elemental humanity and universal human emotions. This is why after 70 years the film still resonates. It will probably resonate for as long as we still want to watch films.

Now I understand why they say this is Ozu’s masterpiece and also the film that Wim Wenders said has had a life-long pull on him.

Of course I went down the rabbit hole and realised that Wim Wenders was so obsessed he went to the small coastal town where “the story begins and ends” and made a book. I love it. And the coolest coincidence? I’m going to Japan in a couple of weeks and I was planning to visit Onomichi!


I’m always looking for people who use interesting ways to say things or who use interesting ways to live life. In some weird way that keeps me alive.

At my core I am interested in people and their stories, even though I know people’s stories can be completely made up.

Recently I got interested in Fujii Kaze. I would use the word ‘interesting’ to describe him. When I dig deeper I think I’m attracted to him because he is okay with dancing badly on stage and posting ugly photos of himself on social media even though he is a great dancer and a good-looking guy. And also because he sings while playing the piano on the floor and eats a lot of vegetables and writes his own songs and once he said (and I paraphrase badly) “I am not perfect of course but I want you to know that there is a perfect being inside of you”. His charisma comes from his lack of aversion to showing his true self. He is comfortable with being ugly and dorky and weird and talented and spiritual. His comfort with himself translates into a sense of comfort that wraps the people who watch him in a warm cosy hug. It’s very healing.


I keep wanting to go watch “Perfect Days” in the cinema but I keep putting it off. Procrastination is a bitch.


I like the feeling of having a new thought. It’s not something that happens very often. Sometimes the same loops just repeat themselves until I get bored. But a new thought! It’s like a mini-firework going off in my head. The trouble is connecting that new thought to new actions. Maybe I’m a pragmatic person after all. When my thoughts are looping I know I’m only running on the spot, procrastinating or being stuck in my patterns. But when a new thought comes, it means there’s some breakage in the loop. This ability to consciously break the loop is the result of more awareness, I think. I hope. And now, to allow that new thought to take root and to become behaviour. That’s a different challenge.


These days I’m trying to write whenever I have the time. Instead of writing only when I make myself sit down to write and doing it for an hour, and thinking that is the right way to do it, I’m trying to write whenever and wherever. It’s actually not too different from what I’ve always been doing. The difference is now I am also allowing myself to see that these little notes I’m writing are not just discardable notes but smaller parts of a bigger piece of work.


Someone else’s thought that became mine: “It’s not about what we do but how we do things.”

small unknown complex life

Solo dinner in Tokyo, January 2024

I don’t know if it’s just me but I always get a warm and fuzzy feeling in my gut whenever I stumble upon an interesting blog written by someone who is living their small unknown complex life God-knows-where. I feel connected by our common humanity. We’ll never meet, but I can picture them sitting on their sofa writing on their laptop or using the computer in their kitchen, writing when the kids are asleep, writing in the morning, writing when the first snowfall arrives, writing about their new job, about losing their job, about moving to a new city, about this film they just watched, about their husband who died a few years ago. A blog is a small and beautiful thing and I am grateful it exists.

The other day I was on social media and I felt another wave of resentment pour over me. It was almost tinted with rage. I don’t like how the very structure of social media fundamentally changes the way we write and share our feelings. People say we can decide how we want to use social media, but that doesn’t change the fact that Instagram, to use an example, is built to manipulate us and our dopamine levels. When we enter the world of social media, it’s like walking into a casino that is determined to get us addicted. We become altered simply by being in these places and become a twisted, more anxious, more egotistical version of ourselves. Not only that, everywhere we look, there is a branding or marketing message targeting our backs. It’s annoying. Buy this. Follow us. Like and share. We have a vulnerable story to share with you today because actually this is an ad. Or. Because being vulnerable is cool nowadays! At the very least it makes you trust us more.

You can have a good experience on social media if you are very intentional and mindful. There are accounts I really enjoy on social media and I have found a lot of inspiration there. But I still believe the corrosive effects of social media outweigh its good, because I know for a fact that social media apps CAN be re-designed to be less addictive and less manipulative, and they are not because of the ultra-capitalistic world we live in. I’m not sure who or what I’m angry at or if it’s even anger I feel. Maybe it’s sadness instead.

All that to say, it’s easier to breathe and write here. The energy here is so much cleaner.

I turned off my phone today at 5pm and it’s now 11.13pm. I haven’t turned it back on. This simple action cuts me off from the world. It feels so good somehow. I guess I’m just in this phase of my life where I am tired of almost everything that is happening in the “mainstream world”. And of course, more than a little angry at all the injustice and destruction and consumerism and myopia that so many people in this matrix we call the world are caught up in, including myself at the best of times.


Discovered midnight.pub recently and it’s been very fun to fall into a world of disembodied thoughts by random strangers from all over the world.

ooh.directory is another gem and I’ve already found a few interesting blogs there.


Where do I start?

I’m reading a lot again. Cormac McCarthy, Donna Tartt, Milan Kundera, David Foster Wallace. I am so hungry for words. I want to read ten books at once but it’s impossible. But I’m impatient about getting blown away by a good book.

TV bulletin. I think The Bear is exceptionally well-written. It makes me want to talk to Christopher Storer, understand how he created it. But watching yet another interview of Cormac McCarthy or Donna Tartt, not easy to find at all BTW because they are both rather reclusive, I am reminded of the futility of trying to get to know a writer. My basic curiosity compels me to ask, who wrote this masterpiece? Please come out and explain yourself to me?? But knowing the details of their life or even how they created the work doesn’t add anything to my experience of their art. It adds no depth, no pathos, no transcendental understanding. Maybe every artist’s work must be complete on its own.

Anyway, Cormac McCarthy:

“The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it all from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a mudded field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning.

The universe is no narrow thing and the order within it is not constrained by any latitude in its conception to repeat what exists in one part in any other part. Even in this world more things exist without our knowledge than with it and the order in creation which you see is that which you have put there, like a string in a maze, so that you shall not lose your way. For existence has its own order and that no man’s mind can compass, that mind itself being but a fact among others.”

― from “Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West”

And song of the day: Let Down by Radiohead. Heard on The Bear.

I’ll be there for awhile

I’ll be there for awhile.

Please join me as I, on my 11th year as a photographer, attempt to make a photobook that’s also a book about photography. I’ll be documenting the whole process on a new Ghost newsletter, while taking the opportunity to try out Ghost and see if I like it. It’s actually been enjoyable so far, even though I haven’t learned how to customise many things over there yet.

So this post is really to say that I will be there most of the time, so if you would like to follow me and see what I’m mostly up to this year, you know what to do!

I’ll still be writing here, of course, because this is home.

23 thoughts and lessons from 2023

1. When your ego dissolves, the pain might not go away, but the suffering does.
2. Empathy means: We don’t have to understand; we just have to believe.
3. I thought fiction was about understanding, now I realise it’s about believing.
4. You don’t have to ‘find your passion’, but if passion finds you then it is the most wonderful thing on earth.
5. To be a better photographer, be like an animal – be driven by something primal, raw, pure, or even unhinged.
6. Only in silence can we discern what is important and what is not.
7. When we liberate someone, sometimes we end up oppressing someone else.
8. Holding two opposite thoughts at the same time is essential to the development of our soul.
9. Your biggest flaw cannot be the thing that most defines you.
10. You can be judged, but you cannot really be defined.
11. True freedom is always one hair’s breadth away, so close as to be invisible to the eye. It’s annoying and exhilarating at the same time.
12. My favorite writing is made up of the simplest language.
13. I want to move through the world collecting, digesting and reforming ideas and feelings and stories and then presenting them back to you (and myself) in the form of a gift.
14. I am always happier right before my first bite of the McSpicy burger than after I finish it. The McSpicy burger is just such a delicious IDEA.
15. If you fail at loving, you are allowed to try again as many times as you want.
16. The more I move my body, the better my brain functions.
17. Lesson #546 from skateboarding: If you practice enough at the edge of your competence, you are not gonna fall much.
18. You don’t have to learn how to waste time. You knew how to do that as a kid. Be a kid again.
19. Does it really matter what I’m doing, as long as I’m enjoying myself?
20. Writing is easy if I don’t think too highly about myself.
21. The kids in my life add a substantial amount of love, laughter, wonder, and meaning to my life. My ambition is to successfully grow old so I can endure their antics for as long as I can.
22. The moment I fell in love with photography again was when I realised how little I knew.
23. I am slowly turning into an ENFP (?!!) because every day I want to spend more and more time with the people I love.

Bonus quote (my favorite of the year): “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop


I have this feeling that I want to spend all my time reading and writing and falling into worlds not like my own. It’s 2:30 in the morning and I need to wake up early later to let the painters in. But all I can think about is how I want to finish this Haruki Murakami book and then read some Raymond Carver and maybe even some Orhan Pamuk.

lost and stupid

I don’t want to become someone who is too sure about things. I want to be a friend of doubt, just like Anthony Bourdain was. He said, “Life is complicated. It’s filled with nuance. It’s unsatisfying… If I believe in anything, it is doubt. The root cause of all life’s problems is looking for a simple fucking answer.”

So no simple fucking answers. I’m fine with that.

2023 has been quite surprising. I have streamlined my commitments – cutting and letting go – to create more ‘open time’ in 2024 to do some personal projects I’ve been wanting to do. This is an exploratory and learning phase, and I’m feeling good and excited.

I ended the year having learned some major lessons about life and existence, which I will outline in this year’s ’23 thoughts and lessons from 2023′. I’ll update with the link once I’ve written it. If you’re interested you can read last year’s ’22 thoughts and lessons from 2022′ here.

Another update is I am now studying for an open degree with the Open University. An open degree means you can combine different subjects and create your own multidisciplinary degree. It’s wonderful.

There are many things I like about the Open University, the main one being how it has offered many people the chance to get an education in circumstances that would normally have prevented them from doing so. That high-quality education can and should be accessed by anyone, regardless of their previous qualifications, is a forward-thinking idea and something I can stand behind. Yes, you don’t need any qualifications to study at the OU. I think that’s ground-breaking, even for 2023, and the world is better for it. So even though I don’t actually need a degree, I’m very happy to be a part of this and I’m having a lot of fun learning for the sake of learning.

(My brain hurts though. I haven’t written a proper essay since 2005!)