Jan 29, 2015

Honorable Mentions

It bears mentioning that this rambling space of inchoate thoughts has won itself an award.

I am indubitably delighted at the recognition, and look forward to maintaining the acknowledged spirit of scribbility into the present.

- The Editor, et al.

White Knuckled

That thread of story of your life that starts by taking hold and ends with letting go.

For me, the most powerful thing to be learned from meditation is how to, at least momentarily, let go.

Holding on knots up something in the nape of my neck, and at the crux of my shoulders and where my jaw hinges, pushing it forward, defiance.

Letting go feels like breathing freely and seeing, for real, the color your eyes turn when you, also, exhale deeply.

For me, the hardest thing is to remember to forget.

Jan 28, 2015

Starting off / Dreamspace

It started off with me thinking that sooner or later you would fall down a well.

After a while, I started looking for a well to throw myself down.

(Dreams last night of royalty, replicating chickpea composed boogie men, an unanticipated trip to Tennessee, getting lost souvenir shopping, escapes in dark allies, a highway bridge drive over the city in the hot dusty summer of south of the equator in a crowded, old VW beetle. The bridge had no end in sight but plenty of traffic. No soundtrack, just the whine of 100 idling engines and rush of the wind at 1000ft up.

Carnaval vem logo, meu)

Jan 17, 2015

We have always been here

Just unrecognized, unnoticed, plagiarized, pseudonymed, unacknowledged out of existence.

https://twitter.com/jr_carpenter/status/556410847644614656?s=09

Notes on sunrise photography

I expect this to be an evolving list. At this point, this is based on 17 days of (direct, hands on!) experience.

Not to dither about, here's a list of things I've noticed thus far:

Cloud strewn skies are far more elegant and colorful than clear days.

A full cloud cover makes for very dull photos.

Getting the timing right is hard. Sunsets are more beautiful after the sun dips below the horizon. Sunrises I'm still exploring*, though intuitively I'd expect them also to be more interesting pre-horizon.

There isn't a single moment of a sunrise or sunset. They're constantly evolving.

That being said, there's definitely a point when they're over, and it's obvious.

The best way to describe it is as a crescendo and diminuendo, with intensity of color being the sliding scale.

Finding a good angle on or clear unobstructed view of the horizon is difficult where I live. Especially sunrises.

Sun events are too big to fit into one frame. They involve the whole sky.

Capturing the whole thing is not the point.

Sometimes the other horizon is more interesting than the one with the sun.

*I tend to wake up as its rising, and catch it after.

Jan 11, 2015

A word on motivation


I ran my first marathon the weekend before i started at Etsy, in October 2012.  It was one of the most ambitious things I’ve ever done, and honestly it was a miserable and yet totally empowering experience.  As hard as that that much running can be, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Truthfully, I wouldn’t have even thought to run that marathon if it hadn’t have been for an audiobook a coworker from a former life sent me in an email: ‘Born to Run’.  There’s a good chance that you’ve heard of it before, as it was quite popular when it was first published. Barefoot shoes and chia seeds can trace their recent surge in popularity back to it’s release.  

Find it, download it, listen to it. 

I don’t know what it was about this book in particular that I found so inspiring.  It was one of the first audiobooks that I listened to — it’s possible the novelty of having someone else tell you a story made it more inspiring.  Whatever the reason, it was good.  The author has some powerful things to say about the limits of human endurance, and, inadvertently perhaps, makes you question the boundaries you’ve drawn for yourself, your own limits.  For me, I got curious about pushing them.  I hope you’ll find the same motivation from it.

Honestly, I think that when a lot of people look at me, they see someone that’s “always been a runner” or “always been athletic”.  It’s a false impression.  I worked real hard to be a runner.  I may have the ‘body type’ for it, but my temperament is ill-suited to it.  I was a part of the running team in high school through sheer willpower; the biggest award I ever won in racing was “most improved”. 

All this to say, before I listened to that audiobook, the longest I had ever ran consecutively was probably 6 miles, if that.  6 miles sounds like a lot, and it is.  But when put in context, it’s less than 1/4 of a marathon.  I had a long way to go when I finally started logging miles in the summer of 2012.


I’m not sure what it was, but after hearing the stories of the characters in that book, I knew I too could run far.  

Confidence can take you a long way.

Jan 8, 2015

Forever Relegated to Drafts

Other people
don't let people
sit like tin dolls on the shelf
and wait for time
and irreality to mould them
into something else.

You knew better.
But you acted anyways.
You knew what the truth was.
But you acted as though you didn't.

There are no prophets, only
zendolls.

You wanted so hard to be out.
To be seeing.
Well, now you are love.
You are outside.
You are an outsider.

What do you love, love?

No, really.  No, truly.

This center can hold and it will
but it *shouldn't*.

Repetition

I repeat myself a lot, sometimes. Especially if you disagree. The clarity and correctness of my thought is self evident, clearly you didn't hear me, goes the logic. They must not have heard me, not clearly.

As a child, I mumbled a lot. My mother asked me to repeat myself regularly. Important things, especially, never came out right, not the first time. I was never a full blown lisper but I had enough trouble speaking that eventually I ended up meeting with a speech therapist, just as a consultation, once in second grade. It didn't turn into a lasting relationship.

I loathed repeating things. It was embarrassing. Shameful, to be told to speak up. When I finally did speak out, my words never seemed to move the mountains that I hoped they would. Especially after all that effort.

I've tried to explain this to myself, why it happens. I've concluded that I get caught in my head. A screen goes up between my thoughts and the world, and I am trapped behind it. You, on the other side, get two copies of the same, strange, frizzly energetic message, with garbled contents.

CommErr. (-1)

Jan 6, 2015

dinner plans

I made so much food tonight.  I chalk this up to the fact that my kitchen is amazing and living and working next to my two favorite grocery stores.  Though after Fairway, the Whole Foods at Bowery does begin to resemble a cheap knock off.

I'm really obsessed with savoy cabbage lately. Specifically making it into soup.  Or cabbage stew.  I usually think of soups as being more broth like, no chunks.  These are full on chunky, but thin broth soups.  Nothing but water and some pepper to fill out vegetables. Lots of freaking vegetables.  To be fair, the potatoes that I tossed in tonight flavored the water a good bit.

This is the 3rd time in a month that I've made savoy cabbage soup/stew.  That's a lot considering that each pot usually lasts me 4 days.  I've been eating savoy cabbage for half a month and I have zero complaints.

I also roasted leeks and brussel sprouts.   The brussel sprouts were to go with the grilled cheese sandwich that I was going to make for dinner.  Originally they were going to be green beans, but there wasn't enough of a selection at the Whole Foods to make them seem appetizing enough.  Instead I got brussel sprouts and another leek.  (There was already one week old leek in the fridge, left over from the last time I made savoy cabbage soup/stew).  I roasted the stalks and chopped and then tossed the coarse leaves into the soup/stew.

The best thing about soup/stew is that you can toss anything in.  Anything at all.  Last time I added ginger chunks.

I didn't make a grilled cheese.  There was too much other food.  And honestly, grilled cheeses can be a lot of work.


The next time that you're making dinner plans I highly recommend savoy cabbage be included in those plans.  You won't regret it.


PS: I finally got my Electric Object working at home.  Except unpaired. Because bluetooth.

Jan 4, 2015

Sunday Afternoon, on a Sunday.

How is writing a letter like a conversation?  If you make journals into letter writing, does that make them just letters to your future self?  If no one reads your journal entries, what are they then?

Am I any good at this?  Probably not.

And the more and more you start to wonder how much beside the point that is.  To be "good" at a thing.  Goodness doesn't matter.

But those things.  On my to do list.  What happens if I *do* finish all of them?  Like, what happens if I wrote down things that are entirely *finishable* for today?

That's never happened before.  Am I growing up?

I lunched with a friend today.  He's seriously pursuing writing.  He's got some 9,000* words of himself that he's readying to send to publishers, to editors.  To be read and parsed and edited and, hopefully, published.  I'm really excited for him.  I want to be able to make it happen, but I can't make things happen for people.  I have enough trouble making things happen for myself.

We talked about books, what makes a bad one, and writing and working and recognition.  Is it enough to be recognized as a writer?  How much of recognition is titles and raises and more stock option grants, and how much of it is something simple like deference of questions and latitude and being given a team or someone to mentor.  I wonder about these things.

Two quick story ideas :
- A survey of bacon sides at brunch establishments.  Based on meatiness (thickness), crunch, flavor (mesquite?), hot or cold when it arrived?, quantity provided. fat to meat ratio, appearance/plating, slice width, price, weight of the portion (note to self: bring your electronic scale).
- Scathing review of Jonathan Franzen's book (and the book that he reviewed and you subsequently read, A Hundred Brothers).  A double review?  A review of a review?  Like the meta book review, that both investigates how we, as book consumers find and appreciate books, and lambasting J Franzen for not only his terrible taste, but also replicating that terrible taste into a short book of memoirs.


I leave you with this poem:

I
I am terrible.
I am also drunk.
Caffeine is a wonder drug.

This martini has sugar in it.



* 9,000 words?  Dear god. Nine thousand words!**

** Before*** this comment, this blog post was 388 words.

*** Including this comment, this blog post is 408 words.

Jan 1, 2015

Habits

I do this all the time, she said, pulling out a pair of rusty scissors from her skirt's thick black waistband.

She cut off her left thumb.  Then her forefinger.

Then my right thumb.

Then my head.

blank canvas

this canvas is blank. does that mean it's time for me to start afresh? that's one of the side effects of blank canvas -- it brings...