Wow. Wow. A brave, honest piece about being raped: Showing My Hand. This line will stick with me for a long time, I think: "Mostly, I just feel complicit in breaking the parts of me that are broken." Some remarkable writing.

Image: source.

This past weekend, I unexpectedly read the entirety of "Dept. of Speculation" by Jenny Offill while at the beautiful Cambridge Public Library. Part of what I enjoyed about it was that I went in with almost no idea of what to expect, so I won't say much mother other than I thought it was extraordinary. Recommended.

Currently reading "White Girls" by Hilton Als - the first essay is incredible.

So true, so true: The Emotional Stages Of Rewatching The L Word Ten Years Later

“Life is mostly an exercise in being something other than what we used to be while remaining fundamentally - and sometimes maddeningly - who we are.” - Meghan Daum, The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion 

"What can we do about God, who makes and then breaks every god-forsaken, beautiful day?" the amazing Mary Oliver


A moving essay written recently by a woman who was killed this past Tuesday while riding her bike in Cambridge. Sobering yet inspiring, a reminder of life's brevity and beauty. Also worth reading: Old Hearts, New Love And A Kiss, a beautiful piece she wrote about her 102 year old mother.

Another beautiful and devastating read: Before I Go: A Stanford neurosurgeon’s parting wisdom about life and time

Image: source. Heard often, but hard to remember. I know that often I mean well, but that I convey my stress and anxiety to those around me, spreading tension with my presence. I really want to work on this.

The ongoing quest for balance is such an interesting and difficult one. The portion of What Yoga Taught Me About the Balanced Life I found most interesting was, unsurprisingly, from the wonderful Susan Piver, who muses, “Is it ever possible to be balanced? I don’t think that it is, because then you’d have to freeze in that position. ‘Got it. Now don’t move.’” A wonderful, thought-provoking point.

On the recommendation of a number of people I recently read "True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart" by Thích Nhất Hạnh. I anticipate rereading this book many times in my life. Even just the first, short ("The Four Aspects of Love," 4 pages only) chapter was a revelation to me. Simple yet so much to think about. The way that he builds upon the 4 aspects of love to show how they can be applied to love of others, of yourself, of your body, even of answering the phone, is done so gently and clearly. The book is only 100 pages but enough lessons for a lifetime. One note: as I've seen other reviewers mention it, I will say that I don't fully agree with his take on therapy/mental health treatment, but it's not delved into deeply here, nor is it a focus of the book. I still feel that the overwhelming majority of the book is incredibly useful for anyone, so it wasn't a deal breaker for me. I personally happen to think meditation of all sorts is incredibly valuable, as are therapy, medication, and whatever other forms of self care and treatment people need to be healthy and happy. If you are someone who feels some guilt or shame or conflict about your own engagement with therapy or medication, heads up that he makes a few comments that might be triggering or uncomfortable. However, overall, I still feel strongly that this book is a "must read" for anyone seeking to better understand the process of loving and being loved.

A interesting and moving story: A Writer Moves To 'Bettyville' To Care For His Elderly Mom. I was particularly touched by a short anecdote he tells about watching "Dirty Dancing" with his mother every week. He explains that it's not simply that they watch it together, it's that they do so because she as a little crush on Patrick Swayze and he (her son) places value on this, places value on this part of his elderly mother's emotional life. That was so moving to me - his acknowledgement that this tiny crush, whatever part of her emotional life is inhabits, is of value, and that he respects and nurtures that.

“You have come to the shore. There are no instructions.” - Denise Levertov


“you have to be vigilant about keeping your own fire alive”

Advice from My Eighty Year Old Self

A wonderful piece: On Kindness: My mother is sick, by Cord Jefferson

Powerful: “The phone rang. It was my college rapist”: a true comic

Image: Pablo Picasso, postcard to Jean Cocteau, 1919

Just read: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (some spoilers ahead!). For the most part I loved this book. Pulled me in quickly, well paced, I didn't guess the ending too quickly, and the author does an incredible job of creating the tense, lost, confused atmosphere of the drinking problem and depression suffered by the main narrator. Only one star off because it was sort of insane at the end that basically everyone was evil, or at least both men in question turned out to be sociopathic abusers....jeez. A little much? But overall a really good read, I see why people are calling it the new Gone Girl.

Header: source.

“Please be gentle with your body. It loves you more than anyone or anything in this world. It fixes every cut, every wound, every broken bone, and fights off so many illnesses, sometimes without you even knowing about it. Even when you punish it, it is still there for you, struggling to keep you alive, keep you breathing. Your body is an ocean full of love. So please, be kind to it. It’s doing the very best it can.” - Your Body is an Ocean (Nikita Gill)

“Pain is important: how we evade it, how we succumb to it, how we deal with it, how we transcend it.” - Audre Lorde


On Being a Badass by Ann Friedman

Image: source. Not always easy....

This year's Austin 100, for your listening pleasure.

This piece was incredibly familiar and touching and powerful: NYTimes: Bringing a Daughter Back From the Brink With Poems. I've read this three times today and cried, heartily, each time. I think it slays me so much because I can easily remember myself as that teenager, and I hurt for my mom as that mom, watching with love and panic. I also think it resonates in a different way from my now-adult perspective, as I'm sort of mother to my own teenager self, teenage impulses, always trying to help myself find the beauty and worth in life. The older I get the more I feel like adulthood is a process of learning to parent ourselves, to gently but firmly guide ourselves again and again to life and to love.

Briarpatch: A Note on Call-Out Culture

Really disturbing: Are You Man Enough for the Men's Rights Movement?

This past weekend I saw Wild at Heart for the first time, a showing of the X-rated (ridiculous violence that was just perfectly hilariously and gruesomely done) 35mm version at the Brattle. I wasn't really sure what to expect but it was was so good - the whole look of it, the tone of it, the outfits, the soundtrack and dialogue. Crazy and bizarre and great.

Always good to revisit: Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front by Wendell Berry


Listening to this flawlessness: First Aid Kit, "The Lions Roar"

Loved this interview between Sigourney Weaver and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Image: source.

Great Tumblr: Lunchbox Poems. This recent poem has particularly stayed with me: Familiarity.

I've become a big Professor Blastoff and Tig Notaro fan over the last few years and will definitely watch Knock Knock, It's Tig Notaro....and basically anything else Tig related, ever.

Listening to: these episodes of "On Being: Helen Fischer on Love and Sex and Attachment, Brené Brown on The Courage to Be Vulnerable; and, of course, Mary Oliver on Listening to the World.

Reading: I just finished reading "Attachments" by Rainbow Rowell, an author who has gotten a lot of love on PCHH, hence my interest. Overall, I enjoyed "Attachments." The pacing at the end was somehow off to me and the ending didn't have the same realistic imperfections as the rest of there book, but the dialogue between the two friends was just so familiar and good that I couldn't put it down. Some of the best lady friend dialogue I've maybe ever read. Now I'm continuing my way through Cleeve's Shetland series, and am on book 4, "Blue Lightning."