Something I thought about:
- I’ve been thinking about what writing I want to do next, and the first two pieces on the list are fairly straightforward, but the third took me by surprise — I think it’s both more difficult and more interesting than what I’d been considering before. I need to push at it a bit and start to experiment to see what’s there. It’s exciting and daunting, and it feels right.
Something I did:
- An appalling amount of paperwork to close things out in Switzerland and set things up in the US — but I was able to cross so many things off of the list!
- Many errands
- Snuck off to the lake one evening
- Had a semi-spontaneous get-together with friends — these little breaks have been so necessary given the heaviness and work of wrapping up over a decade of life here
Something I read:
- My friend Cathy’s short story, which placed second in a Pangyrus fiction competition!
- A Flat Place: Moving Through Empty Landscapes, Naming Complex Trauma by Noreen Masud — this was a tough read at times (I mean, the title provides a content warning!) but really got my brain sparking.
- This was a podcast, but Preet Bharara's interview with sports writer Sally Jenkins was great – many connections between coaching, education, and management. I liked the points about never offering criticism without offering concrete suggestions for improvement and to keep any critiques as impersonal as possible. I don't know how much my approach comes from my two decades of dance training, but I always try to focus on the work and what we need to do to get where we want it to go. This came up during my dissertation process, as well – with every round of feedback, my advisor would do a temperature check, and I'd always respond, "It's just work. I can do the work, and I like the work – I just need to know where to focus my attention."
- The Rolling Stone profile of Janelle Monáe whose music I've loved since her first album. I love this idea of "fertilizer hours."
Janelle has worked to build about an hour and a half of guitar practice into her daily routine, which goes something like this: First thing in the morning, she avoids her phone, which she keeps by her bedside, though she “would prefer to keep it in the toilet.” Then, she dives into what she calls her “fertilizer hours.”
“I’m working out between 9:30 a.m. and 10:30, somewhere between that, because I’m going to bed at 1:00 or 2:00 if I’m really locked in,” she says. She often listens to Spotify’s playlist of rap by women, Feeling Myself, while she does full-body, high-intensity interval training. Next, she practices guitar, then eats around noon, then practices piano for 45 minutes. After that, she pencils in some time to make something beautiful: “I don’t care if it’s me doodling. Making things brings me purpose.”