Too Much Gold to Try On

dear you,

If you aren't listening to Beyonce's new album (or watching the film), you should be.

It's the exact shot of gorgeous levity we need in 2020-- and a perfect tribute to Leo season in all of its showboatiness. I'm listening as I write this to you, the summer sun being as kind as it has ever been in all my years in Oakland. Honestly. It's the warmest summer I can remember. Abundance, in a time of scarcity.

Do you, too, struggle with hyper-productivity as a coping mechanism? This has always been a challenge of mine; it feels exacerbated in the landscape of the pandemic. Perhaps this is because it feels good to say hey, art is alive and well right now, to say I want to help, to continue to say yes, even when the time to fully commit isn't available.

In a recent talk by Tara Brach on Learning to Stay (Still), Brach makes the argument that the business that keeps us from our bodies--the over-commitment, the distraction, the dissociation, the disembodiment-- is us succumbing to violence. That it is an act of violence against ourselves to not be present, to not feel both the mind and the body at the same time, when we could choose to do so.

It's a shocking idea, isn't it? After all, it isn't a standard practice for mindfulness teachers and healers to state something so.. strong. So.. well, violent.

But the more I think about that concept, the more truth I recognize in it. Hyper-productivity and dissociation keep us from being alive, and what's more violent than that?

It feels ridiculous to tell you all that I'm working on it--there's that same workforce language again. But I don't quite know how else to say it, having been formed under capitalism. I am retraining myself to be more embodied, to remember both the body and the mind. And honestly, I think it might be the key to getting through this year and being open and porous to the changes and lessons we are being taught/tasked with.

Sending lots of love and stillness to you.


& now, offerings.


I'll be reading this Thursday, August 6th at 5pm PDT with Writing By Writers, an organization that has meant so much to me over the last five years. I'll be reading from "Via Negativa", and then engaging in conversation about the book with the esteemed Pam Houston. The event is FREE, but you must register to get the link (in the era of zoombombing).

Writing Workshops/Classes:

I offer a host of different creative writing workshops on my site, as well as writing prompts, editorial services, manuscript consultations, etc. Is your pandemic-fueled existential dread blocking your writing? I can help. Do you want an intro-level poetry class that is gentle, fun, and inspiring? I'm here for you. Are you hoping for weekly email inspiration/prompts and accountability emails? Let's do this.

New! Learn Embroidery With Me:

You've heard allllll about the media company/magazine I started with the amazing Katie Tandy, yeah? Well, not only is PULP Magazine a gorgeous, 90s-inspired sexuality and reproductive justice magazine, it is also about to be an ONLINE SCHOOL! We've been working hard to launch classes starting September 15th--and you're definitely going to want to get in on the action.

You've probably also heard that I'm obsessed with embroidery. No? Well, I am! Not only that, I'm a certified surface embroiderist, trained by the San Francisco School of Needlepoint and Design.

Join me in this hour-long, $25 intro-to-embroidery class. It's going to be a super cute time. Your support makes a huge difference to our fledgling, social-justice-oriented magazine <3

Stay Abreast:

Twitter: @JulyWesthale
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