Friday, February 17, 2012

friday photoblog: the boston book festival

Derrick and I struck a deal one weekend this fall. 

Saturday we'd live in Nickiland and go to the Boston Book Festival, where she could sit in rapt attention as real, live authors sat in front of her and waxed poetics on writing, on philosophy, and on apple recipes (of COURSE we went to the food writing seminar). 

Sunday we'd take a detour deep into Derrickland and head to the Wellfleet Oyster Festival (pictures next week), an all-day oyster gorgefest on the Cape, where Derrick could wax poetics on the Love of his Life and the Most Glorious Thing in Existence: the raw Wellfleet oyster. 

In other words, one of us was in a constant state of delirious rapture all weekend.

Note the delirious rapture in my expression

The Festival took place in Copley Square, home of the Boston Public Library, AKA One of the Prettiest Buildings in the World.

The Edgar Allan Poe view

I think the New York Public Library is one of the prettiest buildings in existence, but believe me, the Boston Public Library gives it a real run for its money.

Now I can't be in an old library without hoping the Ghostbusters will swoop in unexpectedly

I know I talk about it all the time, but I really do come from farm country. One-stoplight-town, cows and chickens for neighbors, playing in barns, riding horses, fishing, climbing trees, making mudpies barefoot in the creek. 

I know I write wide-eyed love letters to Boston all the time. I know all the city kids are out there going "Yes, Nicki, we get it. You live in a city. You have public transit and awful traffic. Whattya want, a goddamn medal?"

But I'm still shocked that I live here. I still can't believe how comfortable I am living here. I can't believe that I moved within a crowd of 25,000 people like I belonged. 

Because I don't belong. I shouldn't belong. I'm a one-horse-town, a one-trick-pony. I don't belong with streetlights and subway stations.

But I do. 


It's like Kat wrote in a recent comment: "I hate cities. But I love Boston."

Forgive the terrible photo quality, but I had to share this

I sometimes feel like I should tone down my love letters. I've gotta be isolating my readers, right? I mean,  why should my Australian readers care about Boston? For that matter, why should the Texan ones?

((Hi Mary and Chanel))

But under that logic, why should I write about anything? Why should I write about my fears, my memories, or my childhood unicorn fantasies? Under that logic, everything's off limits, because everything's irrelevant. 

I never wanted to write grand sweeping pieces. Never wanted to write epic books, never wanted to write in-depth, hard-hitting news. I wanted to write this: 

"The subjects I was drawn to were often completely ordinary, but I was confident that I could find something extraordinary in their ordinariness. I really believed that anything at all was worth writing about if you cared about it enough, and that the best and only necessary justification for writing any particular story was that I cared about it. The challenge was to write these stories in a way that got other people as interested in them as I was."
--Susan Orlean

Bahn Mi from Bon Me...sorry, kids, but nothing's going to beat my $3 banh mi spot in Chinatown

So that's my challenge, I guess.

And it that doesn't work, I can always fall back on my backup plan: posting pictures of wood nymphs taunting babies.


  1. It's a toss-up for me: naked wood nymphs taunting babies or your writing on subjects that you care about. But only because the wood nymphs are naked. If they had a shred of clothing on, I'd go with your writing every time, but that whole damn testosterone thing keeps me off of the straight and narrow.

    Come to think of it, naked wood nymphs have been nothing but trouble for me my whole life. Forget them, I'm going with your writing, even if those little sylphs are naked.

    Alright, meds have kicked in and now I can tell you that I loved this Friday Photo Blog post. I keep going through the photos and am planning to kidnap one or two. Just to look at. Then I'll give them back. Swear!

    1. It's gonna be a new weekly feature here. Naked Wood Nymph Wednesday. Has a real ring to it.

  2. When I saw the picture of the naked wood nymphs taunting a baby I thought wtf...... yes for some reasons when I opened this page it was at the end of the blog, so I go back and read it like a good little blogger and what can I say well I have only ever seen Boston on telly and have no desire to go there but I have little desire to go Ok ok I know that is a lie I want to go away on a holiday to anywhere but have no money so can't go anywhere.......bugga.............

  3. Squeee! I love my shout out!

    I care about your Boston experience for several reasons. 1. You are my blogfriend. Friends care what each other has to say. 2. You & D in Boston reminds me of when me & G lived in San Francisco. It's just such an awesome experience to have a city together. You may not be there forever, but it will forever be yours. 3. I've never been to Beantown, want to desperately, and your posts make me taste that city.

    So as for me at my house. . . .I LOVE your posts! Muah!

  4. You make me wanna go to Boston. And I've only seen th USA in the movies :)

  5. You know I LOVE these posts and love letters. I thoroughly enjoy the other stuff as well. And the part about being shocked you live there and feeling as if you *shouldn't* fit in? Words out of my mouth. My hometown isn't one-stoplight small but it's no Syracuse, although it's only a 3 hr drive. Even though after 7 years I've become jaded to a lot of things I see or hear I'm still shocked I live here, on my own. I take pride in it but every once in a while, really, like 3x a year, it's nice to go back. It's the only time I can look up and see the stars.

    Well that was lengthy....

  6. These photos take me to Boston to get a taste of this so beautiful city. The photo of the two teenagers with the statue was definitely worth capturing. Do come and see me soon. X

  7. Why should you write about Boston? Because this Australian would much rather read about a place written by a person in love with their city than the boring entry in Wikipedia.
    I never thought I would ever want to visit the USA. It was all loud obnoxious Americans with big cars and big buildings in my mind until I discovered blogging.
    I met people who live in places were there are squirrels and bears, seen photos of so many amazing places and while reading this I was thinking that Boston looks a lot like some of the places in my city, especially the university where my son starts tomorrow.
    Now when I am asked where I would like to go if given the chance, if I could ever afford it, I say I would love to visit the States and Boston is right on my wishlist

  8. I LOVE these love letters since for thing, your photography is always gorgeous. You have such an eye for capturing the beauty in the tiniest moment, my dear one.~ But also, as you mentioned, this one-horse town chickie really loves Boston.

  9. You can write about anything you want to, Nicki and I will gladly read it. Just keep writing. :)

    I love your love letters too. I've always wanted to visit Boston, and your gushing about how great it is only increases that wish.

    PS: The library? GORGEOUS!!!


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