Monday December 26 2022
This is our annual reflection post, and by annual I mean that we have done it twice before: in 2021 and 2020. The idea remains constant: talk about the year without extra framing and agitation. Just let it go. This is also the second-to-last free post. Subscribe now and you’ll keep getting the newsletter after December 31.
Dan Fox: Early in January 2022 I took up a new instrument and performed music live, in the same room as other people, for the first time in years. An incomplete list of what that involved might include: nerves, carrying heavy objects, pleasure, building calluses, small talk, love, feeling my age, having an adequate supply of batteries, practice, waiting around, satisfaction, improvising, energy, stamina, fiction, non-fiction, reading, regret, back problems, eye contact, meagre earnings, counting, amateurism, admiring the professionals, new subway routes, revisiting an old language, writing in pencil, fear, micro-expertise, non-verbal communication, mixing, the onstage/front-of-house differential, losing myself, anticipation, analysis shading into rumination, new friends, old friends, asking for a lift, dressing up and dressing down, laughter, storage problems and solutions, sweating, freezing, seeking advice, listening, snacks, keeping a record, proximity to power outlets. All in all, it became a versatile metaphor for the rest of my year, for the good, bad and inbetween, for the big and the small picture alike.
Yasmina Price: This year I turned back and back again to Blood in My Eye. Fifty years on, George Jackson’s clarity cuts through the same ugliness he did not survive. It was as though I had swallowed a star for a few incandescent moments earlier this year without realizing I would end up strangled, with a scarred heart. But yet held together by my people and feeling if anything more than ever that we can only really live through and for each other, and those subterranean and surface threads that bind us are thick with annotated sketches of how everything might be otherwise. A gaze from below nurturing a devotion to collective choreographies of the impossible or something, idk.
Derrick Gee: My year was clarifying. I went from being a painfully private person to becoming an accidental “content creator.” I learned that perhaps I have more to offer than I thought I did. As if someone held a mirror up and I was met with my reflection for the first time. It has been an out of body experience. It has been wonderful.
Dean Kissick: A hazy and hard-to-make-out in-between year. Compared to 2021, say, or certainly 2020, there was no clear narrative to it. But I think there was a slow drift of change washing across it: some of the most influential celebrities, fashion brands, politicians, social media platforms and German exhibitions of contemporary art, the continent of Europe, my home country, England, the cryptocurrency economy, the entire global economy too, all seemed to be coming slowly apart at the seams, and to be doing so in public, in front of everyone, as a series of spectacles. Everyone seems weirdly calm and resigned to these failures, and perhaps also curious as to what will take their places. It does feel like a moment in history has been unraveling and coming to an end this year.
It also began to feel like the “future”—the promise of a future that is quite different from the present—is returning to us after a long time away. Artificial intelligence is suddenly happening very quickly. This month we had a huge breakthrough in nuclear fusion, with scientists in California managing, for the first time, to run an experiment that produced more energy than it consumed. I read this morning in Flash Art that, “In September 2022, China discovered a crystal from the moon made of a previously unknown mineral, confirming that the lunar surface contains a key ingredient for nuclear fission, a potential form of effectively limitless power. This story fulfills many criteria of what made twentieth-century sci-fi so compelling.” We are returning to the moon; or at least we’re launching our first civilian lunar orbital mission. Steve Aoki is going, so is a singer from Big Bang (!). We’re sending Big Bang into space. Grimes is hanging out with Samo Burja for some reason. Something is happening on the opposite coast. The future feels closer to me than at any other point I can recall this century.
Lucy Sante: 2022 was a charmed year for me. It was the first full year of my transition; I traveled a lot, including to my home region for the first time in 16 years; I made a bunch of new friends; I published a book and wrote another. I’ve rarely had such a good year, and that of course has me worried, because my Catholic upbringing makes me expect a slapback for every good thing that happens. But I’m in a mood to buck the odds, and to hell with jinxes.
Léon Dische Becker: This year, I started getting a particular type of ad on Instagram: draconian bio-medical devices intended for private use. Fisherwallace’s Stimulator (a headband with electrodes attached to the kind of remote you find on a massage chair) invited me to cure my depression with mild electroshock therapy. Vielight’s photobiomodulation device, a jumble of pads and tubes that go on your head and up your nose, promised to improve my general cognitive performance. I was offered an inhaler to reduce my (alleged) PTSD, a mechanical visor that could hum away my insomnia, and a whole bunch of other wearables to shock me up, keep me alert, or just seal my mouth for that perfect night’s sleep. I gather now that this pavlovian turn is the marketplace’s delayed reaction to the body horror and home experimentation engendered by the pandemic. But at the time I just felt seen. The algorithm knows my struggles.
Rachel Kushner: I decided to be a beginner and learn new things this year in my margins of open time. I found a French teacher; I do grammar and listen to “slow news” in French. I enrolled in a music theory class at my son’s conservatory. I do homework. I get stressed about my homework. I try and fail and slowly acquire some basic skills. In theory class we do Dalcroze, which means we parse musical structure with our bodies. The Dalcroze teacher, who is from Japan, is fluid and elegant in way none of us will ever be, and that’s fine. In conjunction with my music theory class I made myself a student of Robert Greenberg this year, who does this “great courses” lecture series on Bach. I’m 15 hours in. Bach went to prison did you know? But apparently he was happy there. Greenberg puts it in modern language for laughs (one of his signature moves): “three hots and a cot and all day to compose.” Bach was a killer organ player. Organ builders were terrified when he sat down at their instrument. Greenberg depicts this as if it’s like having Steven McQueen test-drive your GTO. Bach would literally pull out all the organ’s stops (the origin of this expression), and play the thing to its hilt. Organists press keys with both their hands and with their feet. The organist wears leather shoes that are as individually molded and as personal as the catcher’s mitt is to the catcher. This conjures a slightly marsupial image, a person pawing foot-pedals in molded leather slippers. When we got to the Toccata in this Bach lectures series, it rivened me with my newly acquired understanding of its structure, and I thought, What if I listened exclusively to organ music for one year? Clarice Lispector said organ music was demonic and that it frightened her but also that she wanted her life to be accompanied by it, as if the organ’s sound were her twin sister. What happens to your mind if it’s just those huge pipes all the time? Maybe that’s 2023. On y va, ma soeur.
Teddy Blanks: 2022 was a pretty big year for me. I won an Emmy and lost an appendix.
Alex Press: This was the year when union organizing campaigns at Amazon and Starbucks took off in the United States. For those outside of the labor movement, it’s hard to convey how unlikely such a development would have seemed only last year. The workers face immense odds against winning a first contract, much less a strong first contract, but their actions have already inspired countless people to start organizing their own workplaces. In 2023, we’ll see how that inspiration pays off (plus, there’s a looming possible strike of nearly 350,000 Teamsters at UPS, which would be a very big deal).
On a sadder note, we lost Mike Davis and Barbara Ehrenreich this year. I’m glad I sent a note to Mike before he passed, and sorry I didn’t manage the same for Barbara—my last email to her was about the two of us revisiting Nickel and Dimed, which is probably fitting in its own way.
As for my year personally, I got into gin and tonics. A game-changer.
Kay Gabriel: In 2022 I caught a gay cough and six months later I still have it. The political Right made headway by playing into the trans panic, and in 2023 we should take that desperately seriously. Salute to three visionaries: Bernadette Mayer, Pharoah Sanders, Mike Davis.
Michael Robbins: Well, the Kansas Jayhawks won the national championship in college hoops for only the third time in my life. And I published a cover story in Harper’s. But my beloved Perdita died. Another bleak year, mostly, though in part that was due to my own continued anxiety about the pandemic. I hope to see more people in more streets under more skies in 2023.
Laura McLean-Ferris: Several times this year—even in tough periods—I felt so electrified by reading that I had to put the book down, stand up and walk it off. Reading felt like a real companion to me, and feeling passion for it is truly the gift that Elizabeth Hardwick described: “It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites.” I also loved reading the work of my friends, who I am so impressed by in the most tender way. Keep doing it if you can, I’m your fan!
Emily Lordi: You know Shonda Rhimes’s My Year of Yes? This was My Year of No—but not so much me saying no as a whole host of no’s coming back at me. What was with all this refusal? I often suspected I was doing life wrong. But now I think it’s that I was asking for more, and the no’s were a natural consequence. So 2022 was about trying big and failing big. I’m proud of myself for trying.
Alan Licht: Should I Stay or Should I Go? Covid decided to stay; Roger Federer and Serena Williams decided to go. (Extra points to Geoff Dyer for writing his book The Last Days of Roger Federer pre-retirement and then having it published only a couple of months before the announcement.)
Wendy Eisenberg: For a long time I’ve told myself and other people that I enjoyed being bad at things. This was often a lie. I like excelling, preferably in a rare way. I like practicing. I like discovering and refining technique, all the classic trappings of an obsessive personality alchemized into something constructive, if not useful. This year I actually learned to enjoy the beginning stages of things. I started skateboarding, thanks to my partner, and am still terrible at it, but every new thing I learn, every new way I use my body, feels personal, and creative, and entirely non-productive.
This was a major realization to me in a year of many nice opportunities. This is the year I got a commission at Roulette, which led to a residency there in 2023. I had a Stone Week, I played a lot, toured, formed bands, began teaching classes at the new school, released my favorite album Editrix has written yet, wrote a lot of music. Part of me will not let myself truly realize the momentum that all those breaks afforded me. I am bragging when I bring them up, but I don’t want to brag, or to really know how this all may have changed me. This is not because I don’t feel worthy, or because I am not grateful. I am blocked because the shift in my art-life towards institutional success or minor renown freaks out the part of me that will always be an amateur, that feels more comfortable underground.
Skateboarding, in its grace and beauty, the strength it takes, centers me. I have been a guitarist and songwriter since I was 11 years old, and it will always be my life. Nobody cares if I am a skateboarder, or a good cook, or a tarot reader. These are the parts of my life where I have total freedom from the pressure to make something, at all and of myself. Free improvisation had been that for me, and now sometimes isn’t. I’m so lucky that a few people besides my immediate friends care that I make music, care about my attempts to advance songwriting and guitar playing. I’m luckier that I have grown enough to want to do something sublimely hard simply because it feels good, and to realize that that’s how I relate to everything else I like to do in this life, despite what this world seems to want to do with people’s delights.
Ian Fenton: Intense year. My wife and my dog both saved my life a few times over. Finally rebooting the label by getting stuff back in print and bringing long-planned releases to fruition (2023 . . . ) Looking forward.
Jessica Loudis: I spent much of 2022 in “hurry up and wait” mode—waiting to move, waiting on a work permit, and waiting on a million small things to fall into place. If there was a lesson to that, I guess it was to enjoy the interregnum, which I mostly did. Another year of adjusting to the unimaginable, trying to see family and friends as much as possible, and doing my best to embrace surprise. Things that have brought me joy recently include cloudberries, the third season of Ramy, William Baskinski (thanks, Sasha, for pointing me to him years ago), Natalia Ginzburg, and living three blocks from a Turkish supermarket.
Jason Williamson: 2022 was an introduction into Anxiety. It makes my voice go funny when I talk. Like really makes it go low and growly. Initially the doctor insisted I go for a lung X-ray as I smoked for decades but I’m fine on that front. I believe lockdown stressed me out subconsciously (consciously speaking I was fine) and it has sent my vocal cords funny. That and the addiction to the gym which I’m told is terrible for singers. Upper body work outs are a no-no but I love it. Fuck that. I need a little release, I have coffee and lifting weights. I don’t want to give either up. They’re my new drinking and drugs. I look better in the clothes I buy. My wife thinks this is unhealthy motivation to take to the gym. But like I said it’s certainly better than drugs and drink. I’m hoping I can meet in the middle with whatever my symptoms are. My next hospital appointment is in January. Here’s to 2023. Happy new year y’all. x
Herb Reichert: Twenty-twenty-two was the year when the trauma of being “genuine old” triggered something genuinely good inside me; something that induced a desire to live every day like I might choose to live my last day. As soon as I began to implement this newly spawned today-is-my-last-day-on-earth plan I realized: if it really was my last day I would never plan it out. Avoiding planning is what got me to ‘22. So I switched from my lofty-intentions scheme to something more practical: I began encouraging my creaky body to venture further and further from home. In directions I hadn’t walked before. Doing that made me feel a like a genuine flâneur: a saunterer, a cats and birds and dogs and people and windows-at-night watcher; someone who’s able to drift aimlessly, observe how strangers regard each other, and look (almost) everyone in the eye.
Jon Leidecker: Playing live shows in 2021 felt uncertain. You had to trust that we all knew that no one knew. The act of playing to audiences ready to risk it is something I’ll never forget. And that feeling persisted in 2022 — it still feels insane to be able to hear music in a room full of people. Every sound is meaningful.
The risks are only a little clearer now; the economics and the logistics are still brutal. Shoutout to Jennifer Walshe who had to watch what was supposed to be our quartet with Matmos from her hotel room after testing positive two hours before showtime. The bands I’m in found some success limiting any one tour to less than ten days (which keeps you from making too much, but also from losing too much & or wearing down one’s immune system). But there’s nothing that makes more sense than playing shows right now, while we can: being in a room where it’s obvious how much everyone present absolutely needed to be there. So, to everyone I played shows with this year: you already know you’re family, but that was ridiculous. Love you.
Andy Zax: In 2022, I drank a can of cold brew coffee every morning. I reordered KN-95 masks. I waited for records I’d bought on Discogs to arrive in the mail, and when they did, I put them in archival sleeves and sometimes didn’t play them for months. I wrote a book and wondered who it was for. I went to Ohio for 48 hours and drove to the house where I’d lived in fifth grade but didn’t get out of the rental car. I walked seven miles every other day while playing the Audible versions of all the Richard Stark novels at 1.6x. I worried about my parents. I listened to new music and felt as if I was standing on a riverbank watching leaves and sticks float by. I listened to old music and found myself obsessing over bass parts on songs by The Move and playing side one of Discreet Music on endless repeat. I watched Jason Meagher’s video essays about “albums that don’t exist, almost existed, feigned to exist, exist in an unintended state, &c” and thought: this guy understands me better than most of my relatives. I paid the storage fees on 4600 master tapes that I can’t use. I remembered bits of fluff drifting from cottonwood trees in early summer. I ate a lot of lentil chips. I did not go to my high school reunion.
Andreas Petrossiants: Another interregnum, tragedy and farce and farts. Housing court grand re-openings; new cops with new allowances led by a raging vegan clown; a forest sentenced to death. But also tree sits, property destruction, rebellions, burning prisons, autonomous defense forces, antifascists in exile. May subsequent lobbed shoes, farewell kisses, reach their targets in 2023 and beyond.
Joe Levy: In the fifth grade we learned about the hole in the ozone layer. I asked my teacher how it could be fixed, because in my 10-year-old mind problems had solutions. He said it couldn’t be. (Did he talk about mitigation, actions that could be taken? Maybe. But that guy wasn’t long on compassion, and I don’t remember it that way.) I didn’t sleep for four or five nights. I thought about those nights recently, partly because childhood fears (nuclear annihilation, environmental extinction) were front and center in urgent ways, partly because of the demons that were broadcasting on Kanye’s channels, partly because I don’t get off the subway in Times Square anymore without wondering when there will be a mass shooting there, and—keeping it 100— partly because one of my cats is dying. Your year may have been different—I hope it was—and certainly mine was for most of the time. But since you asked, it felt dark, getting darker.
Brandon Shimoda: I spent 2022 thinking about a 1000-pound stone that was found in the Utah desert in the spring of 1943 by Issei incarcerees in the Topaz concentration camp, which they transformed into a monument to their friend, also Issei, who was murdered by a white guard. For 77 years, the stone was thought to have been destroyed, because the government ordered it destroyed, but in 2020 it was discovered sticking out of the ground. A year later, it was removed and relocated to a museum 15 miles away. Its removal—without the presence of archeologists or Japanese Americans—was the opening of Pandora’s box: unrelieved traumas spilled out, old wounds were inflamed, friendships ended, hungry spirits began circling. Some are saying the stone is one of the most important artifacts of our history, others are saying it’s just a rock, get over it; some are saying our history is being commandeered by white people, others are saying we must be grateful to white people for taking care of our history, who else is going to live in the middle of nowhere—where the camps were—to take care of it? Meanwhile, other people have been remembering, with perfect clarity, the hinotama (ball of light) they saw in the sky above where the man was murdered. “It had jagged edges,” one man, who was just a child then, said. “Like a fan with many blades,” said another.
Grey McMurray: Going more places after going less places, apparently a lot of my going had been happening without me. Always riding along. I don’t want a car. But it’s nice to be driving more. I learned a goodbye is a last hello, for a time or for forever. And the person I know that walks with the most sad ghosts, reminds me of someone else. I didn’t know they did. I thought they were sad. But then they were also someone else. Not their person, their saddening. Comforting that sadness is people, too.
François Bonnet: This year has been interspersed with lagoons, extremely folded moments, a long absence and reunions. A volatile community has also emerged from the ashes of two years of semi-isolation. This year has also been accompanied by dreams of seashores, distant landscapes and hallucinated mountains in which demon faces and just-born lava fields hide. These will appear in the months to come.
Hua Hsu: Willa farted as she transitioned to dog heaven, giving one last embarrassed look before she closed her eyes.
Ottessa Moshfegh: 2022, my year of radiculopathy and agoraphobia.
Angela Garbes: published a book i am only immensely proud of. for all the talking, promotion, blah blah blah, even more connection, true company. heroes became friends, friends became kin. never wanted off this ride more, never been more accountable to myself and others. most days the depravity of american life feels beyond belief—this is how my body lets my brain (or how my brain lets my body?) keep going. love and care no matter what. turned 45, right on time.
Catherine Lacey: Something happened with people this year—I think they got kinder, or more vulnerable, or softer in 2022. Or maybe I am just in love so it seems that way, but even before that, earlier in the year, I had been feeling like the average stranger I came across was kinder and more patient than I remembered strangers being two years ago. A year of (usually) high quality strangers.
Marianela D’Aprile: Loved more than I ever have in 2022. Gonna try to beat the record next year.
Molly Young: New analgesic just dropped! There’s a YouTube channel called Fairyland Cottage where an angelic Irish woman posts videos with names like “Quiet Living on a Rainy Day” and “Minimal Irish Mountain Walk.” The videos are gentle and inspiring, yet not twee. I dosed myself with one before bed every night of 2022 and have no plans to stop.
Merve Emre: Every day since I left the U.K. has been the happiest day of my life since arriving there in 2018. God bless America.
Mary Kate O’Sullivan: My life, my perspective, my values, my personhood—all of it forever changed after being involved in organizing with my union, winning two elections, bargaining and ratifying an incredible first contract for us nurses.
I spent the year leaning into what I have been calling MELL: My Exact Little Life. MELL vibes are when the ordinary aspects of life that are unique to solely you feel sacred. It’s closely related to absolute acceptance of my ordinary life, but beyond acceptance, it’s celebration.
Eva Hagberg: It’s funny when you asked me to write about the year because all I could think was, I had a baby, I had a baby, I had a baby. I guess that was only in October but so much of the year was about that—and privately. I usually share almost everything on social media etc, and I decided to keep the pregnancy really to myself, my trusted friends, my sobriety associates. I listened to the Nicki Minaj song, “The Crying Game,” yesterday and remembered listening to it all spring right after we transferred the embryo. I would walk home from my office in the Navy Yard and just listen to that song on repeat and wonder how my life was going to change. The thing is that my life is always changing, whether through small or big ways, so even having a baby was just another moment that was going to both change everything and nothing. Now that she’s here, I don’t know what I used to think about. Actually, I do know. Myself, my fears, my envies, etc. Now I think mostly about her except for when I catch myself not having thought about her for an hour or two, when I'm occupied with something else. I wish I had a more momentous approach but a thing I wanted for myself was having a baby not being a momentous thing. My therapist asks me how it feels to be so committed to being absolutely chill, in the face of events that aren't always. Anyway, just something to think about, as my favorite writing teacher Tom Farber used to say. Also, I turned 40.
Greil Marcus: Kelly, Murray, Hassan, Fetterman, Murkowski, Cortez Masto, Warnock. Otherwise we won’t go into it.
Sarah Schulman: This has been a year where defeats have been framed as victories because squeezing by is the best we can hope for. Businessmen tried to pass for artists and intellectuals, when they were only gatekeepers. Filling seats of power with the formerly pushed aside has not worked, but this has not been acknowledged fully. But 2022 will be remembered as the year when great rebellions came to the surface and demands started to overcome rotting systems. So a year of insistence, repression, and psychological breakthrough. Can the explosion finally come in 2023?
Lawrence English: Life exists as a feedback system. There are loops, some of them habitual and daily, others stretch out across decades. Some of them never close, some of them are never even recognised as loops (even though they likely are). This year I traced some loops, degraded as they were in my memory, and was able to gather a new topography of parts of my life. Approach, the record I made in 2022, is a very tangible example of this. In part it exists as a postcard to myself, though a version of myself who is now extremely distant and perhaps even foreign. These years, they can be blurry, riddled with precarity and haste. Beneath that torrent of delivery though lies something else, an aquifer of experiential accumulation. It’s there, in the reflections of that deep well, that we start to see exactly what we are, and perhaps what we might become. Love to all out there, miss seeing you.
David Grubbs: The ambient dread is not going away, and the Supreme Court worked its way up the list of horrors. Responded by throwing myself still further into a daily practice of working on music (spending still more time with an instrument in my hands or seated at an instrument as I get older), and having finished a trilogy with Good night the pleasure was ours stealing time to write my way into a next book by narrating first meetings with people with whom collaborations ensued. Exploring how much resides in a single conversation. Also: genuinely grateful for the many people whom I’ve gotten to know as students present and past, and for everyone committed to the mission of the City University of New York.
Thora Siemsen: There are eight million stories in the naked city, eleven thousand where I am now. In the ‘70s, Robert Adams photographed the highway town I’m living in. That photo is on the cover of the first edition of his book Summer Nights, for which he spent time along the Front Range using only the available light after dark. I spent most of this year alone. I didn’t drink, quit smoking. I visited my grandmother in Nebraska before she died this summer and we watched Mildred Pierce together on TV. I drove up the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco in a convertible, sweetly accompanied. Went to London to celebrate a friend’s life. Over the course of the same month, June, I visited Nan at her apartment in Paris and she visited me here in Colorado. I put in hours at my town’s historical society in their garden digging up shrubs and planting daylilies. Watched my friend’s animals while they were gone, and saw a bear through one of their windows. Next year I am going vegetarian and learning Spanish.
Elvia Wilk: The position of best book, movie, album, and exhibition of 2022 are all eclipsed by the time this summer when I saw Sean Paul live in concert. In honor of my 12-year-old self, there will be no other first place culture titles given. My second-best book, movie, album, and exhibition of 2022 are Venemous Lumpsucker by Ned Beauman, the show Atlanta, Motomami by Rosalía, and “Dreams Have No Titles,” Zineb Sedira’s French pavilion in Venice. At some point during all of the second-place experiences above, I gasped in surprise and burst out into the bananas kind of laughter that happens when you remember people can be baffling, wrecking geniuses—and amidst all that other awful shit people do, no less! I’m also consistently baffled by the brilliance of my friends and would like to thank exactly one doctor. Baffled is the word of the year.
John Corbett: Here’s the question that arose in 2022: What is the half-life of the moment when we were told that other people—all people, any people, anywhere—were potentially dangerous to us? That the simple act of socializing was potentially life-threatening? That a bicyclist could kill you with one passing huff? Even as we tested out some pretense of “normalcy,” as we began to relax a little, to attempt trusting one another again, breathing easier, no longer covertly calculating distances and aeration vectors, the psychic consequence of our unthinkable contagion, especially for those with a particle of paranoia lurking in our heads—well, how might this alien idea fester or fade? We have ended the year with a devastating personal loss, a dear one whose fate was hastened by the pandemic. As some sort of intuitively-sought balm: a constant holiday soundtrack of Etoile de Dakar and Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey. I’m restored by the generosity and joyousness of these songs and the forward-pointing propulsion of the grooves. Music continues to be the most consistent reminder of humanity for me.
Danielle Tcholakian: I’ve been thinking that maybe I’ve adopted the Jewish calendar, because September seemed the turning point of the year to me, but it’s hard to resist the pull of the Gregorian calendar all around us. Plus I never even know what number the Jewish year is. Room for growth there. This was a big growth year, in that way that in some spaces, folks joke that they don’t call ‘em growing pleasures. I think maybe I’m still in it and wonder if I will always be, this gangly emotional growth spurt. Of course it is often two steps forward, one step back, though sometimes it feels like just a half step back. Or maybe like I took the two steps forward without realizing it just started going uphill and now it’s steep and taking steps is suddenly harder for a little bit. But yesterday was a beautiful little breakthrough moment of bliss, of feeling cozy and content in my little life, all the more precious because I expected this year-end to be full of heartache and grief and longing. Big ups to the universe for the bait and switch on that one (so far, at least). Best kind of bait and switch.
Lucy Teitler: I drove a lot this year, especially when I was working on location in Atlanta. Sometimes I felt the danger of it very viscerally; speeding through the night on unfamiliar roads, sometimes in wild weather, exhausted, after the end of a 12 hour work day. It was exhilarating and meditative. The highways in the South are huge, dwarfing the biggest ones I had known in California. The lane changes required to get to my exit in the city were a kind of nightly, edgy jazz. The country roads were dark and moonlit. I loved how much America looks like itself out a car window. I loved to be another person looking at it, sideways, blurred. March, April, May, June, July. After the weight of all the collective experience of the past two years, I appreciated being an individual, in my own specific life, speeding past other individuals heading somewhere unknowable. Adventure. I was working on a show set in the 1970s so musical highlights from these drives were mostly not new music: Jackson Browne, The Doors, Roy Orbison, The Pointer Sisters, Boz Scaggs, Bessie Banks, Reba McEntire, Gladys Knight and the Pips. When you roll down the windows in the Georgia summer, the humidity has its own music too.