Thank you everyone for asking my about my periodic engagement with meditation. It’s a wonderfully centering if not essential practice and I’m new– as I was born new and will continue to be new and die new–so I’ve joined a very periodical, playful approach to regular moments of quiet and reflection.
I am grateful, always, that the practice is grounded, guided. Our mentor opens with structured, generative discussion and observations about our goals and practice. Then we sink deeply into a full 20 minute space of silence, of freezing and discarding the frenetic entirety. Now you are upon yourself, your body stock still and upright, and the unwavering lights and moons of the conscious at raging battle behind softly glazed eye-lines.
I make lists. No– I notice that I want to start making lists. Then I work (but what is work) to dismiss the list-making effort as yet another false flag to pull me out of my true self and then, only then, once settled back into the true calm of intention setting and the wash of cerebral time over our addled minds… Yes, It’s true. Because I am a failure: I go back to making lists.
I’ve been better. I really have. Tonight I was just so good with the fact that I showed up all against this strange dance of illusion and poverty for such is the only formal, ballroom exchange that most dedicated writers ever will and truly know. I am not a bad person. I am not an exceptional person. O, I am not a shallow person, but even the ocean has its floor.
What brings you most into the present? When do you feel yourself to be so fully focused– not only physically, but psychologically, emotionally, cerebrally? The life of the mind. How we must all, finally, contend with the fact that we are run and organized by an organ we will never fully understand, whose bidding we do, who grows us, nurtures us, even as she leads us to the gallows or beyond, to a blackberry bush– for a snack. But then back again, too– the gallows. Do you see how there is no let up? Nothing.
Here’s my little quixotic, rhapsodic essay on life at the (now-quaint?) point of week 7 in quarantine, as we lived it in Utrecht, Holland. Published by The Farmer General, which casts a culinary eye upon the world, my focus was on food, comfort, and finding meaning in the quotidian during troubled times. Real talk: it was just another excuse to thumb through Amanda Hesser’s 2004 memoir-cum-cookbook, Cooking for Mister Latte, in which she waxes on about salt air and fresh oysters and little butter and prosciutto sandwiches for long airplane rides… I’ve basically been trying to be her intern these 16 years since. No word on that as yet, but I will surely keep you posted on my progress…
Today, the Guggenheim exhibit “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World” closes here in New York City.
I did not go expecting to see any works of great beauty. To be sure, there were none. But so, too, did I not expect to see a view of China’s artists straining so mightily—and exclusively—under the weight of the CCP regime. That is the singular narrative. Portrait after portrait, list after list, needle after needle, video after video: oppression. I wondered: could there not be even just one alternate voice, one perspective from a slightly different angle that had turned its head not to the sun but, instead, toward the sky?
It is possible to write your heart and your mind, both, to the point where they meet each other. There, they will shake hands and say “hello”. They will make small talk and exchange pleasantries. They will ask about wives and children. They will laugh. And you will shake your head at their fine demeanor and grand talk. Because you will know them for what they are, for they are yours. More here.
When life gives you cooling weather, I say, smash a duck inside the wicked confines of a duck press. These and other thoughts on the change of the seasons, the need for inhumane yet nourishing sustenance, and much, much more in my recent essay on the glorious la presse a canard.
Because everything is ephemeral and nothing lasts forever and if you want to keep it around you’ve got to build it yourself, I’ve grabbed this piece I wrote for Gawker and just want to put it here. Today I read of the site’s demise and pending shutdown, all of which has sent the New York media society abuzz. So it goes. And, so, goodbye to all that! I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what the kids come up with next…
Channeled the original Doyen of the Plaza for a new article-sized dose of time-traveling snacks and treats, curtesy of the New York Public Library‘s newly digitized selection of menus. Come swan around with me, nibbling patties of frog legs and sipping every last mint julep we can get our hands on. As my dear friend’s three year old daughter queried this past weekend, “What about raisins?!” Indeed, we’d kindly like a silver dish of those too please! Thank you!
Thrilled to have a new piece up on the freshly revamped yet ever-glorious Farmer General, edited by superstar Sarah Kanabay. The issue, titled “Don’t Call It a Comeback”, features stories of summer kitchens and pie and ghosts and the phrase “silvered fingers” to describe that particular discoloration that happens when you root around in the dusty nail bin at the hardware store for too long. How true! Mine is about addiction in its many forms and guises. Thank you, Sarah!!
What fun to put this piece together, and I loved providing a keenly nod to the glorious MFK Fisher in my chosen nom de guerre.
Onward, spring semester!
UPDATE: This piece was awarded First Place by the UFT Labor Communications Council, with special citation for Best Work by a Member, 2016. Huzzah!