Today the barista at my favorite coffee shop remembered my name, I killed my Modernist Poetry final exam, and the student center played the entire Tarzan soundtrack, so really I couldn’t have started out my May any better.
Here are some pieces of the world to hopefully help you start your month on the right foot
- Vinny Mallozzi used to write about sports, now he’s covered over 6000 weddings for the New York Times, in this video he talks about how they aren’t as different as they appear – how they’re two of the equalizers in our society.
- 25 years after the LA riots – a look at the humanity of Rodney King.
“And these women, particularly young women, realize they are the ones who are going to have to stop this. And they are rolling up their sleeves and saying, ‘Put me to work.’ “
If you thought last week’s link about #Vanlife was interesting, here’s an in-depth look at the moms making seven figures portraying ‘attainable perfection’ on social media.
“I don’t know
when I got so punk rock
but when I catch
myself in the mirror I
– Poet Morgan Parker,
who “describes her domestic aesthetic as ‘a little bit about avoiding the quiet.’ ”
Instagram Artist: Atelier Jean-Charles Millepied
NOWNESS has a calming Youtube series on the living spaces creatives make for themselves, here are three of my favorites:
- Devendra Banhart
- Adwoa Aboah
- Florence Welch
Let me know how your May started 🙂
Happy Monday Lovelies,
“And we were the land’s because we were eating and the land let some of us eat. And we were the ground because we eat and the ground let some among us eat. And yet the land was never some of ours. But the ground was never sure with us. Is never some of ours. Be never certain with us. Never will be rightly some of ours. Be correctly never certain with us. Never to be owned. Never to be had. And the land’s green is the land’s owning of us. And the green of the ground is the possession of the ground of us.” – Juliana Spahr, “Some of We And The Land That Was Never Ours”
WOMEN ARE EVERYTHING
CHANGING TIMES, TOP FIVE
- The ‘retail apocalpyse’ and how it shows which workers matter in Trump’s America
- Changing with the times so you don’t get left behind in Janesville, Wisconsin.
- “Like staycations and minimalism, vanlife is an attempt to aestheticize and romanticize the precariousness of contemporary life.”
- Aaron Wojack’s powerful portraits of people at the protests that have marked 2017 so far.
- How, and why, humans decided it was important to be happy.
by William Carlos Williams
It’s a strange courage
you give me ancient star:
shine alone in the sunrise
toward which you lend no part!
Shine on, lovelies,
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“Bon Iver, “For Emma Forever Ago” ” by Melissa McCracken, interviewed below
A Light Breakfast
A little long, a little hard, these are some reads to remind you what you’re working towards halfway through your day –
- “It’s not a question of them knowing how to save their lives. It’s a question of them knowing if their lives are worth saving.” This is a lengthy but worthwhile look at how the minute traumas of minority follow you into adulthood.
- “No one tells you that the most complicated part isn’t moving on, it’s starting over.” The many forms abuse can take, in an essay by Katherine Laidlaw.
- Serial Killers as a product of consumerism, and how they’ve turned into a capitalist commodity (featuring Sacramento’s famed ‘Vampire Killer’ Richard Chase, alumni of my high school).
- “We marry the wrong people because we don’t associate being loved with feeling happy.”
- “I notice, and I begin to see the outline of the best friend, the girl she shaped herself around, according to. For so many women, the process of becoming requires two. It’s not hard to make out the marks the other one left.”
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“It’s okay to be scared of the monsters, but it’s not okay to let them in, and it’s not okay to become one.” – Criminal Minds
Ann Friedman’s interesting discussion on friendship and learning how to ask for what you want in platonic relationships.
“Even cool chicks are still women. And there’s no easy way to be a woman, because, as you may have noticed, there’s no acceptable way to be a woman. And if there’s no acceptable way to be the thing you are, then maybe you drink a little. Or a lot.” – Kristi Coulter
“She’s a woman. She probably learned to read between the lines before she could read the lines themselves.” – Kristi Coulter, again. Seriously. Read this.
Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s story about having a million babies and enough love for all of them, “Mother Miri Full of Grace”
Amy Rose Spiegel’s interview with The Rumpus about her new book – Action: A Book About Sex
Finding the people who are comfortable in the same way as you, and learning to let go of them until you’re older – a 13 year old’s fashion week experience.
“We had known each other in the dark nonspace, nontime of the uterus; we had met each other before there was anyone there to meet.” (Zan Romanoff)
Sandra Cisneros on moving into her first apartment and the importance of alone.
Bringing down fertility rates to save the world.
Get to know people, people are good.
“We become artists because we’re lonely. Then we have to be alone to create the art. Then finally […] I like being alone.” -Sandra Cisneros
Based on fairykiid.tumblr.com
The ‘Rejected Princesses’ comic about Lyudmila Pavlichenko, the deadliest female sniper in history.
The Believer’s interview with Miranda July about doppelgangers, the importance of strangers, and skipping past the boring.
Thomas Strickland puts words to the hum that acts as white noise in all of our summers and also talks about cars.
Racial inequality in Minnesota – is the solution integration or investment?
Phoebe Prince’s accused bullies and the court case against them.
The Guardian’s piece on translating literature, from Korean, Italian, Hungarian, and more.
This comic about loving and soulmates and sadness on Rookie Mag.
Heiko Muller’s breathtaking fantasy land paintings.
when you walked away
I shaved the sides of my head,
dyed what was left
cried for all the places you’d never touch me again
cried the windstorm
I’ve just stirred half a packet of hot cocoa mix into the mug of hot water that is now too hot to drink and I stare, waiting, as it emanates warmth onto my arms- reaching around the mug to type in data and reconfigure spreadsheets. This office where I am fake cold all of the time. Climate controlled. AC cold. Tea cold. It makes me ache for the summers I spent not in an office – summers of sweating stains into the couches at my parents’ house. We are never free from reminders that we could (should) have done the past differently.
I asked the barista at the cafe if I could please have the bathroom key one more time even though yes I knew they were closing in five minutes, and then shuffled into the stall with all of my bags from work. Off went the work dress (that I used to wear with my hair up at clubs in Prague / oh how things change) and I shimmied into a sports bra and my dress from senior ball in high school. Lipstick. Wash hands. Grab the bag I’d accidentally left at my table in the back corner of the coffee shop okay yes I left the office early to come watch Criminal Minds in the air conditioned wifi of this lovely establishment because the office was overheating and empty and void of any actual work for me to do. So.
Seven blocks and I’m sweaty once I reach the parking garage and extract my car from the piles of autos filling up this place and then drive three more and parallel park successfully on your first try just to show off to the elderly man driving behind you and walk walk walk across the street to the park and the entrance of the night’s festivities. No sir, I will not be drinking tonight so you don’t need to check my ID thank you thank you please stop looking at me like that police officer with a mustache trying to grow big enough to cut off airflow to his ear thank you and you’re in! Concert in the Park.
Find Ryan’s booth, help him set up greeting cards and necklaces and discuss potential reasons the artist selling stamps at the booth next to ours is getting so much more foot traffic. Lay on the ground and watercolor speed portraits of each other and all the sweaty slimy people walking around wondering how they stumbled upon this park full of so much quiet desperation. Eat nachos and look at the van full of vintage clothes (find myself wishing the eternal wish that nothing in this world cost money) and stand around at the booth drinking Sprite and begging passersby with my eyes.
Goodbye Goodnight / time to go pick up my mom from a bar and stop for frozen yogurt on the way home and then go back to the frozen yogurt place because she forgot to get some for the rest of the family and then go back a third time because she thought she forgot her phone there.
The privilege of telling someone to do what they love. A really good interview with bae Ann Friedman. Another really good interview with Ann Friedman – this time about writing nonfiction. Eileen Myles on getting paid for poetry. Jeanann Verlee’s chilling and cutting new poem and interview (“Every poem I write is a love letter to someone who wants to make it through”) on The Nervous Breakdown from her second book .
Twisted Measure’s acapella cover of Sia’s “Chandelier” gives me shivers.
The Literary Witches on Electric Lit.
I turn 20 tomorrow. In this new house, new room, same people. I’m tired of same, I don’t know which is worse – stagnation or change.
I hear people talking in the hallway. I could never do that in the old place – secluded, kept apart in my own hallway. Here it is all thin walls and conversations landing on top of each other.
I feel held in the wood of the house. I feel worried about falling asleep tonight. Today, these days, I feel it all.
I remember the apartment in Paris where I turned fifteen. Walking around the cold pale blue of the middle of the night in a thin white tshirt. Feeling the window, the sink, feeling each moment like gravity. an aging that is nothing like moving forward and all about looking back. Fingertip tracks left in the dust of nostalgia.
The dresser creaks in the corner of my room – old wood from my grandparents’ farm in Canada. Five years and I am still heavy in thoughts of a past and a future that don’t come together in clean seams.
Living in a cheap apartment, our mattress on the ground, I’m in the bathtub in my swimsuit when he walks in. Apparently it’s bad to soak in cold water but that’s near all I can do in this heat. He shaves and then plays with my toes at the water’s edge.
-Come on in, the water’s frigid
He splashes on top of me, still in his clothes from running
I kiss his neck. Sweat. I kiss his mouth. He is warming up the water and I nearly make him get out but then he sits back, my feet on either of his shoulders.
He kisses my ankles.
-Let’s buy a car and leave. There’s nothing here for us anyway.
lace dress white and space left open for skin – skin like peeled ginger
just pink and blush and ingrown hairs and then
embroidered flowers erupting into the youth of her
off-kilter on a hanger in front of a yellow blazer made of lamb
it is strong bloom behind the dress
they lay against the closet door
in them she will look ridiculous
her skin so big
her nipples like bruise
through the crosshatching of the lace
she will be a morning-after stop sign
a gawk sign
bird take flight / take fancy / take her home the fast way
the collar up against her hair
she will be too much but
on the white of the closet door
in the straight shape of the hanger drawl
they are a logical conclusion
The longevity of life and realizing that it isn’t forever / nothing is forever / and that is so okay / not only is it okay, but it’s actually exactly how it should be. Because here’s the thing – you aren’t forever. Your tastes and feelings and commitments and energies are fleeting and fast and transient.
I have been feeling so transient / the moving girl.
The magic act of figuring out who you are when you have so many homes that unpacking isn’t an option. When your heart is this torn how do you know which piece to pay attention to?
The last episode of the series and I cried because college – and leaving leaving leaving – have made me way too sensitive to families of any kind.
My brother wants everything to change because he’s turning 16 and that’s when things change
paralleled to me wanting nothing to ever change again because I’m turning 20 and my world has been spinning too fast for too long now.
Sending tiny cards with cats on them to everyone my heart is panging for / my heart is praying for / bargaining with the cosmos that I’ll be able to hold them all to me / that my absentminded large-heartedness won’t destroy it all.
I want to be enough for everyone & isn’t that fucked up.
The boys just finished their sophomore year and came in the front door with their arms dyed orange with markers girls used as an excuse to hold their hands. They stand in front of the cool of the fridge, saying things like “yknow their friend and the one who hangs with Melina? they game. she’s actually kind of funny” and take turns spraying whipped cream into their mouths.
by Frank O’Hara
How funny you are today New York
like Ginger Rogers in Swingtime
and St. Bridget’s steeple leaning a little to the left
here I have just jumped out of a bed full of V-days
(I got tired of D-days) and blue you there still
accepts me foolish and free
all I want is a room up there
and you in it
and even the traffic halt so thick is a way
for people to rub up against each other
and when their surgical appliances lock
they stay together
for the rest of the day (what a day)
I go by to check a slide and I say
that painting’s not so blue
where’s Lana Turner
she’s out eating
and Garbo’s backstage at the Met
everyone’s taking their coat off
so they can show a rib-cage to the rib-watchers
and the park’s full of dancers with their tights and shoes
in little bags
who are often mistaken for worker-outers at the West Side Y
the Pittsburgh Pirates shout because they won
and in a sense we’re all winning
the apartment was vacated by a gay couple
who moved to the country for fun
they moved a day too soon
even the stabbings are helping the population explosion
though in the wrong country
and all those liars have left the UN
the Seagram Building’s no longer rivalled in interest
not that we need liquor (we just like it)
and the little box is out on the sidewalk
next to the delicatessen
so the old man can sit on it and drink beer
and get knocked off it by his wife later in the day
while the sun is still shining
oh god it’s wonderful
to get out of bed
and drink too much coffee
and smoke too many cigarettes
and love you so much
Climbing the steps up a hill in the humid French weather, I watch out of the corner of my eye as a man slides a needle into his calf, just above the sock. Next to him on the stairs are a thin backpack, a large green rubber band, and a damp napkin stained with blood.
I reach the top and head into the Chagall Museum – something of a modern monolith on this mountain, but full of delicate figures flooded with color. Lost in ballet costumes and biblical scenes bred from pigment.
I think about poverty, about the tenuousness of this city, about how I am an outsider and alone and wearing a large bucket hat and a wide black skirt and I am trudging my way through this small waterside city and thinking too much about something that is allowed to just be beautiful & rough & haunted by gray thunderclouds.
What would you change about your life right now?
Send answers to mof1 (at) surewest (dot) net
Tapirs are ‘odd-toed ungulates’ that live primarily in South America and can weigh up to 700 pounds but the most important thing is that they have the largest penis:body size in the animal kingdom. And their penises are prehensile. And I saw one in action at the Schonbrunn Tiergarten today.
The man next to me on the bus to Vienna, wearing a black dress shirt and black slacks, his black suit jacket hanging from the seat in front of him. His white hair – tall, escaping from his head, caught in the static of the air. He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and used it to shine the gold ring he wore on his pointer finger. Sat there rubbing it with a delicacy that felt poignant as we drive out of Prague and my city became merely a collection of memories.
Nothing as strong as your memories.
What’s something the person you love believes in that you just don’t?
Email your answers to mof1 (at) surewest (dot) net
James, roll him over.
Get up, you do not get to hide from this. Regret does not make it okay that you kissed the wrong girl. We’ve been in this dust-covered spare room for four hours now keeping you from vomiting into your own mouth while you scream obscenities in your sleep. We are exhausted. We are sweaty and my shirt still reeks of smoke from the club where I didn’t even get to buy a drink before we had to leave because Kay was crying. James has at least three bruises from catching you when you started throwing yourself backwards down the stairs. We are every kind of battered from your bad decisions.
The bed is no longer an option. Ignoring last night doesn’t make it any less real for the rest of us who do remember it and who had to keep you from shoving your hands down our pants. Now you are going to drink this coffee, take a shower, throw on sunglasses and meet us down the street where the girls are having breakfast. And you are going to clear this up before we all lose them.
Coleman Hell’s Fireproof Cover Art
So May First is a holiday here where you go to the famous Petrin Hill covered in cherry blossoms and kiss your lover under a tree so that your loins don’t dry up. Here are some Czech youths peeing down the hill as their friends drink and cheer behind them.
How the powerful women in America today are showing that modern marriage is more overtly tied to business than it ever has. An article about those ‘detox teas’ that everyone advertises on Instagram and how they’re actually just laxatives and how our society’s habit of making eating disorders cool is never-ending. Woohoo. Emma Lysbet Meyler’s piece in PopCulturePuke about self-love lessons.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – on Netlix, and so beyond amazing. Miss Fisher inspires me to get out of bed in the morning.
The Dear Data Project.
Hozier in concert, with a man bun and Blackbird.
Small is Beautiful.
After one too many run-ins with the transportation authorities here in Prague, I have been walking everywhere for the past week and a half or so. It’s an immensely walkable city, and having to allow walking time for every commute is potentially helping me to beat my bad habit of being unfashionably late for everything in my life. Logging mile after mile in my tired shoes with podcasts playing in my ear as fill in for conversations. Podcasts are a saving grace for the isolated person.
So I started my day with a walk to school: thirty minutes, two podcasts, an endless stream of cobblestone and red lights, and I was in class where my friend met me with a cappuccino at just the right temperature and some bites of her salad. We began to write our final Czech speeches and I focused on my brother, detailing his tall and his blond and his godliness and then class ended and I went to a cafe to get lost in hours of an internet spiral. Chihuahua spinning in bubble-wrap. I’m at 2610 spins, as it is forever playing in the background of my life now.
I think sometimes it is important to type in pen – no mistakes no erasing always moving forward. Write like you live. NEway I spent time at the cafe practicing the art of trusting the public aka leaving my laptop on the table while I went to the bathroom. and then S and I tried to get our earrings replaced but the man eating sticky glaze-covered BBQ chicken behind the counter put on rubber gloves and ran his hands over the studs and told S hers was not healed enough and to come back next week. So we met E/L/C at Barfud and ate burgers and drank cider and talked about sex dreams and endings. not sex endings but life endings. maybe both. And then there was a fort made of hammocks we’ve never used because it refuses to get quite warm enough and watching videos of dogs racing in swimming pools and then I went back to my room and my roommate is apparently deciding to teach herself guitar so I won’t be sleeping tonight.
Who was the last person you held hands with?
Send answers to mof1 (at) surewest (dot) net
Thank you ❤
The only fighting I was taught was silence. You fight by withholding, I mean with hips that snag on counter-tops, I mean with secrets licked into the ears of whoever is closest, I mean with daring someone to go to sleep without you. Taught by generations of French women who folded their mouths up into tiny red boxes of resentment and built you mad just like them, all the words for hurt deep in the pockets of their aprons.
And then she pushed me down on the purple hot asphalt behind the school. She yelled in my face and her spit caught my ear.
I left warm with sweat and dirtied knees and I loved her like paws on your chest when you get home.
I was never allowed to be brutal and bloody until her hands found my wrists. Now I looked like getting up and getting dressed just to wrap my hands and go again.
As long as I have something worth fighting for.
What do you think it means to take care of yourself?
Some days you realize wow I have to take care of myself forever now. That being on your own is not a destination but a path. A path that ends in not existing anymore. And if you do a good job, you get to maybe keep existing for a bit longer.