writing update & love list

Photograph by James Charlick 

I've been wanting to revive my blog for a long time, but I don't have time for a full-on narrative today. Let's start with a writing update and a love list, shall we?

My writing:

I have a new essay in Proximity Magazine — "A Strange and Common Meal." I reflected on the Communion Table and how it inspires other tables and forms of togetherness in our lives. Many thanks to the editor, Towles Kintz, and to the other writers in the "At the Table" issue for their inspiration.

I have forthcoming essays in The Curator, and the lovely Makes You Mom blog edited by Laura Lynn Brown. I'm working on the first essay right now — it's inspired by this fascinating article in The Atlantic about Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard.

Love list:

I've fallen in love with literary graphic novels again. On a recent trip to the library, I devoured Here by Richard McGuire in one sitting. Then I checked out The Sculptor by Scott McCloud and devoured all 496 pages at home. I renewed that book at the library so that my husband can read it, too. I gave The Sculptor 5/5 stars on Goodreads. It is beautiful, heartbreaking, powerful.

Now I'm reading these 3 books. And I bought Compass of Affection: Poems New and Selected by Scott Cairns at Houston Baptist University's Writers' Conference this past weekend. Cairns talked about vocation and read some of his poetry on the opening night and it was truly a slice of heaven.

I was not feeling well at the conference, but I pushed myself to the end of the final day. And so I came down with a cold + allergies due to Houston's current violent allergens permeating the air. I spent one day of recovery doing nothing but reading, eating soup and Vietnamese spring rolls, and watching TV and a great film — The One I Love. I really can't say anything about it without giving the unique story away. I will say that it's like a romantic comedy meets The Twilight Zone. And Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) from Mad Men is one of the main characters. Okay, her name is Sophie in the movie. It is highly recommended, and it's streaming on Netflix right now.

If you had told me pre-marriage that I would enjoy comic book-inspired films and TV shows, I would have laughed in your face. I had zero interest in such things way back then. But fast forward 12 years, and I do enjoy such art now, thanks to my husband. I was so sick after the writers' conference that I thought I watched episode 1 of Netflix's Daredevil, but I actually watched episode 4. My regards to the writers, though, because it worked as a pilot. I've now watched episode 1, and I eagerly await episode 2. It's super violent, but an excellent show. My husband thinks it's the best thing that Marvel has ever done, and I agree.

Last night my husband and I watched the series finale of FX's Justified, inspired by Elmore Leonard's short story, "Fire in the Hole." Oh my goodness, y'all, I became quite attached to those characters, particularly Raylan Givens, Ava Crowder, and Boyd Crowder. I didn't want any of them to die, and, well . . . you'll have to watch the show yourself to find out what happens to this dysfunctional trinity. Also, if you love bourbon as much as I do, you'll appreciate and be amazed by how much Kentucky whiskey these people drink. Too much, really, but it's impressive. Also, when I'm irritated (or tipsy), I can do a pretty good imitation of Ava's voice, rich with a true Southern drawl. This is very redemptive for me because people never think I sound like I'm from Texas.

Psalms by Sandra McCracken. Y'all must buy this record. It is rich, soulful, and absolutely beautiful. It's currently on repeat as I'm working, cooking, driving, walking our dog, taking a shower . . . you get the idea. It's gorgeous.

Home by Josh Garrels. My current favorite song is "At the Table," but the whole record is so great. By the way, you can download it for free on NoiseTrade.

Look me up on Spotify to see what else I'm listening to, and to listen to my playlists. I'd like to own all of those records on vinyl. One day, I hope.

Visual art
Read this Byway Collective interview with Ellen Cline, a very talented potter, installation artist, and photographer who goes to my Church. I'd also like to own a collection of her tableware one day. I'll start with a coffee mug.

I'm really taken with the photography of Alex Currie right now. I mean, images like this one are magical. And this self-portrait looks like a Jacob Collins painting.

Back to the current violent allergens in the Houston air, these remedies are saving my life:

If you are suffering from allergies, go forth and buy these homeopathic Godsends.

I use Dr.  Hauschka Translucent Face Powder which I admit is pretty pricey. But it's the best powder I've ever used, it lasts a long time, and it pays off when they send along free samples with my order like Lavender Sandalwood Calming Body Cream. I tried it today and it smells amazing, it's very moisturizing, and it is truly a calming aromatherapeutic scent. I might save my pennies for a full-sized tube.

Whenever my face breaks out, I'm thankful for the Zum Lab Pimple Stick which works very well, and it smells good which is a plus. My husband and I are also fans of their Frankincense & Myrrh line of products.

That's all I have time today for, folks. I'll include podcasts, what I'm reading on the web, and food and drink in my next love list. Please share your love lists in the comments. I've missed this blog community — it's good to be connected to you here again, friends.

All other photography is by yours truly. Join me on Instagram, won't you?

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