I have nothing to give you as far as recipes go- only navelgazing about Seattle.
Which is to say, I’m sitting in a Starbucks in LA, and to reflect more thoroughly, the last time I was in LA was about a year ago. I lived in my friends’ beach cottage for a month while I reflected on the fact that I was pretty unmoored in terms of just coming off a stint of temping in a windowless basement office responding to the complaints of high-strung office people, I was dating someone who was amounting to be who was good at transcendental meditation and bad at telling me one thing and having it remain consistent for three days. I had no idea where I was going or what I was doing in life, and I spent a lot of time in LA reading Jeanette Winterson novels on the beach and staring at my internet dating profiles and wondering why more people weren’t immediately drawn to my warmth and magnetism. And I made a few really kick-ass soups and played in the ocean.
What is interesting is that every single thing I had hoped for and wanted has unfolded this year in ways more convoluted and silly than I would’ve ever imagined. And I feel cranky and sorry for myself more often than I should, but aside from being a broke, I have a stupid amount of things to be grateful for.
I have been drinking more coffee than I ever have before (I think-it’s been a very caffienated year overall) and I feel a little bit spiteful of Seattlites in general-I feel like their little coffeecups are more like adult sippy-cups and as a city we are generally quite spoiled and lacking in things like ability to have direct conflict and survive without a great deal of technological gadgets; but that aside I have been drinking a lot of coffee. I have recently come to the conclusion that it makes me anxious and jittery and get into spirals of negative thinking-
Also, on the recommendation of people I respect, I have been reading Thich Nhat Hanh lately-in particular one called “True Love”-which, don’t hold your breath, it’s written by a Buddhist monk.
And I am someone who has read voraciously in my life, but have not as much lately for whatever reason-while I can manage to get on the same menstrual cycle as my ladyfriends and homeskillets, the library and I for some reason cannot get in sync with how much free time I have and how many books she’s got for me. Maybe I should stick my nose in her armpit more often. Anyway, I’ve found myself lately to a busy-minded sort that likes to keep six things going at once, (and I ascribe this to astrology-I like to find a reason for everything, and aside from being a Gemini I have few other excuses for being slightly high-strung and twitchy, especially under the influence of caffeine.)
Though as an aside-since this morning I’m halfway through “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union.” It’s excellent.
Anyway, so I read myself some Thich Nhat Hanh to give my brain something to chew upon rather than psyching myself out about why I will be destitute and why I will grow old by myself and why I am not bleh or blah or shmeh enough.
The point of this long tangent is to tell you that I am so f’ing dippy that reading a book that instructs it’s reader to listen to their loved ones with deep listening and deep kindness, and to be gentle and compassionate with themselves and say shit to their partners like,”Dear one, I am so glad you are here.” and “Dear one, I am hear to listen.”….makes me want to cry, it’s so nice.
I have been spending more time in the world away from Seattle, and I encounter a lot of people who ask me,”Do you like Seattle?” which I find a hilarious thing to ask, mostly because it implies that someone might not. To which I uniformly respond,”I’m from there.” However, I show up in LA, and I immediately ask to be taken someplace with decent coffee and free/cheap wireless internet. Because however much I posit myself as someone who is not immediately identifiable as a Seattlite by virtue of being loud, big-boned and somewhat tacky….I still have a shrine in my heart for Seattle that is constructed of an elitism for independent film, bookstores, and coffee. Among other things. Someone who maintains a practice of going to public spaces to do solitary things.
I have this inherent sense of superiority about Seattle to most other places-which I work at not letting become so obvious, but the general public is not very helpful at encouraging me to not maintain this elitism, with exception from a few stragglers I have met from the East Coast, and various other people, who are really into Seattle except for the fact it rains all the time, people can’t give you directions or call you back to save their lives, and Seattle’s really not that big of a city.
It’s true. By and large we are shy clannish provincial people.
It remains to be seen. I have seldom expressed any desire to leave Seattle that was rooted in anything besides a discontent with my interpersonal relationships-ie “this relationship isn’t working so fuck all y’all I’m moving to Nova Scotia.”
To sum up, I love Seattle the way I love my family; which is to say it is encompassing and irrevocable and I can hold the complexity and contradictions. Ultimately is simply fundamental. And the fact that I am staying here is not much short of an act of destiny, really. So really, I have no idea what is meant for me to accomplish in the next two years, but it will be no more obvious to me in the midst of it all than it was this time last year when I spent hours standing in the ocean wondering what at all could be done to give the course of my life more clear direction. And all I have is that when you set yourself adrift you will wind up back on the shore. More likely than not you will land where you need to be.
I am so curious what happens next.