Monday, January 30, 2012

fancy dinner


(song: "blood" by the middle east)

there's something to be said--something beautiful to be said--about the quiet satisfaction,
the toasty-warm tranquility that comes from a slow evening with a few close friends--
the kind of evening where conversations, sensations, imaginations have room to grow.

our lives revolve at breakneck speeds around a sun of achievement and instant communication--
what "to-do's" can i check off today?
how many phone calls can i return?
the sun of facebook
the sun of email
the sun of 160-character text messages

but there's more than 160 characters inside of me.
character.
since when was such a thing quantifiable?
cramming all this character into that little box has been leaving me harried and thin.

we vaporize the most important parts of our being when we live at such breakneck speeds,
fueling distraction and feeding anxiety
when we could be cultivating togetherness, incubating creativity,
nurturing, nourishing.

and so we call it "fancy dinner":
friday night, five friends, five courses,
each carefully planned and tenderly prepared,
each enjoyed over four beautiful hours of talking, laughing, storytelling.

the food:
caprese & baguette
beets with citrus and fennel
pasta with shrimp
beans with almonds and bacon
balsamic asparagus
english trifle

the sole purpose of the evening was to enjoy the tastes of the table we'd spread,
to enjoy the people whose company we love,
an evening where we could close the whole world outside.
i champion small, heartfelt gatherings.
they remind me about the abundance of this wonderful world without and within each of us.


Friday, January 27, 2012

an alpine dinner


i can still feel the crisp cool clean of that switzerland air in my nostrils.

you the orchard of my winter

First- if you are in love - that's a good thing - that's about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don't let anyone make it small or light to you.

     Second - There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you - of kindness, and consideration and respect - not only the social respect of manners but the greatest respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn't know you had.

     Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.

     And don't worry about losing. If it is right, it happens - The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.

(John Steinbeck, in a letter to his lovesick son)

(photo from a 7am project this morning with andrea.  stay tuned!)

Monday, January 23, 2012

new year wish number {five}

that fake mustaches were a socially acceptable accessory for women.


no, i'm not advocating cross-dressing.  i just think they're kind of fun.  sometimes i get tired of my same-old-face.  a little mustache would be just the ticket.  (or a big mustache, depending on my mood and the requirements of the day: formal?  informal?  party?  dali?)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

you the greenhouse of my humming

he stocked geraniums.
she borrowed men foolish.
he the perfect gentleman,
she a light-hearted threat 
to civilization.

in the greenhouse of his humming 
she glowed.

that humming!
a breezy menace
to the impulse of her scowl

new year wish number {four}:

sub(en)titled: the pains of being romantic at heart

a rooftop dinner party for two,
with evening wear and white lights,
maybe some norah jones in the background.

(sigh)


makin babies

while not writing my thesis this morning, i stumbled across (read: intentionally sought out) a website that mashes up two faces to show what your babies would look like.

and obviously i've always thought me and gregory would have beautiful children.  obviously.


and now there's proof:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

wanna play?



remember in elementary school when you'd have a saturday and you'd call your friend in the morning and say, "wanna come play at my house?"

it's been a while since i've gotten to see tucker, one of my favorite people and favorite friends.  so he came over to my house and we played.

first we made crepes (ever had a bacon+avocado crepe?  try it--they're amazing.  or blackberries, bulbous and pulverized, purple all over the little pancake) and then we did some art--they're blackout poems inspired by artist tom phillips' "HUMUMENT".  it goes like this: you take a page from an old book, then find a poem in it, then make art with the words you're not using.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

how many boxes of cereal can you knock off the shelf?

in one of his always-entertaining OpEds in TIME (of which I am a subscribed reader), Joel Stein wrote that this year was so bad, it made something called "planking" look cool.

props for a great line, Joel.

but now for the real treat.  from the generation raised on 'randomness' as the cool commodity, the generation that invented a subculture off the idea of irony, the generation that turned a once-held belief that "awkward" means humiliating, painful, etc. into a a celebrated form of humor (see napoleon dynamite, et al) i present falling.  (it's the new planking.)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

on nathan

as of late, there are a lot of nathans in the lives of me and my roommates.  in fact, the number of nathans we know has doubled in the last two weeks.  this is not only overwhelming, but also really confusing.  

first, my brother's name is nathan.  one time i was talking about going home with my brother-nathan for the holidays, and all the while my roommates thought i was talking about going home with my non-brother-nathan.  they were very confused/offended that i was apparently having a clandestine romance with non-brother-nathan and not telling them about it.

second, non-brother-nathan, who--let's face it--has been one of my closest and favorite people for quite some time.

this year, there's also a boy in the ward named nate.  he is tall and eats pomegranates.

then, there's nate from seattle who meredith knows,
nate who just moved in next door who wears rastafari wigs to dance parties,
and nathan who one of my roommates is writing whilst on his mission.
last, there's nathan who is PhDing and plays the trombone.  

needless to say, any conversation featuring a "nathan" is hopelessly muddied by this labyrinthine entanglement brought about by too many nathans.  so we've opted for nicknames--nicknames created through free association.

we started with nathan from texas:
TEXAS = LONGHORNS
LONGHORNS courtney misheard as LONG HAUL
which i misunderstood as LONG HALL
or, you might say, CORRIDOR
but seeing as CORRIDOR's a silly nickname, we shortened it to COREY
which meredith mistook as QUARRY
and QUARRY = DIAMONDS,
which courtney then associated with ENGAGEMENT
and everyone knows that ENGAGEMENT = FiancĂ© !

(could this be a sign?!)

but alas, FiancĂ© rhymes with BEYONCE,
and the only plausible association that follows BEYONCE is
SINGLE LADIES.

foiled again.
at any rate, single or no, it looks like we've got a good 12 names for nathan from texas.  and if i do my math right, that means that by the time this whole nicknathanaming process is over, we should have at least 84 names to draw from--none of which are nathan.  

and this is how we simplify here in apartment five.

Friday, January 6, 2012

WORD

KNOWSY: nosy but in a good way.  as in you know a lot of stuff.

origin: jake corkin, cerca january 6, 2012


common usage: "Jake, you're kinda nosy!"  "No, I'm KNOWSY!"

Thursday, January 5, 2012

new year wish number {three}


that men could wear fedoras again without looking creepy.  in fact, i wish that men wore fedoras everywhere.  and suits.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

last first day of school

there are some days when the blessings are so rich around me and so overflowing i can't help but smile everywhere i go.

to think!
i got to take a creative nonfiction class last semester with some of my favorite people in this whole wide universe!
to think!
i get to teach students how to write and have them trust me and my opinion!
to think!
i have mangoes at home and a cousin who stayed the night and new music to listen to and interesting books to read and new essays to write.
to think!
everywhere i walk, it seems, there are people i know--professors, friends, old students, colleagues--who know my name and smile when they see me.

such are my feelings every first day of school.
and this is my last first day of school!
(at least in the foreseeable future)
this is achingly sad to me,
which only dredges up from the depths past memories of this BYUtiful place (i know, cheesy.  but awesome) and deepens my joy at being here,
if even for a short time more.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

love poem

Divining if you do or no
is like a Puritan seeking signs of her election.
I turn to a witch.

The forest of your heart, sylvan & cedar,
exculpates this wandering.
The birds are echoes.

Then, as if in rewind, the leaves float
up on back to their branches,
reattach by nubs, grow green & young.

This heart to valley,
I am still.

new year wish number {two}

someone to whisper secrets to

music crushes, 2011

one time, my friend nick, a real music guru if there ever was one, said he'd marry eisley's voice if he could.  i've had a good handful of music loves this year...come to think of it, i probably hear their voices at least daily.  how often can you say that about a person--that you hear their voice daily?  good thing their voices are so loveable...

in chronological order, and for your listening pleasure, i'm coming clean--admitting all my [musical] crushes of the year.  dear men featured here, your voices are beautiful.  they've made the melodic fabric of my visions and of my imagination for the last 365 days.  i would marry each and every one of your blessed voices. 

ROBIN PECKNOLD
of FLEET FOXES
the following song first debuted at music at ten, courtesy of jake who's always up on stuff like new songs available for free download.  totally enamored of fleet foxes' first album, i downloaded A-SAP, then proceeded, michael-style, to listen to nothing other than this one song, on repeat, for everyday.  late one night, after the fort days of february, i was sitting in the dark with friends (this sounds very hipster.  it wasn't.  just bored and enjoying music.  on the floor.  in the dark.  okay fine, it was totally hipster.).  i accidentally switched itunes to visualizer mode and thus opened a new world of wonder!  first, the colors of the visualizer are rainbow.  second, the explosions and vibrancy of said rainbow shapes are synced with the rhythm and intensity of the music!  there are some things words cannot explain.  not many, but some.  this is one of them.  try it.  download the song, switch to "jelly" mode in visualizer, turn off all the lights, turn up all the speakers.  mesmerizing, enchanting, captivating, hypnotizing, ensorcelling, bewitching.  not to mention the whole bit about orchards.


oh and then i saw fleet foxes specifically robin pecknold perform in london.  in a theatre with all the seats removed, with amazing acoustics.  and when that first riff of sun giant rippled acoustic through the crowd....silence and harmony and perfect music.  there aren't many moments of perfect music in your life.  that was one of them.

MARCUS OLIVER JOHNSTON MUMFORD
of MUMFORD & SONS
ohhh, marcus mumford.  where ever did you come from.  i don't even remember how i found you...  but oh your voice like honey from the alps, oh your stomping like a party underground!  this was what caught my eye:



this is what endeared me to you (specifically at "rage" (1:36) and at 4:10 when you may or may not be crying):



and this is why i keep listening:




MATT BERNINGER
of THE NATIONAL
when i listen to this, i am walking to portobello road, through kensington gardens.  i am ordering curry at the shop around the corner.  i am sitting next to preston and andrea at the gloucester tube stop, on our way through the evening to the national theatre stopping for galaxy bars and cadburys with hazelnuts.  i am walking the bridge to the globe.  i'm running back to my flat and bedroom after class, my bedroom that smells like humidity, grabbing two clif bars, and meeting everyone at the door for the day's gallavantings.  i am riding to the victoria stop singing, "squalor victoria."  i am on the train to scotland, i am at primark, i am walking to portobello road, through kensington gardens.  his voice is the sound of london--the rain, the busses, the rooftops over queen's gate terrace while i wait for my laundry to dry.


CHARLIE FINK
of NOAH AND THE WHALE
charlie was my other london lover.  he came across europe with me too, hiked up to murren with diana and i, made me rethink my loving.  other than that his lyrics are sheer and utter brilliance, i have nothing to say.




JUSTIN VERNON
of BON IVER
okay so this crush is no new revelation (or crispy realization, if you know what i'm saying), ever since that first night at dinner group, sooo many years ago, when amanda g. queen of the world and i listened to "for emma, forever ago" three times straight through while making enchiladas...that's how long this crush has been existent.  but i didn't truly recognize the depth to which my affections ran until i was sitting on a bed, overlooking a bay on the italian coast, listening to "towers" for the first time, not knowing who the artist was.  that song left me with mouth wide open, giggling and shaking my head, like a new dream that is so familiar in its perfection, but so captivating that every note is both a revelation and an ancient promise you've known all along.  this song is the naked waves blue and glistening.





i chose to post the version with only the album cover.  the others have too much to look at and it takes away from the unexpected delight of unexpected words like "onus" and "swampy", "towers" and  "honeycomb," and how they weave their way together into an impossibly tangled and impossibly delicate world, building itself around you with every line.


ZACHARY FRANCIS CONDON
of BEIRUT
this romance started way back last summer 2010 with "postcards from italy."  it continued, obsessed and unashamed, to this fall, when i discovered this gem and couldn't stop singing it/thinking about it/whistling it/playing it/thinking about it more.


and then i read about zachary and how cool he is, and now i mostly want to marry his voice AND him, not to mention every one of his albums, and whoever the guy is who plays the horns (seriously awesome, guy).

if i had more time and it wasn't an hour and a half past my new-year's-resolution bedtime, i'd talk about all the words these men have written that i've punched out, letter by letter, so many times in the typewriter-that-is-my-brain that they're embedded deep, deep in what i believed this year.  words like

gold hair in the sunlight, my light in the dawn.  if i had an orchard, i'd work till i'm sore.

and
so now i've grown older than my mother and father when they had their daughter.  now what does that say about me?

serve God, love me, and mend.
and
i could see for miles, miles, miles

if you give a little love, you can get a little love of your own.  don't break his heart.
,
when love comes a-calling, don't forget the tune.

love, it will not betray you, dismay or enslave you, it will set you free!  be more like the man you were made to be.

and still, the sweet london march, through side-streets new and unexplored:
stay out super late tonight, picking apples, making pies

this seemed to be the year of songs that break-down halfway through into their real selves.  "helplessness blues," "sigh no more," "postcards from italy," "fake empire," "towers."  they all do it.  and come to think of it, this seemed to be the year that broke me down halfway through into my real self.  broke down the "what i thought i wanted to be" so the "what i really want to be" could come out, foot-stomping, accordion-squeezing, orchard-picking and all.  broke down so that my real dreams (like maybe ditching academia for creating my own path) could be colorful and promising and adventurous.

...get over your hill and see what you find there, with grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

Monday, January 2, 2012

new year wish number {one}

someone to have adventures with, someone with whom to walk to the sea.