It comes loose

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I spent the week in and out of the hospital. My grandma, she of the thin, crepe-like skin, of the little sparrows, was lying in a hospital bed, the blankets up to her chin.

We arrived at her bedside, spoke into her ear.

“Charlotte is here,” my mother said loudly.

She opened her eyes, closed them, her lids heavy.

My father stepped up, announced: “C’est Devy”.

She opened her eyes, startled.

During the day, she tossed and turned, the antibiotics coursing through her veins. Her kidneys were giving way, her lungs closely following suit.

She called: Papa! Papa! Papa!

Her father loomed large in her consciousness, three quarters of a century after his own death. I wonder if it was the ocean view in her last apartment that brought it all back, images of her Marine father drifting back to shore, lacing themselves into the present, confusing her. Read more…

Everything that is

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She calls me at midnight in the middle of a full-blown panic attack. An hour later, when she’s calmed down and we’re chatting, she asks me what I’m thinking about lately…

… I’ve been thinking about my career, and whether it’s a good idea to be working where I am, at a job that leaves me so exhausted and drained, that I often come home and go straight to bed. Where I’m learning to trade my soft, high-pitched, childish voice with one that’s firm and assertive. Where I’m learning to voice my opinions even when I’m not sure of them. I think about the trade-offs, and the potential, and the consequences, and I flit around between them, holding different sides of the argument on different days of the week, on different hours of the day.

And how most mornings I don’t want to get out of bed, and I lure myself up and out with the promise of a tall, warm cappuccino, strong and dark and foamy, which I pick up at the half-way point from my house to the office- the promise of which is enough to get me to put one foot in front of the other in front of the other, and then, holding it in my hand, enough to comfort me the rest of the way.

I think about city life, and toy with the idea of living out in the middle of nowhere, and writing. Of living somewhere exotic and writing. Of getting the hell outta dodge. I counter that here is exotic enough. I look at flights, at real estate listings in New Orleans. The map of that great expanse that is America. I think about Brooklyn. I sprawl out on the couch and read Motel Chronicles. Read more…

Inhale. Exhale.

I’m writing to you from the womb of a rainbow-striped hammock strung between ancient olive trees, their trunks knobby and gnarled like an old man’s hands, their branches like upturned palms, overflowing with shards of green.

A breeze ruffles the slender green-silver leaves, with their clusters of olives in twos and threes; here and there olives scatter to the floor.

We’re about as close to the Lebanese border as it gets, on the edges of a little ecological village that’s cut off from the state’s pipelines, running on solar-powered energy, its houses set out sparsely against the rocky hillside.

I had to suspend my paranoia fears about war to come here; when I voiced them aloud to my friend, she stated, half-jokingly, that we’re so close, missiles would pass right above our heads.

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I’m resting in this hammock and thinking about nature and borders and land and isolation and community, in the calm, quiet embrace of this olive grove, traditionally a symbol of peace.

In the background, beyond the soft swaying of the branches, I can hear the noise of the festival. At this distance, the music is soothing and low, the sound of hundreds of people humming along reaching me as a soft murmur. The wind rocks my hammock gently. Read more…

Worth celebrating

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I step out of the quiet, air-conditioned apartment where I have spent the morning reading, and onto the balcony with its view of the ocean. I sit down on a chair with a curved back, its white wires tinged with an orange rust the color of the late afternoon sun. I stretch out my legs on the chair opposite me, and I feel the sun warming my legs and my arms, and I’m suddenly aware that I was a little cold.

The ocean beyond is quiet and soothing and calm where it meets the horizon, its blue the same pale hue as the sky, except that it shimmers and sparkles brilliantly. It breaks into large, wild, frothy waves as it meets the shore. I spot a multitude of tiny black dots, among the waves, chaotically spotting the water’s edge; people are out there, playing. The beach is covered in red and white parasols propped open like heads flung back in laughter.

It’s summer.

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I’ve been reading When Women Were Birds, by Terry Tempest Williams, and it’s the kind of book that makes my entire body quiet. Makes all of me gather together, pause, in awe; like I’m standing in the holiest of temples.

She writes: “Creativity is another form of open space, whose very nature is to disturb, disrupt, and “bring us to tenderness”.”

That’s what her prose does to me: it brings me to tenderness. Read more…

Lately

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A little roundup of links to start off the week. Have a great one, friends. xoxo

//Words//

Terms of Endearment

Ashley talks about raising a girl.

Gesture Writing

Like helpless cameras

This quote, amidst those photos.

//Food//

A gorgeous, gorgeous video.

Cherry Almond Galette

How stunning are these raw tacos?!

I can’t wait to try Sarah’s Flavour Bombe Greens n’ Noodles.

Alice Medrich’s Crazy-Good No-Temper Chocolate-Dipped Cherries.

Chocolate Bombe Shell (2 ingredients + 5 minutes= Danger, pictured above).

The other side of fear

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When I left the little house on the tree-lined street, I didn’t say goodbye. I had room left in my suitcases; I didn’t take all of my things. Although a part of me knew that it might be goodbye, I couldn’t face it until I found myself in the embrace of my family and friends. I could barely envision a month without him, let alone a lifetime.

I had struggled with depression since the onset of my teenage years, a black cloud coming out of nowhere, knocking me to my knees. The blackness enshrouded everything, I couldn’t see beyond it, it bore down on me like a ton of bricks, making every movement difficult. He would lift me out of bed, hold my hand, lead me to the shower, turn the water on, wait for it to be just right. When he would close the door, I would fall to the floor, my head between my knees, the running water pounding down into me, masking my sobs.

It wasn’t all the time, yes? It happened once, maybe twice, a year. Like someone pushed me brusquely over the edge, and there I was tumbling down into this black abyss, falling, falling, falling, with nothing to hold on to. Read more…

Like a thousand knives

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Eight years into our relationship, I met him at the door with the same yearning to dig my fingers deep into his flesh, to get beneath his skin, that overtook me when I first set eyes on him. We had New York at our feet, big and glamorous and dirty and sophisticated and raw. Its buildings towering, crowds pulsing through its streets pumped with adrenaline. West and across the George Washington bridge and we were in a land of mountains and lakes and incredible panoramic views of the city; east and we found ourselves on the edge of the Atlantic, the sand bluffs soft and tinged with patches of wild grasses, the ocean stretching out limitlessly into the horizon. Read more…

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