Note: This Thanksgiving Eve November 22, 2017 sticky post starts the year-long “So Last Year” project, which begins with Thanksgiving 2016, November 24, 2016.

For many months now I’ve kept to a journaling routine called #MorningPages, popularized by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way. Writing longhand, avoiding pixels and screens, the routine has helped me get back to writing, an activity I love, but which got badly damaged and smashed to bits by the floods of social media.
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June 19, 2017 (Monday)

by Yule Heibel on June 18, 2018

Everything is wrapped in gray. (The word miasma continues to present itself to my mind.) It’s a typical New England summer’s morning. That is: humid, overcast, sun not yet getting through, the skies threatening to send down rain. Actually, not even as direct as “threatening.” More like, “The skies leaking moisture as though afflicted with the incontinence of the old – or the very young .” …At any rate, those who no longer or not yet know where they’re going.

As I look out of my window across rooftops, a forest stares me down as well: trees everywhere. The redeeming grace: a breeze. A Zephyr desperately shaking branches, as if to wake us from this deep-in-muck slumber. It’s no good. His efforts are too feeble, the overgrown jungle-y vegetation too strong, the sky too oppressively moisture-filled. Yes, I long for the dry summers of a Mediterranean climate. And yet, checking the weather reports last night as I sat on the sofa sweating, I saw that Victoria is at present not dry and crisp, but rather damp as well. It must be a disease going ’round, except here it’s chronic.

I saw [neighbor] leave the house at 6:12a.m. (Yes, I was up that early, got out of bed at six.) Dressed for summer heat even though it’s not yet hot, and even though the train and definitely her office are likely to be deeply air conditioned – unlike what must have been her sweltering house all weekend. (It was very warm, but somehow not warm enough to justify the A/C; she only has a window unit anyway.)

Seeing her made me wonder what’s wrong with me. I’m weather-fragile? She’s weather-antifragile? Freezing in a summer dress while in an air-conditioned office seems to bother her as little as sweating in t-shirt and shorts in an overheated, under-aerated house. It’s like it’s all the same, somehow. How is that possible? Why can’t I be that nonchalant? Does it mean she responds less to the wonderful variations that can occur? For example, last night’s sudden reprieve when Zephyr got to work and brought us a brisk, cool wind off the ocean? It was still humid-ish, but it was such a noticeable change. I even got W. to come out for a postprandial walk with me. Later, I heard [another neighbor] exulting over it in a very animated and excited tone to [first neighbor] around nine o’clock when they must have both been briefly outside for some reason, but [first neighbor]’s response was articulated without [other neighbor]’s enthusiasm, even if her words by themselves mirrored it. Is she dead? Or just dead-on determined to get on with it? Ordinary things like weather or family won’t get in the way?

Funny; those two examples of ordinary things, weather and family (family obligations) have a long history of absolutely slaying me. (Yule H., slain by ordinary things. Ha. But who isn’t?)

[Neighbor] left this morning in a sleeveless fitted dress, short, beige, almost flesh-colored. Like she was wearing nothing. A male counterpart might don a suit in the same weather conditions. Both are suited up; he’s overdressed, she’s underdressed. But both disregard this and both sally forth, again and again, day after day. Not sure whether to admire this.

Not sure what I admire these days. Yesterday some presumably non-Muslim man drove a van into a crowd of Muslims who’d just left a mosque or Muslim relief center. No doubt this will be used to point out that “whites” are evil (just as some social media morons were assuming the attacker was Muslim). Evil people exist in every group, every culture. They aren’t admirable.

Their sudden actions, unlike Zephyr’s, fatally interrupt the ordinary routines of ordinary people in their ordinary get-ups. Just evil.


June 18, 2017 (Sunday)

June 17, 2018

I skimmed a local news article about Salem State University’s choice for a new president. Apparently the committee plans to put forward a white male, described by Avi Chomsky as part of the good old boy network. The man chosen was favored over a woman with a Hispanic-sounding name. Chomsky’s name resonated because I remembered […]

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June 17, 2017 (Saturday)

June 16, 2018

This morning, before doing any of this (sitting down to meditate or to write morning pages), I unplugged an extension cord from the outlet on the living room mantle, and in doing so knocked down a large, simple clear-glass, but prettily footed, classic vase, which of course broke into many pieces as it hit the […]

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June 16, 2017 (Friday)

June 15, 2018

Yesterday was one of those completely refreshing days of clear, crisp light, friendly temperatures, and – especially by late afternoon – a cleansing, sweeping breeze which almost intensified into a storm. Very yang weather, I loved it. I went for a walk past the library and through downtown before taking a left down W.-Street to […]

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June 15, 2017 (Thursday)

June 14, 2018

I am emptied and turned inside out. My body is a reflective surface, bereft of will and volition, a mirror only to what it is fed from the “outside” in the form of news and media. The inside is outside, and there is no inside behind this surface. This is why and how it’s possible […]

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June 14, 2017 (Wednesday)

June 13, 2018

What a difference an overnight drop in temperature of 30º (thirty! degrees!) makes. It was still incredibly sticky and muggy at 11p.m. last night, so we left the A/C on, but at 3a.m. I got up and turned it off (it wasn’t actually cooling/ running at this point) and went through the house opening many […]

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June 13, 2017 (Tuesday)

June 12, 2018

It’s testimony to how badly I felt yesterday that I could only manage two pages. The day did not improve. I didn’t rage or cry, or throw things, or get in my car and drive at top speed down the highway (congestion permitting), wondering if I should just run off the road, run away, run […]

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June 12, 2017 (Monday)

June 11, 2018

Yesterday I wondered whether meditation is easier when you’re really tired, if perhaps the mind is slower and less rarin’ to go. Yesterday I was well-rested when I sat down to meditate. Today, not so much. (Meditation wasn’t “easier,” either.) I woke up way too early, knew it was useless to try to sleep some […]

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June 11, 2017 (Sunday)

June 10, 2018

Mmm, coffee. Aside from water, coffee (usually black) is my favorite beverage, even more so than wine. Why is coffee so good? It’s the cleanness, yet simultaneous complexity of how it hits the taste buds. “Clean,” because slightly bitter – the “edge” of coffee’s bitterness has a “clean” – or maybe clear – impact. At […]

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June 10, 2017 (Saturday)

June 9, 2018

Yesterday, I looked for my entry about seeing Suzie Moncrieff’s WOW at the PEM. It was the first time I ever went back to “review” a morning pages entry (i.e., in my head they’re one thing; in actual fact, not necessarily the same thing), and I went back to look at it because I thought […]

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