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My elegant universe

3 min read

Sometimes you don't plan a thing for your weekend, and the weekend just rises up to meet you, and everything is just...wonderful. My weekend was like that. No big, spectacular plans. Just a succession of small, pleasant moments. Any one of them would have been the highlight of the weekend; all strung together, the weekend felt like a gift.

On Saturday we visited the Scappoose Public Library for one of their intermittent book sales. Squish darted about, searching for old books and science books (she came home with Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe); Felicia uncovered a collection of Japanese cookbooks, some inscribed by the author, and an Alaska Magazine cookbook with such dishes as "sweet and sour black bear". I moved through the shelves for twenty minutes, picking up this and that, before a librarian approached and said, "Um, would you like a box?" and offered me a carton for my dozens of finds.

The strangest discovery came when, as we browsed tables of general fiction, Squish drew a sharp breath and pointed. There, in the Gs, were two plastic-jacketed hardcover copies of Eleanor. "'Local Author,'" she read from a sticker on the spine. She took the book to show Felicia, who was on the other side of the library; when Squish came back, she said, "Mama wants to know if you are okay." I considered this, then admitted I wasn't sure how to feel about finding my own books in my hometown library, reduced to $2. I thought about it a bit, then shrugged. I felt fine about it, I guess? Books are meant to be read; there are a million avenues by which they find readers. Maybe the bargain shelf was their path to someone who would love them best?

The library's book sale took place in the midst of the town's weekend farmer's market. Squish, who practically never asks for anything, melted when she saw a denim jacket in one of the booths, with fabric patches of Van Gogh's Starry Night splashed across it. She's hardly taken the jacket off since, except to eat.

This year, as I've been testing previous boundaries, particularly around food, I've been searching for on-ramps into things I always felt weren't for me. Coffee, for example. I drink coffee now. I've found a way in, with Felicia's loving guidance. Next up: Beer. I love a good cocktail, but I've never connected with beer. Felicia and I are putting this to the test, looking for the on-ramp together. So far we've determined IPAs are not our on-ramp. On Saturday we tried a dry cider; Sunday, at a pen club meetup, we tried a pale ale and a hefeweizen. All three were pretty good! Coffee and beer. Who am I?

Both days we wrote together. Saturday we camped out for a bit at Starbucks; Felicia journaled while I worked through some structural prep for the next draft of The Dark Age. Sunday we spent a little while at Kopi, a new favorite coffee shop in Portland (I recommend the honey mocha, goddamn), and journaled together. I'm absolutely loving this. Spending time with the woman I love, spreading open our notebooks, selecting our preferred writing instruments (Felicia's partial to fountain pens, while I'm never far from a really good pencil), listening to the sound of lines on paper, sitting shoulder-to-shoulder.

Family movie night this week was my choice. The girls are horror lovers, and while horror's never particularly been my jam (except those tragically sad ones, which usually means ghost stories), there's not much I love more than sharing in what they're into. So I chose The Sixth Sense, which I hadn't seen in ages. It was a real kick watching Squish discover the movie's famous twist in real-time while Felicia and I watched it with that twist already burned into our brains. The movie holds up better than I'd expected; the performances feel no less urgent and real than they did nearly twenty-five years ago. (OMG, nearly 25 years?) I realized, too, how much I've missed just watching movies shot on film. The opening frame of the movie, with filaments glowing to life in a light bulb, just felt comforting. Anyone else miss natural film grain? Vibrant, realistic color? The gorgeousness of an imperfect scene?

I couldn't have asked for a better weekend of memories. I'm still living in a bit of a happy haze. I'd like to hang out here forever.

feliciamemoriessquishthe dark ageeleanor


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