A Winter Memory

Last December my husband, son, and I took a trip into Center City Philadelphia. It was right before Christmas and a miserable day – cold and pouring down rain. I took the pictures for this little book all on that day – and all of them taken in the vicinity of City Hall. It’s an area very familiar to me – I worked for quite a few years in this section of town.

Every sight and every location have layers of meaning for me. I tried to express that feeling in this book.

After it was finished, I sent it to my son.

Here is the text of the book – if you want to read it all at once.

Center City

Street lights on
at lunchtime.
The newsstand an oasis.
Shake off the raindrops
buy a magazine to read on the bus.

The light changes.
Sweep around the curve and accelerate away down the shiny street.
Rush up to the curve turn the wheel veer off and around.

The light changes.
Stop, foot hard on the brake.
Glance up and down
lines of traffic
opposed, suspended.

The light changes.
Imagine that you stand on this corner all day.
Know that you would not see the end of it. There is no end to it.

If you have no umbrella today,
you will very shortly feel the lack of it.

Everyone is anonymous on a rainy day.

There is a pattern here,
what does it mean?

Arrange it.
Assemble it.
You decide.

The flow of cars on the street.
Low clouds crowding tall city buildings.
Skinny rain-polished tough black trees, leafless, dripping.
The bowling alley sign.
You will not get tired of this view.

The bus moves into the curve.
Awkward. Inelegant. Taken for granted.
Absolutely necessary to the city.
A confident roar. The bus pulls away, triumphant.

The city
neatly arranged.
All the questions have answers
and can be found somewhere on the map.

The rain comes down harder and harder.
Run or be soaked.

Headlights streak the wet streets.
The buildings endure the weather.
The people hurry through it.
What is it that you said?
In the city.


6 thoughts on “A Winter Memory

  1. slmann

    Hi Claudia – I’m going to be teaching an art journal class next year. Your beautiful work is a great example to share with my class. I’m sure your son loved this gift. – Sharon

  2. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you. So many times I have worked on books like these and focused on the illustrations and forgotten that I will be adding words, and then when I am ready to add text – I am upset because it doesn’t make a good look to the page. I am trying to keep this in mind when I do books these days! Thank you.

  3. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you. I am flattered that you see my work as being worthy of sharing like this! I enjoy so much making books like these. They evolve over time and I live with them for a while, lots of time not really knowing what to do next and just waiting for some idea! My son was very pleased – I had made him a book earlier about Allentown, PA, where he had lived for a while, so he has a couple on this theme. Both these cities mean something to me and so I really enjoyed the work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s