Tuesday, October 4, 2016

I just finished The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson, who deservedly received a MacArthur Genius grant a few weeks ago, and have been thinking of its pages ever since. I enjoyed her stylistic approach to “autotheory,” as she deems it, a mix of critical theory and personal meanderings. Maggie Nelson has long given herself permission to tackle her personal life in her writing, and I find her writing to be honest, brave and sure, navel-gazing but mostly, honest and brave.

In somewhat the same vein, in light of the recent Kim K robbery, I figured I would finally admit to enjoying the Kardashians (I contain multitudes!) and coming to her defense. I'm not a material person per se – and definitely not glamorous - but if you know me, you know that I like her and her family because in choosing to do reality television, I find it gutsy that they actually keep the cameras rolling when one of them gets a call from a using husband, or when one of them confronts their partner who has come home drunk in front of the kids, or when one calls their brother to plead with him to get help (though whether or not the show perpetuates these addictions is largely up for debate). Most reality shows wouldn’t be so open about reality, I feel.

All of this is to say that I was feeling melodramatic and lazy a few weeks ago and watched some of the more intense episodes back to back and despite the Kardashian’s flashiness, I found it all a bit dark. Like Nelson though, it was refreshing to see people go beyond sharing the shinier moments of life and open up to include the hiccups, the things that come that make everything fuzzier.

I am not quite as brave to lay everything out here. Sometimes I want to. I see both the value of delving into the personal for the sake of art and also know that confessional Facebook posts pain me so I walk the line.

But anyway, in other news, a few weeks ago when everything still felt summery, I took my camera to work with me to capture a few shots of Humboldt Park, where I normally go for lunch, and I thought that I would share the snapshots here. Most days this past summer, I would do a loop around the Humboldt Park lagoon after lunch and walk by the playground where children were playing in the sprinklers. They giggled and shrieked and I would always think to myself, I'm a fairly happy person but one day I’d like to be as happy as a kid running shirtless through a sprinkler. Perhaps one day  though I think they have me beat.

Later that night, I headed to Pilsen for a work event and took my camera out again while I walked around the south side neighborhood as the sun was setting. Indulging in Pilsen’s street life, which I find to be the most vibrant in the city, I snapped a few photos as seven-year-old girls waved to me from their third floor windows, and then I stopped for a minute to talk to a seƱora about her impressive garden, all maintained in plastic pots, and felt very full and happy. I am a big fan of fall but summer in Chicago is going to be hard to bid farewell to.

I know I haven't written here for a while, and most likely, I will not be checking in as much since I have begun applying to graduate schools. I contemplated closing up shop, since I find that the writing I like to do tends to be fiction or longer personal essays, which are not as well suited for a blog post (also, as noted by the fact that I took these photos weeks ago and am just getting to this now, I'm not really one who loves to document my life in photos) but the practice of it all is not something I want to do away with just yet. So we'll see, my presence here is to be determined. The internet allows for a lot of freedom so I figure I might as well take advantage of it. Sometimes it's nice/necessary to give yourself permission to do whatever you please


shanna said...

these pictures are beautiful, I so agree about summer in Chicago and you captured it beautifully here, and I also agree about there being something special about blogging, however one does it, if only to remember and document and practice. I like your long posts! Just putting that out there, too.

Sally said...

Thank you Shanna! Means a lot to hear.

Celia said...

You've started applying! Cheers!!! PS I like your long posts, too.