Hi Hart Beat. How’s you’re freezing January? It’s been hovering around negative four for the past few days and it’s starting to get to me. Thank god I’m going somewhere warm soon or I would be planning my escape from the Berkshires earlier rather than later. Yesterday was a Day, if you can say that as a descriptor. I read a poem that shook me and had me thinking about it all day. Then later last night Oprah gave a speech that gave me the same feeling of empowerment and overwhelming want of the universe.
Here’s the poem that shook me. It’s from the amazing Boneshaker by Jan Beatty which I picked up at my favorite used bookstore in the Berkshires. I had seen it around and am so grateful the universe put it in front of me right now. The poem has now become my New Year’s resolution, and maybe late twenties resolution at that. Don’t skip this poem Hart Beat, get to the last section and then we can talk.
by Jan Beatty
We were looking for kicks between
Pittsburg and L.A.—rolling down
Will Rogers Turnpike in my ’73
metallic blue Chevy Malibu—
when we heard “Kansas City” on the radio
and knew it was a sign. Bobbie and me
shot back up the 69 to Kansas City—Kansas,
not Missouri—so we could sing
Goin to Kansas City… and mean it.
It was the song we wanted, not some
crazy little women, just drinking
and dancing, a way to forget
how scared we were. We ended up
at the Pink Corral with wild cowboys
who two-stepped us, swung us around
until my lucky mother-of-pearl flew
right off my finger and I knew that meant
it was time to go. Three days later
we hit Utah’s saintly boulders and
salty hard ground where I learned
the true nature of Bobbie—she begged
the universe for a rest stop—no answer—
so we stopped by huge rocks and she said:
I can’t pee outside. I shot a look at her
to see if this was real, and she had no clue
about how to, where to—right then I knew
it was over—I instructed: Get up on a slant,
one foot forward, one foot back, and
let it rip—make sure you leave room
for the pee to cut a path between your feet—
how did you get this far not knowing this?
This explained the over-reliance on friends,
the long tearful phone calls—this was a woman
who hadn’t yet felt her own soul
in the foothills of a desert—and liked it.
There’s certain things you’ve got to know:
how to use jumper cables, drive a stick,
never fight with a drunk; you’ve got to speak
from your heart, walk with an attitude, know
the words to “Gimme Shelter”: change a tire on
a dark, rainy highway, say when you’re wrong,
and slam down a shot; you’ve just got to know
how to look someone dead straight in the eye
and tell them to fuck off, stride across the room
and dance hard, want hard, throw down,
wear your jeans low and tight, you’ve got to
send long hot kisses until further notice, in short—
you’ve got to deliver—and you’ve got to pee outside.
Hi Hart Beat! Happy New Year! How’s your No Plan Jan going? It may be only day three but for me, it’s been going pretty well. I’ve been in my studio the last three days and it’s more than December so, there you go. I thought about doing a big post a la 2017 but it felt like too much, and honestly, my time is better spent writing my book. You can get the juicy details when (if) it comes one.
I do want to talk about something else though. First, a disclaimer. This is not a diet blog and those of you who know me, know that I hate diets and/or talking about food in general. Eat what you eat, make sure it’s delicious, and no one wants to hear that you’re starving yourself or if you hate your body. THAT BEING SAID. Lots of people on my social timelines have been posting that they’re doing the Whole30 for the first time this month. January man, what a time to be alive. As I mentioned here on the blog, I did my first Whole30 this past October/November. I’m not sure exactly what made me want to try it but I suspect it was because in one day I had two coffees with three sugars in each and two sugar cider donuts which two days later made my face break out into the worst pimples I’ve ever had. Whomp whomp.
The Whole30 was very, very difficult at the beginning (lots of sugar withdrawal headaches) but I did end up loving it in the end and have kept up most of the diet since then. I still don’t eat dairy (most of the time), added sugar (adios ketchup), or grains. I know I had tons of questions and looks for any tip I could find when I started it so I thought I’d share a few things that really helped me. Maybe they’ll help you too, Hart Beat!
- Almond butter. Almond butter. Almond butter. Nuts are not included in the Whole30 except almonds. There’s a great natural food store in the Berkshires that makes homemade 100% single ingredient almond butter and I lived off it. On apples, on bananas, on spoons, it really saved me!
- Green Mountain Salsa. A friend of mine told me on about day three that she had done the Whole30 and discovered that Green Mountain Salsa, while technically not allowed on Whole30 (it comes in a jar) doesn’t contain any added sugars or anything else not Whole30 approved. I ate this almost every day as a replacement for what I would usually use ketchup on. Burgers, potatoes, eggs, carrots are all delicious with this stuff.
- Stop complaining, just drink your coffee black (and add an ice cube to it). Almond milk lattes are horrible, trust me. Coconut milk ones aren’t much better and even though it took me about two weeks to get used to it, three months later I still drink my coffee black. A coworker gave me a GREAT tip to adjusting to the drink. Add an ice cube to hot black coffee. There’s something about liquid slowly melting into the coffee that feels like milk and hot black coffee tastes horrible while semi lukewarm black coffee tastes much better. IDK why it is but there you go.
I’m doing the diet again this month strictly and it is WAY easier the second time. The hardest part this time around are avoiding the cookies left over from the holiday season. All I can say is thank god for dried apricots.
And because it is the start of a New Year here are my resolutions if you’re interested:
- Recieve one rejection letter every month (from anything; submissions, grants, writing residencies, requests for mentorship…)
- Read a book a week (follow me on Goodreads and we can do it together! My first one, which I’m loving is Call Me By Your Name.)
- Pull my shoulders down more often, do yoga, stretch more, run, get massages bi-monthly, literally DO ANYTHING to relieve the constant stress balls that live in my shoulders.
P.S. My resolutions from 2017, 2016, 2014. Apparently, I didn’t have any in 2015 and didn’t feel like sharing them here in 2013, 2012 or 2011. 🤷♀️
Photo via Kristen Cesiro on Instagram.