• The smell of Sunset air at night.
• Dreaming about this graduate school with Belle.
• Vandalism of misogynistic ads.
• Freezer waffles with chutney.
• Using my subway commute time to write letters and read.
• A hot bath at the end of a long day.
• Free tickets to see Adele with Odessa. She was the definition of lovely... her voice, her style, her laugh (she cackles!), her swearing. All under the August stars in an amphitheatre full of true believers. This song was the best part of the night, in my opinion.
• Acknowledging how many crises haven't happened to me (e.g. being an unmarried pregnant student at 20).
• Hilarity and snark with my co-workers.
• Soy "chicken" tenders.
• A reunion with Enya. I've listened to her my entire life — she's literally playing in the background of my first memory — so her songs carry such a sense of continuity and selfhood — history — for me.
• An old King Arthur book to fall asleep to.
• The prospect of summer rainstorms over the next few weeks in New England and the Midwest.
• The smell of Sunset air at night.
As every Sunday is on the seaward side of San Francisco at this time of year.
I'm scanning passages from this book and listening to Two Bicycles and Grouper.
My job right now consists of talking to strangers and convincing them to donate money. I didn't do well yesterday because I was in a misanthropic mood and the sun downtown was too hot and bright for my British-Isles-pale fogdwelling self (sunburned my eyeballs, guh), but the day did bring two of the coolest people I've met since starting.
They were sisters from Canada, I guess in their sixties or early seventies, and the talkative one was telling me all kinds of stories from the Women's Liberation Movement...about seeing Andrea Dworkin in this particular cafe in New York every morning and how she was really a very sweet person, etc. She was giving me names of second-wave feminist poets to write down and look up. It was a jewel of a conversation.
I'm going away for a few weeks to visit people. Primarily my freshman-year roommate, whom I haven't seen in THREE YEARS, and our former suitemate. Both New Englanders. It's been ages since I've gotten on an airplane by myself, with just a bag and the prospect of being away and somewhere unfamiliar for a while. I miss the feeling of that. I have grown roots in the last couples of years, and that's good too, but. There's always something or someplace to want.
(I banned myself from international traveling in early 2010, to think about contentment and luxury and consumption. Even though I've mostly been broke since then anyway, far-sickness still knocks.)
(I dreamed again last night about being back in Iceland. I have some variation of that dream about once a month or so. Like petrifying wood, the reality in memory is gradually replaced by dreamness and the imaginings of longing.)
What else to do with Angled Light On Rumpled Sheets and Romantic Dreams of Travel, complete with Vintage Suitcase?
It's called Nourish Yourself, and you get it free in PDF by signing up for her newsletter.
It's succinct and quite refreshing — an excellent antidote to the eternally confused and confusing messages about food that we're all living through. Go get it.
For the third night straight,
I have been awake to see the night through
And it is hard to see
dawn's approach through the rain.
Until you see.
I escaped from vacation for a night last week to visit my soul-friend Erin. We got in a car accident and spent about four hours stuck in a parking lot in Santa Ana, and it was still great.
1. Dark Fields of the Republic: Poems, 1991-1995, by Adrienne Rich
2. A Wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far: Poems, 1978-1981, by Adrienne Rich
Her younger work is much more accessible. This volume was a beautiful complement to the second-wave feminist essays and pamphlets I was reading around the same time. Intelligent, fluid, with plenty of righteous anger and grief. (I want to own it.)
3. To Bedlam and Part Way Back, by Anne Sexton
4. My Soviet Union: Poems, by Michael Dumanis
5. Tiger in the Well, by Philip Pullman
Reread. Engrossing YA Victorian mystery with a socialist flavoring. I love the protagonist, Sally Lockhart. It's the final in a trilogy; I wouldn't love her or enjoy it as much without having spent two books with her already. (The first is also very good; I didn't like the second that much.) My only gripe is that at times there is an intrusively modern, i.e. preachy, flavor to the liberalism.
6. Send Me Down a Miracle, by Han Nolan
Also reread. If I taught high school or middle school English, I would assign this. Really artful characterizations; resists being boiled down.
7. National Geographic: The Photographs, by The National Geographic Society
• A fresh-to-me Jaclyn Moriarty (epistolary!) novel.
• Accompanying Miss Erin to a screening of a movie she acted in. Such an honor and a treat.
• Mad Men being made available on instant streaming on Netflix.
• The Suburbs.
• The curative powers of journaling.
• Dates with chèvre.
• Visiting with my big sister and bro-in-law and their fantastic baby, who has the best smile I think I've ever seen.
• Confidence and faith.
• Swimming in the ocean after a long, hot, hassling day.
A mediocre month. It brought Havel, Virginia Woolf, thick fog, and finally employment. Ravens came and left. I spent it rather at the mercy of my brain — back and forth between an obsessive buzzing mood and a numb, heavy, tending-towards-despair. But sometimes it's just a matter of riding it out. If you can continue to get out of bed, eat, go outside, write, those things, if you can just wait for it to subside and protect yourself from (doing) things that would make it worse, then you'll be okay. That's how you can practice hope when you don't feel hope.
Summer classes are over now, thank goodness, and I'm looking forward to this month. August has always been my favorite flavor.
This reminds me of a Japanese poem I can't quite remember, which we read in elementary school with our poetry teacher. A woman missing her lover, a line about her own hair or the night. Two years ago in NaPoWriMo I wrote, "I am so happy today that I dialed your number certain you would answer." That same sense of contagion, that joy makes more joy more possible, and the same with sorrow, I suppose — there's something intuitive about it.
has been missing
for nearly a week; and
you haven't called.
There may be
and blood brother
– Linda Pastan
in Traveling Light