Footloose + Fancy

Weekend Wonders, so you can get furiously funky this weekend.

(Source: Spotify)

In some sense, I guess everything we do as individuals is based on something we’ve either seen or done before. Something we’ve heard about or something we’ve been told. As babies, we learned how to walk because we saw our parents walking. We learned how to talk because we heard others talking. We learned how to add, how to subtract, how to like, how to love, and what the word expectation meant. As we grew older, some of us went to college, some of us got jobs and some of us do the work that makes us some money, hopefully enough to eat and sleep comfortably.
This is all well and good. It is normal. But what I find to be not normal is this idea that how you spend your time outside of the things you have to do in life (work, communicate, learn, etc.) must be equally as engaging, turned on, and all in an effort to make something of oneself.
I find this to be particularly true in my mid-20s. When I’m not working, or commuting to work, or thinking about working out, or eating, I should be thinking about how to harvest my creative potential! I should be making a movie! I should be updating my LinkedIn profile! I should be broadening my horizons and talking to powerful people who know a lot stuff about a lot of stuff! I should be networking!  Oh, networking.
Sure, I should. I do all of these things. From time to time. But there are other times I just want life to have no expectation of me, no do-this-now-or-else mentality.  I often worry about this late at night, among other things like burglars, race riots, and toxic cleaning products my dog might accidentally ingest.
I worry that there aren’t enough of us out there putting things off until tomorrow and dancing in the kitchen to The Staple Singers in their boyfriend’s ratty t-shirt simultaneously burning the scrambled eggs they were going to eat for dinner. I worry that people are getting too caught up in doing things that make them seem unattainable, elevated, and cool.
I wish everyone would relax a bit more –after a certain age it just doesn’t matter, there really isn’t any shame in how you spend your free time (unless of course you are a criminal. The criminals undoubtedly reading this blog should feel ashamed. You criminal, you.)

Instead there should be more of us crying over that Budweiser commercial, openly at our desks, more of us reading a book solely for the sex scene, more of us falling asleep with a bag of Goldfish by the bed (just in case). Because if there aren’t, than everyone is missing out. The cliche things we do to make ourselves feel good exist for a reason. So go do them. Change those spots (laaaaame).  

In some sense, I guess everything we do as individuals is based on something we’ve either seen or done before. Something we’ve heard about or something we’ve been told. As babies, we learned how to walk because we saw our parents walking. We learned how to talk because we heard others talking. We learned how to add, how to subtract, how to like, how to love, and what the word expectation meant. As we grew older, some of us went to college, some of us got jobs and some of us do the work that makes us some money, hopefully enough to eat and sleep comfortably.

This is all well and good. It is normal. But what I find to be not normal is this idea that how you spend your time outside of the things you have to do in life (work, communicate, learn, etc.) must be equally as engaging, turned on, and all in an effort to make something of oneself.

I find this to be particularly true in my mid-20s. When I’m not working, or commuting to work, or thinking about working out, or eating, I should be thinking about how to harvest my creative potential! I should be making a movie! I should be updating my LinkedIn profile! I should be broadening my horizons and talking to powerful people who know a lot stuff about a lot of stuff! I should be networking!  Oh, networking.

Sure, I should. I do all of these things. From time to time. But there are other times I just want life to have no expectation of me, no do-this-now-or-else mentality.  I often worry about this late at night, among other things like burglars, race riots, and toxic cleaning products my dog might accidentally ingest.

I worry that there aren’t enough of us out there putting things off until tomorrow and dancing in the kitchen to The Staple Singers in their boyfriend’s ratty t-shirt simultaneously burning the scrambled eggs they were going to eat for dinner. I worry that people are getting too caught up in doing things that make them seem unattainable, elevated, and cool.

I wish everyone would relax a bit more –after a certain age it just doesn’t matter, there really isn’t any shame in how you spend your free time (unless of course you are a criminal. The criminals undoubtedly reading this blog should feel ashamed. You criminal, you.)

Instead there should be more of us crying over that Budweiser commercial, openly at our desks, more of us reading a book solely for the sex scene, more of us falling asleep with a bag of Goldfish by the bed (just in case). Because if there aren’t, than everyone is missing out. The cliche things we do to make ourselves feel good exist for a reason. So go do them. Change those spots (laaaaame).  

I live life from one meal to the next. As I’ve gotten older I fully expected to grow out of this habit, this way of thinking, but sadly it still persists to this day, to this afternoon, to this morning. I used to think that something about it seemed sad, boring –there were/are so many other things in a day that could occupy my mind, things other than “healthy alternatives to pasta”, “fancy types of homemade pasta”, “how to get over an addiction to homemade pasta” or “sexy meals for two”. But alas, I am stuck in my ways as most of us are.

For the most part, I take a vast amount of pleasure in planning what I eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and the thousands of snacks in-between. I enjoy writing out grocery lists, thinking about the origins or recipes, why I like certain foods and not others. I think a lot about my mother and my grandmother and what they might have liked to make and eat in their kitchens when they were 26. I think about the food I ate as a child, the recipes I’ve fucked up royally, the meals that drive me insane to make, you know the ones I mean: the ones that take 3 hours instead of 2, and you’ve already listed to too many This American Life episodes for evening and so you pray for the moment when that buzzer on the oven buzzes and it’s all over and you can go to bed.  

It’s all very precise and accurate – this stream of thought and preparation. It’s rooted in something emotional and it is all about comfort. People tend to think that in association with food, the word “comfort” signifies things like meatloaf, mashed potatoes, sweet corn, southern cooking, something your mother made and so on. For me, comfort is much more about the process – the working through my Rolodex of recipes, the moments I made them, the people who taught them to me, and trajectory for my evening.

I wish I had the stamina to spend every night of my life cooking up something that took hours to make, something which required a real labor of love to come into fruition. But considering how much I love re-watching television shows I’ve already seen, shopping for expensive tights online, and researching articles on the Duggars/Ebola/Maine apartments for rent, I just don’t have the time and, the mindset. Instead, I space it out –I make one big thing, one thing I’ve never made, one things that might take me all night to make and then for the rest of the week I tend to fall back on a few favorites: poached egg over toasted bread with pistachio pesto, massaged kale with roasted pine nuts and chunks of lemon and parmesan, zucchini fritters with sour cream and chives, roasted tomato soup with basil, and anything on toast, really.

So I’m not a chef – I can’t make anything too complicated, I don’t even chop things properly, but I do so love the sense of memory and thought and the pleasure cooking gives me. It’s part of it I suppose, le living.

I live life from one meal to the next. As I’ve gotten older I fully expected to grow out of this habit, this way of thinking, but sadly it still persists to this day, to this afternoon, to this morning. I used to think that something about it seemed sad, boring –there were/are so many other things in a day that could occupy my mind, things other than “healthy alternatives to pasta”, “fancy types of homemade pasta”, “how to get over an addiction to homemade pasta” or “sexy meals for two”. But alas, I am stuck in my ways as most of us are.

For the most part, I take a vast amount of pleasure in planning what I eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and the thousands of snacks in-between. I enjoy writing out grocery lists, thinking about the origins or recipes, why I like certain foods and not others. I think a lot about my mother and my grandmother and what they might have liked to make and eat in their kitchens when they were 26. I think about the food I ate as a child, the recipes I’ve fucked up royally, the meals that drive me insane to make, you know the ones I mean: the ones that take 3 hours instead of 2, and you’ve already listed to too many This American Life episodes for evening and so you pray for the moment when that buzzer on the oven buzzes and it’s all over and you can go to bed.  

It’s all very precise and accurate – this stream of thought and preparation. It’s rooted in something emotional and it is all about comfort. People tend to think that in association with food, the word “comfort” signifies things like meatloaf, mashed potatoes, sweet corn, southern cooking, something your mother made and so on. For me, comfort is much more about the process – the working through my Rolodex of recipes, the moments I made them, the people who taught them to me, and trajectory for my evening.

I wish I had the stamina to spend every night of my life cooking up something that took hours to make, something which required a real labor of love to come into fruition. But considering how much I love re-watching television shows I’ve already seen, shopping for expensive tights online, and researching articles on the Duggars/Ebola/Maine apartments for rent, I just don’t have the time and, the mindset. Instead, I space it out –I make one big thing, one thing I’ve never made, one things that might take me all night to make and then for the rest of the week I tend to fall back on a few favorites: poached egg over toasted bread with pistachio pesto, massaged kale with roasted pine nuts and chunks of lemon and parmesan, zucchini fritters with sour cream and chives, roasted tomato soup with basil, and anything on toast, really.

So I’m not a chef – I can’t make anything too complicated, I don’t even chop things properly, but I do so love the sense of memory and thought and the pleasure cooking gives me. It’s part of it I suppose, le living.

For your summer shin dig:
http://tape.ly/summershindig

This, and the last minute, loud and clear is a good way to start a Wednesday.

(Source: Spotify)

If you know me, you know I love Maine. It is where I’m from, my favorite place on earth, it is the heart and soul of my being and I’d like to keep it that way. Recently while researching an idea for a new screenplay, I stumbled upon these images in the Time LightBox by Steven Rubin.

To me – these photographs are the epitome of the Maine I grew up with and have come to know through my own family’s history: rural, bizarre, welcoming, hardworking, tough, funny, creative and desolate. There is a fundamental link between the ups and downs of life –the good and the bad, and these images explore that theme and then some. No one is ever solely happy or solely sad. Things ebb and flow and that is to be expected. In Maine we “chop wood and carry water”, we don’t complain and true Mainers don’t expect their “bread to be buttered on both sides”.

The duality and complexity of life is what gets me– I tend to gravitate towards things that reflect on how hard life is sometimes, but still values the beautiful things that pop up and come about when living a real life, one of grit and purpose and honesty.

My favorite photograph is the one of the little girl in the back of the truck, Liza and Uncle Kendall on the way to the swimming hole, 1990. It acts as a punctum (see below), striking me with numerous complicated feelings, feelings about Maine and my family and history and poverty and personal joy. It almost evades language – something else is communicated here and I can’t quite put my finger on it.  

Punctum and Camera Lucida

You could do a few things with your weekend: 
1. You could clean your room, in your birthday suit. 
2. You could read a book, on a train, headed to a place you’ve never been but always wanted to see. 
3. You could make homemade jam, a jamboree, marmalade, lemon preserves. 
4. You could spend some quality time with someone you love. Or build sand castles with someone you don’t. 
5. You could practice your pout and put it to good use. 
Whatever you do, enjoy. 
Oh hello again. It’s me. I haven’t done much since the last time we spoke, other than eat Cheese-Its and day dream about owning a puppy/cheese farm. 
How have you been? Well, I hope. Maybe you’ve bought a new pair of shoes since the last time we met, or you are trying out a new fruity perfume, listening to a new band, giving Vegan-ism a go. Whatever it is, I hope you’re happy and healthy and embracing spring and drinking cocktails on rooftops. 
The weather is finally getting warmer in New York. Tulips are popping up as if on cue and people are starting to dine outside more, making the walk through my neighborhood enjoyable. Strolling past the brownstones, the smell of coffee grinds, salty bagels, lavender scones filters through the air — frequently driving me into shops to purchase a sweet treat or afternoon pick-me-up. 
One of my favorite springtime habits is to look forward to summer, to plan ahead and “get it together”. Lists and lists of things to do, places to eat, people to see and experiences to have fill my journal, my notebooks, scrap paper in my purse. A word that often graces these pages every year is “swim”, and the goal is to do it as much as possible. 
As a kid, one of my favorite things about camp was Free Swim. I thrived in the water and lived for that very first dive — the one where my skin was hot from an afternoon of sunbathing, where my nails were coated in dirt and body tired from running around outside. The one where the water would wash away the day’s stress and fatigue with a quick brush of silky coolness, the underwater silence ushering out all sounds, if only just for a moment. 
Swimming, for me, is like a re-birth, a renewal — as cheesy at that sounds. We spend so much time connecting to one another, talking, moving, working that it feels so unique and utterly special to just close that all out, shut it off. Under water we are weightless, and the worries and never-ending stream of emails, complaints, texts, calls just slip away, for a brief second. 
So, here is to welcoming back this blog (again), and to you, for coming back (again) to read all things, anything (s) I might have to say, and to spring, summer and that first dive of the season. 

Photographs and poem above: 1, 2, and 3: me, age 7, under water.
Poem

Oh hello again. It’s me. I haven’t done much since the last time we spoke, other than eat Cheese-Its and day dream about owning a puppy/cheese farm. 

How have you been? Well, I hope. Maybe you’ve bought a new pair of shoes since the last time we met, or you are trying out a new fruity perfume, listening to a new band, giving Vegan-ism a go. Whatever it is, I hope you’re happy and healthy and embracing spring and drinking cocktails on rooftops. 

The weather is finally getting warmer in New York. Tulips are popping up as if on cue and people are starting to dine outside more, making the walk through my neighborhood enjoyable. Strolling past the brownstones, the smell of coffee grinds, salty bagels, lavender scones filters through the air — frequently driving me into shops to purchase a sweet treat or afternoon pick-me-up. 

One of my favorite springtime habits is to look forward to summer, to plan ahead and “get it together”. Lists and lists of things to do, places to eat, people to see and experiences to have fill my journal, my notebooks, scrap paper in my purse. A word that often graces these pages every year is “swim”, and the goal is to do it as much as possible. 

As a kid, one of my favorite things about camp was Free Swim. I thrived in the water and lived for that very first dive — the one where my skin was hot from an afternoon of sunbathing, where my nails were coated in dirt and body tired from running around outside. The one where the water would wash away the day’s stress and fatigue with a quick brush of silky coolness, the underwater silence ushering out all sounds, if only just for a moment. 

Swimming, for me, is like a re-birth, a renewal — as cheesy at that sounds. We spend so much time connecting to one another, talking, moving, working that it feels so unique and utterly special to just close that all out, shut it off. Under water we are weightless, and the worries and never-ending stream of emails, complaints, texts, calls just slip away, for a brief second. 

So, here is to welcoming back this blog (again), and to you, for coming back (again) to read all things, anything (s) I might have to say, and to spring, summer and that first dive of the season. 

Photographs and poem above: 1, 2, and 3: me, age 7, under water.

Poem

Someone asked me the other day if I have a favorite word. The question both amused and stumped me. At the time I tried to call forth a word from the deep parts of my brain, the back of my tongue, to whisper out, to share, to answer with. But I couldn’t think of one word that I consider to be my favorite.
Instead, I was overwhelmed with words I love, words in other languages, names of foods, babies, foreign countries, types of liquor and cake and so on. It didn’t seem fair to give the prestigious title of “favorite” to just one of them. I didn’t have an answer.
A few days later, I thought about the question on my subway ride home, climbing up the stairs to my apartment, reading in bed. Words and syllables filled my brain as I made my way past the city lights and skyscrapers, past the bins of trash and hordes of people. 
It was of course, this question, that inspired me to start yet another weekly addition to this blog, this time, le parole (the words, in Italian). This addition may be less interesting to some and more interesting to others. It may not be as put together and will certainly be more conceptual.
Today’s feature is the word ebullience. It is a lovely word, one that rolls off the tongue with the tiniest hint of a pout.
To me, the word sounds like a fancy restaurant in Spain, the twist of a French silk scarf, the sound of the air settling after it rains, the quiet ringing in one’s ears after the final note of a Broadway show. It is graceful and expresses happiness with every vowel and consonant. It is a pleasure to say. 

Images: 1, 2 and the best of all, 3

Someone asked me the other day if I have a favorite word. The question both amused and stumped me. At the time I tried to call forth a word from the deep parts of my brain, the back of my tongue, to whisper out, to share, to answer with. But I couldn’t think of one word that I consider to be my favorite.

Instead, I was overwhelmed with words I love, words in other languages, names of foods, babies, foreign countries, types of liquor and cake and so on. It didn’t seem fair to give the prestigious title of “favorite” to just one of them. I didn’t have an answer.

A few days later, I thought about the question on my subway ride home, climbing up the stairs to my apartment, reading in bed. Words and syllables filled my brain as I made my way past the city lights and skyscrapers, past the bins of trash and hordes of people. 

It was of course, this question, that inspired me to start yet another weekly addition to this blog, this time, le parole (the words, in Italian). This addition may be less interesting to some and more interesting to others. It may not be as put together and will certainly be more conceptual.

Today’s feature is the word ebullience. It is a lovely word, one that rolls off the tongue with the tiniest hint of a pout.

To me, the word sounds like a fancy restaurant in Spain, the twist of a French silk scarf, the sound of the air settling after it rains, the quiet ringing in one’s ears after the final note of a Broadway show. It is graceful and expresses happiness with every vowel and consonant. It is a pleasure to say. 

Images: 1, 2 and the best of all, 3

I love a lot of ladies. For starters, I love my Mom. She’s my favorite human. In addition to that, I love my childhood friends, Liz, Stephanie and Maya. I love my step-mother, Wendy. I love ladies who lunch, and brunch and talk about politics. I love ladies that wear cool hats and have really strange looking coats, and who walk the streets of Brooklyn. I love ladies who know what they want and order it at a cake shop (“I’ll have one of everything please. Yes, it’s for one.”). I love historical ladies. I love ladies who filibuster. I love ladies that cook, walk marathons (yes, walk), design handbags, and write mystery novels.(But I DO NOT love ladies who exhale way too loudly in yoga class). 
And so, with all that love I thought I’d start a weekly “column” or gathering or showcasing of the ladies that I love. Here is today’s group (a very special one indeed).
Kathleen Bennie. I have known Kathleen my entire life. I met her on the day that I was born and I try to call her every morning to ask her what she had for breakfast (usually French toast or a toasted fish sandwich, these days). She is the strongest woman I know, and by far the most intelligent person I’ve ever come across in my twenty-four years. Her collection of books and wealth of knowledge are inspiring—if not completely intimidating. She refuses to put up with disrespectful and ill-mannered people—a trait she has graciously passed along to me. She is gentle and kind and loving in the most honest way. And she makes the most wonderful scrambled eggs, macaroni and cheese and cups of tea. I know that I am lucky, in so many ways, but I feel even more lucky and grateful that I got to grow up with a grandmother like Kathleen. She is someone that I loved from the moment I met her, and a person I will try to emulate as I grow older. She’s the greatest there is. Truly.
Julia Child. This one is a tad cliché, but then again, I can’t really see a world in which a person doesn’t love Julia Child; everyone loves Julia Child. With her infectious laugh, her unapologetic attitude and delectable recipes, love for her overflows from kitchens and homes around the world. I first learned of Julia and Mastering the Art of French Cooking in college, when I was still eating from the salad bar and stale boxes of cereal. The summer of my sophomore year, I was an intern at a local newspaper and I worked closely with the food editor, expanding my palette and widening my waistline. Julia’s name was thrown around a lot, and it was her recipe for Potato Leek soup with which I first impressed friends at an intimate summer party. A few years and a new address later, Julia and her recipes have followed me to Brooklyn. I keep her close by—for I know who to turn to when I need to cook for a dinner party, console a friend with a comforting dish or make a meal that will remind me just why I love food—and Julia, so much.   

Jane Campion. More people may know who Jane Campion is now that her new series, Top of the Lake, is available for streaming on Netflix. But I have loved her for at least a few years prior to the new show. The first Campion film I saw was The Piano, which sparked in me a love and fever for her work and dialogue. I respect her films enormously, and enjoy watching them as they usually have a component of mystery, of passion, of female desire that I find particularly curious and realistic. It is as if Campion examines not just what her characters think, but how they think, delving into the world of the human psyche, particularly the female psyche. Top of the Lake, which stars Mad Men’s Elizabeth Moss, is bold and stylistic and interesting and extremely compelling—I watched it in a weekend and have recently begun re-watching it. It’s worth the time you will spend in your bedroom, huddled under a pile of blankets, ignoring all calls and eating copious amounts of Annie’s mac n’ cheese. 

I love a lot of ladies. For starters, I love my Mom. She’s my favorite human. In addition to that, I love my childhood friends, Liz, Stephanie and Maya. I love my step-mother, Wendy. I love ladies who lunch, and brunch and talk about politics. I love ladies that wear cool hats and have really strange looking coats, and who walk the streets of Brooklyn. I love ladies who know what they want and order it at a cake shop (“I’ll have one of everything please. Yes, it’s for one.”). I love historical ladies. I love ladies who filibuster. I love ladies that cook, walk marathons (yes, walk), design handbags, and write mystery novels.(But I DO NOT love ladies who exhale way too loudly in yoga class). 

And so, with all that love I thought I’d start a weekly “column” or gathering or showcasing of the ladies that I love. Here is today’s group (a very special one indeed).

Kathleen Bennie. I have known Kathleen my entire life. I met her on the day that I was born and I try to call her every morning to ask her what she had for breakfast (usually French toast or a toasted fish sandwich, these days). She is the strongest woman I know, and by far the most intelligent person I’ve ever come across in my twenty-four years. Her collection of books and wealth of knowledge are inspiring—if not completely intimidating. She refuses to put up with disrespectful and ill-mannered people—a trait she has graciously passed along to me. She is gentle and kind and loving in the most honest way. And she makes the most wonderful scrambled eggs, macaroni and cheese and cups of tea. I know that I am lucky, in so many ways, but I feel even more lucky and grateful that I got to grow up with a grandmother like Kathleen. She is someone that I loved from the moment I met her, and a person I will try to emulate as I grow older. She’s the greatest there is. Truly.

Julia Child. This one is a tad cliché, but then again, I can’t really see a world in which a person doesn’t love Julia Child; everyone loves Julia Child. With her infectious laugh, her unapologetic attitude and delectable recipes, love for her overflows from kitchens and homes around the world. I first learned of Julia and Mastering the Art of French Cooking in college, when I was still eating from the salad bar and stale boxes of cereal. The summer of my sophomore year, I was an intern at a local newspaper and I worked closely with the food editor, expanding my palette and widening my waistline. Julia’s name was thrown around a lot, and it was her recipe for Potato Leek soup with which I first impressed friends at an intimate summer party. A few years and a new address later, Julia and her recipes have followed me to Brooklyn. I keep her close by—for I know who to turn to when I need to cook for a dinner party, console a friend with a comforting dish or make a meal that will remind me just why I love food—and Julia, so much.   

Jane Campion. More people may know who Jane Campion is now that her new series, Top of the Lake, is available for streaming on Netflix. But I have loved her for at least a few years prior to the new show. The first Campion film I saw was The Piano, which sparked in me a love and fever for her work and dialogue. I respect her films enormously, and enjoy watching them as they usually have a component of mystery, of passion, of female desire that I find particularly curious and realistic. It is as if Campion examines not just what her characters think, but how they think, delving into the world of the human psyche, particularly the female psyche. Top of the Lake, which stars Mad Men’s Elizabeth Moss, is bold and stylistic and interesting and extremely compelling—I watched it in a weekend and have recently begun re-watching it. It’s worth the time you will spend in your bedroom, huddled under a pile of blankets, ignoring all calls and eating copious amounts of Annie’s mac n’ cheese.