01 Story: What’s the best story you heard this month?
When my friend was seven she went sledding and got her tooth knocked out. Her little friend found it in the snow, a red bloody thing amidst all the white. Her parents soaked it in milk to stimulate its nerves then shoved it back into her gum. They secured it with a bent paperclip curved like a small set of braces. She wore that paperclip for months, and was memorably bereft of eating corn on the cob that summer. It worked though — the tooth stuck! (She told me this story when we were eating elotes.)
02 Nature: An encounter with the natural world
I locked eyes with a rattlesnake early this summer and it felt like some sort of an omen. I have snake dreams periodically and they have been on the uptick ever since.
03 Art Experience: An encounter with art (in any form)
Lately I have been simply longing for the feeling of an art experience. I felt so creatively drained after the horrors of 2016 (the personal and political), I couldn’t connect on any non-primary level. But culture is the currency of social change. Art in all its forms gives access to empathy – we learn about others, we learn about ourselves, we explore what separates and connects us. We need this now, as a global community, in full force. We need pleasure and power. Diamond Stingily’s Kaa sculpture was just in the NYT – I memorably saw it at Queer Thoughts gallery, a giant hair braid attached to the wall, long enough to jump rope with. The film "Daughters of the Dust." A friend introduced me to the online poetry journal Elderly. The Geechee girl cookbook Vibration Cooking by Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor. I saw Solange perform and it was like Ziggy fucking Stardust.
04 Change: a meaningful change that impacts the way you live (either that you initiated or that entered from outside)
I feel a very strong impulse to limit social media but find it very hard to stay the course. I live in the country, I live alone, and I’m single. Social media has been in so many ways a savior, keeping me connected to friends and culture digitally. But I want to be more embodied in the physical world. Read more. Write more. Disconnect more. Watch more films in the company of other humans. Intake images less. We are inundated with imagery.
05 New Idea: a new way of looking at things or something to attempt in the future
Illness/pain/malady/discomfort as a teacher
06 Object (old): an old object that took on new/different kind of meaning
I love the elevation of the ordinary. What means the most to me is taking the time to do nothing, to think, to read the paper. Beautiful things that enhance these simple experiences, like handmade mugs and linen sheets, echo the rarified luxury of that time. At work, everything in our kitchen is beautiful. It makes the utilitarian work of cooking feel valued. Picking a salad bowl becomes a personal performance. Making the salad with treasures from the garden, a religious rite.
07 Object (new): a new object that held significance.
I recently had a bunch of visual art framed that I had acquired over some years. Framing art is expensive and a very adult thing to do. but it felt very satisfying to honor the pieces that I have collected. My favorite is by my young friend Penelope Papadin. There was a supermoon a few days after the election. We gathered by candlelight in the basement of the Scribe Hacienda and sang along as Lia Ices played Leonard Cohen songs on the piano. Leonard had just died, we were days from opening the Hacienda, I felt an incomparable dizzy numbness. Penny and her brother Teddy made us howl at the moon. Like actually HOWL at the moon, kids don’t bullshit. And she made me this drawing...
08 Discard: Something you decided to rid from your life (or that you are particularly happy this month to see come to an end)
Vagueness. Precipitated by my acupuncturist, to rid my body of “damp” energies, the accumulated static of patiences, unresolved emotions, internalizations.
09 Gratitude: something you have been specifically thankful for this month
My colleague Meredith, who is moving on to the next chapter of her work life. A few weeks ago, unknowingly premeditating her departure, I had the epiphany that she and I could work all day together virtually without talking – we know each other’s energies so well and can move around each other so seamlessly, the kitchen equivalent of finishing each other’s sentences.
010 PROPORTION: A SPECIFIC MOMENT THAT REMINDED YOU OF THE SCALE OF THE UNIVERSE; THAT YOU ARE PART OF A GREATER WHOLE.
I am forever in awe of cosmic patterns and signs from the universe, small and large, and also our own interpretation of them. My astrologist friend gave me the meditation image of a “jumping frog” last month, a day after I caught a jumping frog. This year I felt like the crickets had never been louder in Sonoma and the nights hotter at a time when the world couldn’t be crazier, but it was so beautiful to hear them. Humans are just another part of nature, like leaves and birds and spiders. Our inner tides are governed by the moon and our bodily needs are ruled by the sun. And we are not in control. This weekend we were at the Trans-Pecos Music Festival in Marfa, Texas and a rainstorm came through and flooded the event in 20 minutes. Society has developed to dominate nature, but in the end nature always will win — it is more powerful than us. Give in to that power, and strive to live in harmony with it. Watch the sunset.