Archive for the ‘music’ Category
Active Child – Wilderness
We can begin to look at the word “wilderness” in several languages as lenses for insight into its meaning. In French, the word for wilderness is simply désert, which can mean both desert as we understand it – a dry, sandy, often vast expanse of inhospitable land – and more basically an uninhabited, uncivilized place in nature. At the root of this word is the Latin deserere – to forsake or abandon, from which we take the word “deserter.” With these definitions, we can read in the French conception of the word for wilderness a sense of damnation and sin perhaps attributable to the handling of the concept in Biblical texts (in English translations of which “desert” and “wilderness” are often used interchangeably). Yi-Fu Tuan writes: “In the Bible the term ‘wilderness’ brings to mind… a place of desolation, the unsown land frequented by demons; it is condemned by God.” He cites Jeremiah 25:38: “Their lands became a wilderness… because of [Yahweh’s] wrath,” and several instances in which God’s people are sent to the wilderness as punishment or must meet challenges to their faith in an environment where shaky footing holds both topographical and spiritual significance. However, as Tuan points out, inherent to the idea of the Biblical wilderness is the concept of a productive discipline: as discipulae, or followers, of God, humans must overcome challenges which ultimately “[enable] the contemplative Christian to see the Divine more clearly, unencumbered by the world” (Tuan, 110), lending to wilderness a purifying power so valued in ascetic Christian tradition. Here the idea of wilderness, through the lens of its French and Latin roots, suggests one of several interesting aporias: in naming wilderness as désert, we identify it as a forsaken place, when in fact, as followers of God, we are called in these moments of greatest darkness to accept His presence in our lives. Thus the word désert encompasses an important Biblical theme of man’s constant struggle against the doubt that presents a constant challenge to faith.
The English “wilderness” is equally saturated with meaning. The word’s roots are in the Old English wildeornes, or literally, the place where wild deer reside. This definition appears less qualitative than the French, as it seems on the surface to be an observation-based description of the fauna present in this type of environment. But it is in “wild” rather than in “deer” that we can discern man’s clearest fingerprints. “Wild” is a word that can exist only in contrast to “tame” – as Tuan puts it, “an environmental value requires its antithesis for definition” – and thus we can mark as simultaneous its birth as a concept and our domestication of our environs. Tuan provides a thoughtful analysis applicable to the ways in which wilderness developed in the mind of the Romantics, “at the back of [whose] appreciation for nature is the privilege and wealth of the city.” He makes it clear that wilderness functions as a romantic ideal only in contrast with the refined world, and that it is “romantic in the sense that it is far removed from any real understanding of nature”. Mirroring the antithesis central to defining “wilderness” is the paradox of our projected meaning upon it. We find wilderness fascinating because of its untouched, savage quality, its self-reliance and utter lack of concern for human affairs; yet wilderness as a concept can exist only in relation to human civilization. Thus, it is clear that as an intellectual construct, “wilderness” is a key to understanding the spaces we demarcate to satisfy certain human needs for momentary loss of control. One might say that it is the fulfillment of man’s desire to feel robbed of power within the controlled environment of his own capacity to dictate the boundaries of his strength.
The word “wilderness” is a testament to the reflexive, self-dependent quality of language; a reminder that human discourse is a fragile structure of carefully assembled significance. We can locate the aporia intrinsic to the word “wild” in the contrast between the romantic freedom at the center of its meaning to us to us and the reality of its dependence upon juxtaposition with another human construct – civilization – to exist. This contradiction highlights the ways in which language is symptomatic of the classification systems that we create to define our world, and in turn to the delicacy of these synthetic partitions. It would not be outrageous to posit that classifications make us comfortable by maintaining a set distance between us and our world, and that in the same way the word “wilderness” maintains its romance due to the distance it keeps between itself and civilization, its established antithesis. These distances contribute a great deal to the functionality of language as a science and an art. Manmade systems of classifications are woven as meticulously as a spider’s web, each thread stretching towards the intersection with another that locates its essence. It is in these spaces – in distances between the moments of fastening that give us meaning – that language allows us mental expanses in which to create romance. In illuminating the way that we have constructed language to fulfill our needs both to classify and to indulge in mystery, “wilderness” points to a deep-seated human desire to protect the romance of enigma, whether it be spiritual or environmental, in a world we continue to demystify with codification.
Joanna Newsom – Good Intentions Paving Company
In an article on This Recording nominating fifty songs as the best so far of 2010, Danish Aziz and Britney Heredia described recent music, in going through the fundamental creative process of taking elements from older work and combining them to produce something new, as developing by heterosis, a term used in genetics to mean selective breeding that produces a genetically superior offspring. Their assessment of the direction in which music is heading seems to revolve around the idea that surges in the amount of music being produced have not only necessarily expanded the variety of music available to us, but also that new music works very deliberately to break down boundaries of genre, to the point that “we say more now by what we don’t listen to than what we do.” All of this is based in optimism, indicated by the very definition of the word “heterosis”, which implies the superiority of the most recent generation to all of the preceding.
I chose a song for this post that I not only like a lot, but which I think is a pretty prime example of what the writers for This Recording meant by musical heterosis. Joanna Newsom is a harpist, pianist, and singer-songwriter whose work is described in Wire Magazine as having a certain sort of creative opulence, a freedom recalling that of literature of the post-romantic era, stemming from a liberty she allows herself in composing songs “from the ground up, with the knowledge that they were going to be long.” She continues, “The pacing of the ideas, the rate at which the ideas develop and unfold, it was all going to be different, because the songs were going to be long, from the first line I wrote.” Newsom also makes use of polyrhythm, common to sub-Saharan African music, certain classical music, and jazz, in her compositions.
I’ve put together a little playlist of music I think shows the way in which this particular song is a hybrid, if not a heterosis, of other types of music. Her lyrical vocal range and relaxed piano chords echo Joni Mitchell, while the nasal quaver of her voice is somewhere between Neil Young, Donovan’s chilling shiver and forward drive in the hit “Hurdy Gurdy Man”, and classic American bluegrass and country groups like the Carter Family. The rhythm has the same energetic complexity and propulsion, augmented by the almost percussive quality of her vibrato, as Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Judy Blue Eyes” or Love’s “Alone Again Or”. Other influences to listen for are Joan Baez and Dolly Parton.
The word “heterosis” has me thinking about the ways in which we define music today, and specifically about modern music journalism. It seems like quite a bold statement to claim that today’s music is actually a finer product than its parents, or at the very least a remarkably sanguine one. This suggestion is the only spot in This Recording’s article where any qualitative judgment is made: the authors are careful to make only simple observations – in noting that genres seem to be melding, for example – and their partiality to modern music is only revealed in the strict scientific definition of the word “heterosis”. This begs one to inquire: what about modern music is superior? I would divide this question into two parts, based on two things I think are suggested in the This Recording piece. First, is the melding of genres necessarily a positive thing, and asked another way, what is as a matter of course desirable about the breakdown of definitions that we ourselves put in place?
It is without question through the crossing of genre boundaries that we have chanced upon new ones (though not until aleatoric music was the process of “composition” as willing as genetics to happen upon creation). There are any number of obvious musical examples to support this point. In fact, what is invention at all if not the linking of several disconnected, but preexisting, elements to produce something new? (From the Latin invenire – to discover, we see that to invent is in fact to find; to simply happen upon and work with something already occurring in the world.) This process of course requires vision – an ability to see something in front of one in an unfamiliar context, and to imagine its potential to work differently for a desired effect. Any invention, composition, piece of writing, or work of art can arguably be broken down into smaller components that, in coming together, became newly useful or meaningful. As an additional point that really ought to be expanded upon, it seems clear as well that if creation is defined by this crossing of boundaries, it is defined in a word by transgression, and is on that level appealing to us for the reasons that transgression always is: it is a juxtaposition, a highlighting by contrast, a violation, a defiling of the sacred in the name of origination. A transgression is thrilling because it is fruitful destruction.
So, in asking ourselves why a melding of genres would necessarily be appealing – i.e., why someone might be inspired to praise (however subtly) today’s music for pulling this off so well – we could argue that, as the breakdown of boundaries proves inherent to the necessary union of elements that defines the creative process, such transgressions are attractive because they are the essence of creativity. It seems curious, therefore, that this process, though certainly commendable, would be grounds for a qualitative comparison between new and old music. To describe new music as remarkable solely on the basis of its ability to cross boundaries of genre is at least to misunderstand, if not to skew, the nature of art and its makers.
I would argue that this is the danger of the short, almost flippant articles that one often finds online today. To cite This Recording once again, this time in an insightful review of the century’s most important magazines, “Before it turned into a generic music magazine, the idea that you could write something, print something in a magazine you wrote with all the run-on sentences and ridiculous unprovable generalizations and slang words and anything else you wanted to, was not a brand new concept when Crawdaddy! perfected it, but it might as well have been.” In a world where opinion is no longer framed within the borders of a column, it seems more rare to find pieces of writing that take true responsibility for the statements they make. It is an effort to remind oneself to dissect pieces of journalism in which the weight of opinion within one single word is more massive than the contemplative bulk of the entire article.
Every day at work I sift through the Google Alerts for Soundwalk’s Gmail account, and occasionally come across something I love. I always like getting alerts from Fluid Radio because the work they feature is usually stunningly beautiful and thought-provoking. Today I found this audio sample from Yann Novak‘s composition Nightfall, which “was created at the Jentel Artist Residency outside Banner, WY in February 2010. Based upon a simple field recording of the start of a snowfall at dusk… the composition explores the shifting point between day and night in the dry and overcast winter month.” (In connection with a piece I once wrote on different ways of telling time, this composition strikes me as being one that defines timelessness, in the sense that timelessness is equally stillness and relentless movement.) “The original recording begins with the dry, empty silence of the landscape, slowly enveloped by the piling of snow upon the microphone’s windscreen.
Each copy of Nightfall is accompanied by a unique watercolor based on the cover photograph of the landscape taken at dusk through the studio window.”
I haven’t purchased the full recording yet, as it’s $40, but the clip available on Fluid Radio is a good taste of it. In discussing sound editing with the guys I work with, I’ve been told that part of the process is manipulating the recordings, usually just hours and hours of static and hertzian frequencies, into something accessible with a narrative. Though I know there is more to Nightfall than just the few minutes on Fluid Radio, even the dark grey wash of sound one hears in the clip seems narrative to me. Perhaps something about its constancy and propulsion, about the feeling of being enveloped, is the key to this. Its lush monotone excludes both everything and nothing – it surrounds like a blanket and like a dark forest, both comfortingly and eerily. The feeling it gives is perhaps that of a freezing person falling asleep in the snow: of simultaneous risk and consolation, and most of all, of timelessness.
Love – Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark And Hilldale
If you know anything about me you won’t be surprised to learn that one of my favorite books of all time is The Phantom Tollbooth. I love puns and wordplay, dogs, odd modes of transportation concealed within large boxes in one’s living room, doing things you might get in trouble for during the period after school before your parents get home, etc. One scene that has always stood out in my memory is the one in the word market where Milo and Tock paw through piles of words, long and short, rare and common, blustery and modest. Because the words are represented as actual objects with weight and value, the scene highlighted for me the sensuality of language: the heavy and light words, the ones that sparkle with the regality of rare usage, the tireless blue-collar “ifs”, “ands”, and “buts” (laboring long hours and worked overtime behind semicolons, bearing the weight of a too-heavy second clause and probably not even paid time-and-a-half)…. This feeling that words have real body to them has never left me and today I notice it in the way that I am almost physically moved by the dually clean and sumptuous effect of a word that exposes the true meaning of a thing; a word that mercilessly and motheringly cuts to the center of an idea or a feeling and envelops its fluttering heart in swaths of muscular accuracy.
My father described this as the “inevitable ache of precision.” I notice an ambiguity in this statement: is the ache the result of the search for accuracy and the painful desire for truth, or of the feeling one gets when one has shed a light on something that for a long time lay peacefully in darkness; the sense of guilt in destroying something beautiful? It seems to me that at the heart of this ambiguity lies something deeply curious and elegant about mankind: the contradiction of our constant search for the perfect and our abhorrence of the final – one and the same, even linguistically speaking.
In the book I am reading right now, Arthur O. Lovejoy’s The Great Chain of Being, I just ran across a section in the chapter “Genesis of the Idea” about two historical modes of human thinking. The first of these stresses the impossibility of finding anything true or real in man’s natural life and thus fits into a category Lovejoy titles “otherworldiness”. The other of these modes, which he calls “this-worldliness”, stems from a declaration of the value of worldly life (of the “sufficient worth of the general conditions of existence”) inherent to an “antipathy to satisfaction and finality” common to the Romantic period and identifying “the chief value of existence with process and struggle in time.” Our aversion to conclusion, to the departure of things we love and cling to, is as deeply seated as our longing for truth and perfection, as our search for something purer and distant from ourselves. I think this paradox is stunning because of the way that it reveals the pulling of our souls in two different directions. Nothing is more touching than the way in which humans have tried to at once nest in this world we inhabit, to find beauty in it, to love it for its pains and its losses and its moments of fulfillment, while at the same time feeling our eyes constantly pulled to a distant horizon; to something our hearts press hard against our cage of ribs to be closer to but at the same time fear because of the oneness of perfection and death. In literature we witness authors looking out along this course and following it as far as they dare: in Moby Dick, Ahab pursues his goal of punishing the White Whale, of bringing justice and thus drawing a complete and perfect circle, ending necessarily in death, but Melville spares us from the weight of excruciating perfection by allowing the whale to escape, thus leaving the scales unbalanced and us with a sense of the “sufficient worth of the general conditions of existence” that we are subject to as a race. In Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse, the Ramsay children’s unsatisfied desire to go to the lighthouse represents the mercy of the imperfect: of a life not yet complete, of a hopeful dissatisfaction and the gift of a time-bound vigorousness present only in mortal souls and bodies. Their longing for something out of their reach attests to the Romantic sensibility of “the chief value of existence with process and struggle in time” and in this way the lighthouse acts not as the sacred and unattainable goal but instead as the mercy that gives worth to human experience.
In seeking to do anything perfectly, or more accurately, or more deeply – in trying to find “some final, fixed, immutable, intrinsic, perfectly satisfying good” – we are inflicting upon ourselves a pain that as members of mankind is unavoidable: the pain of seeking to close the divide between the human and the divine, between the imperfect and the perfect, in a way that would in itself destroy the essential value at the heart of our humanity: process and struggle in that most mortal of things, time.
New mix. Inspired by several nights I’ve lain awake thinking of things I’m excited for, how hot it is, how loud mosquitos are, and about leaving yet another place I’ve spent time in and grown to love, for another that I love equally.
1. Millie Jackson – Hurts So Good
2. Matt Shadatek – Funny Cats
3. Male Bonding – Can’t Dream
4. Patsy Cline – Lovesick Blues
5. Wavves – Post Acid
6. Sean Kingston ft. Nicki Minaj – Letting Go (Dutty Love)
7. Los Rakas – Abrazame (Uproot Andy Mix)
8. Keepaway – Yellow Wings
9. Beach Fossils – Vacation
10. Active Child – She Was A Vision
11. SALEM – OhK
12. Foals – Spanish Sahara (Deadboy Remix)
As the bee danced, it gave off the faintest scent of marzipan that mingled with the pinky-orange perfume of the hibiscus.
“Sweet…sweet,” whispered the hibiscus.
She drew her petals tightly round her, and drooped towards the sinking moon.
“Fly away now, for the honey,” she said to the bee. “Fly, so I can see you flying against the last of the yellow moon.”
“I wish I could have been a gentleman for you,” said the bee, and it flew off, towards the golden passing windows of the District Line, and the last of the yellow moon.
When I was a child my mother read to me almost constantly, and later she told me that her method was to lay my books out flat alongside each other in rows, covers beckoning with their rich oilpaint illustrations and embossed lettering, so that I could choose with more to entice me than the thin stripes of small-fonted vertical spines on a shelf. Many of these books make up the strongest memories of my childhood, and I’m interested in considering in what ways the rhythm of the language, the sometimes almost hypnotizingly measured development of the story, the aesthetics, and the fantasy of children’s books have influenced me in my thinking, my writing, and my appreciation of the world as an older person.
As a tot I loved the Frog and Toad books for no other reason than that Frog and Toad were, as it seemed to me, somewhat isolated best friends in a foresty world that I liked the looks of. Of these books I would say that their primary influence on me stems, interestingly, from the graphics: the greys and greens and browns of the watercolor illustrations seemed so cozy to me and reminded me of what my parents referred to as “lake light”, or the way that on overcast days the light sometimes looks green as though one were looking up at the sky from beneath the surface of a lake. The colors of the books pleased me and atmospheric, cloudy weather – my favorite sort to this day – still evokes the happiness I felt in reading them.
A favorite was always Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, which I had on video cassette narrated by Jack Nicholson and which gave me the bizarre ability to imitate Nicholson’s nasal, ever-so-slightly-menacing voice perfectly as a six-year-old (watch all three parts of The Elephant’s Child here, here and here) and a knack for peppering my everyday conversations with vaguely out-of-place phrases (“the bi-colored python rocksnake”, “insatiable curiosity”, “the banks of the great, grey-green greasy Limpopo River”, and so on). I think these stories left an indelible mark on my way of speaking, for better or worse: they are swept along by a whimsical, pulsing rhythm, strings of adjectives that become comical in their accumulation, a pleasing cadence of repeated words and phrases, and overall a style that, even as commits itself earnestly to vividly illuminating a story, laughs at itself and in so doing mirrors the playful relationship of fantasy and reality that lies at the heart of a series of fanciful explanations for real life that is Just So Stories. They allow a child to imagine a more fantastical world behind the facts they are taught in school, and train him in the suspension of disbelief that can make life so much more interesting and funny for its duality and juxtapositions.
One of the stories that I remember perhaps most vividly is The Marzipan Pig. I think I can mark in this story the first time I felt alerted to the poignancy of solitude – I might venture to say that my own desire for solitude woke up when I heard this story over the years of my childhood, like a new baby turning its head sharply when it hears its father’s voice for the first time and recognizes it as the enunciation of murmurs it heard from within its warm darkness months before. The pig in the story, a festive candy gift to a child, somehow falls behind the couch and lies there alone for what feels like an eternity, awake in the darkness, listening to the ticking of the grandfather clock and wishing someone would find it. As time passes it imagines the family’s frantic concern that it has gone missing; that upon its rescue there will be great rejoicing and celebration, but is alarmed when it realizes its toe, and then its haunch and sugary pink belly, are being nibbled at by a hungry mouse. Soon it is eaten up and the mouse emerges from behind the couch to nap in the grandfather clock. As the story goes on, taking place in one night and part of the next day, the sweetness of the Marzipan Pig passes from one body to the next in a somehow charming cycle of life and death – from the mouse to an owl to a bee to a nightblooming hibiscus and on. The nocturnal atmosphere of the story fascinated me, as did the vignette-like quality of the different creatures’ experiences and the fleeting intimacy of their interactions and unfulfilled longings (the grandfather clock who has fallen in love with the mouse who naps inside it, the owl whose bellyful of marzipan and mouse causes his heart to beat fast for the meter light of a taxicab and dance for joy, the bee and the hibiscus who court each other in the darkness, mourning the inevitable death of the hibiscus that will come with the sunlight and end their romance). The language of the story is elegant and slow, with the repetitions and lilting phrasing that lull a child into listening peacefully and hearing, between the words themselves, the life of the narrative behind them. The quiet intimacies and thoughtful privacy of the characters stuck with me because on some level I suppose I realized how much they echoed the experiences of an only child, who looks for connections all around him and, more accustomed to silence than other children, hears more deeply and in this way stumbles often upon the deeper and darker nature of his world. The Marzipan Pig deals with silence, solitude, longing, and fleeting happiness – all very adult subjects, if one considers them – in the same way that The Velveteen Rabbit, Abel’s Island, and Stuart Little do, and in a way that draws more relevance and meaning from them as one grows older.
Annie and the Wild Animals and The Girl in the Golden Bower had a dreamlike quality that made an impression on me, and brought about a sort of chilly unease that I liked and still like to this day. The two stories both involve girls who for one reason or another are left alone in houses in hostile situations, abandoned by adults and left to defend themselves against nature. In both stories, animals creep into their houses one by one and the domestic setting of the house becomes more and more overrun by the natural world. It occurred to me how dreamlike these stories are: children often dream of being left to fend for themselves, and the animals seem like clear symbols for frightening or otherwise foreign invasions of our safety. As animals appear steadily in groups of two or three per day, encroaching little by little, they mark the passage of time like seasons or daily cycles of light and dark – in other words, with the same measured symmetry that is so inherently present in nature and to which children look to guide them in their growth and development. The animals in these stories represent the awe-inspiring largeness and forward motion of nature, and I recall feeling equal parts terror and wonder at this mingling of natural and human worlds, in the same way that one is often fascinated by overgrown houses fused to the earth by vines and trees growing up through their foundations.
Phosphorescent – Wolves
The last book I’ll talk about is one of the most special to me, called The Boy & the Cloth of Dreams, which tells the story of a child whose beautiful blanket, woven for him by his grandmother to ward off nightmares, rips, leaving him vulnerable to all the terrors that seep into his sleeping mind through the hole. The story begins with a visit to his grandmother’s house, and the description of the meal they eat together and the blissful evening he spends before bedtime never left me: I was struck by their evocative aestheticism and to this day value things so much for their sensuality I think in part due to this book. The supper is described as salty, sweet, hot, cold; the evening striped with dusty sunlit columns and dark pools of shadow; the house scented with old wood and later, during the nightmares, filled with a vast darkness turning even the most familiar shapes into foreign, warped, looming mysteries. The cloth itself is a fantastic aesthetic object in itself: it illustrates the idea that the world of fantasy and reality, of the tangible and the abstract, could be connected in a physical way, giving mass to our imaginings (much like a passage of mirrors that allows for mingling of the spiritual and physical worlds). Later when, upon the instruction of his grandmother, the boy pulls threads from the moon and sun to mend the hole in his cloth, the fantasy of the story graciously melts away the reality of the situation – the distance, the actual makeup of sun and moon – like an elegant circus ringmaster bowing and pulling aside a curtain, and leaves children with only the most wonderful of aesthetics to feast their minds upon: the manifestation of the sun’s heat and the moon’s cold, reminiscent of the supper from hours before, into gold and silver strands tugged from their tapering rays in a way that could not seem more natural or perfect.
Wild Nothing – The Witching Hour
The children’s stories that meant the most to me, I’ve found, are those that brought my attention to things I still find haunting to this day: solitude, the painful loveliness of fleeting intimacy, the awful steadiness of time passing, the sensuality of light and dark and tastes and smells and temperatures, the eerie connections between the physical and metaphysical, and the imagination and its manifestation in our lives.
Sleep ∞ Over – Outer Limits
I’ve been writing less lately because it’s spring and time for moving and sleepovers (tonight is only my second night in 8 days or so on which I will not be sharing a bed with one pretty girl or other) and reading outside and making iced tea and warm mornings walking to bakeries for bread; the winter is more conducive to long cozy thought sessions. Is it true for anyone else that in spring, one’s thoughts are made less of words and more of laughing?
This weekend I left Paris with R. and C. to visit J. at the villa in St. Raphael. It could be because I spent my first time there as a ten year old child, but each time I visit I feel like a little girl again. At the risk of sounding like an early-twentieth-century children’s book about wealthy families who travel to Normandy and Brighton for the benefits to the body and spirit of bracing sea air (“We went to the seaside and had ice cream in two flavors!”), I love going from the city to the coast because of the way that I’m reminded of the solid presence of my own body, of its vulnerability and resilience, in a way that I only remember feeling equally in childhood. My skin burns in the sun, my feet and hands are all cut up from hitting rocks underwater, my hips are scuffed and bruised from being thrown against boulders by alarmingly big waves at high tide. I check my legs for ticks after pulling my skirt up above my knees, running across the train tracks, and through high grasses on the other side. Nothing reminds me of childhood more than getting hit in the back of the head by a cold wave, spending what feels like minutes underwater as the wave rolls over and past, and coming up gasping, wide-eyed, and spitting out saltwater. Almost as shocking and exhilarating as birth, and causing a similar indignance.
In other news, my new apartment in the 18e arrondissement is perfect, with hardwood floors, almost-floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto the cobblestone street between Le Moulin Rouge and Le Sacré Coeur, which is noisy and bustling in the best way. There’s a baby nearby that babbles a lot in French, a family across the street which has just opened up the windows and started listening to Maria Callas records in the evening, and a dog who seems to live at a cafe on my street and occasionally gets up the energy to bark when another dog goes by. Soon I’ll have to buy one of those rolling grocery containers to drag my food uphill, especially given my penchant for only buying groceries that come in jars and bottles (olives, preserves, milk, honey, speculoos spread, spices, clotted cream, pearl onions…) and then realizing too late how heavy they are.
I’m babbling, but just trying to get writing again.