Being a body narrows you. Genetics predetermine the star of your face, the hills and valleys nourished below. I cannot be all things, as a body. As a mind, I can bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things. But my body is a full stop, a contained space, an impermanent expression of creative energy.
This is a very small beginning, a kernel, really, of my thoughts about art.
25 Feb 2013 / 6 notes
There were two teahouses in the Cours Julien: the Shambhala, where you sat on the floor and it was always crowded and noisy and incense-heavy, and Kim’s, which was quiet, airy, full of swinging transparent curtains and melodious with water fountains. The French take their tea just as seriously as their coffee so you went here to sit, to be quiet or to laugh with friends, and drink your hot beverage and eat your snack and read or think. We would haunt Kim’s on Friday evenings after school and sometimes on Saturday for the entire afternoon. The owner always laughed when we came in because he knew to expect us and because he was just as excited we were about the new teas he had for us to taste. He’d pull the big tins off the shelves on the walls and open the lids, tilting them towards us; we would dutifully lean in and inhale deeply. Flowers, herbs, leaves, fruit… each one was unique, and he told us in detail about each one and where it came from and why he had chosen to bring it into his shop. Then he’d let us go into the basement where it was very dark and cool and we’d sit at low tables and wait for him to bring down the pots.
He’d lift the lid off each individual teapot and smell the condensation that had gathered inside of it, recognizing each tea by scent. We would try to wait for them to steep long enough but our first cups were always a little weak. We drank pot after pot in this quiet place, losing track of time, slowly sinking back into the cushions as we moved further and further into that hazy, over-caffeinated calm that comes with the drinking of much tea.
So many important girlhood conversations happened over that tea. It was a place of peace, of friendship, of belonging - a feeling I had never thought I would experience. It was here that I developed a love for tea, and the beverage is so married in my mind to this place, that to this day I cannot separate the well-being I knew during those visits from my first sips of tea.
Not long after I left Marseille the owner went back to Japan and the shop changed hands. It was the same, but it wasn’t the same. Every time I have been back I have gone to see if Kim’s is open. The sign is still the same, but the gate is always closed and I’m not sure if it is still in business.
I’ve been looking for a place like it since I moved away and while I have been to some excellent cafes with wonderful friends, I have not been able to replicate the experience. I know that this is what makes our lives so sweet, this impermanence, the acute joy of knowing that each precious moment is unique and that it is a gift. But I am also glad that when I sip my tea every morning, I am transported, even if just for a second, to that place and the well-being it brought to me.
I wish for everyone to have something like this.
23 Feb 2013 / 15 notes
Edna St. Vincent Millay
19 Feb 2013 / 13 notes
I hide behind the counter here on my days off. There is tea. There is good conversation. There are always interesting people rolling through (yesterday, a poet from New Orleans who claimed to know Allen Ginsberg) and books I’ve never even heard of that seem like they will become good friends.
19 Feb 2013 / 21 notes
My parents will laugh at me when I tell them that I have discovered I am actually a morning person instead of a night person. At nine o’clock my eyelids droop heavily onto my cheeks, I bow my chin under the shower head and let the hot water drum me into slumber. But at 4:30, 5 a.m. I am awake, widely, eyes shooting open after dreams of drowning. I am afraid to miss something. The sunrise.
In the moments between when I wake up and when I start getting ready I think about meditating. Well, I try to meditate. It’s a good way to start the day, I’ve been told. People who meditate live longer. I pray someone’s name, repeated over and over in blessing or wonder or anger or hope. I ask to be changed. I am fond of being modified. What do I have that could not be made better?
I keep my eyes closed, focus on my breathing. I catch and cradle thought after thought as they come towards me in the darkness. Anger. Anger. Anger. There is so much anger here. My shoulders bow forward under the shame of this anger. I hold the anger close, to study it. It is mine. I must acknowledge that it is mine before I can throw it away.
To give voice to a feeling, to admit it, is to run the risk of being labelled, either by yourself or by others. “I feel sad.” “I feel angry.” I am not always sad or always angry. These are transitory moments, landslides that begin, catch onto terrain, land in the gut. They’re not permanent and even if they color your world, they do not define it. Feeling anger or sadness does not make you a permanently angry or sad person.
You carry worlds within you. They have their own moody deities. They are visited by their own storms, devastated by their own wars. They have their own beginnings and endings.
15 Feb 2013 / 15 notes
Lovely prose by Alice Bolin today at This Recording.
9 Feb 2013 / 161 notes
My friend shared this article with me this morning, which I recommend, and it led me to contemplate the life and works of Joseph Cornell. He was a fascinating man and artist and I’d love to see his work in person soon.
4 Feb 2013 / 13 notes
Sometimes I worry that my love of simplicity spirits me away when I need to seek and appreciate that which is more complicated. Too much — too much! I think. Does it really have to be this difficult? Isn’t there a more natural rhythm, a quiet to embrace?
I grow accustomed to movements, to rituals, and I revel in them. I find them decadent. I enjoy my morning commute, those quiet moments on the train watching the sky turn pink over the distant lake, the most. I look forward to waking up and walking from the city to my office. I make plans to absolutely lose myself for an afternoon in a nap or in a walk.
I tell myself that this is not “interesting” — this is not the movement that I watched, growing up, and this is the not the hectic rhythm of working and meeting and traveling — that this life I have settled into may seem devoid of excitement or novelty.
But I am happy with it. I am happy with the quiet. When my insides cry that there is so much to do, so much to give back, so much to create, I remind myself that it is as simple as this joy. I surround myself with the slow rhythms and learn something from them. The voice behind them is steady and growing louder. It has something new to say every day.
3 Feb 2013 / 21 notes
Don’t disrespect a croissant by putting anything on it.
30 Jan 2013 / 13 notes