books and life


Black and white photos of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, about 1917, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1921.

He talked a lot about the past, and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was …   F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

I came across this quote the other day. Someone, somewhere had posted it, and the internet tossed it up to me, as the internet is prone to do.

I am sure, at some point, (perhaps that point is now or years ago), The Great Gatsby will no longer be required high school reading and it will instead only be read by Jazz Age Literature English majors. But for me, it was required reading in high school, and as I changed high schools several times, I ended up reading it several times, as various teachers timed their readings of The Great Gatsby at different years. By the time of my last high school reading, I no longer found it edgy and racey and romantic (unsatisfyingly so) with the horrible character horrible, but instead a bit dull and boring, and having to read over and over about Tom Buchanan, who was so completely racist, classist, and awful, was also such a safe and dull and boring choice for Daisy, who I was sure Gatsby was right about, her magic possibly not even understood by the narrator. It turns out that I didn’t understand much about Daisy at that point. I understand her too well, now, having been in Gatsby’s shoes in a small way.

A bit of an answer from the internet. And from a book.


a large white cloud takes up the upper third of the picture, in the bottom third, a perfect small cloud is surrounded by blue skies.

Lots of moves in the last few years going smaller and smaller have meant things are in piles, and those piles tug at me. I know there are many things that have served me well that now need to go away. Probably some people don’t think much about it, but for me, clearing my space helps clear my head and that lets in words and pictures and ideas that want my attention. And it also lets the special things come to the top: the tray that belonged to my grandmother, the crocheted dishtowel from a lovely friend, my favourite, misplaced eraser. (I have a favourite eraser. And it’s old and almost round, and worn and perfect.) 

So to stay on track:

This weekend: homework. Then mail packed & sent. Then packing up things for donation and things for storage. 

And next week: storage. The goal is to clear out a large storage unit and move everything I’m keeping in to a small one.  

More about art class next week, but this week is shadows and I am really vested in learning this! 

Hope you’re going to do something fun this weekend. 

welcome to portalways!

95B8C075-B066-47C5-A147-63B3CE75B598_1_201_amy first attempt at a watercolour painting of a bookshop

Welcome to the blog! I’m interested in creating a calm, kind place online with a focus on, well, focus. I’ve been thinking a lot about what feels lost and needs to be found again. With the chaotic energies of the world I think it’s become more and more important to create small places and time where we can recharge, remember what matters to us, and refocus our energies. We’re not built to be under huge stresses all the time, but these times are creating that. I know I can’t be alone in feeling like I’m overwhelmed and more than a bit battered by all this.

I’ve been thinking about how to create moments of respite and kindness. Times where there are small, good things that are the things that sooth and remind us of all the goodness in others and ourselves and life. I think some of these things are universal and some are very personal and it’s up to us to find them and make sure they are in our lives.

And as I search these things out for myself, I thought it would be a good thing to have a record of them, as well as have them here, where friends old and new are welcome.

A portal in the storm, so to speak.

So welcome to Portalways. I still have quite a bit to do in here, so we’re dealing with the most basic of online spaces at the moment.  For me, this is also an exercise in slowing down and letting things evolve. Starting with here.

A very happy Autumnal Equinox to all. (And a happy Vernal Equinox to those of you celebrating that!)

Please say hello and drop your blog address in the comments if you’d like.