This year, I wrote about the past, essential attempts to escape the present, beautiful things, and ugly ones. (More photos and lists over at my TinyLetter.)
My recaps of Southern Charm (season 4): Previously.TV
May 2007: Past Ten
Your current form is no mistake: Diverge
(Wallpaper at Yellow House Books, Great Barrington, MA.)
One of the cats took a nap on the bed and I fell asleep next to him, and when I woke up, it was dark, and I had no idea of the time or where I was.
Autumn so far has consisted of drinking coffee I made the day before, typing while laying down so as not to disturb the cats, and making cranberry sauce so tart only A and I will eat it. Listening to podcasts about ghost stories and murders. Sitting on the bus or the train or in the kitchen with my earbuds in but no actual sound coming through. Taking Buzzfeed quizzes because making choices about shirts and tropical destinations makes me feel better for some reason. Gratitude seeping in, then out, and in again.
On Twitter, someone talked about having to put their cat to sleep, about holding her while the doctor did it, and after I read it, I cried, just like that, like something snapped, like a bone had just broken, and instead of going into shock, I felt it immediately.
It in 55 degrees in Massachusetts, and I am outside drinking a cup of coffee from this morning. I am terrible at my birthday, it’s always a combination of stress and sadness and confusion. Not about the age I’m turning (yet), but how I’m supposed to feel and behave and how the day will be remembered. Last year, it was Thanksgiving, or close to it, and A and I watched TV and then people came for dinner and someone took two hundred dollars from B’s wallet, which was in their coat, hanging up with all of our coats, on a rack, like a family.
J and I have been listening to Theft By Finding, David Sedaris’s diaries, while we drive somewhere – town, the Berkshires, to get Chinese food from a place I used to get Chinese food from with my mother. Different location, same restaurant, same kind of enormous fish tank with goldfish that look like they might be on steroids and on some level, happy about it. Theft By Finding is a perfect thing; odd, terse, just the right details, just enough longing. I imagine him combing, actually combing, all the pages he’s accumulated over decades and decades, and the right words fall out of those pages, because that’s all the was there to begin with.
This year, A asked if there was a way I could reframe my birthday, so I would feel better about it. I am using it to think about how, in a way, I have quit on myself, and how I would like to un-quit. Coffee helps, it makes everything feel possible, but also, it’s like a race to keep that feeling, to do something with it, before the cup is empty and you have to start again.
J has a neighbor who owns a huge grey cat named Tigger, and they take walks a few times a day around the neighborhood. Tigger is 16. Someone told J that if your cat lives past 15, they’ve made it.
My favorite pieces of 2016 are about a dead cat, boozy, rich Southerners, murder, having kids and wishing you hadn’t, objectionable chocolate spread, and more. (My best of 2015 is here.)
My recaps of Southern Charm: Previously.TV
The Cost of Funding an Abortion: The Billfold
Nutella is Gross: Extra Crispy
August (Over): Diverge
The Cost of Falling Apart: The Billfold
In Which the Wanting Comes in Waves: The Billfold
Move out from under the sun. Stay away from expensive dinners. Collect extension cords. Hang clothes on the line to dry outside, instead of letting them dangle indefinitely in the basement. Call the gas company when you smell something suspicious. The man on the phone who advises you not to touch anything electric and to evacuate the building is just doing his job. Push the peach slices down into the banana bread batter instead of letting them burn on the surface. Cover your coffee cup so that neither bugs nor dust can get in. Water the garden in the front yard, because the sun hits directly there the most. Before it gets dark, take the laundry off the line.