I don’t do a lot of browsing on Etsy, though, because I think it’s kind of stressful. More than once, I’ve bought a piece of furniture and then realized, once it came, that it was for a doll house.
7. Abandoning books I started finishing a lot more books once I started abandoning ones that I wasn’t compelled to finish, but would just carry around with all of this guilt, and then I would end up looking at my phone instead. So, if by page 30, I’m not interested in turning the page, or I feel I’m not being enriched, then I let it go and I trust that it will either come back to me at the right time, or I’ll die never having read it.
8. Conair face steamer A makeup artist on “Gossip Girl” gave this to me and I went, “OK, Amy …” but then I found it really helpful and soothing. You use it and it’s like, “Am I in a spa, or am I on my toilet?” It also seems to be good for your skin — which is the point, yes — but the ritual is also really pleasant to me and feels like it’s helping my skin even more.
9. Running to slow songs If I listen to fast songs, I try to run at the pace of the music and can’t keep up. So I like to listen to songs that go at a steady clip, or ideally craft a playlist that starts a little more hyper and then reaches some kind of slow catharsis, with everyone in Prospect Park loving and understanding that I’m having a meaningful experience.
Some of the music is excruciatingly sincere, singer-songwriter music. Some is ambient and wonky — Brian Eno is reliable. Sometimes I do show tunes, too, and I’m mortified that people can hear it, and see that I’m angrily running to “The Light in the Piazza.”
10. “Don’t Go Back to Sleep” I came across this Rumi poem a few weeks ago in the “Reality Streaming” Substack by Hawa Arsala. Whenever I’d hear people say that they wrote, or made art, in the morning, I would be like, “Well, good for you.” I was resistant to the idea of there being an advantage to waking up early, but I recently tasked myself with trying it for a week and, annoyingly enough, it is very magical to write in the morning. It feels like you have some kind of secret or something.
This poem makes me much more eager to go toward that magical little space, because nothing else really gives me that feeling I get out of working alone. It isn’t really fair to be an unpleasant wench all the time, just because I’m mad that I didn’t spend enough time writing, so … yeah, that poem.