Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

20 January 2023

Every fire

Each morning I wake, put on my rubbery boots, and gather wood and kindling from the shelter in the garden.

At the stove, I clean the ashes out from the previous day.

I make a sandwich of paper, kindling, cardboard, more paper. I light it bottom to top.

In some configurations I know this will go well, but it doesn't always; the fire can be colicky, slow to take.

Every fire is a different fire. Each has its own temperament, its own way of being coaxed into autonomy. I start it off with soft foods, then move on to progressively bigger, harder comestibles. 

It will spend its first hour toddling, needing careful attention—a spare ear or eye forever monitoring its condition, even as I prepare breakfast, stretch, start my computer. By afternoon it will seem more confident, but experience knows this is not the case; left to its own for an hour, it could be dead-cold, not an ember left to revive it.

Every fire is a different fire. My job is to forget the nature of the one that accompanied me yesterday. I spend the day weaving my attention to it, hoping that by nightfall it will be fully its own, raging hot and radiating, dangerous in its certainty.

18 January 2023

On making my new phone mine

There's a lot of change happening—shifts backed by years of marinating. In the midst of two big shifts I'm engaged in at the moment, I had my phone stolen a month ago and decided to break it off with Apple. I'd been considering it awhile, the cost of it had started outweighing the value, and a chaotic, stressful situation was the perfect last straw.

So I got a Google Pixel and lost half the data I've accumulated over 13 years—phone numbers, apps, messaging data (iMessage!), any number of things that seemed really important at the time. I spent a weekend in a foetal position and another week trying to understand my new normal, then came out the other side and decided it was time to start adapting the phone to my needs.

I'm very much an Otterbox fan because I drop my phone a lot and have often enjoyed the exercise of throwing it across the room to demonstrate the value of "military-grade" protection. But I'm over that now. Protection for ordinary drops is fine, which means I don't need a case the size of a commando's walkie-talkie. In keeping with that, I also decided against getting a phone clip, which in any case has proven too bulky for the type of gear I carry lately, and utterly impractical for attaching to a bicycle.

I still want to be practical. But it's a time of change, and I'm interested in who I'm changing into and how she manifests herself, especially in terms of styles and textures. These are the things I got:

First, this most delicious leather phone case from Bellroy with a secret orange interior that I have already forgotten about and which has consequently delighted me all over again. It is delicious to touch and yields perfect grip.

Second, this fully-rotatable ring and stand from Burga which is pleasingly smooth and niftily associates with my tropical leopard water bottle—an acquisition that followed the loss of my black Zojirushi bottle, which vanished as I was sliding off a cliff face last year.

I like this—these leaping-out greens and oranges that mark such delectable contrast to the monochrome accessories I have favoured most of my adult and adolescent life. It's a new language, muted but playful. It leaves room for other kinds of exclamations, new ways of being.

None of this is very important but I wanted to put it somewhere because it makes me happy. I also like how these colours interact with others in my life: The orange metal pen sitting beside my phone at this moment, the black Merci wristwatch with the subtle red details. Why have I spent so much of my life refusing my eyes this lush indulgence?

10 January 2023

On heroes

There's a convention in the very old oral stories where a prophecy is given, but its completion relies entirely on the central person not knowing about it.

This is a crucial distinction, completely at odds with the convention that you, the Hero, are aware of and thus driven by your destiny. Knowing or believing you're the Hero is a burden for you and others.

In the older tales, there aren't any side characters, not really; the whole universe conspires to bring the prophecy to fruition. Even your mistakes are critical. Sometimes you have to die. Sometimes you resurrect, unable to be the person you were before. But you need everybody. You are part of a larger story that isn't really about you at all.

A story where a central character is infused by their own heroism enables the hero to use (and treat) everyone around them as collateral. The hero is not only protected and supported but enabled, including by the audience. Their belief in their own story—that they act in the service of a Greater Good—ultimately corrodes the very qualities that made them heroic, because there is no place for a greater good—for others—to flourish.

Somewhere along the way, the story came to be about them alone.