Issue #85: A Much-Needed Springtime Renewal
Journaled reflections and flower-pressed cookies.
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📺 “Beef” on Netflix: This A24-produced comedy starring Ali Wong and Steven Yeun begins with a road rage incident outside of a Home Depot. What makes the show so addictive, however, has nothing to do with the incident itself, or the escalating lengths each character goes to in search of revenge. It’s the compassionate way it shows the myriad daily stressors that make them so dysregulated in the first place. The show is incredibly funny while exploring serious and existential themes. I loved it so much I binged the entire thing during a long layover and the following flight on Sunday.
📚 You Could Make This Place Beautiful by Maggie Smith: When Maggie Smith published her poem “Good Bones” in 2015, it went viral. You may remember the opening line, “Life is short, though I keep this from my children.” Behind the scenes, her marriage was unraveling. '“It’s a mistake to think of one’s life as a plot,” she writes in her memoir, “but there’s foreshadowing everywhere.” A few years later, she would discover a postcard her husband wrote to the woman he was having an affair with. Her memoir, out today, is peppered with keen and vulnerable observations on her own divorce, marriage, writing, and the things that lend themselves to poetry. P.S. You can read my interview with Maggie below! I loved this share, “In my case, out of a crisis—the end of my marriage—came a new understanding, a new fortitude, about who I am as a person, a writer, a mother.”
📱 “Notes from a Stranger” Series: ICU nurse Hunter Prosper proves that every person has a story in this incredibly charming video series. Recent examples include, “What was the name of your first love and why did you fall in love?” and “What was the name of your greatest love?” But even the questions seemingly unrelated to the romantic, like, “What’s something you didn’t say that you wish you did?” end up leading back to love and heartbreak. A rare, honest find worth following. (Thank you to my friend, Mayanka, who brought these Reels to my attention when she shared them on her own Instagram!).
My journal is perched against my knees, my pen fighting the pages the afternoon breeze keeps threatening to lift. Just beyond a hedge of flowering bougainvillea, I can see the same wind creating white-crested waves on Atitlán, a volcano-rimmed lake that is itself a caldera.
Though I’ll be in Portland by the time this issue goes live, at the time I’m writing, I’ve been in Guatemala for a week, skipping class to attend my cousin’s wedding and stay at a rented house with her new husband and twenty of their friends. It’s been a whirlwind of introductions, conversations that flow effortlessly from Spanish to English and back, and late nights sipping cool beer and warm mezcal. On this afternoon, I’ve opted out of a boat trip to Santiago, a town known for its textiles, to stay at the house alone. Without the constant chatter, I realize I can hear the lake’s small waves striking the pebble-lined shore.
Ever since my husband and I separated nine months ago, it’s felt like the ground I walk on is made of the same tiny rocks, which shift with every step. I can go from stable to sinking with a single footprint. My life has felt so temporary and unstable that often, all I can do is look down at my feet to make sure I don’t trip. To confirm I’m still walking.
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