The Pond

5 reflections for you on February 13, 2021


It’s about five random things.

My friend John Calendo came up with the name The Pond for this category in WOODRUFF.

Whenever I’m stumped for titles I call up John and tell him what I’m working on. And then like the Oracle of Delphi he suggests names.

Often I’ll say, “Oh, I’ve got a good title for this blah blah…!” And he’ll say, “No, that’s awful.” And then come up with other suggestions. Because we worked together for years as editors I trust his instincts.

John took my too-wordy description for the landing page of WOODRUFF and said it should read: “Astrology, pop culture, gay sex and fate. That’s what you’re about.” And when I heard that I knew it was perfect.

When he’s completed his channeling he will close the convo with: “The tip jar is on the piano.” 😐

Instead of giving him money, I buy him books that he doesn’t read.

(Recent books like: As Meat Loves Salt, The Day of the Locust, Aleister Crowley’s The Book of Thoth, and Camile Paglia’s close read of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Next, I’m sending him a book that is blowing my mind right now, Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers).

REFLECTION 1: Squirrels that defy death

SQUIRRELS EAT POISONOUS MUSHROOMS. What more can I add, other than they get hungry. Squirrels put mushrooms and toadstools up on tree branches to dry before burying them, to preserve them for the winter. And then they will eat them. And live. I also hear that if you put mushrooms out in the sun they will absorb a lot of vitamin D which beats eating sheep lanolin which is where most vitamin D supplements come from. I use these instead. They are sourced from lichen. Who wants to ingest wool byproducts?

REFLECTION 2: Snow blast

AFTER ONE OF THE WARMEST WINTERS on record in Washington, last night a big belligerent snowstorm blew through the Sound while we slept. And dumped several inches of snow everywhere. I’ve had to fill the bird feeders twice already as they are out in swarms, gorging in prep for their nesting season next month. Hard to believe spring is just several weeks away.

REFLECTION 3: This small adjustable computer gizmo

BY MAY OF LAST YEAR I realized that I wouldn’t be leaving the island for anything related to work. So I started moving into different rooms of the house for variety while writing and doing design work (I telecommute as the art director for The Bob Mizer Foundation in San Francisco). By August my neck was so fucked up from leaning towards my laptop from couches, beds, bathtubs, and lounging chairs I knew I had to make an ergonomic shift to save my cervical spine. After different adjustments—like installing a desk in my office that allows me to stand (which helped a lot)—I discovered this miniature table thing that effortlessly extends, shortens, and angles to accommodate wherever I park my ass. Highly recommended if you’re like me and need to switch space and vibes up throughout your day.

REFLECTION 4: Annie Dillard mentions a pond and asks, “Why not?”

“WHAT I AM TO DO is not so much learn the names of the shreds of creation that flourish in this valley, but to keep myself open to their meanings, which is to try to impress myself at all times with the fullest possible force of their very reality. I want to have things as multiply and intricately as possible present and visible in my mind. Then I might be able to sit on the hill by the burnt books where the starlings fly over, and see not only the starlings, the grass field, the quarried rock, the viney woods, Hollins pond, and the mountains beyond, but also, and simultaneously, feathers’ barbs, springtails in the soil, crystal in rock, chloroplasts streaming, rotifers pulsing, and the shape of the air in the pines. And, if I try to keep my eye on quantum physics, if I try to keep up with astronomy and cosmology, and really believe it all, I might ultimately be able to make out the landscape of the universe. Why not?”

Annie Dillard from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

REFLECTION 5: Age of Aquarius clothing

THE PROBLEM WITH 18 EAST’S clothing drops is that by the time you get their emailed updates all of the new clothing has sold out. The way around this is to follow their Instagram, which posts the new stuff sooner—and then to call their brick-and-mortar store and place your order over the phone. COVID had me drastically switch up what I was wearing at home throughout last year. I dropped fitted clothing and got into the comfortable sorts of loose pants, shirts, and sweaters that Antonio Ciongoli’s 18 East produce. I predict Ciongoli’s style of clothing is the sartorial future that’s already happening now—especially as boxy office buildings and skyscrapers are abandoned and the earth reclaims zombie hives like Silicon Valley. Because of the way Ciongoli blends cultural patterns and surprising textures so effortlessly, I consider him to be the Age of Aquarius’ preeminent designer. 18 East is sustainability-oriented too. And the guys that work in their store are cute. Read more about 18 West on GQ. (And marvel at my new shirt below. If only it had been delivered by the model.)


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