Water Towers

My newsletter experiment over the last few months has been a lot of fun. If you’re interested, you can sign up anytime here:

https://tinyletter.com/EchoEcho

Here is the poem and sketch from this week’s newsletter:

 

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Water Towers

There’s only enough
power to deliver
water to six floors
in Lower Manhattan.
Taller buildings need
pumps that suck up
water to a spout at
the top of the tank.
Gravity does the rest.
Remember, remember
it’s just artificial pressure.

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Announcing my newsletter: Echo Echo


Springtime puts me in the mood for new projects. I’ve recently subscribed to some fascinating TinyLetter newsletters and thought I’d join in on the fun. So, every Friday afternoon I will send out a short poem and illustration.

Sign up here:

https://tinyletter.com/EchoEcho

To give you a taste of what’s in store, here’s my inaugural post:

Façades

 
A façade is a face

screwed up that stays

stuck in one way forever.

 
Its makeup cannot

be washed away

at the end of each day.

 
It is tethered in place by

stucco and laws that try to pause

the progress of passing days.

 

 

My 5 Favorite Articles of the Week

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The Internet is a cruel mistress. As the wise Aziz Ansari said, “I read the Internet so much I feel like I’m on page a million of the worst book ever.” But it sure has some wonderful highlights. Here are my favorite things I read this week:

  1. Grantlangst, by Carles.Buzz. There were many obituaries of the late, great Grantland, but this was my favorite: “In a sea of ‘hot takes’ delivered by traditional talking heads, the internet prosumers needed a place for a branded intelligent take. But the audiences in demand of intelligent takes no longer achieve the necessary economies of scale to sell ads against.”
  2. The Grown-Up Styling Tip You Should Forget About, by Rachel Syme. Rachel is an inspiring fashion writer, especially with Iris Apfel as her muse: “Giving yourself the permission to don whatever you desire will keep you excited to wake up the next day and do it all over again; when you turn your closet into a playground, you are prolonging your own life.”
  3. The Deadly History of Women using Perfume as Poison, by Arabelle Sicardi. The story I never knew I needed until I read it: “While invisible scents may seem like the poltergeist of aestheticism, perfume is often the monster, too, leaving bodies behind in the fumes.”
  4. The Strange Case of Anna Stubblefield, by Daniel Engber. The long, gripping true story that explores disability, sexuality and consent and left me thinking about it for days: “What made them so upset — what led to all the arguing that followed, and the criminal trial and million-­dollar civil suit — was the fact that Anna can speak and D.J. can’t; that she was a tenured professor of ethics at Rutgers University in Newark and D.J. has been declared by the state to have the mental capacity of a toddler.”
  5. Overcoming the 10 Biggest Obstacles to Creating, by Leo Baubata. A practical, straightforward look at the emotional, challenging reality of avoidance and procrastination: “Every day I struggle with the resistance to writing, and every day I lose the struggle … but then I beat the struggle. I lose more often than I win, but I win every day. And that’s what matters. “

5 Small Steps Toward a Happier Life

 

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From a trip I took to the Cloisters a few weeks ago.

 

Life gets frustrating. And sometimes you want to overhaul everything, all at once. But I’ve found through plenty of trial and error that overhauling rarely works. Too much change at once can entrench those unhealthy habits deeper into your life. So I’ve been trying out the reverse: smaller changes I can stick with right away. Here are a few that have made my life better:

  1. Making my bed – I’ll be honest, I didn’t understand the point of this for a while. The most I’d do was throw my comforter back over my sheets. But I’ve realized it can be a great “small win” to start off your day, and resist the temptation to jump back into bed.
  2. Morning Pages – Two years ago I read The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron’s classic creativity book. The first tenet is writing Morning Pages: 30 minutes of freehand, stream-of-consciousness writing. It’s a great way to acknowledge all of your worries, annoyances, and to-dos. Once they’re on paper, I have the necessary distance and objectivity to act on them. They also help me with “real” writing later in the day.
  3. Green tea (and L-Theanine) – Like many people, I have a love/hate relationship with caffeine. I love its bitter taste and thrilling boost, but I hate the jittery anxiousness I get when I drink too much. So I’ve started switching to green tea after my first half cup of coffee. Besides the 5mg of caffeine per serving that keeps me from crashing, green tea also contains L-Theanine, an amino acid which induces a relaxed but not drowsy mood. Perfect.
  4. Sketching – I bought a sketchbook in July, and that purchase has brought me a lot of joy. I love the creative outlet of sketching, but also how it keeps my hands busy and my mind clear. Sketching has been a much more satisfying activity than reaching for my phone, and it’s been fun to watch myself improve through practice.
  5. Foam rolling – The latest trend in fitness? Foam rolling, aka myofascial release, aka self massage. If I were a billionaire I’d get a professional massage every day. But since I’m not, I use foam rollers and massage balls to work out my (many) muscle knots. For covering large areas, I like the Grid Foam Roller, which has a pleasantly textured surface. My new favorite purchase are the Yoga Tune Up Balls, which are like mini foam rollers that release trigger points one by one.

The downside of these habits can be the sense of obligation – “oh no, yet another thing I should do.” But if I take a positive stance – “ooh something fun I get to do” – I’m a lot more likely to stick with it. I hope you have a lovely rest of your week!

A Plan and Not Quite Enough Time (pt. 3)

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It’s two days after the supermoon/blood moon/lunar eclipse extraordinaire, and I’m feeling a sense of accomplishment. I’ve been using moon cycles to set goals – new goals on new moon, and achieved goals on full moons, ideally. It’s been a great natural reminder of the ebbs and flows of life. It’s crazy how quickly life can seem to slip by, so I enjoy the daily reminder of exactly where I am in life.

My goal for the full moon was to have a solid second draft of my screenplay typed up and shared with friends. I sent it out to a few select friends on Friday. It was scary but exhilarating to finally have it exist outside of my own head. I have an intuitive sense of what the screenplay needs next, so I’ll be working on that with a new moon deadline, October 13th. Then I can start fresh again on the next round of edits. Wish me luck. And good luck on your own goals!