paying attention

photo taken by Kristina Dimitrijevic
photo taken by Kristina Dimitrijevic

I’ve been meaning to post this one for awhile. The accompanying pictures were taken by my dear friend and kindred spirit, Kristina, who was one of the first people to teach me how to pay closer attention to the world.

photo taken by Kristina Dimitrijevic

“Yes! No!” by Mary Oliver

How necessary it is to have opinions! I think the spotted trout
lilies are satisfied, standing a few inches above the earth. I
think serenity is not something you just find in the world,
like a plum tree, holding up its white petals.

The violets, along the river, are opening their blue faces, like
small dark lanterns.

The green mosses, being so many, are as good as brawny.

How important it is to walk along, not in haste but slowly,
looking at everything and calling out

Yes! No! The

swan, for all his pomp, his robes of grass and petals, wants
only to be allowed to live on the nameless pond. The catbrier
is without fault. The water thrushes, down among the sloppy
rocks, are going crazy with happiness. Imagination is better
than a sharp instrument. To pay attention, this is our endless
and proper work.


growin’ up

Here, in a small, salty nutshell, are three recent events that signal my impending entrance into a new era of my life.

1) signing a lease on an apartment for next year. farewell, Stanford housing!

2) purchasing my first Mac. why did it take me so long?

3) buying a used copy of The Joy of Cooking that has pressed leaves and a yellowing 1989 newspaper article about preparing turkey slipped inside its pages. it seemed essential.

A smattering of links

Why We’d Be Better of Without the Walkman

–I love music and appreciate my ipod (well, I did appreciate it before it died this year) on plane trips and whatnot, but I can’t help but mostly agree with the author’s take on the use and proliferation of portable music devices.

A charmingly creative animation of a magical notebook

–Thanks to my friend Selena for sending this along to me. I’m a sucker for these innovative, bookish shorts, which leads me to:

A town made of books

-This was made by HarperCollins a few months ago when they were celebrating the 25th anniversary of their imprint 4th Estate, so it’s a bit advertise-y, but don’t let that distract you from this delightful world of words.

RIP Dell Latitude

My laptop kicked the bucket a a few hours ago and after several attempts at resuscitation by my friendly residential computer consultant, Tom, it appears that my trusty Dell is a goner. I had backed up most of my files a few weeks ago, so I feel less bereaved than when my clunky desktop crashed in 10th grade and I lost a lot of my writing, including some poetry that is probably better left forever-unread. But still, I’m a little sad tonight to be saying goodbye to my Dell. I remember the summer after my senior year of high school when I spent hours researching laptops online with my friend Charles–we were both dweeby enough to spend the time making sure our new computers would be just right. Yes, Dells garner a lot of scorn–some of it deserved–but mine always served me well until its slow demise these past few months…

It’s strange how you can form a bond with a dark gray plastic square composed of chips and wires and who knows what else. I never named my computer the way I tend to name other inanimate objects (Marge the couch, Seamus my car), but I still feel–felt–a certain kinship with that modern companion of mine. And now, as I sit in my co-op’s computer cluster, tapping away on a bright new desktop, I wonder if it isn’t just a bit strange and pathetic and horrifying that I feel a sense of grief for my deceased laptop tonight. It was just a machine after all, and a husk at that; the essays, the e-mails, the stories, the spreadsheets, the random documents I’ve spent hours on are all thankfully tucked away in folders on my external hard drive. And even if I lost all of that, too, life would go on. I wonder if we ultimately spend more time with our computers than with some of our friends or our family at college, at work. What an incredibly minuscule blip of a loss it was when I heard my laptop’s final digital sigh tonight when everyone I love is alive and breathing.