End of August

Hannah Hart Beat

Hiya, Hart Beat. Long time no talk. How are you? I can’t believe it’s the end of summer already. It seems like this year the season went by especially fast and I’m already missing the sunny beach days up in Maine. About two weeks ago I came back to the Berkshires and have decided to hold off on any immediate moving plans for a bit. I had originally thought to head straight out west but the more I work on my writing project the more tunnel vision I get. I just want to finish this god damned book.

So I’m staying here in the Berkshires in a studio space that has not one but five desks spread out in a U-shape and a wood stove to keep me warm this fall. It’s heaven and I can’t wait to get the bulk of this draft done. I’m sorry I don’t have more regular posts for you, Hart Beat. It’s too much for me to do two things at once. I’ll try to keep coming at you every few weeks with lists like this here below. Like I’ve said before, each one of these deserves its own post.

Books I’ve read:

Books I’ve bought and can’t wait to read:

Articles and interviews I’ve read:

Things I’ve bought and loved:

  • A new PopSocket to replace mine thrown away on the Camino.
  • My dream loafers from Everlane.
  • This bucket bag / my new go to purse for everything from Baggu. (After reading this article in The Strategist I’ve been wanting to buy it. That was written one year ago. 🙄 )

Hmm, let’s see other news. You heard in the last post that I have a new BFF. Update, he’s still adorable. If you’re out there writing too, or just need some good working music, here’s a playlist I’ve been listening to on repeat every day. I’ve also picked up a shift or two at the local café so I’m learning how to make a mean latte. Wish me luck. Oh! And I’m really excited because in early October I’m going to be going to this workshop with my idol Dani Shapiro at Kripalu. I. Can. Not. Wait. This woman better sprout some good wisdom (rather than when I saw David Sedaris last week and he told me casually “just write every day.” Okay David. I hadn’t thought of that one before, thanks a million.)

Talk soon, Hart Beat.

Hannah Hart Beat- Maine

August, Lately

Hannah Hart Beat - Maine

Hiya, Hart Beat. How are you? It’s been almost a month since I got back to Maine and I’m sitting here in the garden shed at my Grandmother’s packing up my books. Tomorrow I head back to the Berkshires and I’m sad but ready to be leaving Maine. It’s time. I need to get back to the Berkshires and knuckle down on my writing. It’s been going well, Hart Beat, although it’s been taking everything out of me every day. I get into bed at nine and am passed out with the light on and a book open on my chest every night. It’s okay because a couple of weeks ago I got a dog and he wakes me up to remind me the light is on. The pup is a one and a half-year-old Shih Tzu from Wells, Maine. He was owned by a couple before but they were stationed overseas for the military and lucky me, I got the pup. I’m calling him Mateo aka Teo aka Lil Monster because his nose (like mine) is tiny and he snorts most of the day (not like mine). He’s the perfect writing companion and as I type he is laying on the floor at my feet. I’m in love Hart Beat and have officially decided to replace men and dating with Mateo and books.

Speaking of books and writing I’ve made my way through my writing mentor’s recommendations and I would love yours if you have them. In the last post, I listed what I had read if you need to see what I’m liking (tl;dr mostly memoirs and books on writing). The ones right now that I have on my nightstand are The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir, by Ariel Levy, The Hot One: A Memoir of Friendship, Sex, and Murder, by Carolyn Murnick, The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, What We Lose: A Novel, by Zinzi Clemons, Hard Travel to Sacred Places, by Rudolph Wurlitzer, and Committed: A Love Story, by Elizabeth Gilbert.

In return, here is a section from Still Writing, The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life, and an interview with Dani Shapiro, my muse lately. The book and this interview have been what I read and watch every morning before sitting down to work.

“As I write these words, I am, of course, alone. It’s the middle oft he day and I have barely stepped outside except to pick up a couple of envelopes full of books and manuscripts that FedEx left on the pourch. I have spoken to no one since seven o’clock this morning. I am wearing the ratty T-shirt I slept in last night. The house is silent. A crow calls outside my office window.

“These solitary days are my lifeline. They are the lifeline of every writer I know. We hold on to our solitude, fiercly protect these empty days. But at the same time, we long for community…

“Though we write our books alone, ultimately everything we do involves some collaboration. Every good book you’ll ever read has the thumbprints of other writers all over it. As we finish a manuscript we may find ourselves thinking of who to turn to, who can help us…

“I reach out a hand when I can. I remind myself every day that it’s about the work. I am here in Connecticut. You might be in Missoula, Montana, or Taos, New Mexico, or Portland, Oregon. You’re in a café, or at a writers conference, or at your kitchen table. The words have come easily to you today, or you feel like your head is about to explode. You’re a household name, or laboring in obscurity. I am here, and you are there, and we are in this thing together.”

Dani Shapiro, Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life

Talk soon, Hart Beat.

The Last Few Weeks

Hannah Hart Beat

Hi Hart Beat. Happy Saturday! Sorry being so MIA, these last few weeks have been a whirlwind so I thought I’d give you a little update on life and check in to see how you’re doing. There’s honestly so much to cover and each of these bullet points deserves a post of its own but, I’ve been working on another project, and it’s been taking all that I have to keep writing it every day. Sadly, Hart Beat has taken a back seat (for now). Hopefully, in another couple of weeks, I can lift my head up and come back here with you. For now, these lists are going to have to do. Miss you, Hart Beat.

Towns I’ve visited:

  • Killington, VT
  • Woodstock, VT
  • Hudson, NY
  • Chatham, NY
  • West Stockbridge, MA
  • Great Barrington, MA
  • Wiscasset, ME
  • Boothbay Harbor, ME

Books I’ve read:

Books I’ve bought and can’t wait to read:

Poems I’ve loved:

Movies I’ve watched:

  • Hell or Highwater (loved)
  • Ghostwriter (loved)
  • Stupid, Crazy, Love (loved, for obvious reasons)
  • Before Sunset (obsessed)
  • Deja Vu (solid B)
  • Rounders (solid B+)

Things I can’t stop using/wearing:

Songs I’ve had on repeat:

Things I’ve done:

Signing off for now, Hart Beat. If I think of more things I’ll let ya know. P.S. Follow me on Instagram for more day to day things.

 

Hannah Hart Beat - All Night

All Night

Hannah Hart Beat - All Night

Oh, Hart Beat. How’s your day going? I woke up to rain pouring down on the skylight in the room I’m staying in. It woke me from such a dream that it took me so long to realize where I was. Thankfully, it wasn’t in a discombobulated way but rather, in a dreamlike haze that I think only summer rain can bring.

Today I’ve been, as our Cheryl Strayed would say, “writing like a motherfucker.” In fact, that’s the post-it that I’ve now taped onto my computer. Usually, I listen to the same nonlyrical music when I write but today I’ve had this song on repeat, and so, it feels right to share it with you. This version of the song posted here is pulled directly from the visual album Lemonade by Beyoncé. The first bit is poetry and the second is the song. If you just want the music pull to 3:00—although you will miss my favorite part.

My grandma said ‘Nothing real can be threatened. True love brought salvation back into me. With every tear came redemption and my torturer became my remedy.’

So we’re gonna heal. We’re gonna start again. You’ve brought the orchestra; synchronized swimmers. You’re the magician. Pull me back together again the way you cut me in half. Make the woman in doubt disappear. Pull the sorrow from between my legs like silk—knot after knot after knot. The audience applauds but we can’t hear them.

P.S. Congratulations to Beyonce for the birth of her miraculous twins. Mama, you make us all proud.

Hannah Hart Beat - Five Languages of Love

The Five Languages of Love

Hannah Hart Beat - Five Languages of Love

Hola, Hart Beat. How’s your week going? I was in Vermont earlier this week and am back in Massachusettes now. I’m looking forward to getting a few things from my summer bucket list checked off. I think swimming and reading are in order this weekend. Plus, I just finished my book of the week and need to start a new one. 🙄

Meanwhile, in the land of the internet, I’ve been mulling over a conversation I had with two of my best childhood friends earlier this summer. Have you heard of the five languages of love? My friend Alli told us about the theory and we talked about it for a while over some wine.

The theory is based on a book written by Gary Chapman that argues there are five “love languages” that we, as humans, use to communicate love to each other. According to Chapman, each person has one primary and one secondary love language. The five languages are:

  1. Words of affirmation
  2. Quality time
  3. Receiving gifts
  4. Acts of service
  5. Physical touch

Furthermore, Chapman says that people usually look for love in the same “language” that they themselves give love. For example, if I’m a person that shows my love by words of affirmation then I look for love in words of affirmation back to me. It makes sense, right? We look for love in the same ways that we naturally give it.

When I was talking with my girlfriends it was so amazing to hear about the different ways we all crave love. One person’s “I love you” face to face is another person’s act of washing the dishes without having been asked or bringing flowers home. It’s an interesting idea. And, it might help in relationships, even if you’re not cut and dry one of the five. The chances of us finding a partner who expresses love in the same way we do is rare which means that you might have to look hard for someone’s signs of affection. Your partner might be telling you they love you in a different language and maybe with this idea, it could be easier totell.

P.S. Love in (literal) other languages and how to say sweetheart in seven more.

Photo from Lost in Translation.

Hannah Hart Beat - Poetry

Three Love Poems for You

Hannah Hart Beat - Poetry

Hi, Hart Beat. Sorry it’s been a few days. The last week in the Berkshires has been a whirlwind, a great whirlwind, with friends, family, outdoor concerts, cookouts, afternoon naps, and swimming at the lake. I’ve also been busy working on my writing project and I’ve found, sadly for both you and me, that I can’t be in the Hart Beat and the other writing mode at the same time. While my other project has grown you have been waiting here! As an apology here are three love poems that I’ve come across in the last month or so that I’ve loved. I hope you love them too, Hart Beat. Summer nights are something magical and maybe you can share one of these with someone you love.

______

The Kiss, by Stephen Dunn, 1939

She pressed her lips to mind.
—a typo.

How many years I must have yearned
for someone’s lips against mind.
Pheromones, newly born, were floating
between us. There was hardly any air.

She kissed me again, reaching that place
that sends messages to toes and fingertips,
then all the way to something like home.
Some music was playing on its own.

Nothing like a woman who knows
to kiss the right thing at the right time,
then kisses the things she’s missed.
How had I ever settled for less?

I was thinking this is intelligence,
this is the wisest tonge
since the Oracle got into a Greek’s ear,
speaking sense. It’s the Good,

defining itself. I was out of my mind.
She was in. We married as soon as we could.

______

Love at First Sight, by Wislawa Szymborska, 1923 – 2012

They’re both convinced
that a sudden passion joined them.
Such certainty is beautiful,
But uncertainty is more beautiful still.

Since they’d never met before, they’re sure
that there’d been nothing between them.
But what’s the word from the streets, staircases, hallways—
perhaps they’ve passed by each other a million times?

I want to ask them
if they don’t remember—
a moment far to face
in some revolving door?
perhaps a “sorry” muttered in a crowd?
a curt “wrong number” caught in the receiver?—
but I know the answer.
No, they don’t remember.

They’d be amazed to hear
that Chance has been toying with them
now for years.

Not quite ready yet
to become their Destiny,
it pushed them close, drove them apart,
it barred their path,
stifling a laugh,
and then leaped aside.

There were signs and signals,
even if they couldn’t read them yet.
Perhaps three years ago
or just last Tuesday
a certain left fluttered
from one shoulder to another?
Something was dropped and then picked up.
Who knows, maybe the ball that vanished
into childhood’s thicket?

There were doorknobs and doorbells
where one touch and covered another
beforehand.
Suitcases checked and standing side by side.
One night, perhaps, the same dream,
grown hazy by morning.

Every beginning
is only a sequel, after all,
and the book of events
is always halfway through.

______

Galaxy Love, by Gerald Stern, 1925

There’s too little time left to measure
the space between us for that was
long ago—that time—so just lie
under the dark blue quilt and put
the fat pillows with the blue slips
on the great windowsill so we can
look over them and down there
while I turn the light off with the right
hand and gather you in close with the wrong.

   

Ballet and Love from Diana Vishneva

Hannah Hart Beat - Ballet with Diana Vishneva

Morning, Hart Beat. Happy Friday! How is your day going? Last night I was scrolling through my newsfeed and found a video and interview that made me stop and just stare for three minutes and twenty seconds. And then three minutes and twenty seconds more again and again until I had watched the entire thing four or five times.

I grew up dancing and ballet was always my favorite. I sometimes wish I could go back to it but it’s not a physically easy thing to do. When I was living in New York I did try to go see a live ballet once a year with some of my friends and it was always a highlight. Being in Western Massachusetts for part of the summer I’m hoping to get to Jacob’s Pillow at least a few times to see the dance.

The video, which you can watch here below, comes via The New Yorker‘s Facebook page. According to the magazine, “To witness what’s so good about Russian ballerinas, one only has to watch Diana Vishneva rehearse ‘Onegin.’ The principal dancer leaves American Ballet Theatre tomorrow, after thirteen years, with a performance of the John Cranko ballet.”

 

What did you think of the video, Hart Beat? It’s arresting to watch, isn’t it? There’s something about the body movement and Diana’s words brought such emotion to me. Here is transcribed one of the things that she said near the end of the video. For me, what she says about dance expressing things that nothing else can is often how I feel about poetry or novels. I love hearing someone else’s thoughts on seeing the world this way.

I have always had some kind of idea of what I want, where I’m going. At this point I want to be more than a performer. The world is different now. Every artistic statement is a statement of the present moment.

The moment when the performance unfolds is when life and time stop for me.

Why do I dance? The things that dance can express are almost impossible to express by any other means. What it is that tugs at the human heartstrings, the delicate edge of your soul. This became my path, my life. I have found meaning in it.

— Diana Vishneva

Hannah Hart Beat - Ballet with Diana Vishneva

Photos, video, and quote all via The New Yorker Facebook.

Illustrated Movie Posters

Hannah Hart Beat - Movie Poster

Hola, Hart Beat! I may not have a personal home right now (hi family!) but that doesn’t mean that I’m not dreaming of decorating the next apartment I’ll live in. Again, taking sales pitches for cities right now.

What I would love is to have a full frame wall with art that I already own and things I’d like to add. Right now I’m swooning over these posters. Most of them are from romantic movies that I love. I think my favorite is the top one from Lost in Translation. It’s one of my favorite movies, especially the scene. Have you seen it, Hart Beat? If you haven’t I highly recommend it for this summer watch list.

Aren’t they amazing? P.S. For other home inspirations check out the Pinterest board I’ve been collecting for a while.

Hannah Hart Beat - Movie Poster

Hannah Hart Beat - Movie Poster

Hannah Hart Beat - Movie Poster

Hannah Hart Beat - Movie Poster

Hannah Hart Beat

I Dare You

Hannah Hart Beat - L.A. and the xx

Hi, Hart Beat. How are you today? I’ve been sitting here writing all morning. I can’t wait to (eventually) share with you the other project I’m working on. This morning I listened to the new album from the xx and there was one song that I loved particularly. I thought maybe you might like it too, Hart Beat.

The song, “I Dare You” is off the new album “I See You” and the video, according to a statement by the band, is “[A] love letter to Los Angeles, a city close to our hearts, where we wrote and recorded parts of our album ‘I See You’.” As L.A. is on my hot list for the fall I loved watching the scenery. I know it’s a sprawl of city but the skyline shot and the overhead highway shot at the end make my heart skip a beat.

The video is a little weird but it does star Millie Bobby Brown who played Eleven in Netflix’s Stranger Things. What do you think, Hart Beat? It’s good writing music, no?

P.S. An older post about the xx from years ago on Hart Beat.  

Photo via The Glitter Guide guide to L.A.

Hannah Hart Beat - Beach Body

How to Get a Beach Body in Two Easy Steps

Hannah Hart Beat - Beach Body

Hi, Hart Beat! It’s finally summer and I think we can all say THANK GOODNESS THE SUN IS FINALLY HERE. I know I wait all year long for this season (maybe I should be living out west?) and am so glad I have time this year to go to the beach.

I know that this time of year isn’t always the easiest on our self-esteem. It’s easy to look at your Instagram feed or Pinterest boards and feel like the rest of the world is light and tight and ready to rock any bathing suit style. What do I have to say about that? Well, I know the secret trick to getting your dream beach body. It’s honestly so easy Hart Beat and I’m going to give it to you straight right here. Ready?

How to get a beach body in two easy steps:

Step one. Have a body.

Step two. Go to the beach!

Boom! There! You did it! You know have a 100% authentic and beautiful beach body. See you out in the waves, Hart Beat. 

P.S. My summer bucket list this year.

Illustration by Christopher Delorenzo.