April 24, 2018

Show up for yourself.

© Clarkson Potter

Am I There Yet?: The Loop-de-Loop, Zigzagging Journey to Adulthood
By Mari Andrew

It's 8:30pm. I am already in bed (lol)—cozy after making a delicious, healthy meal, taking a long shower and practicing the piano. It feels so good to take care of myself. I know I may not always have this quiet so I'm treasuring it now.

I was really excited to receive Mari Andrew's new (first!) book in the mail. The weekend after I returned from Cuba, I had every intention of completing necessary chores and getting back into a routine: laundry, grocery shopping, spring clean the apartment (kitchen and bathroom, especially). But I woke up Saturday morning and all I could do was lie there. One hour became three hours became the entire day. I don't remember exactly what I did besides read and be still.

Sadness overcomes me after returning from a vacation and it takes about a week to fully recover. (Saudade may be the best descriptiona deep-felt appreciation for an experience and the simultaneous yearning once it's lost.) Being completely disconnected in Cuba was the best respite for my oft fast-paced, busy, complex emotion-filled life here in New York. Having to go to work the next day didn't help. By the time the weekend arrived, my body said, "nah." I needed some time to recalibrate.

This was the perfect book to get me there. I'm growing and could feel how quickly I'm evolving by how in tune I felt with the words. I'm proud of my journey. It brought me so much comfort it made me cry. Not sad tears. Tears tied to feeling recognition and a reminder that all the things I have felt—good and bad—are not new to the world.

Sometimes, I really feel the weight of my past experiences. I'm thankful an illustration exists that perfectly articulates this weight. Some days—like days I take a boxing class and feel so fucking proud for doing well because it means I'm getting stronger, and I think of my dad and how proud he might feel if he knew (he introduced me to boxing)—I feel the weight tug at me a little harder.

Most days lately I have it so good and can appreciate the sweetness that encompasses my life. The minutiae. I can take full breaths. I know my time on earth is limited and it fills me with excitement and purpose. As I've made more time to love on myself, I reflect on my life in disbelief and become overpowered by that feeling, nearly bursting with the anticipation of all the things I'm working towards and all of the things that can be good.

April 14, 2018

It's a matrix light, a recombinant light that disintegrates hard lines and planes, rearranging objects to their essences.

Dreaming in Cuban
By Cristina GarcĂ­a

This year I've attempted to read books based on my upcoming travels and I've mostly been disappointed in my selections. But I appreciated this one. And I loved Cuba so much. 

More insights about the book from the author in this Q&A.

"Outside, the afternoon light is a dark, moist violet. It's a matrix light, a recombinant light that disintegrates hard lines and planes, rearranging objects to their essences. Usually I hate it when artists get too infatuated with light, but this is special. It's the light I love to paint in.
Last semester when I was studying in Italy, I found the same light in Venice at carnival. It surrounded an impossibly tall person cloaked in black and wearing a white eyeless mask. The person dipped and circled like a bat in a square behind the Piazza San Marco. I was afraid to stay, but I was more afraid to go. Finally the light chased him down an alleyway and I was released from his spell.
The light was also in Palermo at dusk on Holy Thursday. Slaughtered lambs, skinned and transparent as baby flesh, hung evenly on rusted hooks. They were beautiful, and I longed to stretch out next to them and display myself in the light. When I returned to Florence, I began to model nude at my art school, something I'd vowed I'd never do. As I posed, I thought of the transparent lambs in the violet light.
Sometimes I ask myself if my adventures, such as they are, equal experience. I think of Flaubert, who spent most of his adult life in the same French village, or Emily Dickinson, whose poems echoed the cadence of the local church bells. I wonder if the farthest distance I have to travel isn't inside my own head. But then I think of Gauguin or D.H. Lawrence or Ernest Hemingway, who, incidentally, used to go fishing with my Abuelo Guillermo in Cuba, and I become convinced that you have to live in the world to say anything meaningful about it.
Everything up until this very minute, as I sit at my desk on the second floor of Barnard library, looking out over a rectangle of dead grass, and beyond that, to the cars racing down Broadway, feels like a preparation for something. For what, I don't know. I'm still waiting for my life to begin."
(from Pilar, pp. 178-9)