Issue #111: A 'Before' Home Tour and My Plans for Every Room
Photos galore of my very own space.
Morning Person is a weekly newsletter packed with obsessively-curated recommendations and ideas—let’s get to it!
📚 Three very different books on motherhood: In Jean Kwok’s The Leftover Woman, Jasmine Yang arrives to New York from her rural Chinese village in search of her daughter who was taken from her at birth. It’s a thriller about unbreakable bonds that stands in contrast to Danish author Olga Ravn’s novel/essay collection My Work, which explores maternal ambivalence, both of which are out today. Daniel Clowes’, the graphic novelist who wrote “Ghost World,” latest work begins with a mother who throws herself into counterculture and abandons her daughter Monica in the process. Taken together, the genre-spanning novels confirm: There’s no one way to mother.
📺 “Bargain” on Paramount+: In a scene reminiscent of “Squid Game,” a man walks into a hotel room to meet a young woman he believes to be a high school girl selling her virginity. Moments later, he’s blindfolded in the same room, now full of people bidding on his organs, with surgeons on standby, ready to extract them. Just then, an earthquake sends the entire building into a heap of rubble. It’s terrifying, but also cinematic in a single, continuous long shot. The pure chaos and not-so-subtle social commentary make Woo-Sung Jeon’s six-part South Korean drama a quick and addictive watch, worth subscribing to yet another streaming service (the first episode is free if you want to try it out).
💿 Sufjan Stevens’ album ‘Javelin’: It’s difficult to imagine a more appropriate song than Sufjan’s haunting “Visions of Gideon,” for the final scene of Call Me By Your Name, which plays as Elio processes the loss of Oliver. The grief is palpable again, but much more personal, in Stevens’ latest album ‘Javelin,’ an ode to his late partner Evans Richardson IV who died in April of this year.
Other recommendations… I’m also hoping to catch up on “Reservation Dogs,” to be able to watch the third season, out last week, and eagerly waiting on a copy of Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward.
P.S. Paid subscribers should keep an eye out for a chat in the Substack app on Wednesday about our bookclub book Demon Copperhead. I’ve been reading it slowly, savoring the specificity of Barbara Kingsolver’s descriptions, “Even now, the smell of clothes gone rank in the washer takes me right back. That smell was our whole life.”
It’s only been a month since I moved into my house, but I felt at home the moment I stepped in. Walking among the staged furniture with my real estate agent, it just felt right, like it had been waiting for me. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s entirely my own, or the process of losing a home that helped me recognize the joy of having one, but I’ve never loved anywhere I’ve lived quite like this. There are so many elements of this house that feel uncannily reflective of my style and priorities, that most of the improvements I’ve made so far have been for safety or practicality.
Since adding in my furniture (mostly rugs, but they make a huge difference!) from my ex’s last week, my home has started to really take shape, as has my vision for the minimal design decisions I am so excited, but in no big rush, to implement. Looking back at photos of places I’ve lived, I can see the ways in which my style has evolved from trendy (see my Echo Park kitchen and living room, circa 2018, and my West Hollywood apartment) to minimalist. I enjoyed those homes, but I was often prioritizing how things looked instead of how they felt.
This time around, I want to make sure my home feels like 1) a personal sanctuary for rest, where I can ground and recharge between adventures and, 2) a welcoming space that brims with warmth, where my friends and family feel at home too. In short, I want this house to embody the name my mom gave it the first time she saw it, “It’s your Happy Landing.” That being said, I want to do so while buying as few things as possible—if you’ve followed my writing for a long time, you’ll likely recognize pieces that have traveled with me from every home I’ve ever lived in. Below is a current tour of my house, room by room, and the plans I have for it.
P.S. This is a long one, so you may need to read it in a browser to see the entire thing!
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