1. I am freshly obsessed with The X-Files. Finally, I get it. Mulder and Scully and Scully and Mulder and Mulder’s sadly boyish way of insisting that we’re not alone. Also: aliens.
2. I’ve been reading The Goldfinch, which is wonderful and kept me company yesterday during what was probably the worst hangover in the history of my life (I stayed chained to my bed all day, sending mopey snapchats to my brother of my kittens sitting on top of the pizza box that I’d ordered and hoped to eat from as soon as my stomach settled; it was the most depressing margherita pizza ever –– cheese with some basil paste “sprinkled” on at random). I think I read somewhere about the “thingness” of Donna Tartt’s writing, which is right. She peoples her stories so specifically and thickly, but she does it without inducing claustrophobia. It’s great. I’m loving it. Actually worth lugging that 800-page hardback around with me.
3. I’ve consumed a lot lately because I’ve been more hermit-ish than usual (a real feat since “hermit” is my natural state; my therapist told me she appreciated how “strategic” I’d been about it), and all those hours have given me time to tuck into movies and books I’ve been waiting on. But whatever I’ve consumed has been colored with this new patina of grief. Grief the non-emotion; grief the thing that shades my feelings, but isn’t in itself a feeling. Before, I’d understood or expected grief to be a specific Thing, but it’s not that. It’s more a room than an item in that room. Some things grow dull inside it; others heighten. I’ve found myself crying during The Mindy Project, during a movie scene with a heartfelt waterslide race or a silly rom-com montage. Would not have expected that near-panic-attack I had while in the theater watching Gravity, or how cold I can feel during an emotionally manipulative moment. My appetite has become unpredictable, but there’s a rawness in these responses that has been interesting to catalog: the feeling of the thing, and then the watching of that feeling.
4. As a result of all this alone-time, however, I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten how to have a conversation out in the real world.
5. The cats, Bear and Sagan, have become teenagers. They track dirt across the apartment, attack plastic bags, push their heads into whatever glass I’m drinking from or bowl I’m eating out of. But then I get into bed and they tuck in around me, almost so I can’t roll over without squashing one or the other, and how am I supposed to stay mad? I can’t. They’ve become these lanky, loveable teens.
6. There’s this One Direction song I actually like which I’ve been listening to. I’m sorry for admitting that. Other than that, it’s been predictable: Haim and Bastille and Alt-J. On Friday night, I put on a Tom Waits album, poured a glass of wine, and sat on the couch with Donna Tartt and Sagan on my lap, a blanket tucked around my ever-cold feet. It was a good night. Interrupted by two phone calls. But still: good.
7. So many phone calls. I suck at talking on the phone. I can’t articulate; I ramble. These thoughts seem so mannered and orderly until I try to say them. I thought after a year of this that I would have gotten better. But nope. My words unspool unpredictably. My cousin helps me reel them in, and I sit quietly listening to her elegant explanations and thank goodness that at least sometimes, on the page, I’m better. We’re working on projects I’m excited about. Projects I hope to finally be able to talk about sometime soon. These projects are also to blame for my hermithood.
8. Here’s the thing I’ve found myself most enjoying about the X-Files, what it really gets right: the human confusion and reaction to these other-worldly, unreal things. It’s about those things, sure, but mostly it’s about the people in the show and how they grapple with these events that make no sense, that break the rules of what they know. I’ve liked that, and liked how real it seems. And, also, I love that familiarity of Scully calling Mulder and saying, simply: “Mulder, it’s me.” That has been a good thing.