My gratitude grows but my attention is short. Let's make a list.
On this Thankful Thursday, I'm thankful for:
1. No knowledge
My new reading trick is to avoid book flaps, blurbs and best-seller lists, and to dive in without preconceptions. This approach worked recently when I read The Girls, an engrossing and engaging novel by Emma Cline. I liked the book very much, and it was refreshing to learn about the backstory and author after I had finished the book.
Is this how we use to read, before fevered promotions and author platforms?
A friend sent me a card. She is "remembering to send handwritten mail every now and then" and I was the lucky recipient.
I rarely watch movies more than once or return to books I've already read. But this week I found myself bookless. In desperation, my eyes darted across cereal boxes and classified ads. Words, any words. Without time for a book run, I reached for my bookshelf and one of my favorite novels: Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner.
Over the years I have gifted this book to dozens of friends and family but could remember few details (I can barely remember the book I read last week, and I read this one 15 years ago).
Much to my relief, I slipped back into those creaky yellowed pages and still liked the book.
Though I dislike Valentine's Day (forced affection and obligatory gifts), I'm thankful I ditched my sour mood and allowed a sentimental groove. Now we're eating cherry pie and we're both happy.
Sometimes, most times, it's good to get out of your head and into your heart.
It's Thankful Thursday (on Friday, because life gets full), a weekly pause to express appreciation for people, places, poems and more. Life expands with gratitude. What are you thankful for today?
It's a great time to be alove.
That's what I saw. At second glance the word was alive but, really, I prefer alove. I imagine alove is similar to in love but more immersive and inclusive. Weightless through a cloud, a fog, a thicket of feel-goodness.
It's said that creatives — writers, painters, dreamers, dawdlers — need down time to replenish the well (and maybe get new glasses). The garden metaphor is often used: plant, germinate, grow, harvest, or some such. I tried to be a gardener but I dislike dirt and prefer chips to kale.
Still, the metaphor works.
There is a time to plant and a time to sow. A time to write and a time to rest. A time to produce and a time to consume. I fear, though, I may have taken consumption a bit far (see: empty chip bags and me on the couch). But hey, it's winter; I'm sowing.
In my ravenous state here's what I've consumed:
The Book of Unknown Americans
by Cristina Henriquez
A moving story of immigrant life, freshly and poignantly told.
The Wangs Vs. The World
by Jade Chang
Flip and easy, this riches-to-rags story about a wealthy Chinese family is a funny yet touching observation of vapid American culture.
Call My Agent
An engaging French television series about a firm of agents working with a cadre of colorful, high-maintenance actors. It's light and fun but the subtitles make me feel a little more smart, a little less cheesy. See it on Netflix.
Kim Cattrell is best known for her spicy role in Sex and the City but in this Canadian series she shows greater depth playing a widow navigating a new life. Because there are so few shows featuring intelligent, thoughtful, stylish mid-life women, this one has me hooked. Available on Netflix.
Oh my gosh, have you binged on (err, I mean tasted) Caramel & Cheddar Cheese Popcorn? Skip dinner. Skip lunch. This is the only meal you need.
Okay, yes, I do sometimes eat "real" meals. Lately, we've been making Pho. This quick and easy version isn't the authentic Vietnamese soup, but it's darn good.
YOUR TURN: What are you consuming? and what's consuming you?
And even more important: Are you alove?
I wasn't looking for a poem. I was gathering pieces, making a word bank, trying to write my own. But instead, I found this poem. Today as the world feels so ugly with division, these lines seem just right, just now, timeless.
My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
so much has been destroyed
I have to cast my lot with those
who age after age, perversely,
with no extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world.
— Adrienne Rich
This is the last stanza of Natural Resources, a poem by Adrienne Rich that appears in the collection, The Fact of a Doorframe: Poems Selected and New 1950 - 1984. This is an excellent book. My copy, now over 20 years old, is dog-eared and falling apart. I return to the pages again and again, with new appreciation of an old friend, a firm foundation.
The Week in Review
I bought soft socks. Ate too many chips. Got lost in books.
An old woman and I held hands. "I don't know if I'm coming or going," she said. "I don't know why I'm here."
I went to a ranch and met the cows. Wide-eyed, we shared a certain numbness.
Snow met sky and erased horizon. Everything silent and still. I didn't reach for camera or phone. Didn't reach at all.
In the distance a thin ribbon of blue broke through.
It's Thankful Thursday, a weekly pause to express appreciation for people, places, things and more. Some weeks are tougher than others, but every week offers some small thing that redeems and heals. What are you thankful for today?