the body


Hello, readers.

Recently, I made hot chocolate.

The way I made hot chocolate is that I put some amount of cacao powder in a pan. And also I put into this pan some ground cardamom. Then I toasted these things in the pan before adding some milk and whisking it up and then adding some more milk and warming it to not quite boiling.

Then I tasted this and it was very yummy and I have made it on other days and some days I put inside this hot chocolate a tiny bit of salt and maple syrup and you should be careful with this amount of deliciousness because you should do things with your life other than making and consuming hot chocolate.

Not very many other things, perhaps. But some things.

Speaking of things.

Body (official video) – YouTube

I enjoyed this thing that is a song by Gia Margaret and also less of a song and more a bit of musical bedding for some spoken word by Alan Watts, a British human who is apparently known for popularizing certain mechanisms of thought in English-speaking countries. He published a book in 1957 called The Way of Zen.

Gia Margaret is a Chicago musician whose work you can read about here.

Speaking of bodies.

Em and I are in the midst of rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Also, Angel. Though for Em it is the first time of seeing Angel.

Tonight, we will watch "The Body." In this episode of Buffy someone is dead and their body is discovered on a sofa. It is an episode of much harrow and humor and there is no music and sometimes people talk about negative space. It is the first work of art, I think, that caused in me actual grief.

Sometimes watching Buffy this time around it has occurred to me that certain moments of this show live in my body the way trauma lives in bodies. It is fascinating to understand how much I identified with this show and how that identification lives still in my body and I get goosebumps sometimes, or my heart races, and it is all a memory of a memory and happening still. These characters. These actors. These moments. These bodies of art and the spaces inside myself into which I imagined them.

Happy Monday, readers.

I hope your body is not a burden. I hope your body is, perhaps, more like Japanese Breakfast imagines it to be—a blade that cuts a path from day to day.


long, strange trip

Hello, readers.

Here are some things.

Thing one.

Once upon a time there was an episode of X-Files in which Mulder and Scully found themselves reunited in a courtroom. I do not remember why they had been so long apart. I do not remember why they met in a courtroom. I do remember the feeling of them being apart and the feeling of them coming back together.

Sometimes it is possible to feel these feelings in one’s own life.

Sometimes it is possible to feel these feelings not about other people but about various parts of yourself.

When Mulder showed up in that courtroom, Scully hugged him and she smiled and she asked, “Where’ve you been?”

Mulder said, “It’s been a long, strange trip.”

Thing two.

It has been two years since I last posted here.

Many things, as happens, have occurred.

Among them, I have a new story up at Quarterly West. This story is called “Some Things About Love, Magic, and Terror.

It is a sequel of sorts to an earlier story I wrote called “Some Things About Love, Magic, and Hair.”

I did not mean to write a sequel to that earlier short story, but sometimes, as has been noted, things happen whether you meant for them to happen or not.

Perhaps one day I will wake up and happily discover that I have written a five-part trilogy of short stories.

Thing three.

Taylor Swift said this one thing recently. She said that if you’re going to have to recalibrate everything then you might as well start with what you love most.

This other time Taylor Swift sang about the grass in Centennial Park in Tennessee and I cried because I miss Nashville and traveling and, while I don’t miss grass, I do miss sitting in the grass with hundreds of people gathered together to hear someone sing about something as simply and beautifully as Taylor Swift sings about grass.

Thing four.

I have been watching Neil Gaiman’s Masterclass. It is a good class if you like listening to Neil Gaiman and do not mind not being in a class.

One of my favorite things I have taken from this Masterclass is to keep at the back of my notebook pages labelled ‘Compost Heap’ in which I might write down those memories and occurrences and phrases and slants of light which catch my attention.

Listening to Gaiman talk about things reminded me of listening to actors talk about things on Inside the Actor’s Studio. This was a show that aired for a long time on a tv channel called Bravo. It was hosted by James Lipton. It inspired the questionnaire that lives at the end of those interviews I did for that one podcast, Storyological.

Once on Inside the Actor’s Studio there was this exchange between Harrison Ford and a student in the audience. (~46:10)

Q: Hi, there. My question is regarding you being known as a somewhat private person in real life—whether that has ever affected your ability as an actor to extend to your character that intimate side of yourself that we all strive to give to each character we portray.

A: I’m a private person in my private life. In my working life, I expect to grant my audience complete and total access. Everybody’s got a backstage pass. You have to be willing to live in front of people. Let them see the good, the bad, the ugly, the weak, the strong, the conflicted, the terrible. One of the things about acting that gives me the greatest satisfaction is the opportunity for that emotional exercise. That investment to the point that it produces true emotion. It’s not about you. It’s about the continuity between you and the rest of your race. It’s about being human and it’s about sharing and knowing that humanity.

It is the true ambition. To give yourself to that moment.

Welcome to December, readers.

See you again soon.