Yesterday on my way to work a man called out to me on the street but I couldn’t hear him properly so I smiled hello thinking maybe we knew each other. He called out again louder, love your tits, baby until I finally glared at him. I wonder what on earth he wanted from this moment. And I can’t help but think , given how rare they are, what a terrible waste of an exchange with a stranger. Was there a moment where he considered changing his second call to a greeting instead?
by Elizabeth Bishop
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.
—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
Sent to me by a friend, and oh my god this is so lovely.
I went with the kids to stay at the beach on the weekend with our friends at their beach house. I don’t think I’ve ever arrived anywhere more worn out.
At one point my friend took my daughter to the shops with her while her teenage son took my four year old boy to play outside with him. I sat in front of a window, all by myself, looking out over the sea thinking I will just have a minute to take in the view and then I will finish reading this book I am reviewing. Two hours later I finally looked down from the sea to find the book in my lap.
Cormac on the beach in the evening being very pensive.
My friend’s teenage son helping Cormac cross the channel. It was deeper than we expected.
Watching all the children swimming in the sea from my friend’s beach house verandah.
Lauca and my friend’s daughter boogie boarding together.
Horses in the sea.
Cormac and one of our friends.
Lauca learning to make twine as a form of active meditation. Yes.. that didn’t come from stressed out me.. that little intervention came from one of our friends. He’s Aboriginal and he taught her how to make a traditional form of string.
Posted in aboriginal australia, cormac, goddamn craft, i like walking, lauca, motherhood, motherhood bliss, school kids, slow parenting, teenagers, work and family (im)balance, your guide to perfect play dates | 2 Comments »
I was very flattered to be interviewed by The Wheeler Centre about writing and among other things I talked about the importance of Kiese Laymon’s essays and also, Rachel Cusk’s memoirs to me.
What’s the book that’s had the most significant impact on your life or work – and why?
Rachel Cusk’s two memoirs, A Life’s Work and Aftermath, were breakthroughs for me with my writing. I was a new parent and she was the first writer I found interested in connecting her personal experiences of motherhood to the broader discussion of feminism and writing. Plus, Cusk has been prepared to go as dark as required with that pursuit. I didn’t find her books all that confronting, to be honest, but some readers did and it’s always very interesting when terribly human moments disturb people to that degree.
The other thing Cusk showed me is that you do not always have to start your conversation with readers at the beginning. Some pieces are written for beginner-level understanding – they’re extremely important − but it is perfectly acceptable to pitch other essays only to readers who are progressed on the issue. It is nice to see what your article provokes with them and to learn from their part in the conversation. (Although reading the comments on those articles where you didn’t start from the beginning and bring everyone with you might be a brutal experience).
My column this week for Daily Life is out:
For weeks this year, before that night, I dreamed about snakes. On and off I’ve had these dreams since childhood and they always look like Pierre Roy’s Danger on the Stairs (1927). Recently people tried to tell me that the dreams were a sign of healing but Google that old surrealist painting and tell me if you see any good omens there.
Before I tell you what happened that night I want to tell you what happened a little further back, which is that I suddenly became a single parent. My partner and I, after more than a decade and a half together, decided to end our relationship. Doesn’t matter how a relationship ends — whether you leave, are left or it happens mutually — there’s still a moment where you take a breath and jump. It’s a moment of acceptance that this is your new reality.
Recognizing the problem is not the same as fixing it, though. I asked Kahan how he tries to guard against identity protection in his everyday life. The answer, he said, is to try to find disagreement that doesn’t threaten you and your social group — and one way to do that is to consciously seek it out in your group. “I try to find people who I actually think are like me — people I’d like to hang out with — but they don’t believe the things that everyone else like me believes,” he says. “If I find some people I identify with, I don’t find them as threatening when they disagree with me.” It’s good advice, but it requires, as a prerequisite, a desire to expose yourself to uncomfortable evidence — and a confidence that the knowledge won’t hurt you.
From Ezra Klein in Vox with “How politics makes us stupid”.
“In conversation, he was quite prepared to defer to her. Adler remembers one business lunch at which talk turned to art. “He said something like, ‘Art should be about beauty.’ And Peta said, ‘Don’t be silly, Tony. Think about modernism. It’s about challenging ideas.’ Then she gave him a concise lecture on the history of modernist art.”