with Emilia Phillips
The last thing that made you smile
The memory of a friend, hot buttered toast, setting up and writing in my office nook in my new home, my first cup of coffee this morning, the low-sixties temperature when I let my dog out.
Sometimes I’m afraid of the fact that I'm a writer. Sometimes I feel I didn’t have a say in the matter, that I couldn’t live without writing. I worry this makes me weak, even self-indulgent.
The last thing you wrote
This morning, I got several pages in on a lyric essay. It’s an essay with which I’ve been struggling for months, worried as I am to get the tone right, to charge its meditations. I don’t want this essay to just be a confession. Not a call out. I would like to claim ownership over my story.
Your favourite city
Every city I’ve thought about naming, I’ve thought, no, that’s not it. I love Reykjavik, and Edinburgh, and San José in Costa Rica. I have a long, conflicted love of Richmond, Virginia, and I’m ready to get to know my new city of Greensboro, North Carolina. And I feel like I love the ideas of cities I’ve never been to or don’t know that well. I love arriving in a new city. I love cities loved by those who live there, who show me what they love about those cities.
What you’d place in a time capsule
Szymborska poems. A lock of hair. A letterbox. A future-person. Something from the earth I dug up to place the capsule—maybe a rock, a root, a beetle that would eat through the other things inside before anyone saw them.