May 10, 2019

Prompted, noticing, grateful

Some days, even when I feel like writing, I am at a loss for things to say.

It’s on those days—days like today—where I turn to writing prompts, finding little questions that help me find my voice.

Today’s prompts are adapted from a recent Instagram post by Danielle LaPorte.

What is one thing I am taking for granted this week?

Temperature control in our house. With the outside temperature fluctuating so much, going below freezing some nights to hot days where I feel like wearing shorts, having a system in our home that keeps the temperature the same indoors, no matter what may be happening outside, is such a relief—and one I’m not often grateful enough for as I go through my daily routine.

Who is one person who helps to keep the comforts of my life coming to me?

My mother. Not only does she send us baked goods in the mail, and not only does she call to check in and see how we are doing almost daily, but she also packs us so much delicious food whenever we go to visit—food that we eat throughout the week, like this past week, so I don’t have to spend as much time meal planning and cooking as I usually do.

What system is helping my life to run right now?

It’s perhaps counter-intuitive to name an app here, but I really don’t know what I’d do without the Things app on my phone. It has become my second brain, and I offload all my tasks to there so I don’t have to worry about them until I really need to take action on them.

One mundane thing that I do almost daily that I’m grateful for.

Making coffee for L in the morning. It has become almost second nature to wake up, brush my teeth, head downstairs to pack L’s lunch and make breakfast, and then spend some time in front of the espresso machine to make a delicious americano. Making an espresso is not quick work: you have to grind the beans, then get the right amount set up, tamp the grounds with the right pressure, and calibrate the machine to pull the perfect shot. While the machine is doing its magic, I stare out the window in front of me, staring out into our backyard and the birds fluttering through our trees, and give thanks for the day to come. It is an intentional, reflective, and important part of my day.

Five utilitarian things I use in my life that I’m grateful for.

My espresso machine, not just for the morning ritual described above, but for always making a delicious cup of coffee when I need it. My Panobook notebooks, where I do all my journaling and take all my notes throughout the day. My library card, which keeps a steady stream of books and audiobooks on my proverbial shelves all the time. My backpack, which carries my computer and gym clothes and my books and all the stuff I need in a day while still being super comfortable to wear. My running shoes, which I wear four times a week at the gym and help me stay fit despite the fact that I’ve been living a pretty unhealthy life recently.

Poem of the week:

Fault Line
merritt k (2017)

suppose they could place your body
in a massive vice
and crush down your grace
jones shoulders into something narrow and correct

would you still feel after all that
like you were carrying everything

would you be able to stretch out tall
or would that feeling find a new home

slithering down your vertiginous spine
embracing your abraded knees
haunting the hollows of your hips

or nesting in the soles of your calloused feet

suppose atlas didn’t shrug
but shifted from time to time
unobtrusively conscious
of the cost of every moment

A few things to read and explore:

If the industrial revolution heralded a landscape where silence was eliminated, the peace of town and country punctuated by the clank of machinery, then the digital revolution has shifted that very noise into our heads as well.

The horrors of the real world are enough to make a person seek the safety of childhood by any means, including linguistic ones.”

I don’t know what it means to have your body represented on screen in a way that isn’t somehow tied to magic.

The stereotype was always that these movies were for women, but some of their value surely came from the fact that men and women both watched them, often together, everybody absorbing images of what it looked like to engage with each other.”

Hawaiians, as most indigenous peoples throughout the Pacific and the world, understood that the health of the natural resources around them was far more important than any individual want or demand.

It had this heavy smell of leather. It smelled like aged butt cheese in a baseball glove.

If our justice system adopted more affordable and accessible technologies to humanize interfacing with loved ones who are incarcerated, not only would this benefit the rehabilitative process, but also enhance each family’s ability to support effective reintegration of their loved one upon release.”

Power is not distributed equally, and too many white men—politicians, media powerhouses, funders, people I crash into on social media—are using theirs in all those familiar ways.”

With regard to food, women were caught in a condescending trap: expected to purchase and prepare beef as well as mocked for being incapable of doing so.”

Whether or not an applicant has a claim to reside in in Canada based off of agents looking at their social media data — or any qualitative data, for that matter — should make us terrified. This analysis is tantamount to surveillance and will have long-lasting repercussions on the behavior and expression of immigrants.

We are living increasingly in a culture of response. Twitter is basically electronic marginalia on everything in the world.

To walk through an estate sale and finger the wares is to commune with the departed. If you’re paying attention, you can put together a story about who they were.”

Have a week ahead full of noticing and gratefulness, my friends. See you all soon.

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