Showing posts from August, 2015

the demons of exhaustion: kate gale and white sloppiness

1. first, a bit about MEEEE I’m starting this post a little after 5 am; I’ve already been up for an hour with Dash, who is teething or mildly hungry or maybe just needs to pontificate. His new thing is closing his eyes and waving his arms while shouting, “Ah blah blah wah!” I think he may be doing an impression of me. My point is I know a thing or two about being a tired white person. The past week included mind-numbingly boring yet crazy-making home repairs that resulted in me doing three solid hours of dusting; lots of emotional work stress on AK’s end; and an all-clear cancer check (woo!) that was front-loaded with a ton of anxiety and a margarita and a Klonopin and an emergency mini session with one of Homeboy’s therapists. (“I think I need a quick dose of some of that trauma-informed therapy I’m always writing grants about,” I emailed Theresa.) By yesterday afternoon I felt like I could happily sleep six hours, wake up, eat cereal and go back to sleep—and repeat thi

these boots were made for walkin’

In my ongoing, desperate attempt to find writing time in the midst of work and family time, I joined a parent-writers group online. This week one of the members, Hannah Shanks , offered this prompt: Tell us about one of your “little things”—a personal talisman, your daisy-print office supplies, your worry beads, your prayer shawl, your favorite mug, whatever grounds you to yourself and the wider world. Tell us about one of your touchstone items. How did it get to you? Why do you love it? How does it help you get through the day? Who gave it to you? What stories would it tell, if it could talk? One year my friend Meehan set a resolution to wear her favorite clothes more. She had a habit I recognized all too well, of wearing her meh clothes and “saving” her special stuff for special occasions. Inevitably, by the time a worthy occasion rolled around, the clothes she’d once loved too much to wear would be out of style. I love reading the Nostalgia column in Vogue because the w

straight outta scotland

1. brave hearts Earlier this week, Homeboy Industries hosted its second annual Global Homeboy Network , a gathering of like-minded organizations and Fr. Greg’s answer to those who say “Homeboy is amazing! Will you start one in our city?” (“We’re not the McDonalds of social justice organizations,” he always replies.) I.e., it would be presumptuous (not to mention financially unfeasible) to think that what works in L.A.—and, honestly, largely in East L.A.—would work everywhere. During our Morning Meetings, whenever the schedule is announced, Marvin from Tattoo Removal says that the machines will be going “all damn day.” Everyone choruses: “All damn day!” Except last year one of our machines broke and we had to cut back on hours, so sometimes Marvin would say “nine to one.” A muddled chorus of “nine to one!” and “half damn day” followed. Can you imagine an employee handbook for Homeboy Chicago (or wherever) explaining when and how to reply “all damn day”? (I im

the not-writing life

1. the trap I took a couple of weeks off from writing because life demanded it. That’s okay; I once thought having a kid might mean taking years off, and I was prepared to do it if I had to. But it wasn’t long before I was sad and irritable and making martyr-y, under-my-breath comments to AK. I try not to fetishize writing too much because it gets in the way of actually writing. I’m not one for fancy pens and pretty bookmarks, and I don’t go on about how much I love books in a general sense, because you wouldn’t talk about air that way, and writing is a little bit like air in my life. Or I want it to be. Or, when it goes away for a while, I feel like I can’t breathe. That sounds so dumb. I know for a fact that the world would be just fine if I never wrote another word, and the part of me that wants to put good things into the world questions whether my time wouldn’t be better spent ladling soup for the homeless. (There is a generic soup kitchen in my mind, where I imagine