Whit asked about Defiant Lightness, which was on my vision list for the new year. I stole the phrase from the Burmese Prince, who had it on his vision list last year. It's just what it is, a bouncy step heading around town, like Frank O'Hara.
If you can't get enough of this silly blog news, see also the Poetry Foundation. I'm guest blogging on Harriet the Blog during the month of January: Harriet
Also, on Wednesday night there's an excellent Robert Duncan Birthday Party at the Poetry Project. We will be there, you should be there too: Po Project January 9th
Also, also, fermented applesauce. Yes, that's what I said:
Pardon its sidewaysness. A glitch in the machine.
The Jackson Heights Farmers Market has been a remarkable find in this new neighborhood of ours. It turns out that we can do all our shopping there, once a week, and we can stick with a diet of local seasonal food, which is where it's at. Winter makes eating easier: fewer choices, predictable food prep routines. We've settled on one chicken, some beef stock bones, many apples, many carrots, many sweet potatoes, some squash, some brussel sprouts, yogurt, and milk as our winter staples. With the fermenting kit (pictured above) we end up with a couple jars of fermented apple sauce every week too. After years of experimenting, it feels like we've arrived at a mix of healthy and tasty stuff that feeds the family well. Sugar and wheat are out. (Okay, not entirely true: the kid is a sugar magnet: she sneaks treats whenever she can.) Canned food is out (eliminating the BPA issue). Processed food is out. No boxes, no cans. Just the real deal. What I'm happy about is the foundation this gives the kid re: comfort food routines. She really chomps away on the raw carrots and apple and peanut butter treats. Bone broths with rice noodles are also a big hit. Voila, kid nutrition is under control. (And we're tossing in some fermented cod liver oil with raw butter here and there, just to keep our fur shiny.)
Meanwhile, we are settled in Jackson Heights, but why are we in America and how long will we stay here? In New York City we don't so keenly feel the madness of guns and Jesus, but we know they are lurking just outside the city limits. (Actually Jesus is in our neighborhood pretty heavily because of the stupid Spanish converting everyone south of the border.)
We also ponder issues of community and the communal, and the differences in the social contracts UK versus USA. Americans (especially New Yorkers) may know you for years without asking where you came from, where you went to school, what your family is about, and what your experiences of the world are.
I often feel guilty of being an American in a particular social shyness. Is it a lack of interest in my neighbors? Is it that the pubs of Britain lubricate the social contract with stout? Is it that the UK and Europe are simply more socialist? (I mean the social contract triumphs over the wild western individualism.) Look around you. Who do you know and what do you know about them? I have one project in the works that has helped me to rethink people and why I love them. I've started a CIA file style notebook, a list of all my friends and acquaintances. Alphabetical by first name. Every person gets a page, and on that page I take notes about the details of the person's life. Creepy? Not really meant to be. It's more of a love affair with community. It's nice to know that so and so has eight step-sisters and that madame x spent a year in south america. who would have thought that jane doe's neurosis started with her mother who was an orphan.
Talking to people about who they are seems like a basic human activity, but I can think of twenty years worth of experiences in New York City where talk has been more about commodity experience (where did you get those shoes?) and foody culture (where did you get that sushi?) and snarkiness (a's big butt, b's drinking problem, and c and d's lousy marriage).
And now it's time to say good day. Back soon. Peace out.