Thursday, April 8, 2021

Better than Fiction


Life long reader here. Convinced that most people who "don't like" to read just haven't found the right book/s for them yet. One of my greatest joys is the art of selecting a specific book for someone. Really, my love language is literary.

I'm a lover of all genres, though all books are not created equal. In fiction especially, it's all too common for a book to start strong and captivating then fritter into something less than cohesive or enthralling. A story that loses its grip and becomes a thing I want to rush through in order to get to the end.

Because I HAVE to get to the end. I've always been this way with books, despite the fact that I've walked away from sooo many false starts and half done's in all other areas of life. I feel strangely indebted to the author. Imagine the tremendous sadness of a novel discarded and forgotten! Pushing through can be rewarded with a twist at the end or a spectacular finish but not always. 


Unlike my reading habits, I want my life to be interesting until the bitter end. I want it to be unusual, wild, supple, and captivating in its bleak and best moments. I can't settle for anything less. This life simply can't be a 3/5 on Goodreads. I need the absolute, consistent freedom to change my mind and my course at any time- even if all it goes is delay some inevitable destiny.

"Joy is not made to be a crumb."  

-Mary Oliver

Unlike a work of fiction, I don't imagine a grandiose or even succinct ending. Just a finite string of interconnected moments and discoveries, a story that begins and ends in an infinite middle rather than some standardized arc with loose ends tied up in an unrealistic bow. I want my life to read and feel like poetry rather than narrative. 

"Even more than bread we now need poetry, in a time when it seems that it is not needed at all." 

-Leon Staff


In this strange and uncomfortable era of COVID I've dived deep into apocalyptic literature. I've always been interested in sci-fi themes, but somehow reading about the end of life as we know it has become comforting in both a comparative and preparatory way. 

A few of my absolute favorites:

Station Eleven by Emily St. Mandel 

Severance by Ling Ma

Everything Matters by Ron L Currie Jr.

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

Desert Notebooks: A Roadmap for the End of Time by Ben Ehrenreich

*Photos from Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Nevada*

Friday, April 2, 2021

Fresh Eyes


Post vacation blues are real but there's a funny antithesis to them as well- a reacquainting with the norm. When you return home familiar things are ripe with temporary novelty. Your car feels different after driving another. Suddenly you appreciate the lighting of your home, how 7am hits different than it did in another place. Your space, and in ways your life, persist without your presence and feel oddly new again upon return. 

Sadly these feelings are as fleeting as vacation. We default back to chugging along, mostly unconscious of the bounty of our "normal." Novelty is so frustratingly fickle and fragile. Its opposing force of complacency is the silent killer of all good things, somehow managing to conquer our psyches again and again.

We shouldn't need bad things to happen to rattle us into gratitude and exultation for what we have. Finding wonder in our lives without being provoked by physical or existential threat can be oddly difficult. It's a gift to be able to look at our lives and surroundings with fresh eyes. This is so true of our relationships as well. Complacency is often at the root of separation between people who mistakenly think they know all there is to know of one another.

I was lucky enough to relish in that particular feeling of returning home this week after a fantastic trip to Nevada to see my Dad. It had been a very long year since our last reunion at the onset of the pandemic. I missed him terribly and really wouldn't have flown for any reason other than to see him. I didn't get nearly enough time with my Dad growing up, but now he's one of my best friends and the person I most love to spend time with outdoors. 

It's especially nourishing for me to spend time with him as my relationship with my Mom remains so incredibly difficult and distant. The strain of the schism between us has not gotten easier. This is an emotional time of year in general as we approach the anniversary of Lauren's death. She is a constant presence in my mind and I grieve the absence of her wit and love fiercely. 

I'm grateful for the forces of nature and family as they hold the pieces of my heart together. Thank you, Spring, for the blooms and accompanying sense of hope in a cycle as old as time.

Well, friends. I feel a bit sheepish returning to this blog after such a long absence, but I have many more photos to share from Nevada, and as always thoughts that need processing. See you soon I hope, with fresh eyes.

Sometimes I need

only to stand

where I am 

to be blessed

-Mary Oliver

*All photos from the two days we spent in Valley of Fire State Park. A dream of a place painted with a pastel palette by the Universe itself*

On treasures in plain sight