Sunday May 24 2020

Listening

A playlist I made in early April called SUPER REP which started with me copying in tracks I liked from a spotify user's playlist I found by searching "super repetitive dance." Now I just add big bouncy dance music that I like here as I find it.  

Reading

"Over and over, I’ve had this experience where I wrote something or I made something, and in retrospect it became very clear that a lot of the material, and just the pathways of thinking involved, were building up long before the 'on period' in an 'off period.' So, I don’t want to make it seem like all off time is actually productive." —Jenny Odell on The Creative Independent (On taking the time you need to notice, think, and grow) 

I'm not sure how I became interested in reading Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook by Alice Waters. I've never considered myself someone interested in the world of food in any meaningful way but I like learning about people's creative practices. The book is the memoir of restaurateur and chef Alice Waters who started and has run a pioneering local and organic restaurant in Berkeley since the 1970s. She attempts with the story of her early life what Waters seemingly aims for in her food, breaking it down to its most fundamental, most clear, honest and special parts. Waters tidily connects her upbringing by an uncharacteristically accepting family in 1950s, her travels in Europe, the people, particularly lovers and friends who move through her world to the opening of Chez Panisse. I've been feeling inspired lately, even more than usual, by learning about other people's practices and work. I love to hear about communities of creative people coming together around a big vision, as cheesy as that sounds. Something about building something new together, throwing your weight into a shared project. I got different flavors of that a couple weeks ago watching Spaceship Earth, McQueen, and Filmworker back to back on a Saturday. I do wish that Alice Waters was more specific about how she was influenced by the Free Speech Moment and counterculture. I'm always craving models of how people square and embed their politics with creative outputs and try to build the world they want to see. And it's feels like a missed opportunity that the book ends with the opening of the restaurant. But this book doesn't have to be everything to everyone and now I get to follow this lead to learn more about Slow Food. Water's commitment to beauty and her admiration and relationship to creativity and the arts is really lovely to read about. Her passion for light, design, space, flowers, dress, film, and music make my heart sing. It's not a perfect memoir but I liked immersing myself in this book and I feel full of daydreams about whatever my Chez Panisse will be. 

Making

Last week, I celebrated my one year anniversary at my job, a quiet milestone that meant a lot to me. In the last year, I've regained some creative confidence and tried to learn how to be a graphic designer again. I've relearned how to be comfortable at work in a way that makes sense for me right now. I can see everything that is so special and interesting about the organization I work for and appreciate and grow with the people who put their all into it. The work I've done isn't super visible or flashy but I like doing it and I hope it's working/helping and I'm proud of it.

Watching

 

Revisiting warpaint and this video which fills me with feeling. 

Burning (2018) was more like reading a short story than watching a movie.

Frances McDormand is so perfect in Burn After Reading (2008) and I relate to Brad Pitt's character's energy right now.

There Will Be Blood (2007). Now that's a movie. Great take on the life of W.B. Mason.

Girl Friends (1978) is a proto Francis Ha.

Doing

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👩🏽‍🏫 Gave a "presentation" to some friends on what makes a comfort movies and heard presentations on topics like the color blue, birds and their legs, the inequity of quality ice cream in Boston, and more. 

😎 Spent all day Thursday and Friday working from my patio. It's almost too much joy to be allowed.

🥯 My neighborhood bagel place has been doing special pick-up batches and I finally got an order in after 2-3 previous attempts. Now buying bagels has the level of tension and exact process as buying big concert tickets or registering for classes. Happy for this HUGE simple pleasure. I think this is the longest I'd gone without having a bagel for 10+ years.

📺 New Girl is a good rewatch while doing something else (like sewing.)

 

Thinking

I can't seem to consistently feel ease or abundance around time. I know the scarcity and fear is all in my mind which doesn't make it less difficult. It's been interesting to see (some!) people online talking about feeling like they have so much more time in quarantine and how they fill those extra minutes with new diversions or find themselves simply not knowing what to do with the time and experiencing vacuous boredom. Because I'm working from home, I've been able to cut out commuting and all out-of-home extracurriculars are off the table, of course. I don't have any additional (or any, period) caretaking responsibilities. And yet ten weeks into working-from-home and quar, I don't feel like I have that much more time than I used to (again, inability to feel abundance) and I feel anxious about how I spent each non-working minute and hour. I'm trying to let some of this feeling go, appreciate more what I'm doing in the moment and dread less the end of that moment, not feeling like I have to be doing anything meaningful all of the time or even most of the time, etc. I'm just trying to be easy on myself.