One of my favorite artists, Austin Kleon, wrote this earlier this week:
I love meeting my readers, but I am so aware that the person who writes the books that they read is the best version of me — the most hopeful, the most helpful version of me. In my day-to-day life, I am as confused, and stupid, and pessimistic as anybody.
I’ve stayed offline lately because I’m having a hard time even finding my best version of myself during a national humanitarian crisis, and my rage won’t help anything. But this blog is mostly about books and recipes and cocktails, and it all feels silly and self-indulgent. I can’t find words to express my fury, and I can’t bear to write falsely optimistic things like Here’s some pie to make you feel better! when there are children in cages.
Constant rage corrodes our hearts; not being enraged is privileged and cruel. So, I’m not going to try to make you feel better, but I will offer you a few things to distract you. Please allow yourself to be distracted for a bit, take care of your precious, furious heart, and then take a deep breath and start punching the Nazis again.
Hope: Here’s another one from Austin Kleon, Beautiful Things Grow Out of Shit. I highly recommend you subscribe to his weekly newsletter. He sends out brief updates about the art he has consumed – books, music, visual. It’s always fascinating and challenges me to search out artists I wouldn’t have found on my own.
Learn: Let’s file this one under “How Did I Wind Up In This Corner of the Internet?”: The Frog Farms of the 1930s were a failure. People are fascinating and frogs are gross.
Eat: We spruced up the backyard and the kids’ friends have an open invitation to come over and lounge around the fire pit to listen to music and roast S’mores. I rarely cook dinner on those nights, but I am becoming a master Cheese Board Maker. It doesn’t have to be fancy; remember, I have a houseful of teenagers so the main rule is just that there is plenty of food. I throw out a mix of good cheese, tomatoes, bread, crackers, olives, meats, and fruits. Sometimes I add hummus and veggies if I’m feeling sassy. Everyone is happy to assemble their own meal out of the various components. This week I added prosciutto wrapped dates to the mix, but that’s about as much effort as I’m willing to put in on a lazy summer night.
Drinking: related to the cheese boards, last night husband snapped “What IS IT with Rosè all of a sudden?” As with everything, you can blame social media, but don’t let that distract you. A good Rosè goes with everything you like to eat in the summer, and bonus: it will make both the red and white wine lovers at your party happy. For a good intro to food/wine pairing, check out this nice visual on Wine Folly.
Reading: What are you reading this week? I’m in the middle of a book about the science of sex. If you’ve never read a Mary Roach book, I highly recommend all of them; they are like a university course taught by a hilarious, charismatic professor. She’s written about death, outer space, ghosts, war, and digestion. All great reads.
Hang in there, friends. Stay tough, stay kind. I love you.
PS 2 – Have a laugh: