Carissa Potter Carlson

Carissa Potter Carlson is an editor, writer, and artist in Oakland. Her printmaking studio “People I’ve Loved” is intended to “facilitate the communication between real, tactile people.”
website / instagram

01    Nature

I talk to my plants in the backyard. Well, the ones in the front yard and inside too. Josh says that it is hard for me to want to go back home if we don’t get a new plant when we are out. I think of them as children. As loves, as part of me, inside me always. I am growing an army. They are not really the fighting type. But I am, it seems. I am killing for them. The snails. I am taking them down. One by one. Bit by bit. I water our family despite concerns of drought. I touch them, clean out their boxes, brush them with oil and buy them organic plant food. Even though I don’t believe in organic. They deserve the best. Whatever that is.

02    Object (old)

I have this gold necklace with a tiny diamond in the shape of an “H” that was handed down from my great-grandmother Helen to my grandmother Helen to me Carissa. It seemed to skip a generation with my mother Monica. In the mornings I look in the mirror and see their faces in mine. I flex my chin, poke my cheeks, and think, Helen you are in there. I see you. You are there, still, with me. If I have a daughter, I hoped I would name her Helen and watch her grow into my grandmothers. However, I fell in love with a Keller, who really wants us to give our child his last name.

03    Object (new)

My sister, I hated her for most of my life. She was born in April, a spring morning exactly on time. She came with gifts for me, a new pink polkadot dress and stuffed animal. My mother said Casey already loved me, and asked if I loved her? I hated her on site. As she grew so did her perfection. She was kind to everyone, insanely smart, could sing like a cathedral and she was and still is the most beautiful woman I know. Within her I saw what I thought I looked like, but the world never confirmed it.

Recently, I was listening to this podcast about sibling love. The speaker was arguing that siblings play the most important role in your lives. They share the most hours, people in common and genes.

Over the past decade, my jealousy has turned into pride. I love her more and more every moment I spend with her. Thinking about her now, makes me happy. She gets my jokes. No one else does. She gave me a watch this year. I love it. I wear it everyday and it makes me feel how I really want to be. I have the most beautiful watch in the world, perfect in every way, it arrived exactly on time.

04    Encounter

Our post office sign reads "Past Office." I have to go there most days. There is a very pretty lady who works there, who happens to be in a mad mood each time I see her. I think to myself, how can someone so beautiful be so mean? This makes me want to get her on my side even more. I smile real big at her. I wish her well. I bring her gifts, sometimes grapes from the store. She has never told me she likes grapes, but I hope she tried them anyway.

05    Night Out

I don’t really go out. I go out when I have to. When there is something that must be gone to because I said I would. And I say I will go to things all the time. Recently, we were at Costco and I felt all the weight of the world on my shoulders in the canned tomato aisle. It just came crashing down, and Josh told me I needed to hold it together until we exited the store. And I could, I mean, I did hold it together just a while longer.

06    Day Out

A day out is really a day in. I sit on the porch and read in the sun. My therapist says that I need one hour every morning. But I really only do it randomly when there is time, and when the sun is out. It is a shame to live so close to the beach and only see it once or twice a year, but on days when I have a choice, I spend time with my plants, smell my dog, and bake cakes for whoever will eat them.

07    Time Alone

See above.

08    Time With A Friend

I cook to avoid thinking about life. I cook to feel connected to the earth. I cook to share. Vera came over for dinner. With her partner and her mother. We ate what I cannot remember, but it was ok, Josh and I cooked for hours, I think. She shared an upside down cake with oranges and rum. I love her. I feel comfortable with her. Sometimes I just wish I could be with her, and hold her in my arms and tell her how I believe in her. She is so brilliant and sweet and if anyone can be happy, I sure hope she is.


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