All The Mornings

all the mornings I’ve woken up to moods I didn’t choose

to weather from another place

to a person I’m still meeting

how have I ever been certain of anything?

 

 

 

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A Slight Disorientation

I was riding down the elevator and it stopped on a lower floor and the door opened to no one.

I thought of the other night and the light pouring out of an empty building, punching various shaped yellow holes through the night.

Absences filled with a presence. Offering up a slight disorientation. Memorials to a temporary gone. A practice gone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Podcasts

I thought it would be a fun exercise to recall all of the podcasts I’ve listened to. Not every episode or podcast. That would be impossible. But I did try and recall all of the podcasts I regularly listened to for a period of time or are still listening to. It’s been over a decade now since I started listening to podcasts. I can’t remember when I first came across them, but I do remember thinking early on how amazing it was that I could just listen to stories about pretty much anything. I was immediately hooked because they filled a void that I had been craving: Nuance. Podcasts were talking about the human element of large topics and ideas. Obviously, there’s a spectrum of podcasts out there – from fiction to completely dry and literal. Especially now. A couple of years ago I remember getting a haircut at a salon in Milwaukee and overhearing the woman next to me talking about Serial. That’s when it all felt like something had shifted. Podcasts were mainstream. But still they remain a unique place to go to learn and consider different perspectives.

I’m noticing, now that I’ve put all of them in one place, that I’m drawn to interviews and stories about identity, and the forces that shape our world. Sometimes, I think how wonderful it would be to have a catalog of all of the things I’ve read and listened to with notes about what I learned from it (like some sort of map of influence). And then other times I think let’s just see what sticks. I can’t do the former – too much time has passed and I’ve read and listened to too many things to make that map – so the latter it is! I listed the episodes that have stuck with me, some of them after many years. Going back and thinking about these episodes brings back many other memories: where I was living at the time, how I was feeling, views from my commute, even little tasks I was doing while listening, like baking bread. Maybe this is another reason I love podcasts so much. You can listen to podcasts while doing other things. I listen to them when I’m commuting and traveling, folding laundry and cleaning, running, cooking and baking, and eating. And so there’s an alchemy with podcasts. They mix in with your daily life – with the views and smells and tastes and actions.

Do I have a favorite podcast? I’ve asked myself this and have had others ask. I really can’t say. It usually depends on a mood or a season or questions I’ve been ruminating over that dictates what I want to listen to. I will say, Longform is probably the podcast I’ve listened to the most consistently and I can’t totally say why. I think I find writers to be the most interesting people and I love hearing the backstory of how they got started and how they worked on a piece. On Being has always been a podcast I go to animate the hopeful, inquisitive, and spiritual pieces of myself. CBC Ideas is just fantastic for the breadth of topics. I will always recommend people go back and listen to Planet Money’s episodes regarding the Great Recession and, more specifically, the housing bust (2009 archives). They did incredible reporting and storytelling – they even bought a toxic asset! I loved the early Radiolab stuff, especially the episode Worth. I think about it all the time. I was so sad when State of the Re:Union was cancelled. And I regularly listen to The One You Feed for my mental health. I highlighted a handful of episodes from Econ Talk. I was an economics major in college and find this podcast to be informative and refreshing not only for economic concepts, but also for the civilized discussion that takes place on the show. I credit Russ Roberts for creating a space to disagree respectfully and to hold himself and his guests accountable for providing backup to their claims and theories. Oh, and I can’t forget the tried and true This American Life.

So here it is. A list of the podcasts I’ve listened to over the last decade or so, or are still listening to, with the episodes that have stuck with me:

99% Invisible

Benjamin Walker’s Theory of Everything

Call Your Girlfriend

CBC Ideas

Common Sense (Dan Carlin)

Death Sex & Money

  • In Sickness and In Mental Health: https://www.wnycstudios.org/story/mental-illness-death-sex-money

Dear Sugars

Design Matters with Debbie Millman

  • Sam Winston: http://www.debbiemillman.com/designmatters/sam-winston/

EconTalk

Freakonomics

Fresh Air

HBR IdeaCast

Hidden Brain

Intelligence Squared Debates

In The Dark

Invisibilia

Longform

Monocle’s The Urbanist

Mortified

Mystery Show

New Yorker Fiction

NYPL podcast

On Being

On The Media

Planet Money

Pod Save America

Pop Culture Happy Hour

Radio lab

Reply All

Revisionist History

Serial

Startup

State of the Re:Union (no longer running)

S-Town

  • The whole damn thing

Stuff You Should Know

TED Radio Hour

The Candid Frame

  • Ralph Gibson: http://www.ibarionex.net/thecandidframe/2014/10/4/the-candid-frame-252-ralph-gibson
  • Sam Abell: http://www.ibarionex.net/thecandidframe/2013/12/9/the-candid-frame-214-sam-abell

The Moment with Brian Coppelman

The Moth

The One You Feed

The Paris Review

The Partially Examined Life

The Splendid Table

This American life

WTF with Marc Maron

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Ralph Gibson

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Marquerite Duras writes the introduction of “L’Histoire De France”, beginning with Dear Ralph Gibson and ending with:

“What a joy, Ralph, to write about your photographs; you should make me a book and I would write about the unknown in the world and in you, about the mysterious modesty of objects, about the enticement of the red of wine, the perfect insignificance of this lost object and all those fabrics, brocade and cotton mingled together, and the beauty of the buttocks of that woman who is looking toward the South, who can be found between Bocuse and Lumiere – everything mingled together, everything, in the great democracy of galaxies.

You have captured the beauty which happens to be France since you call it that, and this without any reverence, any prejudice. You have photographed what cannot be photographed: the spirit of wine, and ourselves in front of the spectacle of life. You are a savage Ralph Gibson and you are my friend.”

I stumbled upon this book yesterday in the library. I was familiar with Ralph Gibson’s black and white work but had never heard of this book or looked at his color images. Interestingly, at the library yesterday I asked where the art section was and they pointed me to the third floor. When I got to the third floor I asked where the photography books were and they told me that they are kept on the second floor in the technology section – a relic of a time when photography wasn’t considered an art form like painting or sculpture, and maybe there’s some still out there who think that? I can’t imagine you could looking at Ralph Gibson’s work. It is essences and mystery. Poetry.

Photography can be confusing because it can feel both real and abstract. I think that’s when it’s at its most interesting. It reminds me of some of the themes cubist artists were ruminating – multiple perspectives, relationship between space and time, abstraction. It’s not that his work looks like cubist art, rather, it hints at the idea that an object can be captured by multiple points of view. To me, Gibson and other photographers who tip toe the line of literal and abstract are saying: this is a way to look at this object, this is in the world too. And look at this next to this. This is the world too.

“…everything mingled together, everything, in the great democracy of galaxies.”

**

After I picked up this book from the library I went down a Ralph Gibson rabbit hole on the internet and really enjoyed this 30 minute documentary of his work.

 

The Many Lives

I have both strong analytical tendencies and strong creative tendencies and I’ve noticed how that affects my digital lives. I quit Facebook a few years ago when it flat out lied to me about my husband “liking” a company’s brand page that I know and later confirmed he did not “like”. But something had been gnawing at me for a while about Facebook – that it didn’t feed my analytical or my creative side. Twitter, on the other hand, I found fed my analytical side. I intuitively used Twitter, and still mostly do, as a place to catalogue interesting articles I’ve read regarding a wide variety of topics. Now, I intertwine some poetry in there but I find that feels forced (and it’s never felt intuitive to share photography on Twitter).

Instagram, for me, has always been a wonderful source of creativity – I follow photographers and artists around the world and post my own images and writing. That’s been intuitive as well. Recently, I’ve started to incorporate my analytical side into Instagram, posting thought-provoking articles. And that sometimes feels forced – like I’m an interloper. I’ve long been jealous of people who are consistent across different platforms, and I struggle to understand why I can’t. I often think about quitting both. But then I think that social media is not the culprit of this confusion, it’s only an exacerbater. Isn’t that what technology essentially is? An extension of ourselves? Phantom limbs reaching out further and faster for things we want or think we want.

So, really, I should be looking at why I’m reaching. What am I reaching for? A place to be both? How to be both? If I’ve learned anything it’s that there is not a manual out there for this kind of thing. There are books and interviews and poems and pictures that help. But I know that this is the messy living thing – the thing that I can’t avoid, although I try, by signing in to Instagram or Twitter. A reach for something that isn’t there. Because that’s the other thing about technology – you can use it to reach but that doesn’t mean the answer is out there.