Lexie Smith

Lexie Smith is a baker and artist in new york
website / instagram

01    Nature

While most of the month has been spent in a basement for all sunlit hours, I got out of work before dark the other day and took the train to Prospect Park without thinking, maybe born purely from survival instinct. Really, I blinked and was there. I walked from one end to the other; it was glaringly sunny and I took deep breaths and marveled at the fact that I make it to the park only two or three times a year. I walked to the giant mulch pile nestled in the middle and watched the steam rise off the wood chips. I climbed up the mounds, sinking with every step as I ascended and then scurried back down, dirt in my socks.

02    Object (old)

My sourdough starter has been sleeping since work took over, and midmmonth I took him out of the fridge and woke him, determined to make more things that fill me up.

03    Object (new)

Two more books on bread making and the nicest camera I’ve ever owned.

04    Surprise

I’ve been shocked by the amount of despair I’ve felt the last month. Like the sobbing, heaving kind of despair. In public or in bed, it hasn’t mattered much. The sort of despair that leaves you racked and wheezy, like there are winds blowing through you. It was heralded in by the initial surprise of how wrongly I’d judged my ability to do a certain job, which many expected me to be both grateful for and gracefully good at. To feel neither of those things has been both damning and exhausting. I’ve been shocked by its weight. And far outside myself the world is just extra, supremely heavy these last couple months.

05    Encounter

Spending such little time out in the world recently has made me disproportionately affected. Sort of emotionally wobbly when out in public. One day, I was riding the train home and my trip coincided with lots of high school kids getting out for the day. This young guy was keeping the train doors open while we were stopped on the L, heckling a girl he knew standing out of view on the platform. It seemed at first just vaguely antagonistic but loud and persistent, and soon the girl comes running up to him in the doorway, she’s tiny but so fired up. I’m standing right behind this boy and she just starts pummeling him with her fists on his chest and his neck. Then, we all just watched this girl reach a breaking point. She tripped backwards then, out of the car doors, and her foot got caught between the train and the platform. She had to bend down in the middle of it all and physically yank it out with her two hands. Then she started up again and the train doors close with her inside. We’re a unified audience, wondering when our empathy will overtake our curiosity. At a point the guy pushes her up against a wall to get her to lay off him and some sort of intervention feels suddenly very necessary, and just then another teenage kid steps in and gets the others’ hands off her. So now she’s left standing there with crossed arms, riding with all of us to the next stop, her backpack and coat back at Graham St. She stood with her face two inches from the door and pretended not to hear the buzzy air around her. I stepped up behind her and touched her shoulder, asked if she was okay. She didn’t move a bit. I whispered in her ear, “Don’t worry about him, he’s just a little boy.” Still didn’t flinch. The doors opened right then and she walked out, presumably back to where she came from. I do hope she heard me.

06    Night Out

My nights and days have seeped into one another since I’ve been waking up for work when most people have yet to get home. There is usually a good run-in at the bodega where I get my coffee, often with the boys getting money out of the ATM. Our opposite worlds are adjacent to each another for just a second — they flirt and look like children; I smile and forgive them. Makes you realize how polite and sequestered people usually are in the morning, how we shed that as the day goes on.

07    Day Out

Though I was barely home at all, I was seldom, if ever, “out.” I did get Christmas to cuddle my four-month-old nephew, Otis, and bother my dad for answers, generally.

08    Time Alone

I’ve spent nearly the entire month alone which fortunately suits me. I don’t always like my own company but I’ve always been exceedingly comfortable with it. At work I stand in a basement facing a white wall, minding the ceiling pipes that measure up too well with the crown of my head while busying my hands with pastries I can’t seem to believe in. My two days off this month aside from the holiday were spent sequestered in my house and studio, which are conveniently on the same floor of the same building. Lots of public radio, trying to figure out how to put pencil back on paper, and coffee. Plotting the points towards spring. My boyfriend, who I live with and is generally my main source of outside human life, was out of town for the last two weeks so there was one day when I did not say a single word.

09    Time With A Friend

My friend Rochelle is a beam of light, and not in the way that women are sometimes inclined to compliment their friends hyperbolically. But in the sense that people have to shield their eyes when she enters a room. She is astounding. A year ago she had a baby and she’s been more challenged and more radiant ever since. She left him at home and ate ramen with me one night, and we drank each other up until the restaurant closed. Then we went to have a beer, but in the midst of us I forgot to drink mine. We see and hear each other, and that’s very life giving. She’s that friend that you’re truly in love with.

010    Movie / TV / Book

Moonlight (Mahershala Ali, my heart beats for you) / no TV/ Creation is a Patient Search by Le Corbusier, and Four Dimensional Human, Laurence Scott.

011    Creative Act

I’ve been developing a pastry menu for a new restaurant for the last two months so my energies are diverted and absconded with, and the usual effort it takes to make things outside of the plated, edible variety are magnified. I’ve managed to wring some of it out; I make bread into sort of conceptual still lifes, and I produced a small series with a friend for an editorial to be released next month. I also made a vile, sticky, white chocolate mold of my boyfriend’s hand, which I really treasured, briefly, before I put it in the garbage.

 

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