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Hi, loves. 🌿
And hello, fleas of life!
I’ve been thinking a lot about the fleas of life lately. You know, all those small, stupid but somehow vital things that seem to get in the way of the bigger, meatier, more meaningful things in our lives; the things that take up residence when we aren’t grappling with immediate crises or heartbreak. This week, after months of ignoring what was undeniable, we realized our fridge was basically busted. Still working, sort of, but not cold enough. We learned this from its neighbor, the freezer, which, truly, for months, maybe years, hadn’t been keeping things properly frozen. Every morning I’d reach for the frozen raspberries and find them sort of mushy, and every morning I’d think: I should maybe deal with this? And then didn’t.
Have you stopped reading this yet? Is this the most middle-aged thing I’ve ever written?
Anyway, nothing was at the right temperature and our savior neighbor, Jay, swooped in and told me how to defrost it — let’s just say I spent most of Friday with the overpacked contents of our fridge and freezer on the kitchen counter — only to learn that it still didn’t get anywhere near cold enough, which can be, you know, dangerous.
Many trips to Best Buy later and we learned our options are limited because of so many reasons I won’t bore you with. But anyway! Fleas! That’s the point: fleas. They are fleas because we can, thankfully, actually afford a new fridge, and we can be here for them to install it, and it’s more just a pain in the ass, but a normal, dull pain in the ass, an adult pain in the ass that has Jay texting me every day about food poisoning and how dangerous it would be if I kept cooking that food and did you get a fridge yet and has me texting him back supply chain issues and I have no meat in there and we will get it this week, I swear and really, it’s all fine fine fine.
I’m convinced it’s these things that step into our paths to keep us from doing more with our lives. All those things pressing so deeply on our hearts: climate disaster, gun safety, reproductive justice. The things so many of us have spent the last few years protesting about, calling our reps about, voting for, worrying endlessly about; the things we made space for when it felt like there was none, but what was the alternative? Am I doing enough? Is anything enough?
That said, I didn’t let the fridge debacle — or a kid out of camp — stop me from writing, my meatier thing, as I tackle Jami Attenberg’s mini 1000 words of summer. Just this week, I’ll try to write that much every day so that when things very soon get nutty — when the semester starts up and I have no big swaths of time to write — I’ll have this raw material to play with, hopefully 7,000 words worth. Something! Anything. Pieces to move around and fit together and spruce up and discard.
Yesterday morning I wrote through a million interruptions from Noa and her friend who wanted to microwave soap (after cutting a bar in half on my wood cutting board), make balls with wax from my candles and perform experiments with baking soda and grapefruit bubly (is it pronounced Bublé, like the singer? Why isn’t it “bubbly”?).
It was distracting—Mom, can you make the popcorn now? Now? Now? Can I take more of this wax? Yes, we will vacuum it, I swear!—but it all felt like the most normal summer childhood after weeks and weeks of camp, which have left her tired and ragged and longing for a whole lot of nothing, for pure summer. I want this for her, hours in her room with a friend to make a mess, long afternoons at the pool, some midday TV with Mom, just like I had at her age.
I think the last week before school starts should be a couch vacation, but that’s just me, wanting to get the most nothing out of the summer before it all turns to carpools and it’s time to go! and dance class and Hebrew school and did you finish your homework? and did you take your water? It’s the time to gather our strength, turn to low power mode, and get ready to restart.
✨ CREATIVE WRITING CLASSES! All classes this fall are full, but the waiting list for Sundays is now open and I might sneak a few of you in, so please get on there if you’re interested!
SO FEW THINGS
I was so busy finishing Xochilt Gonzalez’s Olga Dies Dreaming that I read little else! I do, however, love everything Sabrina Orah Mark writes, this essay is no exception. Also really enjoyed this episode of Keep Calm + Cook On with Virginia Sole-Smith.
🌿 SOME CONFUSION ABOUT PAYMENT! I have finally added the option to pay for these directly on Substack. But! IF YOU ALREADY SUBSCRIBE ON PATREON, YOU ARE STILL PAYING, DON’T WORRY AND NO NEED TO DO ANYTHING! When I started this letter on Tiny Letter, many years ago, there was no option for payment, so I added a Patreon account, but Substack has one built in. So if you’ve been reading these for a while and not paying, please consider supporting me financially, too, but through Substack. (Art is, after all, work.) Thank you!
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