Monday, July 23, 2018

Kitchen Caring, or, Watching the Last of the Sugar Dissolve Into Boiling Water

Last week I finally cracked open the fancy olive oil she bought me.  It's a beautiful bottle, and she is loved, but I figure it's best to get rid of frivolous and edible reminders.  I'm about a third of the way though the crushed pepper sauce stuff she got me.  It would be gone by now, but Secret Aardvark is around throwing competition.  Different foods; different spices.  I could live on them both.

Using the oil,  I cooked up a ton of roasted vegetables and other food for dinner and for the week while listening to some music that was sent to me in recommendation. It was nice to be cooking by myself on a Sunday evening. The house filled with heat and steam and the aroma of onions and vegetables of every imaginable color.  It reminded me of this time last year, when I was addicted to making all sorts of food to take with me for lunch and would pull all sorts of people into it.  Guest co-chefs in my kitchen. It's good to be back in this space. It's what I'm used to, and where I like to be. It's fun to cook with people so I can learn a thing or two from them.  I love the food that I make, but I tend to be a one trick pony as it relates to cooking.  (Baking is a different story, but cooking, I have my seven to ten dishes that I adore and could eat until I die.)

I've been thinking about the role that food has always played in Marilyn's life. (Marilyn is a community leader I've known for upwards of 15 years now since I met her by luck and organizing in the midwest once when she was there). Food is always what links people in organizing, community, culture, family. Marilyn has always been more overt in it's placement, I guess. She's big on the abundance theme, and it works. There always feels like there is more than enough food and love and time and light with and around her. Everyone pitches in on various levels, but she is always the person providing the bulk of the food. That stuff about the love going into food creating and binding communities is true.  I've been thinking about this a lot.  I've been thinking about what it means to be connected, held, loved, supported. Providing all of those things, and receiving all of those things. Where and how it happens.  Yes, it is in the details. But, yes, it is also - so much so and in an irreplaceable way -  in the food.

I also, recently, finally finished Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential.  There's a lot on my mind these days. Somehow everything seems to echo in on itself when it has to do with matters of the heart.

be well; be loved,


(image: Ed Moses, Mal-a-Vitch (1973) via fuckyeahexpressionism tumblr)

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Let It Fall: The Beauty, in Sound, of Shedding Skin

Especially important is the warning to avoid conversations with the demon.  We may ask what is relevant, but anything beyond that is dangerous. 

He's a liar. The demon is a liar.

He will lie to confuse us, but he will also mix lies with the truth to attack us.  The attack is psychological, Damien, and powerful. So don't listen to him. 

Remember that: Do not listen.

--Father Merrin,  The Exorcist

Last night was beautiful. Community appreciation and recognition of leaders and bad asses with hearts and minds of gold are no joke. When I think of how to combat some of what is going on in the world, this is part of it.  This kind of community building is part of it.  I feel incredibly honored to be in the presence of leaders from all sorts of generations and backgrounds. Their hilarity and humility is contagious.

I've been listening to the set that M did for KEXP back closer to the beginning of the year.  It's fucking incredible and keeps getting into my dreams.  The first time I listened to it, I dreamt of water for three nights straight.  I enjoy being able to ask him about it and investigate some of the more eerie samples. Fuck yes to artists and art and having them sitting right across from you at midnight to smile with and open.

Create what you want, need, and desire to see in this life,


(Image via humanoidhistory tumblr: The ancient Roman ruins at Baalbek, Lebanon, February 1970)

Friday, July 20, 2018

True Love and the Patience of the Sea

Tonight is clean floors and incense; warm lights and propped up legs.  A solo night in to prepare for this weekend and to learn from people who aren't me via books, comedy, and podcasts.

I just finished listening to What's the Tee Episode 161 : Falling Asleep in the Poppies, and was quite moved by it.

Let me tell you why and why I truly love the fact that Michele and Ru do this podcast.  One of the things I appreciate about Ru is that he is very forthright and honest about his struggles with depression.  He talks a lot about how creative people, who are sensitive to the world around them in a way people who are less creative may not be, are both able to see the magic in the world but also feel and are tempted by the darkness within it.

In this episode, an episode that went very deep in a way it doesn't usually, Michele reveals that she has recently found out that her first boyfriend (who she was with for about 4 years), has killed himself.  From that point, they discuss suicide, depression, creativity, survivors of suicide (parents and kids) and a number of other things.  The title of the episode comes from one of Ru's favorite scenes in The Wizard of Oz that, for him, speaks to the mirage that is life and what people can fall danger to if they are unable to hold on to the fact that it is a mirage.

Of course it made me think both of Travis, who died by suicide, and of R who taught me a lot about being a survivor of suicide.

I just appreciate and love that Ru and Michelle put this out there. For themselves, for each other, for the queer babies out there, for me, for the artists, for everyone. I don't know if there's an episode I listen to of theirs that I don't laugh or tear up to, but this one was one of the more important ones, without question.  Give it a listen if you get the chance.


Meanwhile, I'm thinking a lot about last night.  Thinking about how much I love people and their stripes of humor, thinking about the tenderness of the new intersection of lives, thinking about how many perspectives are out there in the world.

Last night I went to see an exhibit I've wanted to see for a while now with a person whose mind (and eyebrow gestures) I admire. Something I enjoyed was when he talked about how reading excites him because it causes him to imagine and experience worlds that he would have never imagined, and how it relates to his relationship to spices and cooking and coming up with tastes that were previously unimagined.  Art, indeed, is everywhere.

Things are good, golden, sad, shining, and elated - all at once.  But most importantly, they are blooming, piece by piece, and peace by peace, with a recognition of one's ability to impact another human in their life, and with all of the space in the world for my feelings to exist and be loved.

It is somehow so fitting that a bit over a week ago, on Thursday morning, I woke up to a single, white flower just starting to bloom on a plant I didn't even know flowered (I've had it for about a year). And equally fitting that, this morning, I woke up to a second flower appear out of nowhere a few inches from the first.

Growth and spirit. Separate and together. 

Special shout out, once again, to Casey who has taught me more about the ability to and the depth of love than I could have ever imagined.  I don't know if I'll ever completely comprehend the amount of alignment that happened for us to have met so long ago and to have grown with each other so much. And all while bantering about everything from corsets and the difficulty of lining a jacket, to what it means to be so easy to care about.

We are.

So are you.

Be well; be loved,


(image via art propelled tumblr)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Plot Points

Today was spent hanging out with A, who I do not see often and whom I absolutely love.  He's someone that I feel so fortunate to have as someone in my life. It kind of blows my mind how he can orchestrate so many things on such large levels and still have the attention to detail and quick mindedness to know what matters and is important to the people he claims as friends. (Here, I am thinking of him a number of months ago offering his email to an asshole in a position of power that was assuming/wanting mine.) It's been a good bulk of chapters that we have written by now and, somehow, I always feel like we are just getting to the best part. I suppose that's true of all of my closest people.

There are so many things I've learned from and laughed at with him.  Here is to those that are the rough edges of back home mixed with creating, being and sharing the love, support and gentleness we have always wanted.

I love that when we hang out, I think of our conversations for days and weeks to come.  It's always such good content to let simmer and grow.  It will also always be hilarious to add on to a list of "If I am found dead in this situation (insert situation here), I want you to know what really happened" ongoing list.


This past weekend was exactly what I needed.  It does feel indulgent to be out of town all weekend and then take a day off  like today to hang out with one of my favorite people, but, that is why I do the work I do:

So that I can do exactly this.


I am both nervous and excited about tomorrow. I am overthinking superfluous details while simultaneously overlooking main content. Such is the nature of things that quicken the pulse and excite the brain.

Either way:

Here's to it.

be well; be loved,


(image via witchesxsabbath tumblr. Original source unknown)

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Silent Servant

A sentence I particularly enjoyed today:

That time she was wearing a backless dress and was so drenched with sweat that even her pearl  necklace was slippery. 

                                     -- Ryu Murakami,  Almost Transparent Blue

(title: I've been listening to some of the Negative Fascination album from Silent Servant as of late)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Touché: When Your Love is Swapped Out for a Sandwich Board and a Painting of Boobs

His pupil, too, listened within himself, saw fragments of lines of notes before him, saw something moving, something stepping, dancing, and hovering, and tried to perceive and read the movement as if it were the curves in the line of a bird's flight.

--Hermann Hesse; The Glass Bead Game 

Okay, so, remember when I said a while ago that I was working on an art piece to mail to my friend E?  Well, I finished it, wrote a letter with it, and sent it out last Friday.

I am *the worst* at keeping surprises when it is me trying to surprise someone.  But somehow I knew that it would be important to keep it a surprise. Somehow I knew the timing was right even though the gift was almost 9 months overdue.

Today she posted a photo of the piece on her Instagram with such a beautiful message, but sent a separate message to me that made me absolutely cry. It included the sentence: I'm going through the roughest time of my life and this came at the most absolutely divine moment.

How is it that you make someone something to show your love and appreciation of them and somehow you end up getting exactly that in return?

On one hand: No idea.

On the other hand: All of the idea in the world.

Be good to each other out there:

Be brave. Love hard.

It matters. So do you.

be well; be loved,


(photo taken by me, tonight, sitting where she was that night.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The World Worth Swimming

Pt I.

Here's what I've got:  It may be no pants, but it also may be charming humor.

I've been offline for a bit cultivating some good things to come.  There are lots of good things in the air.

I've been going to see lots of really good music in really queer contexts and it's really feeding something in me. Music always has. Sure I've been staying out later than I probably should, but it's paying off in good conversations, music recommendations, and literature nerdiness. It also makes the distance between hearts feel a little smaller knowing that folks I love are listening to some of the same music in cities speckled all over the country.

[Note to self: You have left a tomato in your bag. Do not forget to remove it before the day gets going.]

Pt II.

A beautiful moment tonight was driving with my windows rolled down on an empty street and listening to Nights.

It is summer.


Sometimes I wish you'd just let go and let yourself fall backwards into the proverbial pool of love.  You'll be alright. Your fam will get you. They're/we're here. You'll be scared while you're falling and you won't trust if you'll be met with water or concrete until it hits you. You'll probably even punch out at the air a few times while you go down. That's alright.  It's how people who grew up like us can be in these situations, and even some people who didn't.  You'll be drenched and maybe you'll swallow accidental gulps of water and think you're going to die for a while. You won't.  Maybe you'll be momentarily embarrassed with how your hair looks, or maybe you'll feel insecure about what to do next.  That's alright. It doesn't have much to do with looking cool or knowing what to do. It just has to do with direction. Love and trust can feel like kryptonite at times but, don't worry.  They aren't.  I've always tried to aim you in the right direction. The direction that, ultimately, will make you glow.  Even in the worst moments, somewhere in the depths of your own pools you've known that. Keep going and don't let the fact that your feet can't touch the bottom scare you:  This is the weightlessness that we all deserve. This is the tide that makes your stomach lurch, but it is also the tide that brings you home.  I look forward to seeing your illumination one day from afar:

a glowing and proud ferry cutting the black waters at night.

be well; be loved,


(image: Barney Kulok via 20 aliens tumblr)

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

(The Good Kind of) Unstoppable Force

I was up early today, got dressed and ready for the all day job I would have and felt nervous about, then received an email that it was cancelled. I'm grateful for being able to, instead, be paid to FaceTime with a friend, take off all of my work clothes and get into just an oversized t-shirt for bit, and eat bagels before getting dressed again and heading out.

I keep thinking about how one's life can change in the course of a few weeks.

I'm experiencing that fairly profoundly right now.

Everything in its right place, indeed.

Things feel good and the doors that I have discovered and passed through, even better.


Last night involved a conversation about Tanizaki, Dazai, Bataille, and Murakami. It was exactly what was needed.  It also involved the utterance of the perhaps accidentally profound declaration:  

"I've learned to keep things decent."

Be well; be loved,


(photo: Thomas van der Zaag via untrustyou tumblr)

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Running Your Fingers Over the Shape of Ideas

I've started reading The Glass Bead Game, finally.

Hermann Hesse reminds me of being 19 or 20. Reading Steppenwolf and broodily over-relating. (I won't front: I still over-relate to that book at times).  I recall reading Siddhartha, as well, but it not having as profound of an impact on me.  The Glass Bead Game, however.  I am curious where it will take me.  A closest friend of mine has made reference to it for years and, now that I'm reading it, I can see so much of him in it.  Pieces of it are lost on me (I am in love with music, but know so very, very little about the actual mechanics of it), but those parts don't impede me from being very engaged with it.

I have come to the part (still in the very beginning of the book) when contemplation is made to be a part of the Glass Bead Game in part to thwart savants with the ability to memorize from just regurgitating/reciting, and thus meditation is made a mandatory part of the game.

I'll have more to say about these themes and what the game is, soon, but not tonight.

Last night was late, with too many new characters, and my mind simply needs to settle.

To be still.

Until then, fight to be a good person that you respect and feel good about.

Be well; be loved,


(image: Will Davidson photo of Kylie Minogue for Vogue Australia, 2014)
("fight to be a good person that you respect and feel good about" is a quote from a Jessica Lanyadoo post that resonated. I'm not sure if they are her words or someone else's, but there they are.)