hipster breakfast in December

Here is the thing about living alone: it is painfully self-conscious. What does it say about you (as a person, as an artist) if you pee with the door open? You feel weird about putting on mascara and lipstick just to sit at your desk at home, but even more weird about trying to write poetry looking like a mess. You feel you should feel comfortable, sweatpants, whatever, but you don't. There never seems to be a good enough reason to go to bed. You have so much freedom; you should work until 2 every night. What about meals? There are nights when you cook--cornbread, baked beans from scratch, even vegetables and a drink--and then realize that, with no one to talk to, you can eat your whole supper in under five minutes. 

You are continually surprised by this need to be watched. You watch yourself. You take pictures of those photogenic breakfasts and post them on the internet. You usually refrain from taking your shirt off as soon as you get home, and when you don't refrain, you'd better believe the tights you're wearing aren't one of the pairs that cut into your stomach. David Foster Wallace was talking about this before you were born. Is it human nature, the internet, or old-fashioned TV, as he argued?

Of course, people are rarely watching and rarely care. You can relax. 

Can you? You explain that when people oblige you by watching you, at least you feel free to train your laser gaze elsewhere. 

This afternoon, after writing my Middle Easter Narratives final, I went to K and K, the German deli and import store. I wanted Christmas things. I bought three different kinds of packaged gingerbread (Honigplatzchen, Pfeffernusse, Dominosteine), poppyseeds to make a roll, bratwurst, prosciutto, Christmas incense, Swedish angel chimes, ground anise, Christollen spice, Hirschhornsalz and Potasche. Three kinds of gingerbread is not enough, clearly, because I need the esoteric levening agents to make Pfefferkuchenplatzchen next week. Want some?

Making Christmas alone, with no one to see, is another question.

top floor life

The first month in this apartment on the top floor of a three-storey walk-up on 99th Street in Edmonton, Alberta. The light in here is saving me. 

Finals start this week. I'm trying to write a term paper on Mary Astell, a 17th-century woman who quietly revolutionized English rhetoric.  I'm finding it hard to concentrate. 

My desk is in front of a window through which I can see into the bakery across the street. One day I recognized my friend Clayton making croissants. I went to yoga for the first time. I discovered Iron and Wine, seven years late. 

I'm drinking a lot. Sometimes I smoke a cigarette. The downstairs neighbor hauled in a piano three weeks ago. It took the whole day and they left the back door open. I thought Simpkin had escaped. Now he plays all the time and it's the best music you can imagine.

I'm going to have a Christmas tree. I got a haircut. It's not fair to say it, but every man I encounter disappoints me. It's a phase, I know. Who am I to lump people into a category called 'men'? I bought a humidifier. I bought a bed and a lot of new clothes.

My kitchen table is already so important. I have two chairs. People sit here and I cook for them. More meat than before. Every time I come home I greet Simpkin out loud and put my cash tips into a jar.

There are matches and books everywhere. Downstairs I pay a dollar-fifty in change for every load of laundry I wash. I dry things on a clothes rack in the kitchen. I make coffee without a scale. 

sometimes being a writer means learning some woodworking

A few weeks ago, Tim helped me to make a background for zine gallery photography. I needed something I could set up and move around--but I wanted it to look like a table. Enter this cherry wood board, which we cut, book-matched, glued, planed, squared, burnished, and waxed. (Book-matching is unbelievably satisfying.) I learned a lot. It took a day and a half. 

Now I'm in the middle of upgrading the zine archive with better photos. Here's the newest addition.