This month marks the 70th anniversary of one of our favorite children's books of all time, the beautiful, contemplative novella The Little Prince. To celebrate the book's legacy (and to encourage any parents currently dragging their feet to get it for their little ones), we've put together a list of 25 essential books that every kid should have on his or her bookshelf growing up.
Best Coast is actually a new band that released their first album (on vinyl and cd) and their idea of the best coast is the West Coast. It’s terrific retro California 1960s beach music. Still, these photos of Steep Hill Beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts, make the case that the best coast is the one closest to home.
Florence, Italy, February 1992
I went through the photos from this trip with fresh eyes this morning – the stark winter light and sharp shadows of the architecture seem both vintage and timely somehow. It was easier then to take photographs of strangers without seeming intrusive; whether it is me or the times that have changed I don’t know.
I know it’s getting to me when. . .
- I look at my calendar and try to think of reasons to get out of every appointment on it.
- I tell everyone on Facebook to put out their flags for Veteran’s Day and promptly forget to do it myself.
- My family has to get their clean underwear (and pretty much anything else) from the huge pile of unfolded laundry in the corner of my bedroom.
- Making the bed means the bedspread is pulled up over the pillows.
- The fridge looks like my Mom’s – four cartons of half and half (two open), three half-empty bottles of ketchup, six pounds of butter, eight kinds of salad dressing, three bottles of beer that no one likes, cheese with sell by dates from last June and no milk.
- I don’t care if W. takes his stuffed Wallace & Gromit sheep to the restaurant and gets an extra seat, napkin and menu for it.
- I stop watching The Daily Show and the Colbert Report.
- I do all of my reading online.
- I am more interested in my Farmville Garden on Facebook than I am in my actual garden.
- Salad consists of lettuce and cucumber. Every night.
- I don’t like answering or talking on the phone.
- I give one-word answers to questions: ”Okay.” ”Fine” “Thanks.”
- I avoid opening any e-mail with “autism” in the subject line.
- I buy a whole pomegranate.
Something stirs in the dead zones; cool water on the hot coals of confusion. The steam sears, but it feels good to know emotional complexities again. The spots and crackled skin on my hands comes from over exposure to the sun, but the warmth that is brings is something good. For the first time in a vey long time, I am comfortable in my own middle aged skin.
The stirrings were fleeting at first and are still vulnerable to the snapping jaws of panic, but I can still recall when fear was the only reliable emotion I could access for weeks or months at a time – I had two modes: panic and exhaustion from being panicked all the time. I was able to identify the places where joy and peace would fit, but there was no feeling to put there, and so I filled them with tears that may have looked like happiness but were actually despair at the joy I was incapable of feeling. The numbness is not entirely gone, and sometimes I still fill the slots with the wrong emotions, but in the past year I have felt a broadening, an expansion, like blood flowing into long empty veins. It can be painful, but those pipes that flowed primarily with fear and confusion, now course with hope.
Where all energy went into the suppression of fear, there are stories, words descriptions, curiosities that no longer torment but intrigue. I read and write and the atrophied muscles ache and respond. Slowly.
Recovery has required withdrawal from things and people I know are important. I will have to find a way to keep those connections without allowing such pursuits to short circuit this delicate thread of creative electricity. I worry that it will snap but I know that I will only happen if I allow it.