Before mercury, my blood used to fill thermometers.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

I can do what they alluded to.

I keep to-do lists for everything, and an innumerable number of those lists feature "learn InDesign." I finally learned InDesign this year — and I learned I love using it.

In preparation of moving on to a new day planner, I read through this year's and found a summer entry about how many times I've applied to the VIDA Count. This year, I made it onto a team. With the privilege comes the attendant sympathy for everyone else who has had to tangle with the Times Literary Supplement.

In November, I went to BinderCon with Becky Jones. It was revelatory again, I bought Svetlana Alexievitch's Voices from Chernobyl — and got exactly what I deserved for doing so: not a quiet moment in my head the whole trip — as well as Eve's Hollywood and Therese and Isabelle. I kept my crying pretty focused on the keynotes. I'm going to parse the individual, spectacular aspects of the conference, out of which Becky and I made a weekend vacation. So many excellent things happened.

Briefly: I finally got to meet some of the beautiful people that power Catapult (and visit the equally beautiful Rizzoli Bookstore across the street) and, along with Becky, had a perfect lunch with Megha Majumdar and Natalie Degraffinried. Becky and I also went to The New York Times where the very courteous Tom Jolly showed us the layout of the newsroom and I had another occasion to lose my mind about Toiletpaper's Sunday Magazine cover for the "Lost Foods" issue, which was one of my favorite things that happened this year — besides everything that happened on this trip.

I am grateful to have spent that time with Becky, since she ought to be living in Sweden by this time next year. As excited as I am to hear the glories of Scandinavian living (preferably in real-time), I'll miss her.

After the conference, I finally rallied and got two pieces published, a review of Juliet Jacques' Trans for Full Stop and an essay on book spines for Literary Hub. I'm wildly proud of myself for doing the work, writing the pitches, and getting two acceptances so expediently after not pitching new work for quite a while. I was overrun, I have been since 2014. I'm getting over all that.

Getting involved with Entropy, which has been a dream, was the result of wanting to write without pitching, with no concern for hooks or clicks, just to exercise my critical faculties. It has been restorative. I'm working on several new essays. The last one I published was on trying to look at Mad Men in a way that is so final I can feel like I can leave it behind. Which is empowering for the short while it lasts, before I watch it again. It was a pleasure to consider how Peggy's approach to advertising turned Don inside-out over time and to feature two illustrations by my Kara.

A photo posted by Kari Larsen (@coldrubies) on

Now that I am on the other side of a long copyediting fugue which found me wrestling for two weeks with the phrase "fairy tale wedding" (or is it "fairy-tale wedding"?) I am trying to give myself a small, real break with these Catapult manuscripts. And Matt Zoller Seitz's Mad Men Carousel. And some of my own writing. And some other developments I'm excited to announce soon.