3 min read

Friday Open Thread (with Quiet)

Close-up on fallen gingko leaves, golden and jewelled with drops of rain, with a patch of dark green moss between them.

Dear Friends,

I'm writing to you from my family's home in the wilderness, surrounded by deep woods, on the bank of a river. I arrived as the sun was setting, and spent a beautiful evening making dinner with my father under my mother's instructions. We sat together and talked and ate, caught each other up on work, thoughts, feelings, the state of the world. It's been so long since coming here didn't require a great deal of preparation and coordination and stress, and just being able to turn up, have dinner, spend the night, has been wonderful. I'm looking forward to waking up here, and wondering meantime: will there be mist on the river, will I go for a run if the weather's good, will I wake to the sounds of geese shouting at each other or drumming their bodies on the water. I can hear them now, faintly, in the distance.

Despite the geese, I feel quiet. All my breaths are deeper here, all my franticness stilled. I was startled to find I'd been staring at the screen for the better part of an hour, not thinking about anything in particular, just sinking into an awareness of my own body, my chest, my heart.

Is there a place, a person, a practice, that brings you this kind of quiet? A quiet of attunement, like moving past the static on the radio into a channel of pure clarity; a quiet of long exhales, relaxing muscles, gentle being? I used to feel this way about reading books and listening to Loreena McKennitt – a grounding that banishes anxiety, anguish, any bad feeling – and am grateful to find it located in a place I can come to, a specific hearth.

I wish this for you too, and a weekend of tenderness and strength.



Postscripts of News:

  • The Tor/Forge blog has an excerpt from Ursula K. Le Guin's Worlds of Exile and Illusion, the new edition that it's been my honour to introduce. I'm so excited for this to be in people's hands!  
  • I started this silly thread about (my own) typos while marking yesterday and the replies have made it into one of the most wholesome and cheering things in my internet week.
  • Stu and I watched a film last night that has become my favourite film of the year: Plan B, Natalie Morales' directorial debut. I tweeted about it at more length here, but basically it's about two teenage girls in South Dakota on a quest to find a morning after pill, and it's warm and funny and smart and kind and full of girls being best friends and loving each other. Tremendous performances, a brilliant script, just absolutely top-notch work from everyone involved, and I can't recommend it enough. In the US, it's on Hulu; in Canada, it's frustratingly unavailable without connections. I hope it picks up some awards recognition and becomes available to a wider audience, because it's glorious.
  • I lost someone very dear to me last week, and wrote about it directly on my website, because it felt wrong – not in any way I could easily articulate or justify at the time – to send it out as a newsletter. Reflecting on it now, I think it's because in this space I want to be more considered, thoughtful, anchored, and all I was when I wrote the above was one raw, shocked nerve. It's been a week, and while the pain of the loss keeps transforming and taking me by surprise, it's more manageable. The world is broken and unfair and full of pain, but there is work to be done, work of mending and remembrance, within the still more necessary work of grieving.