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Tonight I went to a writing workshop, sort of on a whim, mostly because someone I had coffee with yesterday (totally platonically!) was leading it and invited me.

When did I stop being able to make art?

Maybe I was never able to make art.

Most people in the workshop wrote things that felt more surreal. I want concrete. Lovely turns of phrase, sure, but grounded in reality, don't let go, keep at least a foot on the ground, maybe even a hand just to be safe.

When I was five I kneaded little lumps of gluestick into balls and rolled them in talcum powder to make pearlescent stick-on decorations for the trailing pink flowers I drew. What else do you draw when you're a girl who's five? Maybe that just reinforces that I was never able to make art.

I'm afraid of singing in groups. I blame this on childhood, when my voice was lower than everyone else's and I couldn't hit the notes we were supposed to be singing, at least not easily. But this lasts. So not that kind of art.

When I was in third grade I went to ceramics every week. I only wanted to make chunky, uncontoured pottery on the wheel. Butch pottery? I resisted the ceramics teacher's plan to taper the edges in.  Maybe that was my own kind of art.
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I stumbled across this tonight:

"i resent that i’m expected to want to live in a world that’s unlivable. i resent that the de- and unvalued of us are tasked with the burden of making our lives livable and even enjoyable when others are not tasked with making our lives lives worth living. being alive isn’t inherently good or fun or pleasurable or enjoyable or easy. it’s hard. it’s so fucking hard. and i feel lucky to have found ways to have these moments of joy and pleasure and whatever else i can find. and i don’t think those moments come without privilege in some sense or are not the product of privilege in another.

im alive because of fighting. and i do what i do, i am who i am, because i want it to be a little easier for the next me’s of the world. whatever they look like. i want their lives to be a little more livable."

I think it's really interesting. I appreciate someone being articulate about ideas counter to what has become the classic independent self-help narrative.  I am not 100% sure where I stand on any of this but I am clear that it is beneficial for me and for society to read and consider narratives that give the world a greater responsibility and burden toward each person's happiness. I mean, yeah, listen, I get it: it's great to have this idea that everyone can think positively and pull themself up by their bootstraps. It's probably helpful for people to feel like they have some control like that, to create change without anyone else's help, especially when no one wants to help.  But also ultimately I think I believe in a communal existence. I do think we all share some responsibility for making everyone's life worth living. I don't know how we as a society would do it but I think a society that facilitates that would be a better place to live.
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Who knew? (Or rather, who remembered?) Not me.

I might move some things over here, thanks to all the DDoS attacks and such that've been happening on LJ.
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This is the trajectory of my life:

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Can we please take a moment to appreciate this picture? (It's funny how much better If These Walls Could Talk 2 is than If These Walls Could Talk 1, which is horridly depressing.)

I don't usually enjoy the butch-femme thing, but I loved this segment of that movie...maybe because Michelle Williams' character doesn't really play into that culture.
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I remember popping a cherry tomato into my mouth. We were in my father's hospital room celebrating my 2nd birthday.

I also remember his funeral a week later.

I remember bits and bobs of other standout things that happened in the next few years: the cicada infestation, live lobsters on a kitchen floor before my friend's dad cooked them, finding baby turtles in the grass at a park, pushing toys through that small space under the railing of our balcony and down sixteen stories to the street (whoops), breaking a telephone cord in the store and my mother screaming about it, the first day of nursery school...but I can't put them in chronological order quite so well.
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Excerpts from a Dog's Diary..... Read more... )


Excerpts from a Cat 's Diary ..... Read more... )
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People who have experience with this:

do you have a favorite US road atlas?  I think I'm going to go for comb-bound and not-tiny, because any time I'm using it I'll have a car, so it's not like being light and small is a benefit.
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Most brilliant solution to hoarding, ever:
"All of the computers on Ebay are mine. In fact, everything on Ebay is already mine. All of those things are just in long term storage that I pay nothing for. Storage is free.

When I want to take something out of storage, I just pay the for the storage costs for that particular thing up to that point, plus a nominal shipping fee, and my things are delivered to me so I can use them. When I am done with them, I return them to storage via Craigslist or Ebay, and I am given a fee as compensation for freeing up the storage facilities resources.

This is also the case with all of my stuff that Amazon and Walmart are holding for me. I have antiques, priceless art, cars, estates, and jewels beyond the dreams of avarice.:
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Interesting thought of the week:

pruritus and prurient have the same root

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Is it just me, or is a table of contents that goes:

Introduction                 1
[Title of book]              9
Reference Works       636

totally pointless?
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I wasn't able to appreciate things like this until I'd been an adult for a while.
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When I spoke to my mother yesterday, she was kind of all worked up about some stuff she'd heard on the radio about stuff going on in Haiti.  Not everyone doing stuff there and collecting money and managing money for relief efforts is doing it the best way. My mother knows this because of someone else's investigative journalism, but she is angry and lets loose about it as if she were the only one aware. I think it is good to be aware, but she is a 64-year-old woman in the US with no skills related to this and no disposable income. The anger is not productive, and it is frustrating to be on other end of the phone while she's going on tirades about how people are Wrong.

I didn't say that. Instead - I had an idea! I shared this quote (which I got from the [ profile] helpers community info) with her:
"When I was a child and would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'" -- Mister Rogers

And then I mentioned and described some very awesome individuals I've heard about who have gone to do relief work on their own, in a helpful way. And then I told her about how I see other good things when I look for them.  And I think it kind of worked.  The conversation went relatively well. Good things don't negate the bad things, but it gives me hope, and when I can't help with something myself, either physically or financially, I think it's better to feel hopeful, at least, so I can go about the things I can and need to do in non-angry, non-upset frame of mind.
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I've spent a lot of my life waiting for problems to go away and for things to get easier, or at least thinking that as soon as I successfully took care of some particular problem, everything would be easy for a bit.

I think I'm realizing that this doesn't happen.  There's always (or almost always) something, unless you're two. And even when you're two, I bet something like "hey that kid grabbed my toy!" feels earthshattering. Besides, I remember having what I thought were Big Concerns even when I was a kid--like the time my seven-year-old self was *convinced* for months that I had cancer in my gut (I felt the lump!) because I had a spoonful of Sweet n Low, and I was afraid to tell my mother because, after all, she had cautioned me against eating the stuff: NO DON'T DO THAT THAT STUFF CAUSES CANCER.

I'm going to choose to believe that it does get easier - not because shit stops happening, but because we can get better at dealing with shit. 

New plan: get better at dealing with shit. Calmly and effectively. 

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I don't believe in horoscopes, but this is plain old good advice.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): How well have you been attending to 2010’s major themes, Gemini? Since we’re midway through the year, let’s do a check-in. I hope that by now you are at least fifteen-percent sturdier, stronger and braver than you’ve ever been in your entire life, and at least twenty-percent better organized and disciplined. I hope that you have outgrown one of your amateur approaches and claimed a new professional privilege.

Now write the following questions on a slip of paper that you will leave taped to your mirror for the next six months. “1. How can I get closer to making my job and my vocation be the same thing? 2. What am I doing to become an even more robust and confident version of myself?”

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God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

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I grew up thinking that there would be some magical date in the future in which everything would be better.  (Specifically, I thought about the Messiah coming.)  I'm finding that even though I no longer believe in a messiah, I've retained this vague notion of "that time in the future when everything will be awesome for everyone except maybe those people who kick puppies."  I can work toward making everything awesome for everyone, but it's never going to happen on the level that I grew up imagining. I need to channel that dissonance into giving back to the world more.
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Colcannon made with kale and smashed up red potatoes (skins left on) is so very pretty.  And it has a more interesting flavor if you make it with yogurt instead of milk, but at that point it's probably not really colcannon anymore.  Supposedly kale is a winter crop, but the farmers market here still has plenty of it and it tastes OK.
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I think the first use of this pillow is brilliant (and have actually been looking for something like this), but they're really scraping bottom with some of those other uses:

or even better:

I *so* want to try this.  I love sleeping on my stomach but I hate turning my neck because it makes me tense my body up, and I've dreamed about products like this.


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