New Year’s Resolutions

Books to complete reading in 2017:

Middlemarch George Elliot

The Hidden Life of Trees Peter Wohlebben

The Black Swan Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space Janna Levin

Time Travel: A History James Gleick

Gravity & Grace Simone Weil

Always — Jenny Holzer: “It is in Your Self-Interest to Find a Way to Be Very Tender”

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childhood

i.

it’s the witching hour, i whisper, as i turn to look at you. as we collapse, i notice this: our feet, webbed.

ii.

my best friend is the rescued dog and that’s the summer that i meet you. you know everything about astrophysics and i sometimes cry into my tea while thinking about fairies. we are sitting on the porch and you are suspended in cigarette smoke, your mouth forming words about quantum entanglements that would never reach my ears. timothy licks my hand and i look into his eyes with love. he isn’t the cat but i might actually love him more.

later: you take me in your arms and tell me that i am almost gold

later: we are on the mountain and when everything dissolves i notice that we are cloven-hoofed children.

iii.

the fireflies tremble and blur my vision

he is at his desk and i fall to my feet with veneration. a devotee, in love.

iv.

i am collecting cashew apples and i forget that summer always comes to an end. your grandmother is my favorite person and i sing her songs in my mother’s tongue.

you think i am ridiculous and you

don’t

even

know

my

secr

et

y

e

t

v.

summer ends and i

leave.

Busiest Week of My Life

I’ve always been strangely obsessed by the concept of opportunity cost but here’s the way it runs in my brain these days: a finite spectrum of time with a finite capability of productivity. It’s less about the “fig tree” now. It’s less about the future and the choices that define the future. It’s more about now, this moment, this hour spent reading David Brooks’ wonderful pieces, not once but multiple times, with a gluttony later regretted because there’s a perpetual to-do list of studying and work to be accomplished and skills to be acquired and a ceaseless desire for productivity.

There’s been a Wes Anderson art show on LES since 2nd November and I have been adding and taking it off my calendar since 2nd November because that’s how busy school has kept me. Tomorrow, however, I intend to readjust all my priorities and go visit this thing. Weekend arrives with such delights and while nothing gold can stay the next two days are infinite in their offer of promises.

 

Transition

Nights spent reading Keats, wondering if there’s a way to eat figs that isn’t so messy, summer dissolving behind my eyes. May, June, July, August, September. There’s less languorous evenings now and in the future my feet aren’t bare. I want to dream of hemlock and hawthorn but when I wake up at 3.00 am it’s from a nightmare featuring suits and people telling me to eat more.

Girl Seeking Faith

I stopped believing in God. I lost my way. Maybe there is no causal relation here.

I tell myself this: Most rational lives require no lucid theology.

One must imagine Sisyphus happy. Someday there’ll be warm diagonal light across a table, honey and saffron mixed with milk and served in a glass that would never shatter, family, home, work, swaying trees carrying the lingering scent of night jasmine, a child gently playing the harmonium while I fall asleep and grow back into myself.

What Zizek said: What makes us happy is not to get what we want. But to dream about it.

What Zizek said, shorty after: If you want to remain happy, just remain stupid.

 

What would Amy March do?

I grew up reading Little Women and my favorite character was Amy March – the oft-derided, much unloved (and later – when she married Laurie, the extremely despised) sister. The least popular of the quartet. She wasn’t a tomboy like Jo, she wasn’t “the beautiful one” like Meg, she didn’t possess Beth’s ease of selflessness. She was headstrong, feminine, concerned with propriety – the princess of the quartet.  Proper and prissy. It didn’t matter that she was no less kind and helpful than the others. No one liked Amy. Except me. (And Laurie, unfortunately for all the fans. Sorry.)

The truth, realized much later in life (as it tends to be) is that I am more of a Jo than an Amy. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still with all my girlish heart idolize her. Whenever I am feeling particularly ungraceful or awful, I ask myself “What would Amy March Do?”

From the chapter Consequences one of my favorite Amy March moments and a constant lesson in times of turmoil:

“Because they are mean is no reason why I should be. I hate such things, and though I think I’ve a right to be hurt, I don’t intend to show it. They will feel that more than angry speeches or huffy actions, won’t they, Marmee?”

“In spite of various very natural temptations to resent and retaliate, Amy adhered to her resolution all the next day, bent on conquering her enemy by kindness. She began well, thanks to a silent reminder that came to her unexpectedly, but most opportunely. As she arranged her table that morning, while the little girls were in the anteroom filling the baskets, she took up her pet production, a little book, the antique cover of which her father had found among his treasures, and in which on leaves of vellum she had beautifully illuminated different texts. As she turned the pages rich in dainty devices with very pardonable pride, her eye fell upon one verse that made her stop and think. Framed in a brilliant scrollwork of scarlet, blue and gold, with little spirits of good will helping one another up and down among the thorns and flowers, were the words, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

“I ought, but I don’t,” thought Amy, as her eye went from the bright page to May’s discontented face behind the big vases, that could not hide the vacancies her pretty work had once filled. Amy stood a minute, turning the leaves in her hand, reading on each some sweet rebuke for all heartburnings and uncharitableness of spirit. Many wise and true sermons are preached us every day by unconscious ministers in street, school, office, or home. Even a fair table may become a pulpit, if it can offer the good and helpful words which are never out of season. Amy’s conscience preached her a little sermon from that text, then and there, and she did what many of us do not always do, took the sermon to heart, and straightway put it in practice.”

I ought, but I don’t.