i have had a ton of thoughts swirling in my head these last few months, and especially these last few weeks since george floyd was murdered. while 2020 is an emperor year, it has felt much more like a tower year. everything we know or thought we knew is crumbling around us, and that is both scary and exciting. the real structures are revealing themselves and the wool that has been covering our eyes is now threadbare and moth eaten. i can’t help but think back to 2010, my own personal tower year, when i stepped away from the life that so deeply wasn’t working for me and began to purposefully rebuild it. it was painful; it was terrifying; it was necessary; it was exhilarating; it was a beautiful mess.
my hope is that humanity takes the chance we have now to tear down the systems designed to serve a select few, that wantonly exploit and abuse people and natural resources, and in its place rebuild our world so that it aligns with our values of equity, equality, justice, kindness, mutual benefit. that means an end to capitalism as we know it, the police force as we know it, the education system as we know it, the healthcare system as we know it, and so on. it’s time for radical change because people are suffering, the planet is suffering, and ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
i donated all of my stimulus money and then some to groups working with black, brown, and indigenous folks, but i want to raise additional funds by auctioning off some ceramics – because the black community and their efforts to create real and lasting change have been sorely underfunded. the auction will run on sunday (6/14) through monday (6/15), with 100% of proceeds going to organizations working to defend black lives. winning bidders can pick the organizations (i’m happy to make recommendations). i am in winter park, florida, and we will figure out shipping/delivery to wherever you are. feel free to request additional photos or ask questions. place your bids in the comments with the item number and your bid amount. i will keep this post updated with the highest bid amounts so folks don’t have to hunt through the comments.
I guess I don’t need my reading list to be public, but I’m fairly convinced no one reads these posts anyway. That said, I’m tired of keeping so many files on my harddrive, so I figured this is a good alternative. I’ll be adding these as I go (unlike last year, when I posted about my reading for the year in August), so I’ll also include short reviews/summaries. I may go back and do the same for some of the books I read last year. Here goes:
Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney – I like slim books. This one clocks in at 182 pages. This is McInerney’s first novel, from 1984. It takes place in New York City and features lots of cocaine (as any book set in New York in the 80s should). It is written entirely in the second person and somehow this is not at all annoying to read. The main character (a ‘you’ who is definitely not you) works in The Department of Factual Verification for an unnamed but prestigious magazine. He is a married to a model. He is 24. We learn very quickly that his model wife has left him with a phone call, after which he doesn’t see her again for quite a few months. During the course of the book, his life spirals out of control. He parties more and more, does lots of cocaine, hides the fact that his wife has left him, loses his job… And yet he doesn’t seem like a total asshole. This could be any 24-year-old guy who took a wrong turn. Thing is, it turns out his life isn’t spiralling for the reason the reader is led to believe. I don’t really like authorial tricks like that. Had we known sooner, had McInerney taken the time to create layers within the story early on, it would have made the read meatier. Regardless, it was a quick and worthwhile read.
So on to my next read. I picked up Infinite Jest by Steven Foster Wallace again today after a long hiatus. I’m at page 187. The book is clearly a work of genius, but it’s just not holding my attention. Even if it wasn’t over a thousand pages (with footnotes), I wouldn’t feel very motivated to finish it. I’m not convinced I haven’t already gotten everything out of it that I can. Even though I’m starting to embrace the idea that time is not linear, I don’t like feeling my time would be better or more enjoyably spent doing something else. I want to do what I want to do because I’m 35 goddammit and I want to make the most of this stupid thing called life. I’ll likely switch to Winter Journal by Paul Auster or M Train by Patti Smith.
This isn’t so much a post for anyone else as it is a running tally (in no particular order) of the books I’ve been reading/read this year. I have already forgotten a bunch of titles, so these are just the ones I’ve read recently and do not include art technique books. I’ll keep updating this post throughout the year as I remember/read more. Let’s get things started:
The Invention of Solitude by Paul Auster
Things the Grandchildren Should Know by Mark Oliver Everett
The South by Colm Toibin
On Despair by Elie Wiesel
Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn