emerge (scenes from Memphis)

The ending wasn’t clear. Neither was the beginning, at first.

hotel outside Memphis

As I wrote those two sentences this morning in my journal, I thought back to four years ago today when I the first post on this blog, a story I read in the New York Times about a group of people who hosted a dinner party on the Brooklyn Bridge.


That story inspired me, to write, to take action, to live consciously, to return to this space.

I let my mind wander as I often do when writing then I gently pressed my fingers against closed eyelids, as if I could draw the words and images out onto the page. What I saw instead were scenes, story vignettes. Collected fragments in my notebook.

A surprise kiss in the middle of a parking lot, an aced tennis match, a gambler forced to pay his debts.

Memphis portrait

Distracted, I put my pencil down to see if I could hear the next line, allow it to pop into my head without force or shape. Nothing. Complete emptiness. The words receeded.

lunch at Blues City Cafe

I spied a stack of old Polaroids on the floor. Shot a few years ago, the images were already ghostly white, shadows bleached out from the sun. I picked up the stack and went through them, for any inspiration I could find.

coleslaw (Blues City Cafe)

Beneath the sun and snow there were traces of the past four years in those photos. The small town where we lived and bought the corner bungalow. It sat between two cemeteries where oxen pulled it up the gradual hill and then stopped when they could take another step. That was well before 1927, the date assigned to the deed. Or so our neighbor who grew up in the house then built another across the road told us.

Beale Street

There were other photos in the stack as well. Luke when he was 1 then 2 then 3 years old. A birthday cake, blocks, beach umbrella. David several years before that. He sat on a deck with the Pacific Ocean behind him. The colors were sharp and detailed, cast on paper. Then there was the stack of negatives shot in Memphis. Hotel rooms, newspapers, dancers, The Flaming Lips show.

D & N in Memphis

A story emerged.

dancers before the show

Faded, resurfaced.

Here. Elsewhere. I pieced the fragments together in my notebook. A crazy-quilt story collage. The house near the cemeteries or the woman who made pies or the girl on the swing.

They continued unaware. Bleached white. Beneath the surface.

dancers at The Flaming Lips show

I traced the lines with expectation, longing, surprise. Back to the mostly blank page.

confetti (The Flaming Lips show)

Where past stories are recorded, much like the blog.

Today marks four years in this space. For that, I need to thank you and tell you how much it means that you’re here. Reading and commenting and sharing your ideas and support. I’m glad we’re in this together, pencil or camera or spoon in hand.

Happy number four, Art & Lemons. Here’s to whatever comes next.



  1. A happy day to you. And many more. For you and the blog.

  2. Four years! Happy four years!

    I’m so glad I stumbled across your blog, some months ago. Now I only wish it was four years ago….

    I’ll be here for more, for years from now, or four years from now.

    • ArtandLemons says:

      Merry Jennifer, Yippee, I feel like tossing confetti as in the last photo. Strange that it doesn’t feel very long at all anymore, the past four years.

      Me too. I always enjoy visiting your blog and am glad to know you in our shared online spaces. One of these days, I hope we get to meet in person.

  3. Happy blog birthday! I didn’t know until now that we started our blogs the very same week, the very same year (August 4 for FLW). That’s kind of cool.

  4. Congrats on four years! It’s always so inspiring to visit your space. I know I’ll come away with something new to think about. :)

  5. Great captures! Congratulations annd happy blog anniversary.



  6. Congratulations!! Four years of writing, cooking, and photos is a wonderful celebration. And I wish you many many more.

    • ArtandLemons says:

      Yes, it’s good to celebrate the process with four years plus more to come and thank you IdaBaker!

  7. Congrats, Nikki! Happy August and anniversary!

  8. Congrats on 4 years! WOO HOO!!!!!!

  9. Seajay Spencer says:

    In the 4 years your writing the blog your style as a writer has emerged.

  10. Many congrats! I’m loving all of these pictures, especially the rice cakes and PB… feels very intimate and familiar to me.

  11. Congrats to numero cuatro Nikki!

  12. Four years already! Congrats Nikki, I wish you many more fulfilling, creative blogging years.


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