Archive for December, 2018


Honestly though this was a devastatingly hard year, politically, professionally, and personally; and it was the fifth such year in a row. Breaking my leg was the least of it.

It was too blustery to ride today, but too sunny to stay inside, so Jeremy and I went for a walk in Heron’s Head Park.

It’s the site of a never-completed shipping terminal, next to the decommissioned Hunter’s Point Power Station, not far from where Islais Creek, our local watershed, meets the Bay. Back in the 90s, citizen activists spearheaded wetlands restoration and now it’s a sparkling salt marsh, a magnet for pelicans and sandpipers. There’s an eco center with a living roof.

We walked and talked for a long time, and then dropped by Bay Natives nursery and bought some eggs still warm from the nest. Reclaimed Industrial Landscape is one of my top three aesthetics, and my hope for the new year is that the same transformation can happen in my cold dead heart.

20gayteen in books

20gayteen was a good year for reading if nothing else. I read 180 books, mostly in the second, more broken-ankley half of the year. Of the 180, 142 were by women, 38 by POC, 24 by queer authors, and 8 by trans folk. I wasn’t consciously trying to diversify what I read, and that lack of effort shows. I read fewer writers of color and fewer queer writers this year than I did in 2017, even though I read more books overall. In 2019 I will reprioritize other voices.

Some standouts from the second half of the year: Lydia Kiesling’s The Golden State, an irresistibly Northern Californian road trip novel for mothers of toddlers and those who love them; Lisa Brennan-Jobs’ Small Fry, also brilliantly evocative of the Bay Area and its terrible hollow men; The Line Becomes a RiverFrancisco Cantú’s haunting memoir about the militarized borders inside us; The Far Away Brothers, Oakland schoolteacher Lauren Markham’s frightening and hopeful book about two of her immigrant students; and Barbara Comyn’s one-of-a-kind cosy post-apocalypse, Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead.

I also hunted down and re-read two extraordinarily good books that I first encountered in my teens or early twenties: Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Lolly Willowes and Marge Piercy’s The High Cost of Living. The characters in the Piercy novel seemed unattainably adult to me the first time I read it. Now, it’s like reading Alison Bechdel’s Dykes to Watch Out For, in that I clearly used it to define what adulthood would mean to me. Lolly Willowes, about an elderly English spinster who sells her soul to the devil (she is exactly my age) is even stranger. I didn’t understand it at all the first time around, and I wouldn’t say that I understand it now; only that it touches a deep, sympathetic resonance in my heart.

the king of attolia, by megan whalen turner

Fields can be reseeded every year, but there is little point in planting trees that will be cut down before they grow old enough to bear fruit. So, where there is no peace, there are no trees.

the queen of attolia, by megan whalen turner

Steal peace, Eugenides. Steal me some time.

my year of rest and relaxation, by ottessa moshfegh

I can’t say it didn’t hurt me that she held herself at such a distance. But to confront her about it would have been cruel. I had no right to make any demands.

proposed staycation-jaunts

ETA: success!

back in the saddle

A big week round these parts: Claire got her braces off. I got out of the moon boot, retrieved my car from the barn, got a job, and rode Bentley for the first time in two and a half months. We saw a heron and an eagle mantled over its prey. Bentley, as whorled in his winter coat as a bear, arched his neck and stepped prettily through the mud. If I never jump again, if I never even trot, I will be so happy just to be able to sit on a horse, walking around the park like Queen Elizabeth, looking at the world more charitably through a pair of pricked ears.

red clocks, by leni zumas

And at this point, what else can she do? You could stop trying so hard. You could love your life as it is.

heartland, by sarah smarsh

The defining feeling of my childhood was that of being told there wasn’t a problem when I knew damn well there was.