A friend shared this today and I thought, after a morning of mutual miscommunications and frustrations with work that are grinding down my heart, that its timing was kismet. I tend to believe we can express our experience and intent and love and heartache — everything — if we just use enough words, or the best, most fervently chiseled words. When maybe this is actually a time for letting go and just contenting myself with rhythms and quiet.
Guys, it’s time for a break from work and oppressively-hot-weather to tell you about the first time ever Butter Chicken I made last night and even though we didn’t eat until 9 pm and even though we were sweaty, crabby monsters, it was heaven and everything was ok soon after that.
#good food fixes everything
HR Sends Out Reminder Email About Not Scrawling ‘Revenge’ In Blood In Conference Room
“SPOKANE, WA—After the eighth such incident this year, Vista Consulting Partners human resources director Beth Shumaker sent out a company-wide email Thursday reminding employees not to scrawl the word “revenge” in blood across any surface in the conference room. “Most of you are already familiar with this rule, but just as a refresher, it’s directly against company policy for an employee to use blood to write ‘revenge’ on the conference room walls, door, or table,…”
When Chris told me you were out of the game with an ankle injury, I bellowed like a confused feral child. Do you hate me, Jamaal? Are you willfully scuttling this season to sabotage me? Is it because I did a bragging jig in the car because I was temporarily besting most of our league?
You were my first round pick, friend. A bastion of health, I read. ARE YOU TRYING TO BREAK MY HEART?
I read California this late summer. I kept putting it down and turning to Chris to say, “Edan is the real damn deal!” By which I meant I was predisposed toward this book because I like Edan and once drank tequila (was it tequila? Gin?) with her and told her friends inappropriate, overly-confessional stories. I like her as a person and a wife and a mother.
And I knew she was a great writer — that much is evident from her Tumblr and essays and novella. But lots of people are good at those things and to me, it’s a nearly impossible leap (from Runyon Canyon’s close-enough-to-being-mountains to the Matterhorn itself) to then become a storming force as a novelist. Do you know how rare that is? How hard?
But Edan is the real thing. She is that force. She is that novelist.
Her book just killed me. Literally, I feel a little concussed by how smart and deeply, darkly interesting it is. When we lived in Silverlake, there was a huge thicket of branches along the sidewalk one street over by the convenience store that sold us expired mini donuts and was henceforth known as Mold Mouth. If you slowed down at just the right moment or fortuitously bent to tie your shoes, you’d notice it wasn’t just brambles, it was an entrance to a little Middle Earthy home. A tangled cave in which a sleeping bag and cooking pot and old tennis shoes lined the dirt and no one was ever home in all the times I passed.
Reading California is like being jerked off the sunny, privileged sidewalk right into the loamy floor of that brambled home. Dark and dirty and foreign and feral in the truest way the heart is. In the truest way marriage is. That survival is.
From the economic infection of a country to a dreamy luddite intellectual utopia at Plank to domestic terrorism and secret civilizations and elitist corporate life rafts, this book is so thick with the unknown and moral ambiguity and intimate lies and perfectly invented history and stratums of conflict and duty and creepy what-ifs that lead to tangents of panicked day dreaming. And I can’t help but think of Edan sifting through her brain picking up these ideas like blood diamonds and stringing them all together and I am awed. Who has all these resources, all these possibilities, just lying about their minds?
What I am trying to say is that I probably would have enjoyed this book regardless, out of affection for its author. What I mean now is that if this book was written by my enemy, I would still demand you buy it and read it and pass it on.
Because this story stitches on, one row to the next, so effortlessly, with such unassuming purity, building to such narrative beauty. Because the characters are each their own tangled, complicated, broken bramble huts. Because it manifests a talent that catches in my throat and chokes me up a little. It is such a profound thing in writing, such an impossible thing in life, I want to build a little shrine to it.
Consider this a tiny shrine.
We meant to take it easier, find a shortish hike and head back to camp for leisure time. But our memory of Chicken Foot Lake toward the end of the Mosquito Flats Trail pulled us another six or seven miles and all along that stretch of ridiculously pristine mountain glory we talked and talked and forgot about our aching knees and the idea of rest. The cheddar and pear pie we’d had for late breakfast at Pie in the Sky (because they run out by noon; it really is that good) carried us until we broke out a lazy little lunch and a giant beer to split and fed pepitas to wild mouse / bunny hybrid animals and felt dirty and happy like you only can after days of wearing out your body. Back at camp, the moon was just this tiny finger nail clip over the range and all the stars had the night to themselves to howl out from the cosmos. “Is that the milky way?” we kept asking each other, because when was the last time we found darkness deep enough to see that? And when I’d wake up to pee in the middle of the night — that dreaded cold black walk to the woods when the whole world is silent and crouched, waiting — I’d stare up at them again. Thinking maybe I dreamed a few of the layers, a few of these quilts and nets and pools of lights tangled up into each other like headlights in some traffic jam, a million light years away.
A top five best things about camping = wearing whatever nutter combination of clothes you want. All day.