Corey and I have been keeping tabs on wildlife in our backyard— a green praying mantis living on our sliding door, a screech owl and woodpecker in the live oaks, a swarm of dragonflies that descends after rain to eat insects rising out of the creek, and a huge spotted moth who likes my bicycle. It’s been hot and humid as Texas struggles out of summer.
02 Object (old)
When I was at my parents' house a few weeks ago, I found a photo of my brother and me with a bunch of flamingos. I also spent a weekend organizing old boxes of ephemera after Corey and I re-did our guest room. I uncovered a handful of very miscellaneous snapshots from last winter that I had tucked away and subsequently forgotten about. Two are from our kitchen to test the little fuji camera; one is from Tulum on the night my friend Kari’s foot swelled for mysterious reasons. The last was taken four negronis into New Year’s Eve— I tried to take a picture of a group of friends standing outside the window, but I forgot about the flash and photographed the dark. Felt like a metaphor.
03 Object (new)
There were two terra-cotta busts of a nude clutching some palm fronds at Goodwill that I knew I needed.
I came across this quote by my favorite poet, Jack Gilbert, about why he prefers art that is unembellished in an epistolary essay I had never read, but had a photocopy of in the depths of my closet. It’s in conversation with ideas I’ve been considering on this month:
“Both the Chinese and the Greeks were in love with what mathematicians mean by elegance: not the heaping up of language, but the use of a few words with the utmost effect. The Chinese in their greatest paintings limited themselves to little more than blacks, whites and grays… I feel much the same about ornament in things as unserious as well-designed gowns, fine cooking, furniture, cars, and chess. There is usually a minimum decoration in the best.
As James Thomson wrote:
Needs not the foreign aid of ornament,
But is when unadorned adorned the most.’ …
P.S. I hope the weather in Rio is good right now. Is it true that the colonial Brazilian artists didn’t paint the jungle for a hundred years?”
A two-year-old I watch has started to get into make-believe, which has opened up a whole new world for him and for me when we hang out. It’s funny how revolutionary but also innate performance is to humans. No one has to teach a kid to perform— “I’m the pizza man and I’m making you a pizza” or “You be the daddy fish and I’m the baby fish, it’s nap time in the ocean.” What in us is so interested in pretending we are something else for a brief time, starting a such a young age? I love it! As my poetry professor says, empathy is the most difficult art form.
06 Night Out
Joanna Newsom performed a few weeks ago and it was mystifying. She is a personal hero of mine. I think she is one of the most significant artists of my generation— both in composition and lyrics. Watching her hands move across the harp was like watching some kind of difficult bird. Coincidentally, she sang“Albatross” by Judy Collins as an encore, which is one of my favorite songs.
07 Day Out
This coming Saturday, I am surprising Corey for his birthday with a day in Fort Worth to visit the Kimbell, the Modern, and the Nasher Sculpture Center. Then we will eat Mexican food and stay in a chain hotel with complimentary bathrobes, many TV channels, and supernatural central A/C.
08 Time Alone
I spend most of my day alone spacing out, writing in my journal, reading, fiddling with things. I also do lagree pilates a few times a week, which I consider time alone. It’s so difficult, I have to meditate to get through the hour. On an episode of “On Being” this month, someone said: “Remember, the blessing is beyond your comfort zone”— a strong mantra.
09 Time With A Friend
I got my nails done for two full hours (?) with my dearest friend, Madeline, to celebrate her engagement. Her fiancé proposed on a cliff in Big Sur— we’ve all been friends since junior high.
010 Movie / TV / Book
And our faces, my heart, brief as photos by John Berger
The Diary of Virginia Woolf: Volume 1
The New Directions Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry
The Collected Poetry of Federico García Lorca
Black Lamb, Grey Falcon by Rebecca West— a semester long project. It’s behemoth and beautiful.
We just finished watching Les Enfants Du Paradis, directed by Marcel Carné and written by Jacques Prévert during the Nazi occupation of Paris. It’s about a woman who is loved by four men: a mime, a criminal, a wealthy bachelor, and an actor. The mime is so elegant! It’s always surreal to watch a movie about acting. I get restless during movies, a trait that Corey thinks is appalling rather than endearing…
Bachelor in Paradise season 3. I have a lot of opinions about the Bachelor franchise, most of them positive.
011 Creative Act
I am currently in school at the Michener Center for Writers, so, many days are spent procrastinating against creative acts, then putting my head down for a couple hours to chip away at a piece of writing. It’s an unbelievable and strange gift. This week I’m working on a poem called “Love like Cheetahs, a Flash and Unreliable.” Who knows.