She’s back. And breaking my heart all over again.

I love Adele. Nothing lets me suspend my belief that I can’t sing, like scream-singing “Hometown Glory” and weeping in the car. She’s just so good.So, this comes on the scene a few days ago, and I can’t take it. This song gives me that anxious, stomach-hurting sort of feeling, it’s so good. Sort of like Jeff Buckley’s “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over” (RIP, JB). It feels like there’s already a memory associated with it, which of course, is not the case (unless you count the 80 times I’ve listened to it).

They say that scent is the closest sense tied to memory, that smells most easily conjure up experiences of the past. While that certainly has merit, I would argue that music does the same, at least for me. An old girlfriend and I used to trade “mixtapes” as a way of connecting with one another, to help bridge the geographic distance between us, her in Utah and me in New York. I remember how carefully she chose each song, offering each to me with the understanding that she would never get those songs “back”…and neither would I, with the songs I chose for her.

No matter what, hearing those songs would always be shaded by the memory of one another. Sounds romantic when two people are in love…not so much when that love has cooled. This has been true of any song associated with any person I have loved…listening to your music becomes akin to crossing an auditory minefield, stepping carefully to avoid what might hurt you, blow up those parts of your heart that feel otherwise strong. Sure, it tends to fade with time, becomes tolerable, but nonetheless, those feelings are there for good. You have given them to the other person.

But that’s the beauty of music, of art, right? Art is simultaneously meaningless and incredibly meaningful, it reminds us that we are alive…that we love, we lament, and that we scream-sing in the car, remembering a million little moments of happiness and loss.

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The art of István Sándorfi.

My father and I were talking about art today, and he showed me this video of the work of the late artist István Sándorfi. Maybe I’ve been foolishly in the dark about his art, but I was completely captivated by what I saw. The raw, yet surreal way he captured the female body in particular communicated so much to me about the way that not only society, but we as women, see ourselves. I saw resiliency, torment, invisibility, beauty, and the unfinished stories of who we are. It’s beautiful and sad and I want to cover every inch of my space with it.

Talent must skip a generation.

My father is effortlessly talented. He sketched out this picture of my late grandfather a few months back, and again, left me wondering why I can barely color inside the lines, yet he can capture someone’s entire essence with a no.2 pencil. His hands are talented, rough and worn from a lifetime of work, but he can create such fine textured beauty with them. When I was a kid, I used to love when he’d have clay on the table, playing around, and would sculpt me a rose, each individual petal with detail that always surprised me. As an adult, I look at his work, and feel a bit of sadness that he never had the opportunity to pursue it in the way that I know that he would have liked.
While I definitely didn’t inherit his abilities (see: my high school self-portrait), I think I did inherit his appreciation of aesthetics, and eye for beauty and detail. So thanks, Pop, for teaching me to see the world a little more clearly.