I have two books for you this round. I recently finished, Arbitrary Stupid Goal, by Tamara Shopsin, which is a meandering love story to New York, to her family, and to the waning idea of neighborhood and community. I also really enjoyed, Okay Fine Whatever, by Courtenay Hameister, in which she embarks upon a self-designed course of immersion therapy to overcome her anxieties. Session w/a professional cuddler? Sensory deprivation tank? 28 first dates? Okay, fine, whatever. This book made me guffaw! (yes, I meant to say guffaw!!)
As I mentioned, it’s autumn and I’m totally susceptible to the back-to-school mode–new shoes, new notebooks, super nerdy planning of projects, making lists…I do it all. Thus I was delighted to see this article about paper plannersover on Wirecutter. If you have any desire to go analog, they’ve got your back.
At the New Yorker Story podcast, there’s a great reading and discussion of the Stuart Dybeck short story, Pet Milk, with Kate Walbert. What I loved learning…Dybeck started the story as a poem, it wasn’t working. He had the still life in his head; the table, oil cloth, radio and can of pet milk, but he was stuck. As soon as he imagined the grandmother, the story came alive. So, I took a fieldtrip to Portland Art Museum and sought a still life painting that might trigger a story for me. Here’s a link to the still life collection at the Tate Modern which you can explore for triggers of your own. How about this, or this, or, my favorite, this.
The newsletter is running long, so just a couple of quick notes here. First, I made this corn and seafood stew for dinner guests and it was so fricking delicious! Make it quick before the corn is gone. And, my neighbor is raving about this cookbook from Joshua McFadden, chef at Ava Gene’s in Portland. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.