Summer came so late this year here. Even in early June we were still wrapping ourselves in cardigans to stave off the cold. But now we are here in the heat and it feels so nice and warm. Growing up in California I hated the heat. I found it oppressive, overbearing, suffocating. I deal better in warmth in small, coveted doses. Little gems of warm days and tank tops. Blue water, sandy beaches. July to me feels like the most beautiful, shining days of summer where anything feels possible.
I was a snob once, too. When I first started writing short stories in college, I was determined to read only the best, and so I focused on the Western canon, on Hemingway and Faulkner and Jonathan Franzen; I took a small step away from my beloved Harry Potter, understanding it to be different and lesser. It went on that way for a long time, until the summer after my first year in grad school, when I picked up Kelly Link’s Pretty Monsters in the teen section of the Carnegie Library and something shifted in my brain. It was like the curtains had been parted and I suddenly saw that my whole conception of value had been formed and shaped by people who looked exactly the same (people who looked like Hemingway and Faulkner and Franzen), that the world was much bigger than that, much more interesting, and so much more fun it made me want to scream. This is the thing I can’t get over in these conversations—we talk about Literary like it’s not in itself a genre. We talk about books as if it’s just understood that there’s a Universal Good and a Universal Bad, and we act like the Universal Good is not overpopulated with white males, and we act like readers of the Universal Bad don’t know any better.
But look: I can read and understand and appreciate High Literature, and usually I don’t. And that’s because as we should all well know, it’s our choices that show who we truly are, far more than our abilities. And what I want to be is happy.
It’s June and I can barely breathe, but that’s only because my allergies are late this year and they are trying to make up for lost time. June is a light, summery month and this is a light, summery mix. Enjoy.
April showers bring May flowers, and everything is in bloom. Literally every thing. Pollen is everywhere. I am sneezing out of my ears. But at least everything is pretty. The rain clouds making way for the sunshine. Relax. Bask in it.
Just looking for some people with which to talk to about the latest episode of Adventure Time. And maybe some hugging and a little crying. (Big sloppy soft tears, nothing serious.) Because I have. a lot. of feelings. about it.
If you were here in New York last weekend, you know how GLORIOUS it was! And yet, today I woke up and there was ice on the ground. That’s how it goes with April. You never know what you’re going to get.
“Ultimately, I can’t stop thinking about the silenced women and girls that color the margins of modern noir like True Detective. Those dead-eyed baby doll whores, modern femme fatales, smooth operators and women of violent means who use sex and wit and bared teeth to gain leverage in a sick world trying to keep them powerless. The screen sirens, the depressed wives, those suicide blondes with runs in their stockings and freedom on their mind deserve as much narrative weight as men like Rust Cohle. All these yearning silenced women that writers like Nic Pizzolatto for all their skill seem unable to truly write or understand except for how far their flesh yields. It’s time we started telling their stories again.”—
February is the loneliest month. The shortest month. The most miserable month, if we get down to it. All the hope of January abandoned in an apparently endless slog of cold winter days. If you don’t live in more temperate climates, I mean. (Looking at you, California.) I’m fine with this. I’m so fine with this that I’m posting seventeen songs to show you how fine with this I am.
For people who have followed this blog for awhile, you may remember that year when I made mixes every month. (That year was 2012.) Well, I’m doing it again. Finding strength, healing, and discovery through music has always been something I’ve enjoyed and having a monthly structure to the process has been something that I’ve missed over the past year. So let’s start again. Hey January. Hey 2014. Let’s go.
“Some people are good at being in love. Some people are good at love. Two very different things, I think. Being in love is the romantic part—sex all the time, midday naps in the sheets, the jokes, the laughs, the fun, long conversations with no pauses, overwhelming separation anxiety … Just the best sides of both people, you know? But love begins when the excitement of being in love starts to fade: the stress of life sets in, the butterflies disappear, the sex becomes a chore, the tears, the sadness, the arguments, the cattiness … The worst parts of both people. But if you still want that person by your side through all of those things … that’s when you know—that’s when you know you’re good at love.”—Matthew Healy (via ittybitty-world)
It is so easy to lounge on the couch, sink into it, let it envelop you entirely as you lazily click forward onto another episode of whatever show you’ve been meaning to catch up on. Somehow, the invent of instant streaming makes you feel more productive because this is something you have been meaning to do, as opposed to before, when you would be actively disinterested in whatever show was on the television, whatever rerun you stumbled upon, whatever Investigation Discovery reenactment appeared on the screen. But now it’s purposeful, you want to watch this show, you want to be there on that couch, sipping your tea, your wine, your lukewarm Fresca. And it will all happen later, of course, of course you’ll submit those stories and write that book. Of course you will wake up one day invigorated and happy and productive and attending all the yoga you want and writing all those things you’ve always wanted to write. But first you must (of course) buy stuff, of course, and you must make that recipe you found on that blog because that’s something people do, and those people are of course loved and happy and all that, and it’s absolutely imperative that you sit on your couch and watch that show you’ve been meaning to watch. It’s as if there’s a creature on your shoulder just watching you out of sight, saying, “Yes, yes, please doooo, please do nothing, sit here and be complacent because you’re happy, it’s nice here, isn’t it? so nice here, so very nice to just sit and do nothing, it’s like you’re in a dream, a dream where you’re staring off into space and there’s nothing to think about because there’s nothing there, nothing to worry about, you have a job and you don’t have to worry, isn’t this what you wanted? and besides, isn’t it so hard? isn’t it so hard to put in the work? why do the work when you can just sit here and relax and be content? it’s so nice here, isn’t it?”
It’s only when somebody looks at you from the outside, someone that you love, and they say, “Is this the real you?” that the creature hisses and retreats, its soft black edges receding into the folds of the couch that you have to say, “No, this is not what I intended. This is not what I intended at all.” No matter what happens, you are alive, you are free, you are going to do exactly what you’ve always said you will do. It will happen because it must. You must fight against the creature. You must be the person you are going to be.
“You’re not a kid anymore. You have the right to choose your own life. You can start again. If you want a cat, all you have to do is choose a life in which you can have a cat. It’s simple. It’s your right.”—Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (via theriverjordyn)
Googling, “YA book where kid gets a tattoo that says Mom with a rose on it against father’s advice and then it gets infected and deformed and he tries to hide it but at the end he finds out his father has basically the same deformed tattoo.”
This is how you examine wine: tilt it to its side and check for color, clarity, and the weight of the liquid as it drips down the sides of the glass. A white wine will react differently from a red wine. A port will react differently from a…
Have I mentioned that fall is my favorite season? Oh, just like a million billion times since I started this blog? Well, good. So you know. Fall is the best! The air this morning contained this really wonderful brisk chill and it just made me so irrationally happy that I felt like I had to post this mix immediately. So here it is! Fall sweaters and warm cider and crunchy leaves. Fall is the ultimate season for sensory sensations and I love sensory sensations! Fall! Yay! Fall!
Haim - The Wire
The National - Don’t Swallow the Cap
Motopony - Seer
The Rolling Stones - Street Fighting Man
Warren G feat. Nate Dogg - Regulate
The Velvet Underground - There She Goes Again
Yellow Ostrich - WHALE
Genesis - Invisible Touch
Islands - Switched On
Morrissey - The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get
“Think of two people, living together day after day, year after year, in this small space, standing elbow to elbow cooking at the same small stove, squeezing past each other on the narrow stairs, shaving in front of the same small bathroom mirror, constantly jogging, jostling, bumping against each other’s bodies by mistake or on purpose, sensually, aggressively, awkwardly, impatiently, in rage or in love – think what deep though invisible tracks they must leave, everywhere, behind them!”—Christopher Isherwood, A Single Man (via hauntee)
I lived in Manhattan for four years. Now I am living in Brooklyn. I still haven’t really accepted it yet. Every time I walk down the street and see some reference to my new borough, I bristle a little bit. “Brooklyn?” some side of myself says. “Really?”
Which is strange, because I did want to live here. On a certain level, I sought it out. I wanted more space, for one thing. And then there’s the neighborhood itself. There is something so beautiful about life here, something that was inherently missing in the neighborhoods where I lived in Manhattan. It feels more like somewhere you could have a real home, instead of some walk-up where the rent is too high and your landlord doesn’t care about you at all. My new landlady lives in South Carolina and calls me on the phone to tell me that she’s so pleased that we have decided to move in. She has an old school Brooklyn accent, and in my fantasies, she grew up here.
Our bedroom is in the front of the building. The first night we spent in the apartment, the light streamed in and I saw blue skies and green trees. I couldn’t remember the last time I had that view outside of my window. Probably in Dublin, probably in another lifetime. It felt so novel to me. I usually loathe sunlight in the mornings (a conspiracy to wake me up before I’m ready), but that day, despite being spent and aching from our move, I loved it with all my heart.
Not to say that there is no difficulty here. Our first Saturday, we became locked inside when the doorknob, weathered and worn after too many years of use, decided that it had simply had enough of our shenanigans as its new owners and would no longer be of service to us. It was, in other words, the Kreacher of doorknobs.
Here are other things: it takes longer to get to work, it takes longer to get home from work, I don’t know where the best place is to get groceries and I wonder if I will miss my friends in other neighborhoods. And, the answer is, yes, of course. I will miss my friends. But they are only a ride away, thanks to the wonder of New York’s transportation system. Once you get on the train, what’s the difference of a few more stops, really? And not to mention the tremendous amount of people who live in Brooklyn, too.
I will miss Bagel Works on the Upper East Side. That much is certain.
I made my first dinner tonight in the new kitchen — some sort of bacon-y, spinach-y, garlicky pasta creation. It was good. I went to get a bottle of pinot noir to accompany it and I lucked into a free baguette. “You want it?” the guy behind the counter said. “It’s yours.”
We still don’t have a couch, or a dresser, or a wardrobe. We don’t have a TV and we don’t have a coffee table. It feels weird to get to this stage of life and not have those already in my possession, but, then again, I almost feel like I’ve never had a home before. I’ve lived with other people, roommates, who were more aware of how a possession could make a home, and I always just went along for the ride or took whatever the leaving roommate left behind.
But here, we have the whole floor to ourselves. Here, there is only one bed, but there is a lot of room.
At the store tonight, buying the groceries for my impending supper, I spied a basil plant in the produce section. It was $2 for an entire potted basil plant. “Keep it in sunlight,” it instructed. “Make sure it is not too wet or too dry.”
I bought that plant and I took it home. I think we will be very happy.