Moon Lists.

The holiday rush now behind me, I've realized that again, several weeks have passed in a flash. I spent most of the last four with my family in California, doing everything we typically do this time of year: watch home videos; rummage through boxes of old photos; indulge in our signature rotation of classic Christmas meals and my mom's virtuosic Japanese dinners, which feature dozens of familiar dishes she (and we) grew up eating. Around the holidays, as always, there's so much of the past present.

2017, as I mentioned here, passed in a blur. This year, I'm making it a goal to focus attention on paying attention—and I'm very happy to have found inspiration in Moon Lists, a site created by writer, editor, and fellow FvF contributor Leigh Patterson. Inspired by a project by photographer Sam Abell, Leigh asks three women every month to reflect on the past 30 days with a short series of questions.

I've particularly liked entries from other writers, like Stephanie Madewell, whose experience of nature last April was punctuated with birdsong:

"...the staccato hops of a woodpecker moving deliberately up and down the trunk of the cedar tree; a swallow flying across the sky, wings out, then in, a swift and joyful looping like writing in cursive with a calligrapher’s pen; the racket of wings from a pair of doves kicked up from the brush; songs and calls in the trees, more and more all the time."

Or Marion Seury of Paris, who stumbled on a breathtaking read in June:

"...someone forgot the book 'à ce soir' by writer/journalist laure adler at my place. she is a marguerite duras specialist and you can feel an influence on her writing i think. a very personal and emotional book. I read it straight. It shook my heart."

Or Su Wu of Mexico City, who received a thrilling call in May:

"I’m pregnant, my best friend said into the phone without hello, and I yelled, holy fuck, on the street in another country. Some guy turned, rushed over and asked, are you okay?, and it was a new kind of joy for me, a whole joy running headlong into kindness, and I said, I’m okay, and really, more than ever this month, I was."

Each year seems to pass quicker than the last. It's easy to forget what happened a week ago, or three months ago, or twelve. I don't like the idea of holding on to the past, but I do like the idea of finding ways to preserve the moments, images, tastes, sounds, smells, and interactions that are the tiles in a year's mosaic—and that make reflecting on the past an act of staying alert, awake, aware.

This makes me think of something my dad wrote the day after drinking a 75-year-old wine in honor of his 75th birthday: "It took me back. And forward."

Find all of Leigh Patterson's Moon Lists (including those excerpted above in their entirety), here. Photo by Emily Johnston.


  1. I discovered the moon lists about a month ago. I don’t remember how!
    You writing about them now has just reminded me how much I enjoyed the ones I read, and to go explore some more.

  2. I have never heard of moon lists before. Now i'm intrigued.
    Lovely excerpts.

  3. it comes as no surprise your father has a lovely way with words :)



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