eleven zero one

We are moving into a new home this week and leaving behind our yellow house, a space that (minus the cockroaches) has been comfort and safety to me these past two years. I slipped on my wedding dress for the very first time in the bedroom, and a few months later put it on with my mother and sister by my side in that same room. It is the home Austin and I first came home to after our honeymoon, and the place where we have grown in love and understanding for one another. We have argued in this house, planted rosemary and lavender and mint in the front yard, built a raised bed with our own hands, strung lights in our backyard, hosted any number of bonfires and parties. We have filled this space with friends, over and over again, on air mattresses and at the dinner table, the leaves extended to fit as many people as possible.

I rode my bike by the yellow house a random hot spring afternoon in 2015, and thought, I want to live there. I memorized the address and looked it up online when I got home, and found out that it was a rental property, and due to be up for lease come the month that I needed to move. But, the realty company wasn't sure the current tenants would be moving. I spent that next month praying and riding my bike by it almost every day. I called the realty company every week to see if there were any updates, and finally heard word that it would actually be up for rent. It was a little more expensive than we anticipated, but a friend told us to go for it, that the first house that you live in as a married couple carries deep and meaningful memories, and that it would be worth it. So we did.

It wasn't until later that I noticed that the address 1101 was also our wedding date, November 1st—a silly coincidence, but one that makes me happy, and makes it seem fitting that it has been our first married house.


april + may books

1. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

In the span of a month, I had three people (two strangers!) tell me this was their favorite book, so I took that as a sign I should read it. The novel chronicles the forbidden young love of Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza, the latter whom eventually marries another man, a doctor, after much persuasion from her father. Márquez contrasts Dr. Urbino—a modern, rational man—with the wild and emotional love of Florentino Ariza, who remains devoted (albeit with quite a number of trysts) to Fermina Daza, even into old age. I don't know if I would say Love in the Time of Cholera is my favorite book, but definitely worth the read.

2. Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination by Toni Morrison

I'll let Toni Morrison sum it up: "These speculations have led me to wonder whether the major and championed characteristics of our national literature—individualism; masculinity; social engagement vs. historical isolation; acute and ambiguous moral problematics; the thematics of innocence coupled with an obsession with figurations of death and hell—are not in fact responses to a dark, abiding signing Africanist presence. It has occurred to me that the very manner by which American literature distinguishes itself as a coherent entity exists because of this unsettled and unsettling population."

3. Duino Elegies by Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. by Edward Snow

It has been awhile since I carried around Rilke (Book of Hours) in my bag everywhere I went, and I thought I had 'outgrown' him, worn him out along with every other like-minded student at my college. Duino Elegies reminded me that I will never outgrow Rilke. I keep coming back to these words, especially: "Here is the time for the sayable, here is its home. / Speak and attest."

4.  Putting Art (Back) In Its Place by John Skillen

I was glad to read this delightful and necessary book by a friend and mentor. Focusing on the visual culture of medieval and Renaissance Italy, Skillen argues how art in lived spaces guides communities together into their shared calling. With ample examples and a call for the contemporary Church to return to this model, Skillen evades falling into nostalgia—though at times it seems his target audience is a first-year college student with little understanding of liturgy or history.

5. The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel

A quick, simple read—Heschel writes like a poet: "The meaning of the Sabbath is to celebrate time rather than space. Six days a week we live under the tyranny of things of space; on the Sabbath we try to become attuned to holiness in time. It is a day on which we are called upon to share in what is eternal in time, to turn from the results of creation to the mystery of creation; from the world of creation to the creation of the world."


on prayer | 20

"Such a deepening of vision will eventually also involve at some point a profound sense of the mind's darkening, and of a disconcerting reorientation of the senses - these being inescapable fallouts from the commitment to prayer that sustains such a view of the theological enterprise. The willingness to endure a form of naked dispossession before God; the willingness to surrender control (not to any human power, but solely to God's power); the willingness to accept the arid vacancy of simple waiting on God in prayer; the willingness at the same time to accept disconcerting bombardments from the realm of the 'unconscious;' all these are ascetical tests of contemplation without which no epistemic or spiritual deepening can start to occur. What distinguishes this position, then, from an array of other 'post-foundationalist' options that currently present themselves in theology is the commitment to the discipline of particular graced bodily practices which, over the long haul, afford certain distinctive ways of knowing."

(Sarah Coakley, God, Sexuality, and the Self)