Recommended Reading / 38.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Every Monday, words to start the week. 

This week, from Letters of Note: a letter written in 1965 from artist Sol LeWitt to Eva Hesse. Hesse, also an artist, was struggling to create (sounds familiar). In friendly response to her dilemma, LeWitt wrote, among other things:

Learn to say "Fuck You" to the world once in a while. You have every right to. Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder, wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping, confusing, itching, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, numbling, rambling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-shitting, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-trickling, nose sticking, ass-gouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just DO.

Amazing. Find the letter in its entirety, here.

Three more, just because:
-The world's oldest person just turned 116 this week. Her secret? Sleep.
-The makings of the perfect cake for summer: figs, honey, mascarpone, pistachios.
-From Georgia O'Keefe: "I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life — and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do."

More recommended reading, here. Have a very happy (late) Monday.

Weekend Note / 07.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Weekend notes are short-form POVs.

I have a memory of swimming in a friend’s pool at the age of seven or eight, hanging on to the concrete edge with slick fingers, my ears submerged. It was night. There was a party, and a miscellany of mothers and fathers stood in clusters in the garden, trading stories and casting occasional glances poolward, where their daughters — myself excluded — were playing mermaid. The girls had rings around their ankles and were flailing to stay afloat, a cacophonous feat. Nearby, I bobbed against the wall, monitoring the way the noise shifted as I dipped beneath the surface — gone, and there it was again. For the first time, I felt alone, and liked it.

Every year around this time, I’ve written something about the importance of rest and the joys of a slower season, which for me, has always been summer. After an endless winter and the ecstatic rush of spring, it's feels necessary to find ways to slip away now and again, to escape — even if it's just below the surface of familiar waters. Even if it's to a place within. 

Two nights ago, I had dinner at a friend’s apartment uptown. Three levels down on the street, people walked their dogs, rode bikes, jogged toward the park. Inside, tucked away, we sat on the wooden floor and ate a meal in fading sunlight, candles all around. Someone read a poem. The room was still. For a moment, out of nowhere, I remembered the pool — its deep blue quiet, its waterlogged tranquility. There, in a tiny, tidy apartment three floors above the ground, I felt blissfully isolated. I might have forgotten where I was entirely if not for a breeze that found its way in through an open window, ruffling the pages of books on the windowsill. 

The poem came to a finish. Somewhere in the distance, faintly, were fireworks.


Thank you so much for reading, as always — and have a wonderful holiday. After spending two consecutive weekends outside of the city, I'll be enjoying this one here — with any luck, doing a lot of what's described above. Have a great one! 
Photo by Emily Johnston.

School in the Rain.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

I've always loved stories about unconventional schooling facilities around the world, like this rainbow-colored primary school in Paris, and this soothing Japanese nursery designed to remind children of being at home. Today, I'm adding another to my archive with Kumamoto City's Dai-ichi Yochien, a preschool with a courtyard designed to encourage the accumulation of rain puddles. On sunnier days, children can use the space for sports; in the winter, it can be converted into a skating rink. Smart.

Another interesting tidbit: each student's family purchases his or her own desk and chair — a sweet souvenir of sorts, which is theirs to take home after they leave.

Thanks to GOOD for the heads-up. Photos by Ryuji Inoue courtesy of Hibino Sekkei.

Linda Derschang on FvF.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Thrilled to share my latest interview for Freunde von Freunden with Seattle-based restauranteur Linda Derschang, who owns six eateries and bars including Oddfellows, Tallulah's, and Linda's Tavern.

Linda and I spoke for nearly two hours on the phone one June afternoon, and I hung up with my head happily abuzz. You'd be hard-pressed to find a warmer, more personable, or more inspiring woman — as she says in the interview, "As soon as I opened my first store, I knew what I wanted to do with my life: I wanted to start businesses that allowed me to be creative and to connect with my community. I’m very social – I always have been. I like going to parties and openings, and supporting others. That never feels tedious. Ultimately I think that’s the reason hospitality comes naturally to me: I enjoy people."

Find the rest on Freunde von Freunden. Photos by Dorothée Brand/Belathée.

Other favorite FvF interviews: Project No. 8 / Minka Sicklinger / Huy Bui. Thanks so much for reading!

Recommended Reading / 37.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Every Monday, words to start the week. 

This week, from Bobulate: Words of wisdom, short and sweet, from self-described word-slinger, nomad, and space adventurer Josh Wagner. Addressing to his 18-year-old self, Wagner writes: "Stop putting all that work into agonizing over the imminent loss of everything you love. Simply love. While it's still right there in front of you. Time not spent burning is draining, every bit of it trickling away at one second per second." (Sounds like great non-career advice to me.)

Read more, here. Many thanks to Tina for the link.

Three more, just because:
-Can't imagine a more beautiful cover.
-Words for indescribable emotions. (Like vellichor, which refers to "the strange wistfulness of used bookshops," and énouement, which is "the bittersweetness of having arrived in the future, seeing how things turn out, but not being able to tell your past self.")
-And lastly, a photographer turns rejection letters into art: "If we never got rejected, we would never push ourselves harder...We are artists — we can and should make art out of our successes and failures, and treasure them in the same way."

More recommended reading, here. Have a wonderful Monday. Photo by Max Wanger.

POV: Block.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

POV ("point of view") is a series that addresses many of the same themes covered in my Equals Record column: growing up, saying yes to adventure, learning to embrace a quarter-life crisis. While my previous column focused largely on ideas, POV focuses on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories.

This was a POV of many false starts.

I wrote the first version late last week on a bus, on my way out of the city for the weekend. I had six tabs open on my laptop that morning, and between edits of an interview with a Spanish lighting designer and the quick composition of a story on the difficulties of making pie crust, I was able to write exactly four slapdash sentences before deleting every last one. 

Recommended Reading / 36.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Every Monday, words to start the week. 

This week, from The New York Times: thoughts on the continued relevance of one of my all-time favorite artists, Nina Simone. Writes Salamishah Tillet: "The feminist writer Germaine Greer once declared: 'Every generation has to discover Nina Simone. She is evidence that female genius is real.' This year, that just might happen for good...Simone is not simply an alternative to today's image of an oversexualized or overmanufactured female artist, but the idol most suited for the multilayered identity politics of our social movements." Read more, here.

Photo by Jack Robinson / courtesy of Getty Images.

Three more, just because:
-Writers' favorite words, from clot to clart to whiffle-whaffle.
-Getting googly-eyed at the Frieze Art Fair.
-I love illustrator Christoph Niemann's thoughts on the importance of creative inefficiency: "Sometimes you look at something and you think, that is awesome, and then the next day you look at it and you are horrified. Sometimes I do something three times over and think, this is terrible, and then I go back and find there’s some strength in there. You need the second day to realize the strength in something. On the one hand, I wish I didn’t waste so much time, but on the other, I really try and savor the inefficiency. I can be efficient with my work day and technology and everything, but one thing you must not – and cannot – be efficient with is creating. Once you start thinking about what works faster or better, you start ruling out mistakes, and that’s really awful. So I really try to be as inefficient as possible."

More recommended reading, here. Have a lovely Monday — and happy summer solstice! I spent the weekend on Long Island in the rain — a perfect beginning. (Also, new POV coming tomorrow this week — many apologies for the delay!)


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