Regular Maintenance

Yesterday, self-doubt collected like dust in the fan of my busy brain, familiar mental chatter locking me out of the present. I took a nap and meditated and — POOF — I was fresh and new and ready to tackle even the most boring of geography homework.

Today, I:

  • sang new songs I’m writing
  • walked in the sun
  • lunched with my bestie and she said “your brain is a Hungry Hungry Hippo,” which is both the truest statement and the most wonderfully graphic one, and also reveals that she has known me for 40 years and mercifully still hangs onto this train
  • celebrated two months with this plant, the longest I’ve ever managed to keep a plant alive, and I’m guessing it’s because it’s a Christmas cactus and nobody knows better than I how to keep Christmas alive
  • got good news
  • reframed an old writing project so I can pick it up again
  • did a whole bunch of boring worksheets and then was able to bask in knowing that they are done

I just finished reading Dinosaurs by Lydia Millet, a glittering little jewel that reflects the light we see in small everyday connections with others. Books, man. Books.

I keep meaning to clean off that window ledge (and the window, and the porch beyond) but my time is precious.


Me, left, the confused and determined only girl on the soccer team.

This is a love story. I have my tights in my fists and I have dug my pearly painted nails into them. I am tearing with all my might, pulling holes wide, desperate to not be in tights. I am screaming and sweat is sopping my face and my hair, which is wrenched taut in a barrette with braided ribbons. It is the late 1970s and I am on my way to a mother-daughter luncheon at the church. I am five, or maybe six. It is a dewy hyacinth and chickadee spring morning and I am in a world-melting rage. I am livid because I am not afforded my choice of clothing, frustrated with the mother-daughterness of the whole affair, and sad that I am a girl. 

My mother was, is, a feminist. Our household hungrily followed the 1984 election, elated that Geraldine Ferraro was on the ticket. We loved Free to Be You and Me, the Marlo Thomas project that included songs about expanding women’s career opportunities and boys who love dolls. Empowerment of girls and women was intentionally liberally slathered across my education, talk of my eventual professional options, and any conversation about the society of the future. But any and all equity was to be achieved while wearing flattering feminine attire. My mother’s gender expression, formed in the 1940s and ‘50s by the likes of Donna Reed and Doris Day, was a function of survival. When one is denied a credit card based on the deficit of having been born female it pays actual dividends to demonstrate femininity enough to get and keep a husband. This was the paradox of my mother and the steel and flint of my ignition. 

In the 1970s I did not enjoy being a girl. I would steal my father’s and brother’s clothes, favoring them for their saturated colors and fitted lines. I was, still am, reflexively averse to pastels. I preferred Lincoln Logs to Barbie. The celebrities I most admired were Ozzy Osbourne and Chewbacca. In the 1980s I did not enjoy being a girl. Dance teachers told me my body size was incompatible with dancing. Boys who were my friends sang songs and made jokes about my body, calling attention to me — the tits part of me in particular — in front of the whole high school choir. Just by existing in the world my girl-body was betraying me.

My relationships with girls were fraught, complicated by comparison. One friend wore cool clothes we couldn’t afford and slagged me for wearing clothes from Sears. Another had a body deemed compatible with dancing. Another was blonde, which was somehow more potently female than all the other hair colors. I craved their friendship but did not know how to secure it, did not speak the language. Boys were all around me. I had an older brother and most of my parents’ friends had boys. I was the only girl on my soccer team. I spent most of my days with boys. Boys had fun. They got dirty and roughhoused and took risks. When we became adolescents, the boys started skateboarding and played in bands. I sat on the side of skate ramps taking pictures of boys aloft on their own fuel, sat on the steps to basements listening to band practices where boys howled their complaints and desires. It’s hard to remember and harder yet to convey that almost no girls and women — at least where I grew up — skated or played in bands in the 1980s, and the ones who did usually looked like fashion models with straight bodies and straight hair who seemed to effortlessly walk that demilitarized zone of sexy and androgynous. I did not look like a fashion model. I largely looked like what I am now: a short, thick, middle aged, wiry-haired brunette. There was a window of time when my chest expanded, bringing my body into the widely desired form, but it was not long before the rest of me expanded, too, leaving me more derided than desired. 

My body could never be appropriately female. There was too much of it. It was unwieldy, too hungry, too clumsy, too slovenly. My self could never be appropriately female. I had too many opinions. I talked too much, laughed too loud, too often. But I wanted to win the game of being a girl so that my girlness no longer mattered. I believed if I worked at it I could be and look appropriately feminine that people would stop assessing me altogether. I would hide in plain sight. I hate that you want me to be hot and charming and femme! and also I will be hot and charming and femme and then you will leave me alone! The dueling banjos of internalized misogyny swallowed my critical thinking in their drone.

When punk came for me in middle school I could not have been more primed. Punk’s siren call — dissent in comfortable clothing! — solved the problem of my body distracting others. I was curvy and also fat, and wore the cast offs of dead and elderly men, oversized sweatshirts, work pants, and trench coats culled from the thrift shop a few blocks from my house. Punk was without a doubt a hiding place but also a way to gain crucial proximity to maleness. If punk was anything at all in the ‘80s it was male, and it was male in all the ways we now define as toxic. It has come a long way in the ensuing decades but you can rest assured it had, has, a far longer way to come.

Let me be sure to say that I never thought I was a boy, never wondered if my biological sex and my gender were in conflict. I didn’t have the awareness and language at that time to articulate such an idea, but I knew I was a girl. I was just angry about what being a girl seemed to mean to everyone else and what was expected of me as a result. I was a girl, am a woman, and I want that to mean absolutely nothing to you. Because it should not tell you anything about me, that word: woman. I did not want to be a boy and I do not want to be a man. I wanted their freedom. I still do.

And, yes, I know the patriarchy wreaks hell on boys’ and men’s lives, too. Their struggle is evident every day in the headlines, in mass shootings and land grabs and domestic assault and their relative lack of intimate friendships and their dread of vulnerability. But this isn’t about them. Except in the ways that it’s about all of us. We all fear the mad dad of patriarchy, no matter our factory default settings.

From the moment I found out I was pregnant I had no doubt I was carrying a boy. I had been training my whole life to raise a boy, a feminist boy, a boy who grew to be a man who respected women and could access his soft emotional underbelly and was kind to children and animals, a boy who would become a man who would vote for women and support them in the workplace. During the ultrasound our child turned to face the camera, offering us a photo of a perfect, though toothless, skull. This, for us, was confirmation that the child we were having was meant to be. A couple of (arguably too) young, broke, unmarried punks were having a baby, but the prenatal allusion to the Misfits was the signpost of our path. We could raise this child outside of the norm, according to values we had cobbled together in answer to the confines of normalized expectations of self expression. That harmony was abruptly disrupted by the phrase: Absence of penis. No penis was spotted on the ultrasound, I was told, therefore this child would be a girl. The immediate quaking horror I felt thinking I was carrying a girl sprung from the yawning, gaseous well of inadequacy I felt at the prospect of raising one. I had not known how to be a girl, was still striving to be free from it. I was about to carry this infant across a terrain studded with landmines that I had been chancily navigating my whole life. We were both goners.

The year my kid was five was equal parts princess dresses and shirtless wrestling with friends. Through the princess dress phase I learned to breathe before responding. I feigned disinterest, not well, while silently beseeching gods I did not believe in that the phase would simply go away. I had fought my whole life to reject the princess narrative, but I did not say out loud to my lavishly dressed and jubilant child how I felt about glittered gowns because I had been criticized for my androgynous expression of self and did not want to pass that internal conflict down the line. Shame is genetic, likewise self compassion. The need to give your child a better life than the one you had takes all sorts of shapes.

My kid was 19 when they told me they are nonbinary. I had to do some research. I thought it was another phase. I thought it was my fault, a response to my ambivalence about raising a girl. I thought it was a reaction to the prospect of continuing to live as a young woman in a patriarchy and I understood that. I thought it was reversing the course I had worked so hard to plot, drawing clear lines around what is and what is not a woman, rather than allowing for the infinite expressions of gender I wanted for women, for me, and for my child. But the simple truth I found in my research is that trans people die from suicide in stunning numbers. And we don’t know how many died before trans was a being they could articulate. As a mother, and as a human, that felt like the only information I needed to begin my understanding. Ram Dass said to forget about Parent and Child because those are simply roles we take on. We are only fellow travelers. I never had a daughter to begin with. In having any stake, however equivocal, in being a Mother to a Daughter, I was confining the both of us. My nonbinary child taught me that we can be unconfined, can live in a free space of our individual design.

I am grateful that before my kid brought this to me I had done some small amount of reckoning with my own body and how the world saw me. I am grateful that they trusted me with their full and precious self. And I am grieving that without knowing it for 19 years I tried to put them into the precise box I clawed and kicked to escape. Yes, it takes concentration to change my language. Yes, the singular they is not what I was taught and is occasionally awkward, but only when I’m talking with people who resist it. I still screw up when I’m talking about the past, about the tiny child I raised as a girl. I correct myself. But being more thoughtful when I speak only improves everything about my life, so it does not feel much like a sacrifice.

And then there’s the subject of their name, that sound of love, the gift that carries with it ties to family history and the luminous memory that it was the one name my child’s father and I both agreed on wholeheartedly in that time when we struggled in the terror of this new responsibility and fantasized about who this child would be. But I want my child to know, and I need to learn for myself, that it is absolutely OK to decline gifts that do not honor us. If I give you a gift and it hurts you, please dispose of it at your discretion. Doing so frees us from expectations, those old preconceived resentments.

This is a love story. I want to protect trans kids, and trans adults, and all of us from the mad dad of patriarchy. But it’s not about me. My child’s gender and the gender expression of any other human is not about me. That’s where this path leads all of us, if we are open to following it. Every person gets to say who they are and we are free to believe them, love them, support them, or not. My child is the same person I have always known: we text each other cute dog videos all day every day, they scream and run out of the room if they think anyone is about to be embarrassed on TV, they sing like a morning swell of bird call, they let their heart lead them down precarious and necessary roads, and they love their friends and family to heaping, courageous measure.

But it’s about me, too. This ongoing gender adventure is a trip we’re all on together. I have the freedom to define my identity and not a single element of me needs to be constricted by my gender. I still only want to wear hoodies and jeans, my old punk uniform. I eschew cosmetics, don’t shave, and still maintain and express unpopular decisions at all decibel levels and in all company. The hoary chestnut that middle age evaporates our fucks to give is proving to be balm for the chafing of my gender conflict. But that debt is not owed only to my advancing years.

This is the courage of trans people: In their will to live, they stand every day in the face of rage and erasure, and in doing so they not only liberate themselves but also provide cover for the rest of us. Trans people are constructing that free space where the rest of us can go to more lovingly recognize and live into who we are. I’m so glad that those outside the gender norm have, however brutal the haul, agreed to drag us into the future. And while I did not intend that pun, it stays because I know that even gifts that come from unexpected places are gifts all the same, and we each get to decide what we do with them.

Let’s Get Weirder

Riggs. Getting weirder, finding fun.

The other day I saw my neighbor sweeping the leaves on their lawn into a dustpan. My initial thought was admittedly an unkind one about obsessive lawn fastidiousness. That thought was quickly followed by the recognition that my disdain for lawn fastidiousness has its roots in a dusty old personal trauma. My third thought was that whatever motivated the apparently bizarre choice, I was ultimately grateful that they weren’t using a leaf blower.

Which is all to say we all make assumptions and decisions no one else will understand. There are too many whirling historical considerations in our heads to always make a clear and direct path of connection between stimulus and response. That’s the gravity of the situation. The levity is that my neighbor was sweeping their lawn with a broom and a dustpan.

This is where weirdness comes in, I think, in that balance between gravity and levity, in knowing what we need might not fit into expectation or business as usual, and in knowing business as usual doesn’t often serve us. So we practice unusual business.

Part of the unusual business we practice at our house is making things for fun, because we value and prioritize fun. If you also like fun, you can grab some of these fun things here and then we will make more fun things. Therein lies the paradox of weirder: the gravity is we’re changing, and the levity is we’re seeking fun. Come along and get weirder with us.

Asylum Summer, 2022

A few years ago this was a blackened tract, aftermath of a controlled burn. Yearning for less stuff and more space. We require space to receive the full complement of our resources. Figuratively and literally. The (relational, environmental, emotional) invasives, the Doings of Too Much, are entropy to the degree that fire is the mildest possible tool.

Today is the birthday of a friend and mentor who tirelessly over decades taught me to listen to myself and value myself. I send up, in gratitude, this list of some of the items recently expelled when I’ve given my brain a quiet moment to herself, items that if not hopeful are hope-adjacent, not just reactions to This Burning World (repair! repair!) but instead responses (create! create!):

  • Relatively inchoate fields of study giving me sparks right now include brains, fungus, intergenerational trauma, guts, flow states, the evolutionary purpose of art, and the paradox of creativity and conformity.
  • Human connection is the One True Drug and social media has increased our daily dosage exponentially and we don’t really have a good sense yet of whether it’s palliative, curative, or toxic or more realistically to what degree it is all of these things.
  • We don’t even know what happens to us after we die, y’all. I cannot believe we have been entrusted with all of this Earth. We see such a miniscule portion of what’s going on, and in so few dimensions. 

My dear friend is about to — any minute now — become a first-time grandparent. We’re over here waiting for a baby to be born and we’re all everywhere collectively birthing the new world. We know the crises. They are combusting everywhere we look (and scroll). What we can’t yet see is what will grow after the burn.

Present Living

Last weekend. Left town bone weary and an open sore.

Watched 27 bands in 4 days, one of them an REM cover band filled with people I dearly love and a rotating slate of Michaels Stipe. Got to be one of the Michaels Stipe on “Disturbance at the Heron House,” which has never felt more relevant than it does now.

Chris Williams of Plastic Flame Press drew this pic of us in our 30-minute set. I sort of love that it looks like Johnny is our overlord, projected across a screen above us. Other things I love include that my enormously talented friend offered to draw this and that it depicts a monumental night in my life.

Talked to a 14-year-old kid about Life In Hell. Thought a lot about how I was reading Life In Hell at 14, around the time it came out and before The Simpsons was its own show if you can imagine there ever was such a time, and that was because I got to wander around a bookstore and bring home whatever I wanted even though my folks were none stoked about the aytch-ee-double-hockeysticks.

Listened to a bunch of writers read generously vulnerable stuff, like, the shit and the guts. “Motherfucker, you don’t even like champagne,” is what I now say to my self destructive inner narrator which is a mildly passive aggressive Ron-Howard-friendly-reminder-style self destructive inner narrator.

Swam in The Lake (the lake the lake the lake).

Actual conversations about real things. Many of them.

Laffs-a-trillion. Laughing like we’re clinging to joy with sweaty fingertips.

Future Living was originally a joke about how we’d been saying for 25 years we should play music together. Future Living is both hope and anxiety, feelings that are both about living in an invented future and how maybe some of us feel anxiety when we hear the term and some of us feel hope and really it’s probably more like all of us feel both of those things to varying degrees moment-to-moment.

I get, evolutionarily, why we focus on the terrible. Depression has been, in my life, a protest, a signal that all is not right, a call in the dark to find those who might also be seeing the horror. Growth has involved resisting the false dichotomy that things can’t be both horrible and beautiful simultaneously.

Came home to dozens of emails from folks who are volunteering for RAWK and who wholeheartedly want to do right by the young people who wrote the works they’re editing, people from all over the country with varied backgrounds and experience who do not know these children from any other children but are devoted to honoring them. And the JWST, and a whole bunch of time petting my dogs, and taking my traditional full moon walk with buddies, and the existential dread has lifted.

And maybe (definitely) I need to train myself to think and talk about radiant good because it is everywhere.

Every streetlight a reminder

It’s these little things, they can pull you under
Live your life filled with joy and thunder
Yeah, yeah we were altogether
Lost in our little lives

A person I know peripherally died quite recently, unexpectedly and young. I was not close to him, only met him a few times. Many people I love dearly are rent by grief. I am familiar with the pain of losing someone so loved, so young, so unexpected. The splitting open of daily life to spill the naked innards of love, the fracture in time and space that relocates us to an island of grief, lush with feeling and memory. Who knows how long we’ll stay in this place. This is where we live now.

In watching my friends grieve, these things make themselves clear: he was loved in vital and present ways, and was still alone in his darkness. We can’t anticipate when the connection will drop, and it is not always apparent to others when it does. The best we can do is connect and fortify, connect and fortify, over and over again. Still, that isn’t foolproof. I’m gleaning that he tenaciously loved winter, REM, the moon, and his friends and family. If those things are also said about me after I am gone, I will have been seen. That is our commonality, me and him, in addition to a darkness that’s long been lingering around corners.

In his honor, quite a bit of REM has been shared. I don’t much like the idea of holding up artistic favorites, but REM was, for many years, my Favorite Band of Record. At summer camp when my cabin mates were writing the names of the New Kids On the Block on their bunks, I wrote in black sharpie:

Chronic Town
Fables of the Reconstruction
Life’s Rich Pageant

Green hadn’t come out yet and the band still felt like my own special secret. Their mystical combination of intellect, vulnerability, and playfulness gave me a pulse, a pump of life. It’s hard to explain, or even to remember, that time before digital access when commercial radio was the normative culture and anything outside that felt like a breaching leap — dangerous and exhilarating. There was mystery in REM, they operated in a space unrelated to conventions of songwriting and time and language and gender and sexuality. The lyrics were inscrutable, the record art cryptic. They cast long shadows, so when the light flooded in I could be carried away. 

This friend of my friends loved the moon. The moon doesn’t generate its own glow, but reflects the sun. Its darkness is the precise state that allows it to hold and offer back the light. One of my friends died so loved, so young, so unexpectedly, and we sang “Moon River” at his funeral, at his uncle’s suggestion. Both men had loved the song, but my friend’s attachment to it was more than a small bit enhanced by its connection to the movie Fletch, in which Chevy Chase’s Irwin M. Fletcher lets out “Moooooooooon river!” in a howl during an unexpected rectal exam. I have no idea whether his uncle knew this association, but their shared love of the song was a conduit of love for him. My friend was complicated, always picking up and dropping connection. It is good to love complicated people. Advisable, even, since none of us are uncomplicated. Connection is the light.

The sudden absence of someone we love, however fraught that love may be, inspires the outpouring of testimonies of voracity of spirit, proof of life. I’m sincerely curious why we don’t say these things to one another while we are here. There’s a fear there I can’t quite pinpoint. We make thousands of choices every day between jesuslizarding over the surface and holding our breath and diving, seeing each other in the murk below, covered in silt. We share the same air. Walking around in grief, the fresh meat of mortality, seeing all of us as goners, makes me love you even more.

Bizarro Narcissus

I sowed a seed
Underneath the oak tree
I trod it in
With my boots, I trampled it down
Grow, grow, grow, grow

Stopping in awe of the presence of perfect conditions to catch the sight that most compels me: the sun and its absence defined by me and some trees. Wringing my mind with the writings of a master set to music, our collective first language. Recognizing that entertaining romantic thoughts about my outline against the lake in white powder form is still only my same old everyday obsession with my own shadow. One step forward, one step back.


Woke up two hours later than I wanted to. The symptoms were relatively mild but heavy on my mind. Canceled all the things and waited to test until sicker I guess or maybe just until later. Hung out in the  embarrassment of canceling the things — do I honestly feel that bad? This is gonna inconvenience some folks, can’t I suck it up? Worked myself to the absolution of accountability if not all the way to the absolution of shame.

Had this year’s first longing for Christmas only two days after putting last Christmas away. Already feeling the light and the goodwill toward all slipping. Yesterday, on The Saddest Day, it was 342 days until Christmas. Today it is 341. Turned on the retro multicolor teardrop Christmas lights we leave up all year long.

The house is cleaner than it’s been in the six years we’ve lived here due to a fervent semester-break purification. Sat on the new-to-us loveseat for a lot of the day. Zoomed into a meeting that made me weep alligator tears of gratitude and excitement. Worked on an art project and pet a dog. Sent email, did math homework, researched grants. Made miso squash soup. Allowed myself short and sporadic rafts of unproductive sitting time. Read an achingly beautiful book in front of the SAD lamp. Dutifully took the new-to-my-regimen vitamins that have breathed a solid 15% more life into my life. Took an evening walk under the cloud-masked full moon — slowly over craggy ice — to drop something in a friend’s mailbox. 

On The Saddest Day of the year I was sick with what could be either a seasonal nuisance or the death of me. On The Saddest Day of the year I was awed at every little thing that kept me going.

Ten years ago I would’ve stayed in bed — for a day or two or three or more — and the resulting offshoots of shame and depression would have spiraled throughout the following month(s), choking me into underfunctioning and inertia. But in the time since then I’ve gone to therapy (and therapy and therapy), incorporated daily creative practice, meditated a whole bunch of hours, gotten serious about advocating for my own health because who’s going to do it if I don’t, and grown supportive and reciprocal relationships. Those changes have happened in stardust epiphanies and in the swimming through molasses that is small changes on the regular, but each change, however small, helped to buttress everything that came after, in true Dr. Leo Marvin-style.

My therapist recently said to me, “If you wanna be praying when the plane goes down you better have taught yourself to pray beforehand.” I’m not so much the praying type but I do practice awe that the accumulation of these habits, along with heaping portions of privilege and luck, means I’m still here to write about this year’s Saddest Day. No sooner do I say, “In this moment I am here,” than I am in the next moment. I have survived that moment and created a future moment in which I am still here and safe and also grateful. Baby steps.

She gets it while she can.

“I get distracted by the sunlight.” Yesterday was my birthday and we are on the second five-day quarantine stint in two weeks due to close COVID contact. We hiked Asylum Lake and walked through two snowstorms of wildly different expression. Without fail every year I wish for a snowstorm on my birthday. Two is an embarrassment of riches, but to honor my dear ones who no longer celebrate birthdays in the corporeal form I don’t second-guess the goodness or my worthiness of it. For a full day plus whatever half life that day offers, I am receptive.

Last night we watched hours of the Beatles collaborating in songwriting flow, meeting each other on a riff and riding it until a song bubbled up out of it. Watching Paul fish the vocal line for “Get Back” out of the river of collective unconscious I begin to wonder what if I don’t question the sudden onset of creating but instead trust the time and mode of delivery. Too often I let I-me-mine get in the way of flow. Flow is a localized tributary of the universe’s constant expansion. Flow will always win in the end because there isn’t an end. 

I couldn’t care a lick if it’s boring to love the Beatles. I also love pizza and dogs. I will take joy in whatever form it’s offered. Yesterday I walked in two different styles of snow storms and my fifteen-year-old-terrier got a dashing new plaid sweater. 

And then today on my walk my adult kid called and talked for an hour — about the creative process and how it applies everywhere always, about how to be responsible to one another, about what kind of world and relationships they are intentionally creating — and I’m reminded how when we lived together we had an ongoing conversation winding in and out of our brains. To feel in the dark is only to love light. This is what it is to be alive together. While we talked the winds dusted me with last night’s snow off the ancient eastern white pines. “This is how good it can be.”

Like every other day I have been alive I’m conscious of the gift that is making stuff, my throughline, my seacraft, my artery. Art won’t save us, but only because nothing will.

Study, Interior

For weeks I stared at the stacks of books and scraps of paper with story ideas and quotes from funny friends and old bills and filled journals and coagulating dog fur crowding my study and thought on a loop about what a failure I am for not being a person who knows how to clean a house with any regularity. That organically led to the thought that I would be better at answering email and writing regularly and just about everything else were I to clean my study.

It might have been months and not weeks. Anyway, there was a lot of staring and a lot of diagnosing myself incapable of cleaning anything and of writing anything and generally doing anything of value.

And then today at 11:07 am I was ready to sit down and write when Chafe said, “Do you want to take the dogs for a walk?” and as a writer whose work no one but me is depending on of course I am ready to do anything that’s not the thing I most want to do, which is to write. But then Chafe said, “I have to finish this tiger I’m drawing and then I’ll be ready. How’s noon?” because he is someone who makes a living sometimes drawing tigers. Yes, he knows how fortunate he is. Yesterday he was in a lousy mood and I heard him mumble to himself, “I guess I can stop complaining about my job drawing a shark and a monkey.” It’s often like kindergarten over here, to be completely honest.

But so at this point of course I want to walk the dogs because it’s not writing things that are necessary but emotionally taxing but also now I have to wait for the tiger to be drawn so I have some time to kill that wouldn’t be enough time to get any real writing done, is what I tell myself anyway.

So I cleaned my study. It took 20 minutes.

Weeks upon weeks of self flagellation including but not limited to:

— slob
— fat slob
— worthless
— undeserving of a study
— undeserving of this little house that I adore, that feels to me like a palace
— undeserving of a partner who helps support me by drawing tigers
— never going to complete a writing project again
— never going to contribute enough to the world to offset my deficits
— not a real adult

(I like typing them out because they are, on their face, ridiculous and it is helpful to name their ridiculousness in the times when I do recognize them as ridiculous.)

And then it took 20 minutes. OK the floor’s not swept and a lightbulb needs to be changed and the recycling needs to be taken out but the large majority of the study is cleanish enough and the storm in my brain has cleared and I am an adult person capable of doing things and offering the world value again, just like that.

There is no moral to this story. I do not know how to clean the study proactively rather than live through the weeks of self abuse. I am certain there are people who know how to do that and am almost as certain they could try to teach me how to do that and that ultimately I might still be a person who waits until the self harm mounds so high that some arbitrarily assigned wait to walk the dogs will tip it. It sounds like a lot of work that’s doomed to fail which is I guess how I would have described the cleaning and how I often look at the writing. 

When friends tell me they have a hard time appreciating the art they generate, that they are often dissatisfied by outcomes, I say, “That’s what being creative is, always looking to improve upon what exists.” Yeah. What a crappy, bloviating idea to curse someone with. I know.

So maybe life is just a lot of work that is ultimately doomed to fail if we keep improving upon what exists, which would be a good thing, so that’s some sort of existentialist fatalist relief? Anyway, above is a picture of one of my favorite things in my study, an anatomical model of a shark* which I’ll write about very soon, just to keep you in suspense.

*drawing a shark was also part of Chafe’s work this week and here it is

Gray skies. Greening outside. Listening to Hiroshi Yoshimura.