Minneapolis knows who she is, she’s 36 with two kids, she is not apologizing for being her, she is older, wiser and quieter, she is slower and more intentional, time doesn’t crash violently against me in her sober embrace, she has so many more places to brunch, biking isn’t a life threatening activity on her roads, she has twice as many centers for higher education and houses of visual and theatre arts, she let’s two boys marry each other and girls make choices about their bodies, her air is fragrant and clean, she is so very green and grows edibles with ease, the water that comes from her tap can be drank unfiltered, her earth allows for basements and the collection of water, she thunderstorms, in the summer at night she cools down so that you can light a bonfire to cut the chill and open the windows to let in her wet moon juice, her seasons make the people aware of their cyclical nature as humans, she has the best thrift stores, then she gets cold as fuck for 7 months and you realize that there is just enough liquid on your nostril hairs to create little nose icicles.
Austin is never-never-land, he is a 25 year old hipster with a degree in philosophy, his hot, sticky air is saturated in the smell of slow cooked, barbecued flesh daily, you keep a swimsuit and a cooler in your car at all times just in case he beckons you after-hours for a dip and a sip on a Tuesday and searching out his watering holes requires word-of-mouth-gps and hiking, breakfast tacos are his church, go to a restaurant, wait forty minutes and try and not see pork done nine ways, the belly in particular is worshipped, you can’t say “no” to him, try not day-drinking on a Saturday and see how far that get’s you, try not taking him home at the end of the night and driving him home in the morning- for him there is no “walk of shame” but walk downtown at any time of the day and hear the sound of hopeful desperation via electric guitars dueling for a featured spot in the crowded pages of the Austin Chronicle, then he gets hot as fuck for 5 months and your pores pour from places you never thought to think about.
So what if we are living in the wrong city for our particular soul, because every city has a soul and the soul of each city quietly enters us and speaks to us when we aren’t quite listening, then one day you can hear it clearly and it isn’t speaking your native tongue and you wonder what you have been hearing this whole time.
I overheard an acquaintance at work today talking about how she’s seriously contemplating moving to the middle of nowhere Texas because she’s just so damn happy to be around her family and I wonder about happiness and I wonder about belonging and I wonder about love.
I used to always think about people living in the middle of the prairie or in some town called Irene on the edge of Utah, population 300, or the half of my family that lives 20 minutes from each other and I used to think how big is their life, living like that without the action of the city, the art, the restaurants, the cultural gravitas, the Kate Spade outlets and the Hobby Lobbies- What do they do with their time? What do they do with their mind? How are they happy? What makes their life great?
And maybe it’s thirty talking, maybe I’m slowing down, maybe I am realizing what’s really important, maybe it’s a desire to explore the city of my mind, maybe it’s the beauty of the written word that is pulling me ever more deeper to dig into the deepest realms of this unexplored territory of my creativity, to be quiet and calm, to not wake up anxious, chasing time like I am running a marathon against it and I am shitting myself and my toenails have all fallen off.
And I remember this great poet, Bill Holm, who was a professor of literature and creative writing at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minnesota. Marshall, the prairie town I was inadvertently birthed from. This great poet, teaching creative writing just minutes from the humbling honey bee colony, the uninsulated tin hunting shack, the neon green soy beans, the corn taller than I will ever be and the cold metal artesian well that has been bubbling up from the ground for longer than anyone can remember. A half mile walk from where the women of my blood worked the 100 acre farm, raising children and making butter, pickles, bread and breast milk, feeding men and livestock alike, until they perished without a sound under the cold shroud of a wintery February night— except for that their story lived on in me, in my body and my in archivist mother who tells the best stories of them and here they are living again on the internet, something they could have never fathomed in all their well-read-leather-bound journeys through the written world.
Well I digressed for a moment, but Bill Holm used to struggle with his students, they would say; “Professor Holm what am I supposed to write about when there is LITERALLY nothing happening, here in this quiet prairie town, I would have so much more to write about if I was in the city” so to counteract their desperate pleas for inspiration, he wrote an entire book of poems about a single thing all of us Minnesotans know well; The Box Elder Bug.
This little devil who somehow sneaks into your home in the dead of summer and just hangs, quietly unassuming, not biting or buzzing, making a little patterned wallpaper on all your most cleanest surfaces. The box elder bug is like that guy who always shows up at your parties, no one invites him, but everyone knows he’ll be there, no one really talks to him but he’s there like a lampshade or a coffee table, only with this little live spirit that is half annoying half whatever, no one sees him come and where, at the end of the night, does he go?
This book of poems is magical, Professor Holm takes it so far as to write music inspired by the scurrying sounds of the box elders taking over his cottage, making the point to his students that yes, there is poetry in every single little thing and all you have to do is stop, listen, pay attention and explore how the little is actually the big and that the metaphor of the simple is bigger than the expression of the complex and there is more profundity in your toenails than you give them credit for.
So I wonder if this brisket-scented-party-city is speaking my language, or maybe it was exactly what I needed, to be lost in translation for a little bit, in this co-ed college experience I never had, “get it out of your system” they said.
And I am coming to know that a successful life, a beautiful life, a life worth living isn’t measured by your income, your proximity to the city, your job title, who you know, or don’t know, but by your sheer unadulterated happiness and by your proximity to those you love.
Decisions are scary. Change is terrifying. And I think I am okay with living a little life with huge results and I think I am okay telling the whole world’s story through a short-lived-exoskeleton, because as Professor Holm has taught us, there is music in that which you choose to hear.
So my friends, speak the language of your soul, no matter where you are and change will come and it will feel like home.
Seriously Jessica Mims of Bells and Whistles Productions and I are OBSESSED with this designer THREADRIOT out of LA who makes these avocado shorts- so obsessed, that I made these emerald earrings to match them!
These boots have literally been all over the world and have been resoled 4 times, this is their 3rd pair of laces- I bought them at a garage sale for $10 bucks in 2003.
And another Kate Spade from my collection, this one is by far the wildest, in alligator and orange!
So you never find my name on ANYTHING, go to any tourist trap and you will not find a mug or a key chain or a little teddy bear with my name on it, so of course I am obsessed with monograms, because I never got to have one handed to me- I found this great living social deal for this necklace and I grabbed it up without hesitation! Get it girls with weird names!
If you are in Austin and haven’t been to the Tillery Street Plant Company– you are missing out so hard! This place is a succulent MECCA, some succulent varieties I have never seen before and they have some pretty wild cactus as well, read: penis plant, it’s definitely worth spending a few hours and a few choice bucks!
And check some fun outtakes on our glorious FB here- like if you dare!