MAD Missives

READ | Life, Instagrammed

FRIDA | @ the New York Botanical Gardens 

SANDY BEM | The Last Day of Her Life

LISTEN | Stuff You Missed in History Class

GOODBYE, DAVE | Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

photograph: KEITH CARTER

Todos Santos, Baja Sur, Mexico

MAD Reads : Hold Still, by Sally Mann

One of my favourite, brilliant artists, Sally Mann, 
also turns out to be an extraordinary writer. Not surprising . . . .

Who is Danah Boyd?

Danah Boyd's advice is fascinating,
especially through the lens of parenting.

MAD Whisk Wednesdays

LUCKY PEACH | As Alice Sees It

101 COOKBOOKS | Heidi Swanson's new book + pantry

URUGUAY | Ignacio Mattos

illustration : ALICE PATTULLO

Days We Would Rather Know

There are days we would rather know
than these, as there is always, later,
a wife we would rather have married
than whom we did, in that severe nowness
time pushed, imperfectly, to then. Whether,
standing in the museum before Rembrandt’s “Juno,”
we stand before beauty, or only before a consensus
about beauty, is a question that makes all beauty
suspect … and all marriages. Last night,
leaves circled the base of the ginkgo as if
the sun had shattered during the night
into a million gold coins no one had the sense
to claim. And now, there are days we would
rather know than these, days when to stand
before beauty and before “Juno” are, convincingly,
the same, days when the shattered sunlight
seeps through the trees and the women we marry
stay interesting and beautiful both at once,
and their men. And though there are days
we would rather know than now, I am,
at heart, a scared and simple man. So I tighten
my arms around the woman I love, now
and imperfectly, stand before “Juno” whispering
beautiful beautiful until I believe it, and-
when I come home at night-I run out
into the day’s pale dusk with my broom
and my dustpan, sweeping the coins from the base
of the ginkgo, something to keep for a better tomorrow:
days we would rather know that never come.

~ Michael Blumenthal

painting: GIGI MILLS

MAD Missives

WHO IS | Ayumi Horie?

I HEART | Bill Withers

YES | the Medium Chill

THANKS | Howard Schultz


Ojai, 2011

The First Noble Truth

In the Buddha’s first teaching—
called the four noble truths—
he talked about suffering. 
The first noble truth says that it’s part 
of being human to feel discomfort. 
Nothing in its essence is one way or the other. 
All around us the wind, the fire, the earth, and the water, 
are always taking on different qualities; they’re like magicians. 
We also change like the weather. 
We ebb and flow like the tides, we wax and wane like the moon. 
We fail to see that like the weather, we are fluid, not solid. 
And so we suffer. 

~ Pema Chodron

RIP, Precious Beautiful Mia
{ 1998-2015 }

We will never be the same . . . .

Gracias, RoHo!

Goodnight, Miami

MAD Missives

SWEAT | my new workout in my old hood

BUILD | Two Weeks to a Younger Brain

SEE | Frida's clothes (gracias, mG!)

WORD | What Black Moms Know

CANCER | What to Say


Goodnight, Miami

Always good to be around Cubans!

What I Like and Don't Like

I like to say hello and goodbye.
I like to hug but not shake hands.
I prefer to wave or nod. I enjoy
the company of strangers pushed
together in elevators or subways.
I like talking to cab drivers
but not receptionists. I like
not knowing what to say.
I like talking to people I know
but care nothing about. I like
inviting anyone anywhere.
I like hearing my opinions
tumble out of my mouth
like toddlers tied together
while crossing the street,
trusting they won’t be squashed
by fate. I like greeting-card clich├ęs
but not dressing up or down.
I like being appropriate
but not all the time.
I could continue with more examples
but I’d rather give too few
than too many. The thought
of no one listening anymore-
I like that least of all.

~ Philip Schultz


Sitting in the Fire

I often wondered why it is that when I get hooked, 
when I’m resentful for example, 
and I breathe with it instead of acting out, 
it feels like I’m sitting in the middle of the fire. 
I asked Kongtrul Rinpoche about this. 
He said, “Because by not doing the habitual thing, 
you’re burning up the seeds of aggression.” 
As each individual works with it in this way, 
it’s not just a minor thing. 
It’s an opportunity we’re given not only to connect 
with the inexpressible goodness of our minds and our hearts, 
but also to dissolve aggression in the world.

~ Pema Chodron

MAD Missives

GARANCE | Life won't be at all like you imagined

LISTEN | The Living Room

YES | The Art of Memoir


painting: ELAINE de KOONING

Sintra, Portugal


Goodnight, New York

Suffering Opens Us

When things fall apart 
and we can’t get the pieces back together, 
when we lose something dear to us, 
when the whole thing is just not working 
and we don’t know what to do, 
this is the time when the natural warmth of tenderness, 
the warmth of empathy and kindness, 
are just waiting to be uncovered, just waiting to be embraced. 
This is our chance to come out of our self-protecting bubble 
and to realize that we are never alone. 
This is our chance to finally understand that wherever we go, 
everyone we meet is essentially just like us. 
Our own suffering, if we turn toward it, 
can open us to a loving relationship with the world.

~ Pema Chodron

What I tell about 'me' I tell about you
The walls between us long ago burned down
This voice seizing me is your voice
Burning to speak to us of us.

~ Rumi


Who is Oliver Sacks?

Neurologist and author {just two of his many handles},
Oliver Sacks, penned an extraordinary
Op-Ed piece in the NYT that is
totally worth 5-8 minutes of your time.

If you have 18 minutes, I highly recommend
his TED Talk on hallucinations and the mind's eye.

If you have a couple of days, I am sure that his
new memoir, On the Move, will wow you.

I hadn't set a particular reading project for myself in 2015
considering how busy I am and will be throughout
this year in my other life, my real life, but it
looks like this may be a year of memoirs for me.

So far, so good!


Bare attention has a quality of renunciation to it.
It asks us to defer our usual reactions in the service
of something less egocentric; the instructions are
not to cling to what is pleasant and not to reject 
what is unpleasant - to simply be with things as they are. 
If reactions occur {which they inevitably do},
they too become grist for the mill,
but they are not privileged.
The idea is to let them settle down so that things
can be known simply for what they are.

One of the central paradoxes of Buddhism is that the 
bare attention of the meditative mind changes the psyche 
by not trying to change anything at all.

~ Mark Epstein, MD
The Trauma of Everyday Life

Sundays in Ojai