Rachel is the co-founder of Human NYC, a small creative studio in Chinatown NYC; of [reads], an online book subscription service with offline meetups; an annual conference in the Catskills called Likeminds; and theworkingpair.com, an editorial about life, love, work, and the balance of it all.
01 Story: What’s the best story you heard this month?
I asked my mom in the car over Thanksgiving to retell the story about my dad and my godfather getting on their motorcycles and driving from upstate NY to Singer Island in Florida where my mom’s parents were to tell them he was going to propose. My Grandad took my dad out on a sailboat and tried to throw him overboard. Luckily he hung on...
02 Nature: An encounter with the natural world
I was walking through Columbus Park in Chinatown with my friends Greg and Rinaldy and all of a sudden we stopped, closed our eyes, and could slightly smell the scent of fall leaves. It wasn’t as strong as being upstate but it made us smile. It reminded me of the last time I was in the Poconos I opened the car door, got out, and just laid down in the leaves for a little while and felt so comforted.
03 Art Experience: An encounter with art (in any form)
I've been looking at the work of Stanislava Pinchuk (who works under the name m_i_s_o) to ask her to speak at Likeminds this year. Our theme is “exchanges”; Pinchuk tattoos people in exchange for stories. It's made me think about generosity and our interactions with each other as people.
04 Change: a meaningful change that impacts the way you live (either that you initiated or that entered from outside)
Conversations about sustainability are changing the way I live. Talking about how our daily choices matter — from food waste to buying into fast fashion and material waste. How can we make caring about the earth part of our daily consciousness and lives? And the parts that you don't think about everyday: My dad was an avid scuba diver. Coral bleaching is something that unless you live by the ocean you’re not thinking about — temperatures rising and the oceanic ecosystem at risk.
05 New Idea: a new way of looking at things or something to attempt in the future
I am naturally an optimistic and outgoing person. I like to think fast, take risks, and “fuck it, ship it.” Lately I have been thinking more about how thoughtfulness and planning should also be a part of my outlook. I don’t need to slow down my energy necessarily, but I need to take on fewer things, and those of higher quality. I want to remain fearless and confident in my work and in order to do that I need to find a balance with organization and structure. I want to be surrounded by productive, self motivated, accountable humans who are also kind, happy, and fulfilled...so I need to be that example.
06 Object (new): a new object that held significance
Emma, the other half of [reads], gave me my first Rachel Comey item: a pair of ornate, long red earrings. I can only wear them if I have contacts in, so they force me to change up my typical "look." They remind me of friendship and strength.
07 Object (old): an old object that took on new/different kind of meaning
My mom’s Woolrich sweater that she lent me or I swiped from her closet is now unraveling and falling apart...so it’s funny that I feel like I only wear this very old sweater on special occasions because I want to preserve it. My mom used to make these paths through raked leaves in our lawn and then make big leaf piles for us to play in. Every time I see the sweater, I think of her wearing it with her jeans, wool socks, and boots.
08 Discard: Something you decided to rid from your life (or that you are particularly happy this month to see come to an end)
I had a spastic moment and ended a project with a client of ours. I felt like the biggest idiot and was so down on myself about not following through on a commitment, but in the end it taught me a lesson and made me focus on what's currently on my plate rather than taking on any more. I’m happy to see that self-deprecating phase depart.
09 Gratitude: something you have been specifically thankful for this month:
Humor + friends. I think finding the funniness in things has been the best part of this month. I think it’s important to laugh at your surroundings or work or self. Taking a moment to just stop and realize — isn’t it funny what is going on right now?
10 Proportion: A specific moment that reminded you of the scale of the universe. That you are part of a greater whole.
I was walking on the beach with my brother and his girlfriend and it was a chilly and perfectly of season. I felt so calm just listening and looking at the shells, sand, textures, colors, feathers, and water. Hearing two people that I love chat and giggle behind me. All felt right in the world. It was a moment where I was reminded that I am only one person. There is a giant world, with millions of people and things to do, but when the people you love the most in the entire world are happy, that is all that matters.