Wednesday, April 20, 2011


William Carlos Williams was a doctor. Wallace Stevens sold insurance. Frank O'Hara worked at a museum. If that's all they did, we wouldn't know them--wouldn't remember.

We know them for their fringes. For what they did with the edges of their days--their mornings, commutes, lunch breaks, nights.

Ultimately, they weren't defined by their jobs.

I take cues from people like this in my life. From the naval architect who plays the mandolin. From the teacher and graphic designer who spend nights in their art studios. From the carpenter who still checks the Ocean City surf report and migrates to Costa Rica when he can. From the pediatrician who got me skateboarding again.

It's the fringes that are ours to claim. Those times outside the lines of our jobs.

What do you do when no one is telling you what to do?

Is that what we make of our lives? Is that how we'll be remembered?

If it is, I hope I paint my fringes aquamarine and wear them on my sleeve, or feet or hat. I hope I stretch them from night to morning and hang them on my office wall.

I hope I wrap our girls in fringes so that they will cultivate and decorate and color their own.

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