At least once a week, America pushes me to a place beyond language. Remember when, just a couple of sunsets into our determined new year, we found ourselves on the brink of war? And now, like so much that has ignited, burned through us and then burned out in the past few years, we are… well, I would never say that we are “fine,” but we are still here and seemingly less close to war than we were, which is… good, I guess. There was a time when I could speak in simple sentences, and the words I landed on actually seemed to contain and clarify reality as I was experiencing it. I don’t remember when that time ended, but it is decidedly over. In the meantime, as we scramble to find joy wherever we can, here are some sources of joy I think you might like.
Thirst Follow on Instagram: Arran Aro / @arranaro
Arran is a black British bodybuilder who lives in the UK and has amazing boobs. He has amazing everything, actually, but really, it’s the boobs that keep bringing me back. Also, and this isn’t something you can take for granted with bodybuilder-types, he’s actually handsome. Too often, “hot” on Instagram is defined as white and symmetrical. I think we can do better, people! And Arran is a great example. He also seems to be very nice and occasionally posts pictures with his adorable niece. Though, as yet, I cannot reproduce biologically, I nonetheless feel some-kind-of-way whenever I see a handsome man joyfully childrearing.
Disclaimer: This should go without saying, but always ignore the captions when following hot guys on Instagram. It only invites disappointment or disaster. Arran’s captions are… fine. Cheesy, but fine.
Book: Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
If you aren’t familiar with Emily’s work, click here and read her scary, beautiful comic “His Face All Red.” She illustrates and writes all of her work, and the effect is haunting, lyrical and lasting. After being introduced to her work via that comic, I bought a copy of Through the Woods, which features that story and four others. The illustrations are transcendently beautiful, and the writing would make any poet curse under their breath a few times.
Disclaimer: Honey, read this shit during the day. I’m talking before noon in a crowded coffee shop, preferably with Ed Sheeran music playing loudly. I made the mistake of reading the first half of the book at home, and that night I dreamed about sewing my own severed arm back on. (It didn’t hurt. But still!)
Thing: Picture Hanging Strips
I wouldn’t be surprised if I was the last person in America to discover the glory that is using velcro strips to hang art around your apartment, but friends — what a moment! The game done changed. If, like me, you end up hiding cool art, prints and posters in closets for months because you just don’t have the energy to start nailing and hammering, these strips are the way to go. I bought some and the next thing I knew, I was living in the MoMa. And I love it. I’m just putting art any damn where. I’ve been liberated!
Disclaimer: The instructions say that you’re supposed to wait an hour for the adhesive to really, um, adhere before hanging up whatever you’re hanging. I choose to live on the edge! But I’ve had most of my art up for a couple of weeks now and disaster hasn’t struck. Yet.