Letter 52

December 03, 2020

On the cold

I’ve spent this year dreading winter. Dreading the cold and the early sunsets, dreading the isolation of staying home all the time without sunny weekends to spend sitting in the park. Now that it’s here, it’s not so bad, I guess. It gets dark at 4:30, so I turn on the lamps and light a candle. My bedroom is cold, so I wear sweaters and have an extra blanket on my bed. I don’t go outside unless I need to, so I take vitamin D gummies every morning. I eat lots of soup, I put a virtual fireplace on the TV while I read, I drink hot tea in the morning (and then again in the afternoon), I play video games in bed under the covers—these are the things I do to feel cozy, which is not the same as feeling not cold. I think being cold is, a little bit, part of being cozy. And I think, at this point, I’m dreading the winter a little bit less.


I was born in Michigan. Our house was on a big hill, perfect for sledding; I remember falling into snow and feeling so cold I was warm. I remember the weather changing, warming, getting frustrated at layers and sweaters and snowpants, just wanting to be able to feel the real temperature of everything around me. I live in California now, alternating between the bay area and Los Angeles county, meaning my spectrum of temperature is…maybe 50F—100F. I like when temperatures drop, when I can snuggle with a blanket, wearing an oversized sweater that looks best with leggings. I don’t really know what cold cold feels like anymore, the last time I felt a real winter felt like a novelty (New York, Jan 2019) and snow is only something that dusts the mountaintops visible from the foothills. I am happy in my California winters. I am tired of fire season. I want to live in sweatpants and feel wind and let my hot coffee feel appropriate.


We recommend

📺 Gilmore Girls

As always, I feel a little weird recommending something that is already massively popular—especially after its 20teens resurgence thanks to Netflix, but I have been doing very little else the past few weeks besides rewatching this show as my partner watches it for the first time. Gilmore Girls is, unfortunately, one of my defining traits; my relationship with it has waxed and waned across the years, going from obsessive, lonely 10 year old cycling through the seasons on DVD on an endless loop—my first “binge watch”—to cynical high schooler frustrated with whiteness, to gleeful young adult happily engaging with the nonsense of rich people and the incredible dramatic precision. I can see parts of myself mapped in this show, seeing the places I attempted to be Rory, knowing the places I am more like Lane, joyfully pretending my messiness in the kitchen is as charming as Sookie. Gilmore Girls used to be between me & the TV, my family sitting behind me on the couch; today, it’s me & the Gilmore Guys, me & my Twitter timeline, me & my best friends, me & my boyfriend. I am corny, but that’s life baby! It’s on Netflix. Go feel fall and crave coffee at 8pm!


📱 Forest

I’m trying to spend less time on my phone, trying to stop absentmindedly picking it up to check Twitter while I’m in the middle of doing other things. Forest is a very cute app that’s helping me with that, lately. You pick a length of time you want to spend off of your phone, and then the app plants a tree that starts growing as your timer counts down. If you close the app to do other things, your tree dies. A little dramatic, maybe, but it helps me make more mindful decisions about when I want to be on my phone and when I don’t.


📖 The Pen and the Sword: Conversations with Edward Said

My friend Samia sent me this book a few weeks ago and it’s probably one of the more accessible texts I’ve read that discusses Zionism, Palestinian resistance, and anti-colonial looks at the study of literature—all of that, in one tiny little book! As every good little diaspora baby does, I consistently look to Said to help articulate things I observe, things I feel. Highly recommend for anyone who has wanted to read more Said but needs something more digestible!


🎶 BE

BTS was the top artist in my Spotify Wrapped this year, even though I only started listening to them a few months ago. Nobody who knows me is surprised. Anyway, their latest album has fun, chill quarantine vibes and it makes me happy.