helena-fitzgerald   14

“(like it says in the thing, this is an in-progress piece of something much longer/bigger I'm working on and a lot of these ideas are still me spitballing/working through stuff, so if it feels incomplete, well, that's the fun of a newsletter I guess)”
“(like it says in the thing, this is an in-progress piece of something much longer/bigger I'm working on and a lot of these ideas are still me spitballing/working through stuff, so if it feels incomplete, well, that's the fun of a newsletter I guess)”
helena-fitzgerald  in-progress  newsletter  drafts 
4 weeks ago by jasdev
> dragging last night’s hair and last night’s outfit past fresh-faced soccer moms already awake to face the day.

> It’s true that obligation in love is unavoidable, but it’s also one of the best gifts romantic love offers; our selves who turn toward obligation are generally our best selves, willing to do what is difficult over what is available, willing to pull up out of our habits and into our better potential. The obligation of romance has the capacity to teach us to do this in a larger sense. It acts act as a lesson in accountability. At least I know that it has for me.
helena-fitzgerald  valentines-day 
5 weeks ago by jasdev
> The last minute is basically my only real skill. In college, (and high school, and since I can remember) there must have been things I occupied myself with in the hours between when I left class or left a social event and when, at 1am, or 3am, or 6am, I sat down to start work. But mostly what I remember is those frantic hours, the world around me silent, tunneling to the forced singularity of focus. There was a street lamp right under my dorm window, five stories down. It came back on at 5am, and at least once a week I would watch it spark to life, as the morning leaked back into the world, and I would feel like I had acquired some substance, like whatever was coming next would be survivable, like this version of myself, awake, capable of driving the work of two weeks into two hours, was worthy of praise. I felt tangibly good at something, the way I imagine athletes feel. I liked writing, but I liked at least as much being able to say "I wrote it in an hour" about something I’d written. I still do. At this point, after many years of operating this way, I can see the seams, the flimsiness of it, but I have been relying on the last minute for so long that I don’t know how to do otherwise.

> If television in the last ten or fifteen has a cohesive thesis - and I believe it does - the thesis is that work will save you. Work replaces the family. It orders the world into meaning, and lifts singular identity into a high and visible register.

> It's easy to see why the promise appeals. You don't have to love anyone, or make anyone love you; you just have to be really, really good at your job.

> To do something reasonably, in manageable pieces, means to admit my limitations, to turn work from the register of miracles back down to the everyday, where it is just work.
work  helena-fitzgerald  bl  procrastination 
6 weeks ago by jasdev
> a nervous, obligated curiosity

> We had witnessed the end of its long southbound journey out of mundanity and darkness. It was one more of the small, strange, lit up events the city offers, the tree like a hallucination, devoured by the darkening avenues, brought in to offer a visible reason to exclaim about something, the city inventing something upon which to rejoice.

> The holidays feel overwhelmingly personal, but perhaps the best thing about them is that they are not personal at all.

> look to the unnamed days of January and February
holidays  helena-fitzgerald  january  nyc  february  christmas 
10 weeks ago by jasdev
> I was teaching writing all day but not writing myself, and on twitter so many people I knew were starting tinyletters, sending small paragraphs of heart-rending, un-pitch-able prose, family stories and recipes and album recommendations and lowkey erotica in little forward-marching scrolls of text that I’d read curled around my phone late at night while I couldn’t sleep. I was jealous of my students and I was jealous of everyone starting tinyletters and of everyone publishing essays, and of the world going on one bright achievement after another all around me. I wrote some paragraphs quickly, without looking, like muttering under my breath, told myself I didn’t have to edit it because no one would read it anyway, and hit send.

> The whole college application is a murderously hopeful document, and hope is the most mercenary emotion, the struck-match trick of salespeople and con artists and politicians, leaving the door unlocked at night, risking everything in a game to which no one told us the rules.
college  helena-fitzgerald  writing  failure  newsletter 
10 weeks ago by jasdev
Soft Places
> The night of the election, at 3am, New York was the quietest I had ever heard it, absolutely silent, but it didn’t feel at all like being alone. The silence was stuffed to bursting with presence, built out of all the other people awake and not making noise, people standing in the nowhere of a moment further into the future than they thought they’d ever have to get, the sound of thousands of champagne corks stuffed firm in their bottles, un-propelled.

> Pulling yourself out of the maelstrom and observing, for once a spectator rather than an actor, briefly relieved of consequence, as though you could pass ghostlike through the mass and volume of bodies and no one would feel a thing. No one could embrace you and walls couldn’t hold you.

> A pet is the image of a more merciful world, a life made only of tenderness.

> I always tell him, because another one of the reasons to have a cat, to care for an animal, is to get to say things that sappy and awful, to be allowed to be un-nuanced and unsophisticated, to love in an absolutely uncritical and un-rigorous way.
helena-fitzgerald  solitude  capitalism  alone  pet  nyc  election 
10 weeks ago by jasdev
Mary Oliver’s Poetry Found a Second Life As a Meme
> But of course, the magic of the poem, and that of many of Oliver’s poems in particular, is how it creates this sense of being implausibly singled out and told what you were waiting to hear.
bl  helena-fitzgerald  poetry  mary-oliver 
11 weeks ago by jasdev
“An airport after security and before boarding is, at least to me, the last place where every verb is only in the future tense.”

“The veil feels thin between who I have settled into being and all the other people I could have been.”

“Maybe it is possible to want the things you have”
helena-fitzgerald  love  travel  jealousy  relationships 
january 2019 by jasdev
“That was always my dream of this city, watching it from a fire escape, in it and not in it.”

“To be loved, one must be self-sufficient, whole in oneself, needless. Neediness is something anyone can smell coming off of you like the stink of unwashed clothes; love is guaranteed only by not needing love, maybe by not even wanting it, by turning and walking fast in the other direction.”

“New York, for all its well-worn jokes and pretensions, is much America as anywhere. The skyscrapers of the wealthy stand in for wide open fields. Here, if you can afford it, you can live in a rooted glass spaceship so far enough off the ground that you never have to notice that you owe anyone anything. You can float in an uncaring cloud city, with everything you need delivered to the door, a transactional life broken up into clean and independent pieces.”

“The next day there was the same list of things that had to be done, small graces and details, mistakes and apologies, threads to tie to one another.“
july-4th  nyc  love  helena-fitzgerald 
december 2018 by jasdev
“But in the end we did my actual favorite thing, which is staying in the city over a major holiday weekend. Staying here over Thanksgiving or Christmas is the closest you will ever get to seeing a private New York, a New York as a small town, the bare, dead, and wonderful skeleton that remains when scrubbed of both transplants and tourists, when divested of anyone with anywhere else to go.”

“We filled our apartment with loud, bright, sincere, concerned people being loud and bright and sincere and concerned at one another.”
helena-fitzgerald  sunday  bl  weekend  nyc  holidays 
december 2018 by jasdev
“The poems offer a version of the world in which we might reach toward others’ joy in the same gesture as reaching toward our own, rather than dissecting faults and hoarding happiness.”

“I am aware that this is a way of being bad at social media, just like insisting on joy is a way of being bad at poetry. I am aware that documenting my love is basic in the same way that O’Hara being my favorite poet is basic. But, at least for me, this obsessive documentation of the stupid, boring, repetitive things that string a life together is the place where social media aspires to the level of poetry.”

“Love celebrates another person’s existence rather than their achievements.”

“Look at this pattern of days, this holiday that means nothing outside itself.”
poetry  helena-fitzgerald  newsletter  love 
december 2018 by jasdev
“I don’t know, I think that this kind of email-based personal writing is like whispering when you’re the last two people left awake at a sleepover and you get to say the things you’d never say in a daylight conversation, one that actually counts.”
newsletter  helena-fitzgerald 
december 2018 by jasdev

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