I had this email saved in draft for months, actually, but it never felt right to send it? It still doesn’t, but I wanted to talk to you, and offer you five seconds of respite from your inevitable news k-hole of despair.
I moved into a new place in January, the day before my birthday (psychotic Capricorn move, check) and promptly aggressively nested, putting shelves up et cetera within 10 days for fear of never putting shelves up at all. (Again, psychotic Capricorn move, check.) It was the right decision given we will foreseeably be in our homes for….months! And to be honest, since I work from home most of the time, and am genuinely an introverted hermit on the best of days, this will be fine for me, in ways it may drive other people into misery. I have simply made more bread this week and taken more Xanax to stop my “is this a headache, or a sign of COVID-19??” stress thoughts.
Anyway. Now is the best time for me - and you, probably - to finish the nesting projects we’ve been putting off. That isn’t that much for me; mostly I’ll be picking art to hang on the wall and installing the projector screen properly. The ultimate boss move will be cleaning out the storage closet, but most of that isn’t my stuff, and therefore not my responsibility. I’ll probably lose it at some point and decide to reorganize all my books in a different system, which is fine. I embrace this lawful chaos.
Here are my notes on nesting:
It’s interesting to think that no matter how far you are from yourself, no matter how exiled you feel from your contribution to the rest of the world or to society — that, as a human being, all you have to do is enumerate exactly the way you don’t feel at home in the world — to say exactly how you don’t belong — and the moment you’ve uttered the exact dimensionality of your exile, you’re already taking the path back to the way, back to the place you should be.
You’re already on your way home.
Durga’s letter of recommendation on framing:
My framer is regularly asked to follow through on choices that might seem fanciful, even dramatic. Like safeguarding a falling-apart cover of Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca,” where just below the title it reads: “Her Novel.” Or how I chose wood in a shade of pale mint to scaffold a tiny photograph of my father, the week we found out he had cancer. Some of us are born a little mournful, and we spend our lives discovering new traditions for housing those ghosts we’ve long considered companions. Framing, I’d venture, is central to this urge. It gives memories a physique.
This excerpt from Annie Dillard, all about writing - the structure of it, the terror of drafting, and building it into a proper home:
Process is nothing; erase your tracks. The path is not the work. I hope your tracks have grown over; I hope birds ate the crumbs; I hope you will toss it all and not look back.
The line of words is a hammer. You hammer against the walls of your house. You tap the walls, lightly, everywhere. After giving may years’ attention to these things, you know what to listen for. Some of the walls are bearing walls; they have to stay, or everything will fall down. Other walls can go with impunity; you can hear the difference. Unfortunately, it is often a bearing wall that has to go. It cannot be helped. There is only one solution, which appalls you, but there it is. Knock it out. Duck.
Fanny Howe, the GOAT:
Sorry if I’ve mentioned this essay recently, but it’s still stuck in my brain! New Money.
Absolutely obsessed with this interview of Barbara Ehrenreich by Jia, my personal king. Best excerpt to me:
Questions I’m sitting on right now:
What are ways I am making my days more valuable? What does value look like to me right now? Is it only and exclusively tied to capitalism? If so, bummer, please send help.
Am I doing this thing because I want to do it or because I’m afraid to be judged for not doing it?
What are ways I can celebrate my feelings, instead of avoiding them or distracting myself through them? It’s totally fine to be freaked out or anxious or angry right now. How to sit with it in a way that doesn’t make me turn into fog?
How do I keep in touch with friends without….zooming? Honestly, I want to be in front of a screen as little as possible. What does friendship look like right now?
That’s where I’m at, as I putter around the house. What questions are you asking yourself right now? What does home mean to you right now? What projects are you working on? What recurring nightmare are you having? I’m curious. Let me know. Much love.