I’ve never really been a bookmark person. I’ve always tried to be, I think. I always take the free bookmarks from museums, from libraries, from random Shakespeare in the Park fundraisers that I drive to on a whim at which I recite the Henry V prologue in front of strangers (you mean you don’t do this, too?) One of those bookmarks is actually sitting in my copy of Wuthering Heights right now, precariously marking my progress about one-third into the novel. We’ll see how long it remains in use.
But no, I’ve never really been a bookmark person. I’ve always preferred the more low-budget, low-stress, high-impact technique: the titular DOG-EAR, folding the top corner down, using the book itself to remember your place in it. It leaves a crease, and it looks sloppy if you’re not careful, I suppose, but I’ve always used it and probably always will. What likely started as simply seven-year-old me trying and failing to find a bookmark to mark her place in whichever number of the Boxcar Children she was rereading on a give afternoon has become, now, a habitual practice. Somehow I feel like I’m not supposed to dog-ear, like people who love books are supposed to care for them in a way that does not include dog-ears, but I sort of love the feeling of opening up a book I’ve reread over and over, maybe Bloomability by Sharon Creech or Theater Shoes by Noel Streatfeild, and seeing the places I’ve left off before. It gives the book a sort of history. We all love used books. Dog-ears create used books, people!!
Somewhere in my childhood reading years, as I dug into long-term-investment reads like the later books in the Little House series (The Long Winter, anyone???) and the unabridged Little Women (that includes the second half originally published under the title Good Wives, only true fans will remember!!!) I developed a system of folding down the dog-ear to the exact sentence where I stopped reading, for when the need to put the tome down mid-page would arise. This system has served me well since, as has my college-lit-class method of adding a little dog-ear to the top corner of pages that feel important to me (or to the professor, gotta pass those essay exams!) so I can return to them later. This is a practice that has bled over into my pleasure reading, which means practically speaking that nearly every page of my copy of Marie Howe’s What the Living Do is marked by a little dog-ear. No one is mad. Especially not me, because I return to this book almost on the daily, to read her poems out loud to myself when the need for thinking / feeling / sobbing deeply comes upon me. It helps to have my favorites marked by a depth-based hierarchy of dog-ears.
But really the purpose of this perhaps-aggrandizing introduction is simply to explain the title of what I hope will be a new series on this little blogspace, called dog-ears, meant to share with you all of the places in my Internet-browsing where I’ve left off for the moment, the pages I want to remember, the thoughts I like to revisit. Sometimes, on more optimistic days at least, the Internet can feel like just the largest book in the world, a community journal maybe, containing everyone’s thoughts and ideas and recipes and knitting patterns and pictures and memories and skincare suggestions. And you can’t possibly read it all in one sitting, or even two, so you mark your place. You bookmark. Or if you’re me, you set your stock by the your browser’s Reading List, by screenshots, by copying links into your Notes app, these dog-ears of the virtual world, because somehow the simple bookmarking system doesn’t make sense to your brain and maybe this is messier but it’s more fun sometimes to just stumble upon things you wanted to remember!! And then you get to write a blog post about them and share them with your friends!!
So, friends, here are some of the places I’ve left off in the big community journal of the internet, the spots I’ve dog-eared to return to and remember. If our interests overlap even a little (do you like feminism? Ethical fashion? Poetry? Food? Podcasts? TEXTILES? Stay tuned!) then maybe you’ll find something to dog-ear too!
(Or bookmark. We can still be friends.)
DOG-EARS, No. 1
This handy little collection from the New York Times, a reading list for all us baby-feminist gals (and guys!) wanting to learn a little more about this movement, this ideology, this common-sense-as-breathing world of thinking that feels more important every day. Definitely want to dive in the fourth book mentioned, The Mother of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit, this summer. Rebecca (I’ve read one of her books so that puts us on first-name terms, right?) is a wonderful, deep-breathing creative nonfiction writer whose work I first discovered in a Travel Writing class during Wheaton in England, and I feel like her wide-eyed perspective would be just as useful for thinking about gender politics as it was to thinking about how to get lost.
This shirt, by Indian ethical fashion brand The Summer House. I found out about this company from an article written by college acquaintance (read: much-admired senior when I was a very quiet freshman) Whitney a few days ago, and have been entranced by their vintage-inspired silhouettes and soft colors ever since. Ethical, sustainable fashion is becoming more and more important to me (another blog post???), especially as I dive deeper into learning to make my own clothes, and I love finding people who are already doing it well. I also love the little ruffle detail on this blouse. Want to wear on my body!!!
“Allegro” by Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer (second poem on the page). This is one of the oldest things on my browser’s reading list, saved after the first or second session of a literature topical seminar that I took freshman year of college. The professor had us read this poem and discuss it just as an exercise in close reading and the way we’d talk about poems the rest of the semester, and I think I fell a little bit in love with it that day. I come back to it often, now, always meaning to read the rest of Tranströmer’s work that’s on the page but always getting caught on how much I love the word “haydnpockets” and how much I feel like a glass house with all the rocks rolling through, staying whole, somehow. Read this poem.
This recipe for lightly-sweet oatmeal muffins. I’m really, really into muffin-baking recently (and by that I mean I baked blueberry muffins a week or so ago and want to make more because it was perhaps the best idea I had all summer) and I’m also really into oatmeal and things made with whole-wheat flour, so this recipe’s a shoe-in for the top spot of my to-bake list. I am of the opinion that a handmade muffin is one of the most perfect foods. If this recipe proves me correct, I’ll be sure to let you know. (Also, a good 40% of my brower’s reading list is just recipes saved from this website– carrot soup, crusty bread, one-pan pasta. Lots of healthful ingredients, simple flavors, comfort meals. Give it a glance if that’s your thing.)
This interview with my literary fairy godmother Marie Howe, who I will keep name-dropping on this blog until I actually get my thoughts together and write an essay explaining to you just why I love her and her work so, so dearly. But this interview might give you a hint. I revisit it probably weekly, savoring her words, her reflections on her work and her spirituality as she uses beloved biblical archetypes to make sense of life. “Martha, the active: Mary, the contemplative. The wrestling aspects of a woman writer.” MARIE, YOU GET ME. Also, meeting you was the best part of 2017 thus far. THAT’S ALL.
This quilt pattern, by modern textile headquarters Purl Soho. I’ve been leaning, ever so slowly, towards quilting as a new practice to add to my growing list of fiber pursuits, have tried hand-piecing a simple, uneven little shoofly block, and Purl’s collection of mini-quilts seems a perfect place to really start once I get my sewing machine back into working order. I love the big, bold shapes of Amish quilts in particular and was delighted to find a pattern for one here. I think I’d do it in softer solids than the samples, probably a greys/blues/pale pinks palette and maybe with some simple florals from my stash of thrifted fabrics for the big square in the middle and the smaller squares on the corners. And I’d handquilt it once it was all pieced, I think. Hoping, dreaming. We’ll see.
This knitting pattern, for (of all things) a tea cozy!!! Love the simple, thick ridges of garter stitch and the fun pompom on top. My dear friend Rebecca has a beloved lavender-colored teapot that I’ve promised to make a cozy for, and this pattern is a definite contender. Also contemplating this quilted pattern from Purl, but the knit one is more suited to my skill set, and I have some soft grey yarn in my stash that could work quite nicely. Another wait-and-see for this summer of making.
This collection of podcast recs from the Penny Hoarder, because as I learn to navigate my first paycheck that’s a bit larger than a night’s worth of babysitting earnings, “11 Personal Finance Podcasts to Make You Smarter About Money” sounds like a thing I could use. Money is something we all seem to hate talking about (I don’t really like writing about it either) but requires some thought nonetheless, so having someone talk to me through my earphones about it feels like a friendlier solution. I’m also really into podcasts lately, since they keep me company during three-hour stints of lettuce chopping. Haven’t decided yet which, if any, of these podcasts in particular I want to check out, want to maybe look into a few more closely and try a sample episode or two, but I’m definitely keeping a dog-ear on this list.
I’m cutting myself off now, at eight dog-ears, to ensure I still have things to share with you throughout the rest of the summer and that I actually get this lil essay/list hybrid published tonight. If you have any links you’d like to share, articles or essays or recipes or what-have-you that you think belong amongst my dog-ears, please share them in the comments! I’d love to see the little corners of the online world that you want to revisit, that you hope to remember.
I also kinda hope that I’m one of those places, for someone, somewhere. A small, precious, true little hope for this summer.
Thank you for reading.
(Credit to my sweet black lab puppy, Ody, for posing / running away from my iphone as I attempted to capture a clever photo to include with this blog post.)