Weekend Note / 03.

Weekend notes are short-form POVs.

One night this summer, long before I knew of Marie Kondo and her philosophies on keeping a tidy home, I did a thorough purge of my apartment. I discarded anything I no longer found useful, beautiful, or, for one reason or another, didn't feel like me. This included a dress festooned with navy blue sequins; blank calendars from 2011, 2012, 2013; a high school gym shirt. It had occurred to me not long before that I might not stay in New York — or this apartment — forever, and suddenly, all of these things felt like weight, too cumbersome to carry. My parents had done this recently, before downsizing to a smaller home this summer. They shocked my brother and me with their ability to let go of possessions we'd carried with us for decades, over the course of many moves. Even the artwork we'd done as children was carefully photographed, saved to a hard drive, and then thrown away. "We have the memories," they said. "That's all we need."

Non-Career Advice: Bekka Palmer.

Non-Career Advice is a series that asks people - young, old, and in a range of occupations - for words of wisdom unrelated to work, career-building, dollars, or getting ahead.

Bekka Palmer / Photographer
Also: Maker / self-taught surfer / ice cream enthusiast
Age: 28

Commit as much energy — and as much heart — to your free time as you do to work. "I’ve made it a point to use my free time wisely. When I’m away from my computer or out with friends, I try my hardest to put my phone away and be there — because if I spend that time checking emails or worrying about missing a call, then I’m missing out on connecting with people I care about, or even just time to myself. (Also, I try to hold myself to the same standards in my personal life as I do in my professional life — I’m on time to meet friends, I follow through on commitments I’ve made to them.) Free time isn’t a luxury, it’s a creative necessity. Making time to surf, go out, meet people, visit museums— in the end, these kinds of things make everything I do better. I’ve realized: if all I ever did was work, my work would be lifeless."

Thank you, Bekka! More about the Non-Career Advice series, here.

Go, Gunther.

Gunther Holtorf is 77-years-old and has only just returned from a road trip that spanned more than two decades — 24 years to be exact. Over that period of time, he's visited 215 countries, traveled more than half a million miles, and contracted malaria five times — and he's done it all in the same car, which has been outfitted to include a mattress and storage space for everyday necessities. 

Initially, the trip was only supposed to last 18 months, but, as Gunther tells DW, "The more you [travel], the more you realize how little you have seen."

More, in the spirit of non-traditional travel: urban camping, life swaps, paying homage to fiction.

Visit Gunther's Facebook, here. Photographs: Gunther Holtorf/ via Daily Mail.

Recommended Reading / 08.

Every Monday, words to start the week.

This week, via The New York Times: Fascinating advice from Marie Kondo of Japan, a master of home organization and the author of "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up." Ms. Kondo suggests getting rid of items that do not "spark joy," thanking each for its duty first. As Penelope Green so poignantly paraphrases, "Tidying is a dialogue with oneself." Find Green's full article, here(I'd also recommend reading the readers' comments on the right-hand side of the page — click "Readers' Picks" for a curated assortment.)

Three more links, just because:
-Midnight snacks.
-Music from Saharan Cellphones.
-Tolstoy on happiness: "A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.

More recommended reading, here. Happy Monday!

POV: Thoughts.

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. Each POV entry will include a photograph and a short reflection based on what’s pictured. While my previous column focused largely on ideas, POV focuses on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories.  

In Chapter One of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, there’s a passage about how the children’s mother, Mrs. Darling, spends some period of time each night tidying the minds of her children, sprucing and straightening and setting things in order. 

“It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds nad put things straight for the next morning,” the passage reads. “If you could keep awake (but of course you can’t) you would see your own mother doing would see her on her knees, I expect, lingering humorously over some of your contents, wondering where on earth you had picked this thing up, making discoveries sweet and not so sweet, pressing this to her cheek as if it were as nice as a kitten, and hurriedly stowing that out of sight. When you wake in the morning, the naughtiness and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind and on the top, beautifully aired, are spread out your prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on.”
I came across this bit of the story while reading aloud to my niece one afternoon over lunch. Because I found it terrifying — and feared she would, too — I skipped over it entirely.

Non-Career Advice: Emily Johnston.

Non-Career Advice is a series that asks people - young, old, and in a range of occupations - for words of wisdom unrelated to work, career-building, dollars, or getting ahead.

Emily Johnston / Artist + Photographer
Also: Owner of Gil / creator of collages / friend to many (myself included)
Age: 32

Embrace what's working — and give yourself a break. "I had a sort of identity crisis last year. It was a time of a lot of uncertainty — I was asking myself a lot of questions about what I was doing, what I wanted to be doing. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself in general. Then, out of nowhere, I remember having this amazing series of conversations over coffee with different women who were all really passionate about finding their own path, and who were determined not to adhere to a pre-scripted vision of what life is supposed to look like. At one point in the middle of this, I noticed that all of these women — every one — had dirty hair. I thought, here's this beautiful, inspiring girl who has her shit together, and her hair is a mess. It was an epiphany. It made me realize that I could let go of some of the pressure I was putting on myself. That my perfectionism wasn't necessarily serving me. That I can embrace what's working for me — and what I'm doing well — and not get caught up in other things that don't matter as much."

Beautiful. Thanks so much, Emily. Read more about the Non-Career Advice series, here.

Photo by Jack Sebastian via Emily's Instagram (one of my favorite feeds). 

Let Me Fly.

A little weird and a lot wonderful: portraits by Berlin's David Catá of faces swathed in dandelion seeds. Part of a series called Let Me Fly, they're dreamy, contemplative — perfect for perusing on a cloudy East Coast Tuesday, waiting for rain.

Visit David Catá's website, here. Thank you to Feature Shoot for the introduction.

Recommended Reading / 07.

Every Monday, words to start the week.

This week: I'm cheating a bit and posting a video, but only because it's too beautiful not to share. In it, João Silvestrini of Brazil hosts a tiny winged guest (who visits daily) for a meal in his kitchen. (As one commenter translates on Twisted Sifter: "First, he 'explains' to the bird that he is making a video. Then he says that the bird goes there every day to call him — 'today he has been calling for half an hour.'")

Three more links, just because:
-The good news.
-"Animals Make a Hospital Happy." (See also: a very funny piece on emotional support animals, including a turtle named Turtle at the Frick.)
-On handwritten letters: "Ink from your pen touches the stationary, your fingers touch the paper, your saliva seals the envelope, your scent graces the paper. Something tangible from your world travels through machines and hands, and deposits itself in another’s mailbox; their world… Letters create a connection that modern and impersonal forms of communication will never replace.”

More recommended reading, here. (Also, a big thank you for all of your incredibly kind words on last week's Non-Career Advice post — can't wait to share more!)

Weekend Note / 02.

Weekend notes are short-form POVs.

I visited the Met this summer with my six-year-old niece, who, on a ninety degree day, insisted on walking the fifteen blocks from the subway, skipping all the way. "Did you know," I said to her, "that people from all over the world travel to New York City to visit places like the Met? We're so lucky that we have the opportunity to go whenever we want to, even on a weekday afternoon." She held her pink metal water bottle with the tip of one finger, studying my face with serious eyes. After a moment's silence, she said: "Are you a grown-up? Or are you a kid?" Before I could answer, she was on to the next subject, chattering about zoo animals, and Central Park, and the various shades of purple she'd use to paint her new bedroom.  

Non-Career Advice.

Non-Career Advice is a series that asks people - young, old, and in a range of occupations - for words of wisdom unrelated to work, career-building, dollars, or getting ahead.

I woke up hours before my alarm on the morning before my 29th birthday. This was partly due to the fact that it was August, a time of year when my bedroom floods with sunlight at five AM. More likely, though, it was because my mind was ajitter with worried thoughts. I'd started a game with myself that involved matching facts about my life with the words "…and I'm almost thirty," and, no less than five minutes in, I'd morphed from a reasonable, thinking human being to an exhausted heap of frayed, frazzled nerves.

I live month-to-month… and I'm almost thirty. I have roommates… and I'm almost thirty. I don't have a plan - for anything, really… and I'm almost thirty.

The Cornershop.

Artist Lucy Sparrow's Cornershop is just like your average deli or neighborhood bodega, save for one minor detail. Everything — each ketchup bottle, candy bar, Coca-Cola, and copy of Carp Fishing Magazine — was made by hand with colored felt and, I'd imagine, lots and lots of patience. 

The London-based project required eight months of stitching to complete and resulted in a multi-thousand-item inventory that has since sold out. For a time, the shop was also home to a series of sewing workshops for the local community, with themes like "felt soup cans" and "fluffy drinks." 

Asked to name her favorite items, Sparrow lists the Nurofen, the custard, the Spam Fritters. "Not everything translates well into felt, but they do for some reason," she says.

Thanks, Honestly WTF. Visit Lucy Sparrow's website, here. Photos by Rosie Hallam/Barcroft Media.

Recommended Reading / 06.

Every Monday (or holiday-after Tuesday), words to start the week.

This weekExcerpts from a new book about tattoos and the tales behind them. Pen & Ink, by Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy MacNaughton, includes stories from writers Lena Dunham and Cheryl Strayed, illustrator Carson Ellis, and Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow, the Dragon Head of the Chinese Freemasons. It's delightful — and, luckily for everyone, a chef-centric sequel, Knives & Ink, is in the works. Find out more, here.

Three more links, just because:
-Camel as cartographer.
-How to Drink All Night, In a Classy Way.
-More reading recommendations, from 50 cultural icons (Dolly Parton loves The Little Engine That Could; Donald Glover reads about kids with Aspergers; David Bowie has a hundred favorites).

More recommended reading, here. Image via Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Themby Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy MacNaughton.

Autumn in the Catskills.

Fall on the East Coast is exactly how I always pictured it would be: cool and crisp and lit from within. It smells like kindling and wet leaves, like rain clouds. It's as much a revelation after five years in New York as it was the first.

Below, a few photos from a trip to the Catskills last weekend with friends. We made pizza, built fires, rolled hay bales down grassy slopes. We did a lot of sitting in front a wood-fire stove. It was nice, I remember thinking, having nothing to do but that.

The week following was a busy one, and I didn't get to some of the things I'd planned: a POV, and the debut of a new series (which I'm very excited about!). I'm aiming to share both of those things after the long weekend, as well as Recommended Reading, as usual. Can't wait.

Until then, have a wonderful three days — and happy travels, if you're hitting the road!

Canines & Couches.

This week in unconventional travel: road trip adventures shared between three friends, two dogs, and one very worn-in couch. Details on how exactly the couch (and the friends, and the dogs) are traveling are unclear, but they certainly seem to have covered a lot of ground, smiles intact. See more, here

See also: invisible horsesAnimals That I Did Not Meet; licensed llama therapists.

Classy Characters.

Elizabeth Graeber's portraits of "classy people" (pictured at top, followed by an apparently less-classy cast) make me laugh. Then again, so do her offbeat zines (here's a recipe for pie for dogs), her two-sided face pillows, her painted rabbit suitcases.

Visit Elizabeth Graeber's website, here, and her Etsy shop, here.

Recommended Reading / 05.

Every Monday, words to start the week.

This week: I've always loved these two lists of beliefs, written by Susan Sontag as a child at 14, and as a young adult at 24. The former addresses themes of life and death, freedom, and government; the latter  extols privacy, culture, and old buildings. (Twenty-four-year-old Susan also lists sleeping, children, and meat as likes.) 

I love how the later list contains far fewer words. In many ways, I feel I take life less seriously now than I did at 14 or 15, and have less of an urge (and less time) to explain myself. I've changed in many others ways since then, too, but I do like to think that regardless of age, I'll always believe in adventure, and play, stories, mermaids

(See also: Susan Sontag on love and art and "doing stuff".)

Three more links, just because:
-Hide-and-seek with Momo.
-Mustache protectors and pickle forks: Victorian inventions that never took off.
-"Forget safety."

Photo by Annie Leibovitz. More recommended reading, here.

Getting Dirty.

I used to be what my family affectionately referred to as "a secret slob," meaning that, based on outward appearance, I seemed neat and tidy and like I had my act together — but open the door to my room, and you'd find chaos: mountains of clothes and crafts and assorted childhood treasures, and me sitting happily in the midst of it all.

As an adult, I've cleaned up my act (somewhat), but in my heart of hearts, I still appreciate a good mess. So when Julia Robbs asked if I'd spend an afternoon at her apartment in Bushwick — rubbing my hands in black chalk, playing with shadows, cracking eggs all over her beautiful hardwood floor —I said yes.

A big thank you to Julia for letting me get messy for a day. See more at her website, here, and have a wonderful weekend.

For Joy.

Keeping it short and sweet today with these black-and-white photographs by Tomas Januska. Part of a series called Gravity, the images depict men and women mid-jump. Says Januska, observing his soaring subjects: "It's as though they have returned to their childhood."

See more at Tomas Januska's website, here.

Recreating Rain.

Because I've already featured a handful of posts about Japanese design firm Nendo, gushing over their ingenious chocolate paint, and pencils, and beautiful Winnie-the-Pooh-inspired furniture, I thought twice before writing another. But, impassioned fan (and word lover) that I am, I couldn't resist.

Below, their latest: an installation that visually illustrates twenty of Japan's fifty different words for rain. Included: sleet and unexpected downpours, evening rain and rain commingling with dust. See more at mocoloco, here.

Fittingly, I'm writing this as rain falls in New York City. Stay dry, New Yorkers!

Visit Nendo's website, here. Photos by Hiroshi Iwasaki.

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