Tomorrow! Ugh!

By Monday I should be normal. I swear. But today is the day that I talk about the fact that I still have no idea what I’m going to do tomorrow for my birthday. My favorite suggestion is “do something you’ve never done before or learn something new.” I still like those ideas but the problem is, I have a lot of faults, but not doing things I want to do and not learning new things are not among them.

I was trying to think of a new place to explore for old archives. I love going through basements, attics, closets and old file cabinets that no one has looked in years or decades. My first real job after college was working as a photographer for the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. They let me look around there, and I found a collection of old glass plate negatives in a closet. No one knew they were there or what was on them, so I started making prints from them in my spare time. The best was a picture of Halley’s Comet from 1910. Pictures of the comet from 1910 are, of course, the first pictures in existence. I gave all my copies away, damnit.

I found a picture of Einstein. I don’t know who he is standing with. There were no records with the plates.


Compare that to a picture I took of M. K. V. Bappu of the India Institute of Astrophysics in Bangalore, standing with George Field, who was the director on the Center. I feel like one photographer in a long line of photographers who took pictures of visiting dignitaries. Note how the visitors look happier than the hosts.


Sadly, Bappu died unexpectedly on August 19, 1982, just a few days after his 50th birthday. Oh god.

Here’s another print from that collection from the closet. I don’t know who these men are or where this was taken. The scanner cut off a little on the right, but I’m too lazy to re-scan.


So, what to do, what to do. Things I’m mulling over:

– Find new place to explore (running out of time, this kind of thing takes preparation).

– Go to the drumming gigs.

– Ask Howard to lift my bed so I can go through what I’ve stored underneath. (I’ve got a bunch of stuff stored in the space underneath my platform bed, but I can’t lift it myself to get it.)

– Go to a boxing class. Or, start learning a new language or a new instrument.

– Walk around the entire perimeter of Manhattan.

I can’t think of anything else. It’s official. I no longer have any imagination.

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

4 thoughts on “Tomorrow! Ugh!

  1. Happy Birthday, Stacy! We’ve never met, I’m a just a fan of your blog. I’m sending you all my positive thoughts on your special and much anticipated day.

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