I was going to send this on Sunday but wanted more seratonin to share with you. Please give me an A for effort regardless. Ok let’s go!!
Bought some flowers for myself the other day and I highly recommend it if it’s something you can do for yourself. I usually always have fresh flowers around so it’s been weird not having them for a few weeks. I used Sendflowers ‘cause they’re still open and do contactless delivery; they have a sale right now and there’s 20% return on Rakuten. I am now bombarded with flower offers, which is honestly a delight. I look forward to being able to one day regularly send myself flowers.
Really enjoying reading both Exhalation by Ted Chang, which is an amazing and disturbingly timely collection of sci-fi short stories, and (finally) finishing the audiobook version of Circe by Madeline Miller. I really enjoy reading every mythological retelling on the market and have been on the waiting list at the library for Circe for ages. My favorite myth/translation is the work of Christopher Logue; the battles are compiled in All Day Permanent Red. His translation of the Iliad RULES. My best friend Max introduced me to Logue’s work many years ago. I remember when Prince died (RIP) I read All Day Permanent Red and danced around to Purple Rain on the back porch of his beach house for hours. It was really special.
Here are two excerpts from Logue’s translation, my favorite parts actually:
AN ARMY LIKE A SKY-WIDE. VENETIAN. BLIND. [shrieks internally] BUT ALSO… but ALSO…..
Like, obviously I have to love it. I had a hard time memorizing lines from Hamlet in high school Drama class but I would have killed it if we were given Logue. Carry a tunnel the width of a lipstick through Quist’s neck!!! Also, Logue collaborated with David Bowie on stuff too, so he’s extra cool.
SSENSE, probably in collaboration with my assigned FBI agent, eavedropped on my obsession with sci-fi as therapy right now and published a truly amazing interview of some of my favorite writers. Here are my favorite excerpts:
Been regrowing my vegetables from the scraps! It’s nice! Here is a list of veggies that regrow really easily.
I have not really been that productive writing during quarantine, which is fine, honestly; any day I do more than a paragraph I feel like I should be celebrated. I have found that doing facetime or Zoom dates with friends for work sessions works really nicely though. You both grab some wine/tea/snacks, block out an hour or two, and work in twenty minute blocks and chat in between. I recommend it! I usually get like a thousand words done at a time that way. (Not good words, but words nonetheless.) And even though capitalism sucks, I always feel better after getting some work done. It feels good to do something I love even if it’s hard or feels absurd to do in times such as these.
Listening to my friend Mary’s minipod on mental health and creativity has been a real good pick me up, too. Listen to the last episode. I like to catch up with Mary via the pod while I’m prepping dinner.
Really enjoyed Connie’s essay on Wuliao / Why It’s Ok to Be Bored in Self-Isolation.
This is perhaps not seratonin, but it is helpful in the processing of grief, on the journey towards seratonin:
Also, I want to share my notes from this morning with you:
You don’t have to solve your feelings. All you’re obligated to do right now is be mindful of them and not let them drown you.
Being present right now is an act of empathy and generosity. It can also be very painful. Sit with it as much as you can, and then find ways to self soothe. They might not be the ways you’re used to, and that’s ok!
You are under no obligation to feel optimism, hope, or determination right now. I think it’s enough of a task to hold space for the idea you can feel those things in the future. Please let the world surprise you in good ways, and please know that even when you’re angry, resentful, bitter, and discouraged there is truly a legion of people kicking their own ass to make the world better in very real ways, and we have to let them know we see them and we’re here for them and we want to help them. I don’t think anyone should be cursed to be a martyr especially right now - but we also need the agency to be ordinary heroes every day. Both ideas - that you’re allowed to grieve optimism and that you’re obligated to show up for people who are also showing up - can exist at once. Let them. Be patient with your processing skills right now and luxuriate in the fact the sun comes up tomorrow. It is a blessing, it is a challenge. It is what we’ve got.