About 10 years I picked up this postcard at a restaurant in La Jolla, California –
I hung it on my kitchen bulletin board – it stayed there as we moved houses and as I switched out photos on the board. I have a lot of images that I love & keep around me, but this photo captures how I’ve always felt about life – everything is good, and then, when you’re not watching, wham – a huge wave breaks the glass, spills your drink (the girl on the left with the champagne glass in the middle of a story always gets me!), and sucks you under. I think I’ve felt this way most of my life, but I distinctly remember 9/11 crystallizing that feeling for me. It has never left.
I’m a realist who tries to live in the moment as much as possible – a grateful person who knows how lucky I am. I work actively to keep bad thoughts and negativity at bay -luckily I am able to do that by focusing on my loved ones, nature, books, music, art, and laughter. Shit has hit the fan in a variety of ways right now – in the world, in my community, in my family. I’m having a hard time focusing on the things that usually bring me joy – but here’s some things getting me through, maybe one or two of them will work for you:
Long walks with and without the pup – So Cal is in full bloom with yellow flowers and heavy citrus, birds and butterflies mating everywhere you look, the air is clear from recent rains and the lack of cars on the road. Spring is everywhere.
I finished reading The Bear by Andrew Krivak the night the Governor shut down the state. It’s a fable-like novella about the last two people on Earth and our circular place in the world. Weirdly, it brought me comfort.
I am mildly obsessed with Margaret Renkl – she is my current writing hero. Here is her latest NYT column: The Beautiful World Beside the Broken One. If you like Renkl’s columns I also suggest reading Connie Schultz’s. She is married to Sen. Sherrod Brown and she is fire.
If you need a book, consider getting it from my local bookseller please! They are doing good rates on shipping and they need support right now. I have a bunch of gift certificates to them, but I just purchased some books to try to keep their cash flowing. Let me tell you that it was delightful to have the new Emily St John Mandel book dropped off on my porch.
The Sun magazine has lifted their paywall – spend some time getting lost in their stories and photos.
The Sewanee Review is posting a series called the Corona Correspondences that I’ve been reading daily. Also, the New York Review of Books has a Pandemic Journal by beloved authors that will get you in the gut.
Check out the daily I So Lounging with Amanda Shires stream with Amanda & Jason Isbell – they sing and talk and joke a bit. I’ve watched it everyday at 3:00. Isbell has released three songs from his upcoming album – and they are so damn good. We’re also listening to the new albums by Nathaniel Rateliff, Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real, and Pearl Jam – all the perfect soundtracks for now. Lots of KTAO radio – Paddy Mac is the best DJ ever and listening to him during the current crisis keeps me sane.
We’re watching Little Fires Everywhere and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist on Hulu. Some Top Chef, and I keep hearing The Tiger King on Netflix is a good distraction – going to try that this weekend. As always, Alison Roman, Bon Appetit and Sam the Cooking Guy on Youtube.
This interview with Wendell Berry just came out in Orion Magazine – can’t get enough Wendell Berry. To Live and Love with a Dying World.
I have so much to say about the lack of leadership that is happening in this country – but I think everyone with a brain already knows it, so it’s pointless to even talk about. Along those lines I appreciated this article by Yuval Noah Harari.
I’m posting a new poem every day on my Instagram feed because poetry always calms me down a bit. Our shared humanity, the wonder of life. I like to read a poem three times in my head, and then say it out loud – try it, see if that works for you.
In case you were wondering, the people in the picture were fine, and were probably enjoying the excitement of the big waves beating against the restaurant – the waves didn’t break through. The Marine Room’s windows have bullet proof glass that was installed in 1942. That’s the real story of the picture – but I will always see it as the scary surprise that’s just about to happen.