This Vanity Fair article by Kurt Anderson (Studio 360) addressing American nostalgia and the lack of a cultural turn over the past 20 years is electric. I can’t stop talking about many of the dots he connects, even if I don’t agree with them all. I was especially interested in the points about corporations controlling the distribution of culture at the end, his thoughts about Americans feeling unique and specialized in spite of our sameness, and his comments about a technology overload maybe making jeans and t-shirt culture really comforting.


Ever since I heard a story about someone’s mother pissing blood, turning up with advanced cancer and croaking I’ve been terrified to look into the toilet bowl after going. But tonight, I finally looked, and there was inky gray water, lake water, sort of slushing around, a tiny weather system inside of a porcelain cloud.

My grandfather started dying more than ten years ago. That’s when everybody first found out that he had lymphoma, the bad kind that takes you slowly. He’s been held together with scotch tape for the last few years, but somehow he and my grandmother have found dignity and a way to still drive an hour on Indiana state roads from their house on a lake to the nearest town where their doctors and extended family live.

I have a video of my grandfather and I walking across his property to the water I shot a few years back, before the weight left him. “Here’s where I’m going to build the dock,” he says on the video, pointing to a few tires visible through the surface. It’s that little stuff that’s kept him going, the thought of buying another place on Klinger Lake as a family summer home, of piecing together piers and harvesting.

He used to buy a new truck every year, and he had a string of Irish setters I’d see in the back of them over the years. Star, Misty. Then Gillie. When she died a few years ago my cousin Ross started to ask, “where’s Gill–” during the Christmas meal. He stopped himself, but anyone could have made the slip. Because she’d always just been around in one incarnation or another.

The very reason the weather starts here, is nursed along here, is work
As much as the things in my head I read or saw, was given rather than experienced

I’m really in the water, broth in sips, very much believing I exist
because of what’s around me, copper kettle
more than what I’m made of–an elevation of bones, hair, and teeth bound up and sung

So I don’t forget:

ball
book
wawa (water)
pup
pop pop (grandfather)
mama
daddy
cheese
blue
nana
hi
hey
uh oh
wow
owl
tree
hot
hat
bye
light
bell
eye