It’s been a minute since we did a round of Lightning Bolts, because (intones in Johnny Cash voice) hello, I’m depressed.
Are you feeling it too? Come sit by me. I have a few recommendations if you are similarly plagued with a bout of bad brains, and most of them this go-round are sonic—special music being essential to enduring these grim times—but none of them require any herculean effort on your part, because we all need to conserve our energy for white-knuckling it through the inauguration.
- Listen to the wordless, soothing albums of Julianna Barwick, whose looped vocals will give you the sensation of being lifted from your bodily form and placed into the sweet embrace of a pillowy cloud; she draws upon years of church choir and a love of ambient electronica to render the music of the spheres. I like Nepenthe for falling asleep and Healing is a Miracle for waking up.
- Get a box of brownie mix and make yourself a batch. Brownies are the one baked good not worth making from scratch, which means that there are now some truly prestige boxed brownie batters out there that don’t require much more than some water and oil and a small pan and minimal stirring. If you’re more confident in the kitchen, one of my favorite Twitter bakers recommended subbing milk for water, melted butter for oil, and adding a ganache or jam layer, and following some or all of this advice works. Anyway, smelling something baking will help, trust me.
- Watch The Secret Life of Plants, the documentary based on the famous 1970s book that suggested plants have ESP (I’m a believer, more on this later). The doc features a remarkable synth-scape by Stevie Wonder and its meandering pace clocks in somewhere between a Terrence Malick opus and a mescaline trip, with contents that could have been pulled from both media, frankly.
- Enjoy some virtual forest bathing with Tree.FM.
- Take a virtual visit to this cafe in Japan that’s exclusively for negative people.
- You’ll need more heavenly music. Put Mary Lattimore’s Silver Ladders on your turntable and lay down on the floor and imagine you are a dolphin swimming through the turquoise sea, flanked at either side by schools of glimmering fish, surfacing only to flip your tail against the spray of the sunkissed breakers.
- Read or re-read Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire, imagine peaceful snow flickering down onto the Arches.
- Bundle up and go for a walk, even if it’s just to get the mail.
And hang in there. It does get better. I’ve been told it gets better. That’s a rumor I heard, anyhow. Don’t hold me to this guarantee. By reading this blog post you have waived your right to sue me if things, in fact, do not get better.