Christopher Alexander

Started reading Christopher Alexander’s The Nature of Order,
in which the architect/philosopher describes his ideas about what makes
a (building | place | town | anything) alive in a real sense. I have found it
to be very illuminating, and in particular it has helped me understand why I very
much like some of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work, but not others.

Alexander is the founder of the “pattern” concept in architecture, which has gone on to
be used (or misused) in software development, design processes, and even dating. He
has catalogued dozens of patterns that may be used to solve a particular problem, in
such a way that has been found to enhance the “living” nature of the place. For example,
the pattern “ROOMS LIT ON TWO SIDES”, Alexander observes that you should design
rooms so that at least two sides have light coming in, to accomodate the movement of the
sun and avoid having the room too dark at any one time of the day.

In one of his earlier works, The Timeless Way of Building, Alexander
talks about “The Quality That Has No Name”, that refers to any building or place,
in which you feel more alive.

Beginning

Determined to take the pieces of my novel “The Pythagorean Concerto” (TPC) and start
putting them together. Have not had much success with this to date, and I have been
working on the bloody thing now for well over ten years, since the characters first insinuated
themselves into my waking consciousness.

I’ve decided to try establishing a morning ritual, getting up a bit early and writing at
least something every single day. One thing that Stephen King once recommended
is to simply make the time for writing, but not feel like you actually have to write.
That takes the “gun” away from your head, so you can relax. Maybe you wont write
anything one day, or a single sentence the next. Wait long enough and the flow will
happen (assuming you have anything to say).

Ah, there’s the rub.

The Beginning of the Search



There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they’re all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same

— “Little Boxes” Words and music by Malvina Reynolds.

I had just gotten back from a business trip when Gigi announced that
she had “made a decision”, as she is known to do. She had decided that
we should look into taking a trip out to Utah to see about buying or building
a get-away home.

It made perfect sense to me. We had been spending the last two years exploring the
borderline psychotic world that the inhabitants call “Southern California Real Estate”,
with its $700,000.00 closets and garish MacMansions. We have often wondered just
what the hell all the people that can afford these things actually do.

The simple fact is that we can’t afford to buy our first home here, so following simple
Alice-in-Wonderland logic, we might as well start out by buying our second home first,
and then working our way up to a first home.

–Niles

1 5 6 7