Friday 5 1/2

1. I have new favorite music: The Paper Raincoat. My friend Meg recommended them to me and I downloaded the album and now I can’t stop listening.

2. Speaking of my friend Meg, she’s really inspiring. She’s training to run a marathon. And she’s going to Thailand in September for three weeks by herself. She’s going to do a 10-day silent meditation retreat. I’ve never traveled alone and I’m completely impressed. Also, honestly, I think I’d explode if I tried to do a silent retreat.

3. That brings up an issue I had with this article in Bitch magazine about “priv-lit,” from the takeoff point of Eat Pray Love. I think it makes some interesting points about how it’s easy to get seduced by marketing, and how sometimes we search for meaning in weird, materialistic ways that are only shadow comforts. At what point does self-help become indulgent? But I also think it’s off-puttingly judgy. It’s okay to like cute shoes and yoga and wish you could take a month off and go on retreat. It’s possible to be grateful for what you have but want to be happier or more centered or whatever. That doesn’t make you an over-privileged, deluded twit. At least, I hope not.

4. How exactly do we balance being grateful for what we have with wanting more? I’ve written about this a lot because that’s a big point of contemplation for me. The gratitude journal helps. This week I’ve been grateful for: thunderstorms, Top Chef marathons, wonderful crit partners, fresh tomatoes, new episodes of The Closer, Laurie Halse Anderson’s inspiring posts, purple highlighters, and summer Fridays.

5. But I’ve also been spending a lot of time daydreaming about writing retreats and someday seeing a book of mine on the shelves. I have so, so much hope for my current ms. I’m perhaps 1/3 of the way through my first pass on revisions. Earlier this week I was feeling overwhelmed with some of the research I need to do (it’s set in alternate-history 1890s New England). Now I’m just excited to really dig into it this weekend.

1/2. Although it would be nice to have that month-long retreat, wouldn’t it?

Cross-posted at my new WordPress blog.

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