Weekly Roundup

A few things, from across the webiverse …

Obama + kids.

Everybody lies.

Dot journaling!

Best burns.

Binged on this and don’t regret it.

The mental load.

“In a world where reality has become stranger than fiction, actual books are no longer selling.”

Lives on the line.

What Texas tells us.

Counting down the days, hours, minutes.

//

Happy weekend, friends. I’ll be catching up on yard work and heading into the city to see my lovely Stephanie. Also devouring these (just pulled from the oven…) and starting on some Alice Munro, after finishing this book.

So many thanks for reading,
Schuyler

Book Club: Let the Great World Spin

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(Says, “Signed,” but I read as, “So good.” Both accurate.)

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A few years ago, I kept a Word document called, “Quotes I Love Today.” It was a running list of lines gleaned from stories, poems, conversations—things read or heard, and felt.

To be more precise, this was 2013, my year of Infinite Jest and of being twenty-five; and so needless to say, it was a time of many feelings and of many words transcribed.

I tell you this because I re-opened the file last week and started typing, because I had just brought home a copy of Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin. (Praise to the Westport Library book sale, by the by.) Now, this was not my first encounter with the novel; I had read it when it was published back in 2009, probably along with my dad (Book Club OG; hey, dad). But sometimes, for whatever reason—your age or your chair or the café music that’s playing over those final chapters—you read something and it sits with you well, and maybe even for a while; but you just don’t feel it as deeply as you might. But then you return to it later, and it hits you with a gale’s force. And that’s what happened, here.

As any summary will tell you, the novel centers (literally*; exquisitely) on Philippe Petit’s high-wire walk between the Twin Towers. But this is Colum McCann, and of course it’s about so much more than that. War, declared or otherwise, and myriad “lesser” violences. Family, love, and loss, as they collide. The New York of summer. All the places we call home.

Suffice it to say, my Word doc has grown.

If you’d like to read on, you can find the book for sale here and here (please, not there). I’d lend you mine, but I think this is one I’d like to keep close. I hope you’ll read it slowly and someplace still, to savor; and I hope you’ll love as much as I did.

Schuyler

*See: pp. 175-197, “Etherwest.”

Weekly Roundup

TEN LINKS.

Part one.

Part two.

Brandless.

“Claudia knew that she could never pull off the old-fashioned kind of running away…”

Double shift.

What really helps. (Also, “up the duff”?)

On libraries and forests.

Watchlist.

Erryday.

I’m the worst. (An oldie but oh-so goodie.)

//

5 THINGS.

Favorite animal: Panda

Favorite cocktail: French 75

Favorite songwriter: Walked down the aisle to Dylan; walked back up to The Boss

Words that kill me: “Agency”; “practice”; “Does that make sense?”

Literary dinner date o’ dreams? I say, let’s make it a moveable feast:
– Breakfast with Walt Whitman;
– A mid-morning something with George Saunders;
– Lunch with Nora Ephron (Central Park Boathouse, definitely);
– Coffee with Lorrie Moore -&-
– Dinner with the expats on rue de Fleurus

(More questions answered, here.)

Have a lovely weekend, readers. I’ll be planning for trips*, stopping by these woods, and catching up with some of my very favorite people.

Happy days to you,
Schuyler

*Must-dos in Portland (both of ’em) and Seattle? Please share!

From Blossoms

From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

— Li-Young Lee

//

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Eat your greens, or don’t

Reader, I very much intended to write this post about “eating green.” To share with you a favorite recipe, made with ingredients lovingly culled from my garden. To wax poetic—and wane self-satisfied—about the pleasures of living off your land and its leaves. But when I went to the kitchen this morning, what I wanted was something with a little less leaf and a little more starch; and what I did, instead, was make an IKEA bread mix. (Which really is a thing that exists.)

Here’s how it went, and why.

Not long ago, my husband and I were at the New Haven, Connecticut, IKEA. Not that the location is of any importance; apart from the profusion of Yale bumper stickers, we could have been in Brooklyn, or Philadelphia, or, I guess, Paramus. It was an IKEA, with all its things bright and not-terribly beautiful. I’m not quite sure what we came for—or if we left with it—but in any case, we found ourselves at the Marketplace checkout (there are these cookies…), behind a couple buying approximately twelve boxes of “Brödmix Flerkorn.” (See.) Obviously, we were intrigued, and we said as much to the cashier—who informed us that yes, those two came in every Sunday morning for their stock of bread, that maybe it was a church thing. Huh.

We really had no choice but to buy a box of our own, which has since sat untouched on the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet. Which brings us to today. As per ikea.com, the “key features” of this particular product are: “A full-bodied multigrain bread kit – just add water! Serve with butter and optional toppings.” And that, in essentia, is all there is to it. I added water and stirred, baked for sixty minutes and let cool for ten. So, then? Well, it turned out exactly as you’d imagine an IKEA bread mix would. Not inedible, though certainly not good; just, totally fine—in a fibrous sort of way. Significantly better topped with beurre salé and Bonne Maman (because as long as we’re flying international…).

There’s a metaphor here, to be sure. Something about life’s great ship—destinations and detours and delights found therein; the co-passengers who give shape to our mornings and so give meaning to our lives. But I haven’t had enough coffee to really take it across the finish line, and so instead I’ll just go with: Girl’s gotta eat. She does, I do, and I did.

Greens with dinner, then.

//

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Weekly Roundup

A few things, from across the webiverse …

Dear Liu Xiaobo.

Summer reading.

We the commuters.

“They’re just words.” (But, oof.)

October 27th. (!)

How to be a writer on social.

#drama.

On my mind + on my wall.

There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne.

Saturn return.

C’est le quatorze juillet, after all.

//

Wishing you a lovely—and hopefully long—weekend. I’ll be hanging new blooms (because out with the old), eating my greens (more on that, soon), and spending as much time as I can by the Sound.

Finally, as I grow and grow in this space, I’d be so glad to hear from you. To chat about writing (mine, yours, DFW’s…) and ways we might work together, or just to say hello, drop me a line at the address here. As always, huge thanks for reading and supporting.

Schuyler

Rain

Woke up this morning with
a terrific urge to lie in bed all day
and read. Fought against it for a minute.

Then looked out the window at the rain.
And gave over. Put myself entirely
in the keep of this rainy morning.

Would I live my life over again?
Make the same unforgiveable mistakes?
Yes, given half a chance. Yes.

— Raymond Carver

//

Kill Your Darlings

Back in April, I bought a set of hanging impatiens. It had been a long week and a longer winter, and it finally felt like spring outside the house that was so newly and impossibly ours. Flowers, then.

We went to one store and then another, where I paced the aisles heroically—weaving among the petunias and begonias and so many (I mean so many; this was a Sunday mornings at Stew’s) people. I peered from afar and then from very near, considering each plant for its size and fullness; for its hues and balance thereof. My husband held up one after another (thank you; I love you), and at last I settled on two baskets of impatiens. Before, of course, turning back at the pavilion to replace one with another that was catching the light so well, and was surely, just slightly, more perfect. I was thrilled.

At home, I took a photograph, which I later posted on Instagram along with a few lines of Mary Oliver. Because if anyone gets at the essence of spring quite like Mary Oliver, I’d like to know it. (See.)

And now it’s July, and my plants are utterly, undeniably dead.

There’s very little that’s poetic about a dead plant—barring the alliterative, I guess, in that it is both withered and wilted. I watered mine faithfully (but perhaps, unevenly), lifted them from the sun’s glare on occasion (but perhaps, on too few occasions); and life happened, and time passed.

So here I am with these carefully chosen, poetically paired, dearly departed flowers. And that’s okay; that’s probably more than okay, for me. I’m so new to this whole gardening thing; to this whole, having a garden, and a house, and a husband, thing. And when things are new, I have a tendency to lose my way a little bit; to turn inwards a little too far, and look for moorings in perfection—in whatever, in a basket of flowers. But a flower is an object lesson on being—and on the beauty of its transience. None is everlasting (though I suppose some are, technically, called perennial), and none is unblemished while it lasts. Kind of freeing.

I think a garden is going to be a very good thing. I’ll labor and I’ll love, but the next time I shop for plantings, I won’t be wringing my hands over these ones or those. I’ll pick some that look just fine, and then I’ll hurry with my husband to the check-out, because we’ve also got bagels to buy and a life to live.

Weekly Roundup

A few things, from across the webiverse …

Democracy without politics.

“He seems to be saying quoi a lot.”

Girls are cool AF.

The Rorschach State.

Make Margaret Atwood fiction again.

The National’s back. (!)

Whither thou goest …

I can vouch for this.

Billions. (Because season two is decidedly en fuego.)

All of these, especially this one.

Moment of zen.

//

My week flew by, and I wrote less than I would have liked—but, I did a lot of reading, had a lot of feelings, and tinkered here and here. It’s July now, and I’m over-the-moon excited for a new month in this still-new space. Thanks so much for hanging with me.

Have a happy weekend,
Schuyler

On words (probably) not written by George Eliot

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have never really read George Eliot.* She was never “required” reading, and I just … haven’t heard the siren song of Silas Marner. There’s this quote, though, that’s oft- (and most likely mis-) attributed to her, which came to me by way of Sally Field in a certain series finale—and has lingered. It goes like this: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” Short and sweet and more than a little trite, but there you have it.

I’ve been thinking about the sentiment a good bit recently—I assume because I’m suddenly no longer years, but months away from thirty. (Gulp.) So many mornings, lately, I’ve awoken with this Pollyanna mantra of: Better, today. Today, I’ll be kinder and bolder, more patient and more generous, than I was the day before. And so many nights, I’ve inevitably gone to sleep feeling as though I’ve fallen short in every way. But it’s morning now, and the yard is this gorgeous, dappled thing, and what I’m thinking in this moment is, that that loop is okay—because life is so short but it’s also so long. There are so many more mornings. To be brave; to say yes, or no; to start a blog because yeah, you write, but you’ve always wanted to be A Writer—and it’s a beginning.

This is all, I realize, sounding a little too Class Day-y clichéd; but feelings be feelings, and these are mine. We’ve got this, you and I—today or tomorrow and whatever our sundry “thises” may be.

Love and light, friendlies,
Schuyler

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*Convince me I should! Summer hours; open mind …