Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Ithaca, N.Y., October 2007

I just heard the other day that Ingmar Bergman died at the end of July. It took me a while to figure out that this must have happened while I was on my Zen sesshin retreat, which is why I had no idea. I was sorry to hear it, as he’s one of my favorite directors.

People think Bergman’s movies are bleak, but I think their austerity is what makes them so beautiful. They’re harsh but honest, with no distracting frills. I like that sense of Scandinavian economy! And they’re never boring, though sometimes it takes a while for me to muster the psychological energy to tackle a Bergman film. I’ve had “Through a Glass Darkly,” “Winter Light” and “The Silence” - collectively known as the Trilogy of Faith - sitting in my Netflix queue for months. I keep moving them down the list.

Another noteworthy recent death: Laurel Burch, a designer most famous for colorful products featuring cats. Right before I went to live in Morocco in 1992, I bought a Laurel Burch mug, and I actually took it with me into the Peace Corps. It was decorated with images of people in colorful costumes and called “Familia del Mundo,” which seemed appropriately Peace Corps-ish.

I was so attached to that mug, having my coffee from it every morning, that my friends used to joke that I’d have to go home if it ever broke.

Fortunately, it never broke. I still have it. In fact, I’m drinking from it now!


  1. Mr. Bergman was one of my favorites, too. May he rest in peace!

    Interesting how we get attached to certain coffee cups, isn't it? By "we" I mean a lot of people. I have no such attachment to a particular plate or fork or water glass but I know which mug is MY MUG. My roommates wouldn't go near it.

    Isn't that funny? Wonder why.

  2. I have a favorite mug too. I suppose that there are really so few things in life that are truly ours, that we cling to little stuff.

  3. I thought I didn't know who Laurel Burch was, and then I saw one of her cats and know her art very well. I'm sorry to have lost such a talented designer. I read she suffered from osteopetrosis and lived with a lot of pain. Now, that mug is even more special.

  4. Hey buddy, hope all is well. I'm sorry I haven't posted much, but I've certainly read it almost everyday. Anyway, thinking of you...and hope to catch up with you sometime in the near future.

  5. i know what you mean about the psychological energy it takes - but yes, worth it though!

    can we see a pic of the mug please?