My Sunday List
November 19, 2023
To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work. —Mary Oliver
Today, it’s one of my favorite Sunday morning albums, Stardust by Willie Nelson. I put it on this morning and sat in front of the fire while I sipped coffee and just listened. No news, no emails, no social media — just the fire and me and Willie. It felt wonderful. Y’all probably already know Suzanna Clark made the painting they used for the cover.
I don’t think I watched anything at all. If I did, it didn’t make an impression. There are so many shows out there — something for everyone I guess — it seems there’s no consensus of taste anymore. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing in terms of what it means for culture, but it sure seems to spread the wealth around more evenly. Did any of you read The Long Tail? I did, and I’ve never forgotten it — now, we’re really seeing what Chris Moore was forecasting — a far, wide, and often shallow spreading around of anything and everything you can imagine. Sometimes the world of popular culture makes me feel like the ice cubes have melted into my drink and it’s time to set it aside and go home.
I finished Jesmyn Ward’s Let Us Descend and I will not forget it, just as I haven’t forgotten any of Sing, Buried, Sing, or Men We Reaped. There are a few volumes of her early work I haven’t read that I want to get to so I can be completest about it. She’s that powerful and beloved to me.
And I started a book I’ve been looking forward to since I first heard the murmur of its existence — Margaret Renkl’s The Comfort of Crows. I’m a fan girl of hers as well, and will read any word she commits to the page. Her Late Migrations is a permanent bedside book for me. Ms. Renkl is a fellow Alabamian, and somehow I hear her voice in my ear when she takes me on a journey to her yard, the roadside, or whatever spot she’s staked out to observe a critter and send back a report. Her new volume is delightful, deep, and essential. Her illustrator is her brother Billy — a familial collaboration, one of my favorite things, to boot.
These big sheets of watercolor paper (18’ x 24”) that my sister and I dunked in her vat of indigo a few weeks ago. I’ve been wanting to work on some bigger pieces and these papers feel right for experimenting. I feel like they want symbols and symmetry to start.
What I’m wearing
Sweaters. Socks and Birkenstocks. My girl Libby helped with the opening of the new Nashville branch of Kirna Zabête on Thursday and it was good to get out and be reminded of beautiful, new fashion pieces. I wore those embroidered pants from San Miguel with my vintage Justin cowboy boots and a black Chloe blazer over an Imogene and Willie band collar white shirt. I didn’t get any photos, but here are those pants again. With the same boots. A different blazer, but still a black one. Life consists of variations on a theme, doesn’t it?
What I’m cooking
Meat sauce with fresh tomatoes and basil. I don’t know when I first made this, but everyone around here loves it. John Henry is home and I love making his favorites. I think I might put his over orzo for a variation this evening, which is another one of his favorites.
Favorite Photo I Took This Week
Thank you, Great Spirit, for giving me the strength to let go of everything I cannot control, which is everything outside of myself.
Intention for the week to come
May I be present before I am concerned with being anything else.
May I meet others with kindness and acceptance.
May I remember that this time of year is about being grateful for my blessings.
Something I’m thinking about
Rest. My last few weeks have been filled up with more visits to doctors offices than I’m comfortable with (FYI I’m uncomfortable with one or more). As a result of that and other middle-aged shit, my anxiety has been high. I’ve had to pause before jumping up in the mornings like I sometimes do to make sure I’m ready or I get sent back to bed with the woozies and have to start again.
I’ve never been kind to myself about resting. But it’s time I changed that. I’m starting to want to pare down — not only in physical objects but in mental space as well. I’ve always wanted to wear many hats, and that propensity has left me exhausted by myself. I want to do less and have less in a more meaningful way. It’s time to hone the vision and dig a deeper trench, one that includes time for doing absolutely nothing. I know that giving myself the right to rejuvenate will pay high dividends.
Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. — Buddha
Lately, it’s the lack of a habit that I miss a lot — my yoga practice. My recent knee injury (the MRI revealed a sprained MCL, as suspected) has prevented me from my usual full on dedication. I’ve practiced a handful of times, but I finally got the message to just wait it out. Unlearning how to dissociate from pain is a process. I snuffed out the ability to hear my own body so very long ago and getting familiar with how to name symptoms and treat them accordingly takes discipline. I guess this is all part of the reason why doctors’ offices and hospitals register above airports on the stress meter for me. Trigger warning, right? Lordy. Growing is hard.
That I recognize every opportunity to feel joy, and that I take each one.
That my fellow creatures do that too.
That you all are content and well.
That you will forward this to one person you think might like it.
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Have a wonderful, peaceful, joyous week. And thank you for supporting my work here at The Autotelic.
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