I cannot believe it is almost June. Almost halfway through the year! Time: flying by, a whir of days, activity, thoughts, runs in the park, buying groceries, playing auntie, petting tiny Shetland ponies, writing and revising and proofing and re-proofing and re-re-proofing. Time seeps away; time piles up. I can’t keep track sometimes, no matter how much I journal, Instagram, meditate.
This year I want to remember that summer is a time to slow down. Springtime has been so busy: I’ve been gearing up to publish my collection of essays soon, and while I thought this would be a quick, easy project, it has not. I’m embarrassed at my naivete, actually! But the long-winding journey is ending soon, and soon I will hold a final proof in my hand, and soon I will approve it, and soon it will be done, done, done and out, out, out and hopefully some of you will read it and it will live a long, thriving life as a book in the world! I’m so excited, nervous and relieved. Relieved, like a thing that has been clogging up my master to-do list will finally be cleared off. Relieved, because my inner sense of integrity and honor and keeping my own word to myself will be appeased. Relieved, because now I have time to work on new things! But in a nice, slow, leisurely way. Not in a push-push-push, striving kind of manner, but one where I take pleasure in seeing ideas unfurl into concrete shapes, and savor the twists and turns. Summer is savor, and I can’t wait. Here is how I’m inching into the season, while winding down the spring.
This spring I discovered baking, but like baking for really lazy people. I got a cute little Babycakes donut maker, and I’ve been experimenting with different recipes every now and then. Baking to me isn’t just something you whip together — you have to be precise, and you just can’t whip things together, which is something I can do with regular ol’ cooking. Baking donuts is a project, something I have to carve out time to do and gather stuff for. But the good thing is, it’s something that I like doing with my niece and it gives us something to do together. Plus: apple cinnamon donuts are delicious! I’m on the hunt for pistachio donuts now; I want to bake a little more before it’s summer and it gets too hot out to put the oven on. But one thing I like about foodie things: it’s a nice way to feel creative and make something tangible (like my friendship bracelets) without everything being a protracted, agonizing process. As everything gets all big and complex, it’s nice to have those smaller things in your life.
Lazy Type-A Stuff
I’m looking at my hippie productivity bible, my year planner, which I filled out at the end of last year, reassessing my goals, seeing what I’ve made progress on. I’m cleaning out my digital clutter again, going through which sites I want in my inbox, my RSS, my bookmarks. I emptied out my inbox, sorted through my paper mail clutter, recycled all my old magazines. Basically, everything is slowing down, and it’s nice to refine any systems you have in place — or put in new ones where you need them. I’m in the phase of my life when I’m just paring everything all done. It sounds more Zen than it is, I guess, but it’s really just asking myself, Hmmm, do I really need to subscribe to these five fashion blogs that all talk about the same thing in the same way? I don’t, really, so goodbye, digi-clutter.
There was a time when “corpse pose” in my mind referred primarily to an Unwound song, not a yoga pose. But then I moved to San Francisco, and it’s practically a state requirement to do yoga. You can’t walk a block without running into someone with a yoga mat or seeing a yoga studio. I did Ashtanga for awhile but kind of burned out on it. Plus, all the weird spiritual high-minded talk from these teachers often sounded really elitist and holier-than-thou to me. So I stopped, plus I moved, and life got insanely busy. But lately I’ve been doing brief spells of yoga — just 5-10 minutes of stretching in the morning and night, nothing major, just enough to loosen up my spine and hips, which can get tight from running. And it’s made a world of difference. I also discovered Tara Stiles, who I like a lot because she’s super-accessible and keeps it all down to earth. So: yes. Yoga: it’s nice to have you back in my life.
Getting Ready to Novelize
I’m so excited: I’m going to start writing a new novel soon! I’ve been itching and itching to get done with my current book project so I have a nice chunk of time and attention and energy to focus on my novel. Outside a few short stories and pieces of writing, I haven’t written anything new in a bit and it is driving me nuts. So once this agonizingly long self-publishing process is done, I am just going to write, write, write. I can’t wait.
Baby Plants, Please Don’t Die
This is my spring-into-summer prayer these days! I never thought I’d be a growing-plants type of person, and my thumb is honestly midway between green and yellow. But I’m emboldened by the success of my basil plant, which has basically managed to stay alive when I started cultivating it in winter. This year I’m also growing cherry tomatoes and cilantro. I was eager for bell peppers, but let’s not get so ambitious yet! One thing I like: I can’t really force a plant to grow faster or slower. I have to think like a collaborator about growing and gardening, and just create conditions in which another life form gets to thrive. It is a nice metaphor, I think, about control, letting go and nurturing. I am all about living good metaphors.
In Which I Make Friends of the Equine Nature
Springtime also means: horses! Riding! Stables! Ponies! Last weekend I went to an open house at a new stable, and as my reward to myself for publishing my book, I’m going to take lessons again. I can’t put into words what I love about riding and being around horses — I feel absolutely myself and yet unburdened by the fears and worries that obscure my self from me at times. Riding demands total focus and calm and equanimity to do it well, as well as a profound awareness of the animal beneath you as you ride. It is really the most beautiful thing, and the connection I feel to a horse is often so much more attuned and subtle than I do to most human beings. When I am being utterly honest, human beings disappoint me — but horses never do. A horse cannot lie to you; it can’t dissemble. It can’t delude itself. It just walks and runs and grazes and nuzzles. A pure creature, really. I love that.
Re-Thinking Webby Things
I think about this space and what I want to do here, and sometimes I wonder if I should blog about more things and risk being unfocused, or if I’m really a diarist and that’s what this should be, or if I want to launch a whole new thing and just write about fashion, music and stuff like I used to, which is sometimes an itch that I get. But is it a sustainable itch? I know I want to redesign this site just a little. To be honest, I like designing things and being visual — sites, mostly, but I took great pleasure in doing my own book cover. Maybe by summer’s end you will see a whole new look or slant here, but the thinking and planting of ideas begins now. You know that whole idea of harvest? In effect right here, though the rewards won’t be seen for a few more months.