It was over ninety degrees on Wednesday afternoon, heat that hangs on you like a weight, and by midnight, after the rain burst and gushed, it was thirty degrees cooler. A crash into October, and just like that, autumn. So I’ve been skipping around in objectively terrible weather quite happily this week, because it was the last hot day and the first chilly drizzly one, enough for a leather jacket and scarf. I sheltered in Sur La Table, testing whether there was a limit to how many samples of their almond pumpkin spice cake one person could get away with eating, so partly out of sample-gluttony-guilt and partly out of seasonal joy, I bought a new loaf pan, a proper sturdy good one. I dug around in the cupboards at home and made a spiced honey cake—this recipe, though with dates instead of raisins. (Honestly it’s a little sweet for my taste but it makes the apartment smell amazing.) I’m defiantly not a Halloween person—I hate horror movies and dressing in costume with equal fervor—but otherwise I’m here for all October’s autumnal rituals, its bright skies and turning leaves, its apples and pears and pumpkins and decorative gourds.
^Our local supermarket. I love how this nonsense has become part of the monoculture.
T and I also cleared out our closets, which has generated enormous donation bags and piles of things to be mended, so as ever the real task is actually getting that stuff out the door, rather than letting it pile up in the hallway. (And thanks, brain, for an especially vivid discovering-a-secret-room-in-the-apartment dream last night—it was great fun to furnish and decorate it. Sigh.) It’s always an enormous shock to find out how little value clothes retain, even the ones you paid a lot for, so I was inspired to revisit Anuschka Rees’s book The Curated Closet, which I really love, for the inspiration to work through what I actually want to buy/own/wear. It suits my current philosophy that everything that gives real joy and satisfaction also takes thought and work. You can’t figure out what you want to wear without knowing who you want to be.
Thing I Wrote*
Finally, finally, it’s official, which is to say it got announced in the industry newsletter:
There was more to the announcement**, namely where it’s going—to Claire Potter at Seal Press, a storied feminist publisher now owned by Basic Books and Hachette. The title refers to the specific subject, the secret feminist club Heterodoxy, and comes from Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, one of its members and a rabble-rousing teenage socialist organizer from the Bronx.
*Will write, to be precise. And optimistic!
**Let the record show that it was PL, not I, who left off the NYHS hyphen.
Thing(s) I Read
Not much this week beyond books for review that I’m not enjoying much—one that was just terrible, which I won’t link to, and one that’s good but a little disappointing, since I wanted it to be more magical than it is: Lara Maiklem’s Mudlark, about her hobby/habit/compulsion of scavenging on the banks of the Thames, and what the objects she unearths reveal about the city’s history. I also have some collections of spooky stories to read for the TLS, so I suppose I will be capitulating briefly to the Halloween-industrial-complex this weekend after all. Woo?
I might be a trendsetter? The lovely Saeed Jones, whose poetry collection Prelude to Bruise I loved a few years ago, and whose memoir is about to be everywhere, is starting a newsletter that he describes as “small essays about people, places and things that make me happy and what I’m learning from that happiness.” (OK, fine, he says he’s actually inspired by Ross Gay’s Book of Delights, but whatever.) He’s a beautiful writer, we need more joy and beauty in the world and in the culture, and this should be good.