This poor blog has been languishing for a long time now. I’ve been spending what time I have looking at neon, having picnics, cooking up a storm, and working on Project Health. But the truth is I write posts for Catasterist all the time, it just happens to be when I don’t have a keyboard handy: when I’m crushed in an overcrowded subway car, when I’m hustling through Midtown, or when I’m waiting in an endless line at the post office.
I thought about starting more blogs (in addition to the ones you probably know about and the secret ones you don’t), but then I thought maybe the time had come to return here. I also thought about finding a paying writing gig, even a small one, but what with Project Health still in full swing, I wasn’t sure I could keep up with something like that. Maybe later.
So I’m back. “Lacks focus” is my chief complaint against myself (though contradictorily “overly focused to the point of obliviousness” fits just as well), so I’ve chosen a focus, at least for now. It’s a little different than what I had been writing, so feel free to leave if it doesn’t suit you — no offense will be taken. That’s the beauty of writing for the web: you can always pretend you’re writing for as large an audience as you like, as long as you don’t check the stats.
I’m going to write about things I like and why I like them. Many will be design observations, but others will have less to do with design. I think a lot about things I don’t like, or that are badly designed (I’ve stopped taking the Select Bus up First Avenue largely because of the dreadful design of the ticket kiosks at 14th Street and 1st), but I think there is value, too, in thinking and articulating the specifics of what is pleasing, useful, and beautiful. This has nothing to do with the relentless cheerfulness of modern American culture, which is about suppressing what is important in favor of what is acceptable, and sweeping anything insufficiently chirpy under a carpet of smiley faces, and isn’t a reaction to the unending supply of irony and cynicism that is its counterpart. Instead it’s a search for something essential by looking closer at the things around me that give me what I need, whether they are artworks or olives, cities or staircases.