“I need to believe (and to practice this belief) that a person is not composed of the things they buy, or how beautifully they can ice a cake, or how wonderfully decorated their interior space is, unless we are talking about the interior space of a person rather than their home, and I need to run run run as far away as I can from staged ‘peeks’ into things that are unutterably beautiful because of their inherent complexity and messiness and difficulty, things like: love, partnership, commitment, friendship, the making of a home and a family, all of which when blogged about often leaves the realm of the real, the meaningful, the sublime, and becomes nothing more than uninspiring, unoriginal, curated prettiness.”—Excerpt from Jenny’s latest post at Fashion for Writers (via witchwife) And boom goes the dynamite. (via ljm)
“The greatest evil is not done in those sordid dens of evil that Dickens loved to paint but is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clear, carpeted, warmed, well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices.”—C.S. Lewis (via azspot)
1. played softball for hours, ran in the dirt, and slid through wet, soggy grass. enjoyed obscure athlete humor. felt the back of my legs feel strong again as i crouched down and anticipated the next hit. the sting of holding the bat wrong. the absolute gratification of a sure-fucking-thing base hit. jumped a fence, mud and rust and scratches on my legs and arms.
2. errands in a car i love driving, feeling pushed back into the seat. choosing an unnecessary country-route home just to drive longer. watching the speedometer tip and tip. knocking everything off the to-do list just to be in the car longer.
3. making dinner! fresh asparagus and beautiful portobello mushrooms, timing boiling of pasta with reduction of sauces. sure, a little more bourbon in the glass, 3 cherries because i can. eating, enjoying, cooking, cleaning alone for the first time in too long.
I wish in the city of your heart you would let me be the street where you walk when you are most yourself. I imagine the houses: It has been raining, but the rain is done and the children kept home have begun opening their doors.
it’s april and nice out, so i shouldn’t be feeling the mucus gripping onto my chest, forming this treacherous cold. i should not have spent all of last night sitting upright, coughing, hating myself for not owning more drugs. i should not have skipped the chance for a day-drink because i was unsure how it would make me feel.
today i drank a gallon of oj and more echinacea than i can speak of, so cold? you ready for this? because you go fuck yourself, go fuck your own face. immediately. i am going to go to softball practice, and run, and play and complete my yearly easter bender with or without your sorry ass.
“I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave’s a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that’s what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it.”—Joan Didion, in a 1975 commencement address at the University of California, Riverside. (via fuckyeahjoandidion)
“In the large envelope I carried I could feel the hard-cornered batches of index cards. We are absurdly accustomed to the miracle of a few written signs being able to contain immortal imagery, involutions of thought, new worlds with live people, speaking, weeping, laughing. We take it for granted so simply that in a sense, by the very act of brutish routine acceptance, we undo the work of the ages, the history of the gradual elaboration of poetical description and construction, from the treeman to Browning, from the caveman to Keats. What if we wake one day, all of us, and find ourselves utterly unable to read? I wish you to gasp not only at what you read but at the miracle of its being readable… Although I am capable, through long dabbling in blue magic, of imitating any prose in the world …I do not consider myself a true artist, save in one manner: I can do what only a true artist can do— pounce upon the forgotten butterfly of revelation, wean myself abruptly from the habit of things, see the web of the world, and the warp and the weft of that web. Solemnly I weighed in my hand what I was carrying under my left armpit, and for a moment I found myself enriched with an indescribable amazement as if informed that fireflies were making decodable signals on behalf of stranded spirits, or that a bat was writing a legible tale of torture in the bruised and branded sky.”—
“I cannot help feeling there is something essentially wrong about love. Friends may quarrel or drift apart, close relations too, but there is not this pang, this pathos, this fatality which clings to love. Friendship never has that doomed look. Why, what is the matter? I have not stopped loving you, but because I cannot go on kissing your dim dear face, we must part, we must part.”—Vladimir Nabokov, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight (via silklace)
“50 Cent did not disappoint. He ordered a grapefruit soda. The waiter brings him the grapefruit soda. And then 50 Cent said the greatest thing anyone could ever say when you see a grapefruit soda…He looks at the waiter and says, “Why isn’t this purple?” And it took me a few seconds, and then I realized, “Oh my god, 50 Cent has no idea what a grapefruit is!”… I was like, “Everybody in the restaurant, you need to SHUT UP right now cuz a waiter’s about to explain to a grown man what a grapefruit is.”—
“If the pursuit of happiness is making you miserable, it may be time to take a step back and learn to love, or at least appreciate, gray days and the feeling of frustration. Happiness shouldn’t be an end goal, but a byproduct of living an authentic and vulnerable life.”—
Pay attention to what you envy. Jealousy is an ugly emotion, but it tells the truth. You only envy those who have what you desire. Back when I was a Wall Street lawyer, some of my former law school classmates got together one evening, and compared notes on alumni career tracks. They spoke with admiration and, yes, jealousy, of a classmate who argued regularly before the Supreme Court. At first I felt critical of their envy. More power to that classmate! I thought, congratulating myself on my magnanimity. Then I realized that my largesse came cheap, because deep down I didn’t aspire to the accolades of lawyering. When I asked myself whom I did envy, the answer came back instantly. My college classmates who’d grown up to be writers, or psychologists.
Ask yourself what you loved to do when you were a child. How did you answer the question of what you wanted to be when you grew up? The specific answer you gave may have been off the mark, but the underlying impulse was not. If you wanted to be a fireman, what did a fireman mean to you? A good man who rescued people in distress? A daredevil? Or the simple pleasure of operating a truck? If you wanted to be a dancer, was it because you got to wear a costume, or because you craved applause, or was it the pure joy of twirling around at lightning speed? You may have known more about who you were then than you do now.
Pay attention to the work you gravitate to. When I was a lawyer, I never once volunteered to take on an extra corporate legal assignment, but I spent a lot of time doing pro bono work for a women’s leadership organization. I also sat on several law firm committees dedicated to mentoring and training young lawyers in the firm. Now I am not the committee type (I’m an introvert!), but the goals of those committees lit me up, so that’s what I did. Today I’m doing a version of this kind of work with my writing and consulting, and I wake up every day excited to get started.
What makes you cry? This one comes courtesy of Steve Pavlina, over at Personal Development for Smart People. He advises that you sit down with a blank sheet of paper, ask yourself what your life purpose is, and keep writing down answers until you come to the one that makes you cry. I experienced a variation of this many years ago. I was having dinner with my good friend Katie Orenstein. I mentioned that I’d always wanted to be a writer but could never find the time to actually write anything. We were having a casual conversation, but I saw the depth of my emotions reflected back in Katie’s face. And I burst into tears. Now here I am, with my first book coming out next year. (Check out Katie’s inspiring Op-Ed project here; she may change your life too.)
You may think I’m conflating work with life purpose here. I am. In an ideal world they will be one and the same. For many people, however, it’s not an ideal world. In that case, try to earn your income from work that doesn’t take too much time and energy. Then spend the rest of your time doing what you truly love.
today i woke up with a cold and a text from my mom asking me if i knew where george is.
i do, but i’m not telling her.
to talk about things going on with my brother right now is difficult and unsuccessful. when i try to explain, my brother seems like a selfish brat, but to get into it, to make it make sense, would be to explain our entire lives of in and out role models, of alcoholism, of verbal and emotional abuse on such a sporadic and random level, of real humiliation and hurt at the hands of your own parents. and it’s just not worth getting into, so instead, i silently support my kid brother in his adult decisions because that’s the way it has always been to grow up in my family: kids making adult decisions with little to no understanding from the people around us.
i meet him at midnight and give him a key to my place. i make cup after cup of yerba tea, open windows, take hot showers. i crochet bacon. the little things go on rapid fire, while underneath, big muddy rivers of family and growing up rush on too.