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!)

Non-Career Advice: Alex Feder.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

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.

Name: Alex Feder / Musician 
Also: Songwriter / traveler / tripper of the light fantastic

Avoid the second arrow. "Possibly the most profound thing I've learned since moving from New York to LA — where I'm becoming a total cheeseball Angeleno — is a tenet within Buddhism that's referred to as the "second arrow." 

I'll explain it like this: often, life shoots us with a painful 'arrow' — not necessarily an enormous tragedy, but some littler nuisance that can lead to a bad day. Let's say you're working from home and there's a dog barking all day long next door. The dog, in this case, is that arrow. But the thing is, no matter how annoyed you are, the dog is still going to bark. No amount of rage or frustration is going to change that. And the more we let our negative feelings overwhelm us, the worse our day becomes. This negative reaction is essentially like shooting ourselves with a second arrow, and it's often more painful than the first.

The first arrow might have been out of our control, but the second is ours to dodge. Dogs bark. People are rude. Commutes get delayed. It's important to realize that while we often can't change those things, we can be mindful of our reactions to them. If we stop dwelling on anger, or how much we wish things were different, then we are able to prevent one arrow wound from turning into two. And life goes on."

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Thanks so much, Alex! More from the Non-Career Advice series, here.  Photo by Brian Michael Henderson.

Living Close.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Some of my earliest memories involve making homes out of some of the tiniest hidden corners in the house. I'd cart my things into the front hallway and camp out under the narrow table near the heater, or the space beneath the bottom shelf in the hall closet. Somewhere, there's a photo of me reading a book in a plastic laundry basket, limbs overflowing. Small-ness, I remember thinking, was soothing.

Photographer Won Kim's series Enclosed shines a light into some of Tokyo's tiniest living spaces —in this case, the rooms are part of a backpackers' hostel. Each room is made of plywood and contains no windows or doors. Won writes, "For me, the real interest of the resulting portraits is in how each resident has made use of such a small, confining space...the sharply-defined space and its contents tell something about... his or her ability to function in such a strange, enclosed environment." What I find fascinating about them are the looks on each resident's face. They seem — to this fan of small spaces, anyway — lost in thought, completely comfortable, oblivious to the walls around them.



See more at Won Kim's website, here


Recommended Reading / 35.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Every Monday, words to start the week. 


This week, via Brainpickings: wonderful reflections on growing up from a 24-year-old William Styron. In a letter to his father in 1949, Styron writes: "For some reason, although I'm not exactly ecstatic about the world and life in general, I'm very happy. I don't know why that should be, as I’ve always thought of myself as an exceptionally melancholy person. Maybe the melancholy was merely adolescent, and maybe, though I can’t really sense it, I’m growing up, or reaching an “adjustment,” as the psychologists say. Whatever it is, it’s nice.

It’s not love — love of a girl, that is, because I haven’t found her yet. It’s not the excitement of being in New York, because I’ve been in New York before and now know how to take with a grain of salt its synthetic stimuli (though I still love New York). Actually I don’t know what it is. For the past four or five days I’ve been alone, not seeing anyone or talking to anyone I know except over the phone. Ordinarily this aloneness would have made me miserable, utterly wretched. But I haven’t minded it at all.

I haven’t drunk hardly anything — a few beers, that’s all. And yet I’ve been quite content, suffused with a sort of pleasant well-being that demanded really nothing strenuous of myself, or of anyone else. Perhaps it’s merely that I’ve gained a measure of Emerson’s self-reliance. Perhaps it’s just that, for some reason I can’t put my finger on, I feel surer of myself than I ever have before — more confident of my worth and my ultimate success, and less fearful of failure. Maybe — again for some reason I haven’t quite been able to analyze — I’m finding that life excites me, appeals to me in a way I’ve never felt before. I still have awful moments of despair, and I guess I always will, but they don’t seem to be as overpowering as in the past. I don’t take so much pleasure in my despondency any more; I try to throw my bleak moods off — which again perhaps is a sign that I’m growing up." (Read more on Brainpickings.)

Three more, just because:
-Hundred-year-old chalkboards.
-A Chinese village gives in to greenery.
-Lastly, I loved this description of a milkshake made with roasted strawberries: "After a solid 30 or 40 minutes, they'll release their juice and relax into their bodies — they will be like you at the very end of a yoga class, when you're allowed to lay flat and extend your limbs and forget how to move your toes. They are strawberries living their best life."

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

Lately.

Friday, June 12, 2015

I'll be back next week with Recommended Reading, Non-Career Advice, and a POV in the meantime, a few snaps from the past couple of weeks on Instagram and beyond: Jamie reading on one of our many sunlit sills; breakfast at a new-ish neighborhood gem; a visit from Charlie, one of my oldest family friends; and a group of kindergarteners dancing the hula, a highlight of my niece's seventh birthday.



Have a wonderful weekend. See you Monday!

Records of Records.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Charmed on this storm-cloud-heavy Tuesday by Things I Found in Records, a submission-based Instagram feed that documents notable curiosities found inside old record sleeves. There are religious pamphlets (and one warning against the dangers of heroin); a Penthouse calendar; a marijuana license, yet unsigned — the list only gets more interesting. My guess is that this feed will, too. Follow along here.




See also: handwritten recipes found in books, including jambalaya inside How to Show Your Own Dog, and squash pickles inside the "shocking" novel Horns of Ecstasy. Too good.

Recommended Reading / 34.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Every Monday, words to start the week. 



This week, from The New York Times: a engrossing look into the lives of six dynamic New Yorkers, all over the age of 85. According to author John Leland, they belong to one of the city's most rapidly expanding demographics, and are the unwitting stars of what he refers to as "a New York soap opera, unscripted." Indeed, their stories are complicated and colorful, sweet and often tinged with sadness. Of course, there's just as much brightness, too. Says 88-year-old Frederick Jones, from his hospital bed: "I like to say I'm supremely blessed...I'll leave it at that. You know that saying, 'Heaven is my home, but I'm not homesick'? I want to stay right here. I'm not in no hurry."

Photos by Nicole Bengiveno for The New York Times.

Three more, just because:
-The Good Bagel Manifesto.
-An entire hotel room contained in a 132-pound portable box.
-A form of non-career advice, courtesy of an eight-year-old: "I plan to be kind and brave."

More recommended reading, here. Wising you a very happy Monday.

One for the Books.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Today: lightheartedness before the weekend in the form of Literalogue, a postcard and print series designed to help curious readers discover books they'll love. The collection showcases five centuries' worth of great writers, along with memorable quotes, facts, and handy lists of similar authors for those in search of their next great read. Lastly — in a strange and charming twist — the authors are grouped by literary movement according to color-coded noses: orange for the Naturalists, purple for the Aesthetics, lime green for the Beat Generation.


See more (and back the project) on Kickstarter.

Also, for fellow writers out there, I loved this list of "most important" advice from famous authors. This gem from Murakami stands out in particular: "Every time you write, ask yourself: Could this scene take place in a hot-air balloon? If the answer is yes, then it probably should.”

Have a wonderful weekend.

Non-Career Advice: Lisa Przystup.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

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.

Name: Lisa Przystup / Florist 
Also: Writer / early riser / hopeless romantic
Age: Mid thirties

Don't fake it — you'll still make it. "The most important lesson I've learned is not to compare myself to others — and to be perfectly honest with you, it's something I have to constantly remind myself. The struggle is real. I mean this in every area across the board: style, looks, the way your body is, noticing what other people are achieving. I'm a writer in addition to being a florist, so by nature, I'm curious about other people's experiences. I've talked to so many creatives I admire who tell me they feel the same way — it's hard to look at Instagram and social media and not think, why don't I have that? Or, maybe I'm not doing enough. A photographer friend recently said to me, "I do that, too" — and I thought, you? It was surprising. It was heartening. 

At the end of the day, your life is your life. There's no point trying to make it look like someone else's. It's like clothing: if you're wearing something you're comfortable in, that's going to come across, and vice versa. It's the same thing. When you're trying to be someone else, people can tell. You can feel it, too, and it's exhausting. So try not to listen to that junior high schooler in you who wants to be like everyone else, and just do what you do, the best you can do it. That's how we develop strong personal identities. You can't force it — but confidence gets easier as you get older. In the meantime, just look down at your own two feet. You'll get there."
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Thanks so much, Lisa. More from the Non-Career Advice series, here. Photo by Shanita Sims.

Stitch Therapy.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

This hand-sewn book by artist Emma Parker stopped me in my tracks this morning. Its embroidered pages depict some of the more difficult emotions we experience in childhood: rejected, corrected, excluded. Its photos, transferred to cloth, are faded and grainy; its haphazard red threading brings to mind the ink of a teacher's pen.

Says Emma of her tools of choice: "I work frequently with thread and cloth as I love the metaphors they offer. Textile-related words and phrases such as 'unraveling,' 'knitted brows,' 'patch up,' 'hanging on by a thread' and 'repair' come to mind when describing aspects of the human psyche." She writes, "Art making is a ritual, maybe a little 'magic' even...[through art] I feel that there is the potential to change poison into medicine."

Find more of Emma Parker's work on her website and blog, Stitch Therapy.

See also: Daré all a Lucé, a series featuring vintage photos poked full of holes to disarmingly magical effect. It's one of my all-time favorites.

Recommended Reading / 33.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Every Monday, words to start the week. 


This week, from The New Yorker: a portrait of Chloé Roubert, a full-time, self-proclaimed "pigeon scholar." At 31, she's learned much about the species that she's eager to share — that they have excellent eyesight, for example. That they can be entered into pigeon-specific beauty pageants. And that "like many New Yorkers, [they] are bagel-eaters, immigrants, and scavengers, and are put off by new high-rises that are inhospitably spiffy." Find the essay, written by Betsy Morais, here.

Four more, just because:
-This sign language interpretation of Eminem's "Lose Yourself" is amazing.
-You, too, can be a cloud reporter. (Thanks, Tina.)
-Loved learning that the design of the Rubik's Cube was inspired by water. Says its inventor: "In the mid-1970s, I was teaching design at the Academy of Applied Arts in Budapest. I was searching for a way to demonstrate 3D movement to my students and one day found myself staring into the River Danube, looking at how the water moved around the pebbles. This became the inspiration for the cube's twisting mechanism. The fact that it can do this without falling apart is part of its magic."
-And lastly, from Miles: "Do not fear mistakes. There are none."

More recommended reading, here. Have a happy Monday! Photos by Julia Robbs.

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