David Foster Wallace on perfectionism

by April on April 21, 2013

“You know, the whole thing about perfectionism. The perfectionism is very dangerous, because of course if your fidelity to perfectionism is too high, you never do anything. …It’s actually kind of tragic because it means you sacrifice how gorgeous and perfect it is in your head for what it really is.”

–David Foster Wallace, critic and author of Infinite Jest

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The Peace of Wild Things

by April on October 25, 2012

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

 —Wendall Berry

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French fashion icon Lou Doillon, half-sister to Charlotte Gainsbourg (both daughters of Jane Birkin) has released a single. J’adore ça!

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The mean reds

by April on June 4, 2012

Holly: Listen, you know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul: The mean reds? You mean like the blues?
Holly: No, the blues are because you’re getting fat or because it’s been raining too long. You’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

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Undeveloped

by April on May 6, 2012

“I felt like an undeveloped photograph that he was printing, my image rising to the surface under his gaze.”
―Janet Fitch, White Oleander

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Self-portrait

by April on January 14, 2012

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Same language

by April on January 13, 2012

When I was a toddler, we moved to the West Texas desert, where we lived for more than a year. Mom decided it was no place to raise a child, so we abandoned volcanic cliffs for green hills. Dad says the moment my Mamá (the name I call her because it’s what my mother calls her) and I laid eyes on each other, I went running for her arms. “Without a word,” he says.

Most of the time we aren’t speaking the same language. When she taught me how to make tortillas, her instructions came in Spanish, my questions in English. A neighbor started to translate for me. “No,” said Mamá, “ella entiende.”

I saw a film shot in the 50s by my great uncle. Mom remembers being there. A car crashed into Lady Bird Lake, an oasis devoid of the hike and bike trails that corral it in today. The news of it was as big as a story ever got, and everyone came to see the car as it was pulled from the water. My mom in her doll dress and curls. Mamá, with her furrowed brow.

One of several sisters, her mother died when she was 14, and her father took her out of eighth grade for a hard life on the farm. Then she grew up, then she married my grandfather. A great man by all accounts, a proud father of five boys and one girl. A savvy businessman with a head for real estate, auto mechanics, and antiques. A man who would pass away, quite unexpectedly, when his youngest was just five years old.

Mamá had a nervous breakdown.

Decades later, two sons would be taken by cancer. Each of her sisters, one by one, went before her. “Now I’m all alone,” she tells me. “I’m the only one.”

Photos of us fill up her walls and shelves, rows of framed smiles and weathered portraits. We spend one afternoon helping her make space for more. “She prays for all of them,” says my aunt, referring to all of us.

At 92, she’s out of sorts more and more. The neighbors plot against her, and her husband refuses to call the police. She’s sad; her body aches; she won’t wear her hearing aid. Always complimentary of my curls, one day she tells me, “Usually your hair is beautiful, but today it’s messy.” I smile at my mom, who says, “Now you know how I feel!” Mamá is already off to get her purse so we can go to the fabric store.

She’s trying to give me her things — photos, tea cups, china. I’ll take them to ease her mind, knowing I already have

A revolving door on Saturday mornings, crowded kitchen and pan dulce

The way my smile can coax hers, right before she covers her mouth

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Lotus

by April on January 8, 2012

You’re a lotus in the mud,
you said, as though a lotus
would live anywhere else

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Empty Threat

by April on January 6, 2012

What threatened to kill
Blew down the door
Veritas liberabit vos

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Undeserved

by April on November 11, 2011

What never ceases to amaze

What always feels like the most undeserved surprise

Is how you love me

Even when I wouldn’t, if I were you

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