It’s 2pm on Tuesday, so that’s something different.
(I haven’t written a non-Thursday column in ages.)
I’ve worked on Thanksgiving for years, never planning ahead enough to write earlier in the week.
This year, though, I got my shit together, having promised my wife I’d take the holiday offline, to get a bit of rest.
#2020 has left me feeling like my Gi used to smell after Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, back when things like martial arts classes existed in the world.
And it seems like most people I speak with feel the same way.
Worn out. Unproductive.
Ready for a break
It’s gotten so bad, my lack of focus, that I spent most of today searching for jackets and coats on the internet.
(Normally, I’d be ashamed to admit that, but I don’t remember what the word shame means these days.)
Since I don’t have a proper Winter jacket for our climate, I’ve spent days sifting through killer Black Friday deals, looking for just the right jacket.
Should it be gore-tex, or down?
Maybe wool, and if so, what cut?
Jacket after jacket.
Coat after coat.
Jacket or coat?
Coat or jacket?
On and on, for hours.
I’m not proud; I’ve seen hundreds of jackets over the last week. (And coats.)
Onward I shop.
My brain is mush. Clicking links like a trained monkey is all I’m good for. And when I find my perfect, Goldilocks coat, I’ll wear it with pride!
Jackets and coats.
I have plenty of them, but not the kind I need, as my previous Winter coat was ruined when I accidentally bumped into a parked bicycle on a narrow street in Amsterdam. (Right before I was almost hit by a bus.)
Jackets and coats.
They serve an important purpose.
Keeping us warm.
Occasionally, as fashion, they might even be art.
But no matter how much we gussy them up, it’s just sewn fabric to keep our bodies warm, protected from the elements.
What’s more utilitarian than a coat?
Maybe a cooking fire?
A drinking vessel?
Or a broom?
Some little reeds or twigs tied together, lashed to another stick?
You can’t have a clean space, even if it’s a tiny hut 1000 years ago, without a broom, right?
Brooms are everywhere, and we need them desperately, but we never pay them any mind.
No one ever says, “Why thank you, Old Broom, as I wish to convey my general appreciation for the service you provide on a regular basis. Cheers and Bully to you, Sir!”
I don’t say that to my broom.
Brooms are the Rodney Dangerfield of household items: they don’t get any respect.
(You knew I was getting there, right?)
My friend and colleague Jason Dibley, an artist and museum professional based in Houston, offered to send me a ‘zine this Fall, so I said thanks, and that was that.
In the small envelope, tucked inside a hilarious plastic bag from Texas institution, H.E.B., I found the Minimalist white Digest sitting atop four annuals, from 2017-2020, of the Broom Zine.
These impeccable, odd, fun little volumes are so perfect for today.
One thing. Over and over again.
(Dustpans are a co-star in the 2018 volume.)
It forces one to think about what we ignore each day, paying no mind as we live in our heads, imagining the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
As cool as the annual ‘zines are, I must say, I love the Digest best.
It could not be more pared down.
A graphic, stripped of context, printed and folded, on clean, white paper.
Yet the four brooms are more noble, and sculptural for it.
Happy Black Friday.
If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are particularly interested in books by women, and artists of color, so we may maintain a balanced program.