Facing east, December

Untitled

Gratitudes + things that are making me happy

• lunch break escapes

• the hot water machine at work

• banana bread

• hand-me-downs from friends

• this year, I will travel abroad again, for the first time since 2009

• unexpected emails of substance

• photos of Niece-Baby sent to me during my morning commute

• being out the door within the hour before sunrise

• long long honest sharp conversations with honest sharp friends

• dreams of northern places and memories of snowy winter nights

The Hunger Games

• flat platform sandals

Evenings when the fog rolls in




Scone dough


What we did with the raspberries (the ones we didn't eat right off the bush). I actually did not get to taste these; while they were still in the oven the time came to hug my friend's mom goodbye and get in the car for Anna to drive me to the airport. But I heard they were good, and that they got fed to a social worker.

A moment (smoke, moon)

I have always liked candlelight and never liked the smell of an extinguished candle. Lately, stepping outside to blow my candle out in the fresh air, just before I get in bed for the night, has become a favorite moment of many nights. Even with the dark and chill off the sea, I can't resist the stars, must pilgrimage down the steps and to the edge of the yard, cupping my lit votive, to greet the stars and moon in the noise of the passing traffic. I feel like a high priestess or a young pagan nun at such times  — and full of wonder, full of solemnity, myself familiar (just a very little bit) to the night sky.

A short walk from Highway 1


A woman I love on a day that I loved. There was nothing to hear but a soft wind, and once, the wings of the hawk that drifted in wide circles above and around us. Though there is something about the sun, like the color of the sea, that is almostnotquite soundless in these mild coastal Januaries — at least in my memory...

These are the materials

[trigger warning: abuse]

I don't want to hear how he beat her after the earthquake,
tore up her writing, threw the kerosene
lantern into her face waiting
like an unbearable mirror of his own.    I don't
want to hear how she finally ran from the trailer
how he tore the keys from her hands, jumped into the truck
and backed it into her.    I don't want to think
how her guesses betrayed her — that he meant well, that she
was really the stronger and ought not to leave him
to his own apparent devastation.    I don't want to know
wreckage, dreck and waste, but these are the materials
and so are the slow lift of the moon's belly
over wreckage, dreck, and waste, wild treefrogs calling in
another season, light and music still pouring over
our fissured, cracked terrain.

– Adrienne Rich
from "An Atlas of the Difficult World"

Hospitality










In the youth of the Midwestern autumn, in the sweet-smelling and the golding warmth, I sleep on Nuch's sofa and then on the left side of her bed. She lays a spread to share with me before her afternoon classes. Dried figs and blueberries, coconut milk with molasses...

She is living on the ground floor of an old Victorian, a cool and shaded space where they have tacked two-yard cuts of fabric over their door frames in place of doors. When they open the windows, the house is filled with their drifting.

Possibility and the stories we're not "supposed" to have

I weigh something like thirty pounds more than I did two years ago, the most I have ever weighed, and that's supposed to really distress me, but I have to say, it doesn't.

The bullshit consumer-capitalist/patriarchal messages about why I should be distressed, they make me anxious on occasion. But when I maintain awareness of those messages as external (imposed), I realize that I do not have strong feelings about the size of my body.

I also do not have any sob story about "letting myself go," or not feeling like myself anymore, or not respecting myself, or how I've been just existing, not really living, or any of that nonsense that we're supposed to talk about when we talk about gaining weight.

On the contrary, I feel wiser and more creative than I ever have before — intellectually, artistically — and there is so much vigor in my days. I have never felt so awake in my life.

There is such a poor selection of narratives to choose from when we look at the cultural canon, and not just when we're talking about weight gain. The narratives that we have needed have been withheld from us on the grounds that they would not be useful for selling things to us.

It's quite important that, as we are seeking the shapes of our lives, we do not settle for these pre-fab stories. They are easier, but they do not satisfy. The only stories that can do justice to our lives are the ones we ourselves are doing the hard work of discerning. The honorable truths. Truths whose existence affirm the wideness of what is possible.

And my truth today is that I gained weight, and it was not a fall from grace. I gained weight, and it means little more to me than that I weigh more and take up more space than I did before.

The gap between what our experiences and histories "should have been" and what they actually are — just like the gap between what we ourselves "should" be and what we actually are — is a manufactured illusion. Only what has happened has happened; only what is, is.

The art is in seeing what is, as reality in its own right, instead of merely in relation and subordination to what "ought" to have been. And the art is in the way that discerning and speaking our realities, "allowed" or not, opens reality up wider for others too.

Here is something we did in September











Read in February 2012

1. At the Root of this Longing: Reconciling a Spiritual Hunger and a Feminist Thirst, by Carol Lee Flinders
Much food for thought about the conflicts between religion and feminism, and the possibilities for complementarity. The author is a member of a meditation community; her focus is, fittingly, more on mystic traditions than on the mainstream of any religion. Though the book is only a few years old, I'd call her a second-wave feminist. Lisa's review is good. I learned a lot and my thinking was VERY stimulated.

2. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
The intersecting lives of teenagers in and around New York City. Gritty, but not all sad. The author is a social worker — when I read that in her bio, I went, "Ah..." and nodded. It's a quick read with a heart.

3. The Gate to Women's Country, by Sheri S. Tepper
Post-apocalyptic ecofeminist sci-fi. The world-building reminded me of Tamora Pierce's novels. Some might find the beginning slow, but stick with it. I got very emotionally involved with this book. It passes quite a (deserved, in my opinion) indictment on modern post-/industrial societies, and it's zang good.

Noriega

Worries

The first question I sent to two friends last night; the second to Twitter. I will submit them now to you.

What do you do when you are troubled by worries?

What do you do when you cannot sleep?

December / January



Morning leftovers

Two women I used to live with came to visit; we had a chill night in. Homemade cupcakes and sake. I don't own any sake cups so we made do with teacups.

Humming

O my city
in the raín, bý
the sèa —
I love,
I love,
I love

Velvet

Gratitudes + things that are making me happy

• a magical care package

• the concept of equanimity

• friendship on analog ("slow friendship," Poppy Gallico called it)

• lovely customer service

• gathering bravery and rigor to articulate precisely to myself (in my journal) those things that I need to

• and the feeling of release that follows

• deciding not to care about some things that I could care about, but don't need to. like watching Downton Abbey.

• matriarchal visions

• decluttering/purging of possessions

• the extended version of the Swedish Millenium Trilogy

• deviled eggs

• being really honest

• still night air

• that in every epic fantasy movie, there is at least one man with exactly the same haircut as me

• also I trimmed my hair and it turned out quite well

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