|Jun 14|| 6|
Hey you. I’m sitting at my balcony blessed with a breeze and bright sky, while lost in my scribbled notes. What I thought was relevant and urgent 2 days ago, is now trivial and repetitive.
Every week, I think all’s well, until Sunday, the day I’m challenged to lay my thoughts on the screen, partly a record of my journey, partly communication, and partly to drop my voice into the ocean of dialogues makes up the sound of our time.
It’s scary seeing my thoughts in words. Excuse me, who is this person?
To make her strong, I pulled threads tight. So tight, she looks like she has a stiff neck. Seeing her tense up stresses me out too. I unknotted some stitches, snip them off, thread looser.
So much red on her back. Red traces of where the needle passed. I liked it when I did it. Felt emotionally real.
Today I looked at it. It’s gory. How much has she been through to come together. Threads built over the same spot over and over. So much red.
But when she turns around she make me laugh.
I’ve been having trouble with this fish. I started giving her fins and skin after staring at her for a few months. She was pale. Now she is bright. Is she these colours or is she reflecting the environment or does the environment become her?
It’s been 4 months since I last used public transport. I’ve been walking and cycling everywhere. The radius of my physical reach has shrunken.
Most of the time, I am inside a unit, inside a building, inside an estate, on the street, among other places people live.
Initially, I stayed. Then, I started walking out of the door whenever neighbour/s decide/s to broadcast their activity through the thin walls.
I now have a routine. Keys, phone, socks, hat, mask, sanitiser, open door, wear shoes, lock door, umbrella.
I run down the stairs, across the driveway, into the maze of residential area.
Cat on the wall looks away. Cat on the car hisses. Cat under the railing meows. Cat emerges from a house under construction, dashes in front of a car and head butts another cat.
I thought people looked at me funny, because that isn’t my estate.
Eventually, I can tell the numerous white cats apart by the scruff or the eye. People I thought of as unfriendly started saying hi and smile and nod. A chain smoking elderly pacing outside his corner house, whom I’ve avoided out of fear, started telling me about the frequent cat fights and feeding time.
The area in which I feel at ease has expanded beyond the four walls of my flat, beyond the estate which it sits in, into the wider part of the streets, into the neighbourhood, and the one beyond, wherever my feet take me.
I no longer worry about getting home on time. I no longer have an “exercise schedule”. I go when the birds call.
And excerpt from Kahlil Gibran’s On houses.
Read the rest of On Houses.
Anti-recommendation recommended read
Anti racist reading lists and what are they for
This article puts into words my negative sentiment towards the numerous books, music, brands etc recommendation.
Immersing in the content set in different contexts should be the goal. The problem was a segregation of what needs no taxonomy to begin with? It is through seeing things, people, nature, as a whole, that will help us see the integration, that each individual, no matter the colour, class or nationality is but a speck in this universe. We have all been serendipitously dropped onto this earth, this home.
People, nature, we’re all connected.
The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf
Talking about one interconnected humanity that binds us, I have to mention this biography of Alexander von Humbolt.
He pioneered the idea that nature is a unified whole, and should not and cannot be understood for its parts. And the very beginning of the idea of climate change. I enjoyed reading about this unconventional man and the adventures he led himself into.
Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
Finished reading this a fortnight ago, I liked the book, very much, still do. But I can’t quite say what or why. It engages my imagination as well as emotion. It is the author’s tribute to her grandfather who fought against Native dispossession.
It would not be out of place in an anti-racist read list, except—following the logic I’ve just expressed on the matter—it would not do the book justice. In the book are a few intertwining stories, well written, engaging, emotionally complex, crafting the scene and character I instantly cared about. One of my recent fav reads.
The Visiting Privilege by Joy Williams
I read one every morning and one every night and am only a third through this collection of 4 dozen short stories. I’m not a fan of short form, usually.
Here, most stories do not resolve. There isn’t even much plot. When I started with one story I wanted to finish it so to follow the character in the snippet of time. A visiting privilege indeed. It expands my understanding, and imagination, and hopefully shrink my biases, about different people by getting to know them.
So much more interesting reads I want to share with you this week but I’ve gotta attend to my lasagna experiment. Nothing fancy with construction, nor did I make the pasta.
I’m playing with the sauces with no recipe.
In two parts: red & white
Veganese (bolognese) sauce
onions, celery, carrots, garlic, adzuki beans, black soy beans, willow mushrooms, tomatoes
diary-free egg-free Béchamel, ricotta, hybrid sauce thing
firm tofu, black salt, olive oil, nutritional yeast, aqua faba, soy milk
Layer repeat repeat repeat done.
Gotta run to the oven now. Fingers crossed, mind opened, marn.
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We can be, we will be, we are mighty.