things I’m reading

John Muir

I’ve been reading John Muir’s The Mountains of California for what seems like a very long time. I think it’s because there’s really no plot and only long descriptions of nature. The chapters are divided into sections like “The Glacier Lakes,” “The Glacier Meadows,” and “The Forests.” He really can go on and on about trees with such enthusiasm. His enthusiasm almost makes me feel a little guilty when his long sentences lull me to sleep or when I thumb ahead and think, Really? A whole chapter on squirrels? Is that really necessary?

For the most part, the book makes me want to see all these trees and meadows and snow and snow banners. There’s so much to be learned in nature that I miss by living in the city and a smoggy, billboard blasted, sometimes plastic, and too fast moving city at that. Which is why I’m reading Muir. Because if I read about nature, it’s almost like I’m experiencing nature. Almost and not at all.

Legs Get Led Astray

This week, Chloe Caldwell’s Legs Get Led Astray arrived in my mailbox. I arrived home late at night and figured I would read the book from start to finish but that did not happen. Her first essay was so full of energy and her voice came out so clear that the book inspired me. The rest of the night I was writing. You can purchase her book on her site. You also have an option of receiving a signed copy and personal letter with her collection of essays.

The Rumpus

Speaking of personal letters, did you know The Rumpus is killing it?

Dear Sugar is back from what seemed to me a very long hiatus. It seemed that way because, like many, I love her column. This time she writes about Monsters and Ghosts. I recommended this most recent column to my friend because it’s good one for someone in active recovery or who is healing. I told him I cried during the butter part and he said he cried during that part and before it and after it. My friend says he is a crybaby and I say I am a sap. We’re a good match.

Steve Almond has an amazing series of essays titled This Week in Greed. He has a beautiful way of interweaving the personal with the political. Heart wrenching, heartfelt, combining indignation and tenderness, the column provides me with relief.  The most recent essay is the Money Shot and a must must read of the series is To Behave Like the Fallen World.

Three recently Rumpus published personal essays: Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying, What They See, and Flesh and Bones. I enjoyed reading Flesh and Bones because there’s a lot of denial in my life about the body and there’s a lot of healing and personal work that I do and am doing to not delude myself, to create clarity. There’s a particular dark humor to the essay as well. The language is lyrical in Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying and almost feels to me like a personal essay and prose poem. It explores themes of death and rebirth as well as motherhood.

Jason Novak often illustrates Rumpus essays and I loved his artwork for Isaac Fitzgerald’s piece “In Love in San Francisco.”

More

I’m also reading random essays from The Essential Feminist Reader. The book was sitting on my shelf. I bought it at Stories a while ago. I’m kind of starved for feminist literature right now. I had a dream I was texting Bettina Aptheker about grandchildren. Which is supposed to show you how I need more feminism in my life.

Ben Marcus in Recommended Reading.

I’m rereading Thich Nhat Hanh’s The Art of Power.

I also loved this post from Early Recovery Blog. The post reminds me that sometimes the people we love and grew up with, the people we first knew and knew so intimately become strangers. The process of them becoming strangers, the present time happening of the distance and the awareness of the distance as it is happening can cause an ache, even when there’s acceptance and love for the relationship as it is.

The latest issue of Yoga International arrived in my mailbox. I just finished an essay about thyroid disease by Sara Gottfried, a doctor and yoga teacher, who offers an integrative approach to thyroid issues.

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