Kilter Street Profiles: Hank and Ivy

Hank and Ivy are married and share many interests, so they decided to combine their profile page. They’re independent and intertwined, mapping out a shared life of beauty, love and nerdy pursuits.

Both are in their early 30s. Ivy is ginger-haired and comes from a mixed Irish-American and Italian-American background. Hank has dark, curly hair that he sometimes dyes blue, and he’s African-American. Both he and Ivy work with computers; one of their passions is making computer games. They also love gardening, wearing costumes, and playing board games and capture the flag. They’re very big on role-playing of all sorts, and arguing about fictional characters at mealtimes and in the shower.

Currently, Ivy is pregnant.

Some of their differences:
Hank has a stronger tendency to get stressed out and be pessimistic. Ivy is more prone to flights of fantasy, with amazing ideas as a result, though not all of them can be effected within the limitations of this world.

They find it difficult to stay angry or annoyed with each other. Certain disputes they’ve resolved through intense board game competition. Even when they disagree, they speak to each other from a loving place – no malice or viciousness or contempt. They see themselves as being on a team: the two of them vs. whatever the world tries to throw at them.

Day After Halloween: Worst Fear Round-Up

Throughout October, Zeb asked Kilter Street Manor residents to write their worst fear and leave it in a basket in the mailroom. Everyone chose to do it anonymously, and most people typed up their notes. Now Zeb has tacked the notes up on the mailroom bulletin board, crowding out the takeout menus and the polaroid photos of bare tree branches Mrs. Selby has taken to sharing.

Here are the worst fears, the day after Halloween 2015

Continue reading →

City of Possibility Location: Museum of Mental Maladies

From its origins in the 19th century as a zoo displaying asylum patients, the Museum of Mental Maladies has come a long way. Now it’s housed in a magnificent structure that resembles a brain separating out into different lobes. This is a visual symbol of the various psychological and neurological problems exhibited at the museum.

Some City of Possibility residents have protested the use of the expression “mental maladies,” as it’s slightly old-fashioned and because the museum has broadened its scope somewhat. In recent years, it has set aside some space for a Mental Wellness Wing devoted to exhibits on improving psychological health.

The museum also has a Community Atrium where support groups can meet and people can share (out loud or in writing), their thoughts on various problems.

Continue reading →

Wimsey Vane TV adaptations: Notes on Viewing

Mrs. Selby hosted three viewing parties recently, one for each TV adaptation of the following Dorothy Sayers’ novels: Strong Poison, Have His Carcase, and Gaudy Night.


Set in the late 1920s through mid 30s, each stars Edward Petherbridge as Lord Peter Wimsey, the aristocratic sleuth, and Harriet Walter as Harriet Vane, the mystery writer.

Although, like other screen adaptations, they tend to leave out substance from the books and can’t fully capture the author’s energy, humor, and literary wit, there’s much to recommend them. Mainly the way the actors interpret their characters, the humanity they bring out, and the chemistry they enjoy between them. I really liked Petherbridge’s Wimsey and Walter’s Vane. And I was very fond of Richard Morant’s interpretation of Bunter (Peter Wimsey’s valet and assistant in criminal investigations).

Along with Mrs. Selby and me, there were three other regulars: Dora, Michiko, and Gilbert Frisch. However, Lewis came by for Strong Poison; Hank & Ivy watched Have His Carcase, because they’d heard about the code-cracking scene; and Howard popped in for Gaudy Night, mostly because of his interest in the Oxford scenes, his interest in Mrs. Selby’s red wine, and his need to procrastinate on an assignment due two days later.

So, that said – what were our impressions of each adaptation?

Continue reading →

Kilter Street Profiles: Mrs. Selby

Does Mrs. Selby have a first name? Her mailbox just says ‘Selby,’ and to be honest, I can’t imagine her with a first name. She seems like she was born Mrs. Selby. (Selby being the name of her second husband, I think.)

Mrs. Selby is old. How old? I don’t know. I’ve heard people wishing her happy birthday on different dates, and she seems to just absorb multiple birthdays as if they’re nothing.

She’s a beautiful woman. Not a magazine beauty, but beautiful in the way of an old china gravy boat or a lace doily. She can talk about almost anything: The weather, the flowers on her windowsill, what she tells her flowers when they’re dying on her. She talks about the mice and squirrels that live in the walls. She’s heard ghosts in the corridors of our apartment building. She tells me about her childhood, her jolly drunk father, her mother who never smiled. She describes books she reads, written by outdoorsy folk who wax poetic about the tawny hides of fawns in dappled woods. She watches black-and-white movies and spoils the endings for me. She watches soap operas and fills me in on which pair of amnesiacs made love last week on a hospital bed or a bearskin rug. I know all of the pet peeves of both her late husbands. As a rule though, she never talks about her only child, who died when he was twenty.

Continue reading →

8 Reasons You’re Terrible at Conversation

I recently had a conversation with Hugh Silver about why people might be terrible at conversation. The following list isn’t comprehensive, and I don’t know how many apply to you. (I won’t say how many apply to me or to Hugh.) Be forewarned, we brainstormed this in the manor’s conservatory at two in the morning, when we were both exhausted and a bit creeped out by the shadows of the plants in the moonlight. Here goes…

If conversation is an art, some people can fill a canvas with delicate chiaroscuro and angels clothed in lapis lazuli. Others can fill a piece of construction paper with elbow macaroni, glitter and nosebleed drippings.

Even if conversation isn’t an art, or you think that bloody macaroni-covered construction paper can be art (Capillary Red # 4 at the Merriwether A. Rackett Modern Art Museum), maybe this list will give you some insights and directions to consider if you want to improve your conversational skills. Or maybe you don’t want to improve anything, and you will grunt if you need to get your point across to anyone.

Continue reading →

Kilter Street Profiles: Sigrid

Sigrid, of Apartment 2b, has an ethereal beauty – she’s willowy with white-blonde hair, blue eyes, an aura of calm. She doesn’t say much, and I can imagine that people project a lot onto her (I know I started to, and had to catch myself – probably I’ll need to keep catching myself). They read in her what they want to see. I want to know what she sees.

I don’t know much about her, other than that she manages arts programs at The Sunny Tortoise Senior Living Facility. Her sense of style tends towards pastels, artistic jewelry, things that are floaty, soft, colorful.

Around Sigrid’s Home

Her fairy Christmas tree

Stories Inspired by Sigrid

When Linda Sketched the Dead