best barbarian, by roger reeves

E, for empire—a thing to impale, kill, break
Breach.

dreaming of you, a novel in verse, by melissa lozada-oliva

I crave a ferry to San Francisco and a dead phone full of messages.

the grief of stones, by katherine addison

I could not lay down the grief I carried, but I could name it for what it was, and by naming it ease the burden…

another win for the mammalian diving reflex

Me: Well, that was an intellectually productive bath.

Jeremy: Oh yes?

Me: I figured out existentialism.

Jo: Well done!

Me: You know how I was puzzling over Camus’ “one must imagine Sisyphus happy”? It’s not a thought experiment, it’s an imperative.

Jeremy: Right.

Me: Oh so you knew this all along?

Jeremy: Yep.

Jo: It means that Sisyphus has a simple job to do and knows how to do it and even though it will never be finished, that’s all you need to be happy.

Jeremy: No, it means you have to give people agency, even if what they are doing seems pointless to you.

Me: No! It means life is pointlessly hard work that will never be finished, but you have to invent ways to be happy anyway.

In this family we interpret Camus in ways that reflect our highly individual temperaments and perspectives TILL DEATH COMES FOR US

unmasking autism, by devon price

…the blueprint for building a worthwhile, authentic life already exists within you.

another day in the colony, by chelsea watego

To enact an existence that is always love and resistance demands of us a deliberate and conscious decision to find joy – not away from the fight, but in the fucking fight.

nettle & bone, by t kingfisher

Wait. Wait and see. The world is not always cruel.

one day i’ll remember this, by helen garner

Mind filled, emptied, filled again with brilliant things I’d write if only I were brilliant.

farewell to spring

My niece and her excellent husband safely married, we flew home (via shenanigans) to find our little home and our pride of housecats lovingly tended by yarnivore.

Driving to the barn last Friday I had to brake from 65 to a dead stop in the fast lane. The physical shock of deceleration meant I didn’t panic when the BMW that had been tailgating me had to drive up onto the soft shoulder to avoid hitting me. The traffic crawled for twenty minutes around the golf course near Crystal Springs. No one got impatient because as fire trucks and ambulances pushed through us it became evident that whatever had happened was very bad.

The highway patrol was letting one lane through. As I drove past I saw a tarp covering something instantly recognizable in the middle of the empty lanes. I saw a red hatchback crumpled up against the middle divider, and I think I saw the driver’s face, a woman, bereft.

i found a news story afterward that said her passenger had tried to cross the four lanes of 280 to get help, and that he had not survived.

He has haunted me all week. I rode Lenny that afternoon. His coat is like satin over hard muscle. He looks like a war horse. I’d be scared of his vigor if I didn’t already know how to dance with him. My garden is putting on a last glorious show before the heat. My Matilija poppy and hummingbird sage are flowering for the first time. Last night I cut two Frog Hollow peaches into rough cubes and put them in Hendricks and tonics to drink out on the deck while my friends the crows serenaded us.

The world is changing and I have never loved my life more. I feel them all around me, all the dead, and I try to make sure their deaths mattered. I feel him too, trying to get across the freeway to Crystal Springs. What they whisper is that this coffee, this little garden, this breath of wind, life, is a gift.

ten steps to nanette, by hannah gadsby

The further away I am from Australia, the more work I have to do to explain the geographical situation of the place I grew up in.

panic! at the bookshop

Back in Sydney after more than three years, the longest I have ever been gone. There’s trams now. We’re staying in a beautiful Victorian terrace house in Surry Hills. Magpies and lorikeets sing in the trees. The rain is bucketing down and despite few hopes for the election, on Saturday the godawful Federal government washed away.

I still can’t seem to travel without getting untidy emotions everywhere. I timed my meltdown for Gleebooks, which feels more like home than anywhere else I have visited on this trip, filling my arms with history books as if they’d stop up my leaky heart.

admissions, by henry marsh

There is a great underworld of suffering away from which most of us turn our faces.

saturday

Riding our bikes to the beach or GG Park used to be An Event, and now it’s just what we do on a sunny Saturday when we have no other plans. All the colorful houses looked brilliant and happy. We stopped at wushu to catch up with Philip and wholeheartedly recommend “Everything Everywhere All At Once.” The dunes were reclaiming Great Highway, and there was a huge party along car-free JFK, a place so joyful that it can make a middle-aged murderbot question her misanthropy.

The Presidio has a new park, Battery Bluffs. We found and explored it, then turned towards home via Crissy Field and Marina Green. There was a Ukraine protest at the Ferry Building, and games at both the ballpark and the stadium. At Crane Cove we lay on the grass by the water, my with my head on Jeremy’s lap. I read a fantastic fic about the gay pirates, got a little sunburned. This city, you guys, my God, it’s so fucking good.

american savannah

Driving home from a fantastic riding lesson with Carrie (Lenny swinging his back and reaching forward into the bridle), I stopped the car by the side of the road to watch a great blue heron standing on the green hill of the horsepasture.

The heron considered me gravely before returning its attention to a gopher hole at its feet. Faster than thought, it struck and lifted out a soft, blind gopher baby.

To my surprise the heron dropped the baby at once. It fluffed out the creamy feathers on its S of a neck, opened its beak, reared back its head and raised its crest, all dinosaur threat. Before I had a second to marvel, a bright shadow flew in the heron’s face. The heron spread its wings and climbed into the air like a pterodactyl.

A golden eagle landed on the gopher, mantled over it to glare at me, then flew away with the prey in its talons.

i love you but i’ve chosen darkness, by claire vaye watkins

I paid attention. The gist was let go. I did. Eventually it made everything better.

the dragon waiting, by john m. ford

Does the Empire always get what it wants, no matter what we do?

the seep, by chana porter

“I hope,” she said slowly, “that you are loved exactly the way you always wanted to be loved.”

vignette

A twenty-minute meeting cancelled at the last moment. I snuck outside into the garden; a guilty pleasure of working from home. We’re having a heat wave and the air is flower-fragrant and full of bees, like it is in the south of France.

I took the cats with me. There are rules. Thimble has to wear a collar with a locator tag, because she loves to vault the fence into the neighbors’ gardens. Since last Memorial Day, when she terrified us by staying away a night and a day, her jaunts seldom last more than an hour. But I fret – there are coyotes on our street. The tag lets us play a cheery mechanical tune. Fugitive cat sonar.

Hazel has to wear a harness with a tag on it. She occasionally tries to jump the fence but isn’t as fast or determined as Thimble. It’s easier to pluck her down. The harness is to acclimate her, so that she can be a good college companion animal for kid the elder.

Alice is not required to wear any equipment. She has jumped the fence twice but is mostly an amiable plush bowling ball.

I did some more weeding. There is always weeding. Thimble rolled luxuriantly on the concrete. Hazel sphinxed narrow-eyed on the lawn. I overshot my mini-break by three minutes and had to race back inside. I scooped Hazel and herded Thimble, but Alice was hidden in the Melica imperfecta and I couldn’t locate her in a hurry. I sent Jeremy out for retrieval. He couldn’t find her easily either. When he brought her back in, her fur was brown and hot from the sun, and dusted with pollen.

orwell’s roses, by rebecca solnit

Authoritarians see truth and fact and history as a rival system they must defeat.

underground, by haruki murakami

What am I supposed to do with all this rage?