In the spirit of the season, and after a rancorous past few months, I thought I would share with you guys a few things that soothe my soul, in the hopes that they might inspire you to do the same.
So here, in no particular order, are some things that bring me joy.
My Husband Mark: We’ve been together for almost twenty five years. Hard to believe, I know, since we both look so young and beautiful. *grin* But I still love waking up next to him every day, and we still make each other laugh and snort milk out of our noses. No matter what happens outside these walls, we still have each other.
Finding Big Chunks of Chocolate in My Ice Cream: Yeah, I’m particular about this one. Some places give you these little tiny chips, and you can hardly taste them. When I prepare my own ice cream bowl, I take a chocolate bar and chop it up in nice big chunks that I can sprinkle on top.On top, in the middle, and in a liberal foundation on the bottom. You can never have too many big chocolate chunks.
Basil: I am a big fan of Italian food, and my favorite herb in the world is basil (cilantro comes in a close second, but that’s another story). If you ever invite me over to your home for an Italian meal, just cover it in fresh basil, and I’ll be a happy camper.
That Thing Where I’m a Writing Genius: I live for the moments when I’m writing, and my subconscious taps my conscious mind on the shoulder and says “hey, look at this.” You know, those bits in the writing that seemed random, but all of a sudden align in the most amazing and unforseen ways. It’s a writing epiphany, and it always makes me happy.
Shards: It’s a little pinball game I got for free on my iPhone. But it has provided me with hundreds of hours of distraction in times of need. And the glass breaking sounds when you hit a brick are AWESOME.
Chains of Love: The first Erasure song I ever heard, and it just transported me. I fell in love at that moment, and as a closeted gay boy, it connected with me on a level I didn’t totally understand at the time. I still stop and listen whenever this song comes on.
Guanajuato Enchiladas at Zocalo: Yes, my list is kinda heavy on food -I make no apologies for that. Food makes me happy. But the Guanajuato enchiladas at our favorite Mexican restaurant, mixed with a little cilantro rice (see, I told you that was another story) are TO DIE FOR. If you’re ever in town, we’ll go there for lunch, and you will see what I mean.
Being a Safe Space: Every morning now, I put on a safety pin on my shirt, It’s become an important symbol for me in these troubled times – it says that I am a safe space for anyone who is being bullied because of who they are. It gives me a little peace to put this out into the world, instead of hatred and lies.
Helping Others: My husband Mark has started to get involved with the local LGBT Center, specifically with the QSpot, the Center’s queer youth program. He’s helping provide food for their annual homeless youth holiday dinner, and I have jumped into it with him with both feet. It feels GOOD to do something to put out goodness and light – see “Being a Safe Space” above – but also in a concrete way that helps others.
Finding Time to Write: You knew it would come down to this, right? In these days of trouble and fear, writing is one of my mainstays, letting me both escape from the world and channel the feelings engendered by it. My next novel is about a man who would be a tyrant. I am looking forward to letting my creative juices flow on this one.
So what are you doing to keep calm in this troubled time? To blow off some steam? To find your center?