Moonbox Notes #1: February 2022

Welcome to my Moonbox: a gathering of musings, learnings, and aspirations held (perhaps, sometimes only briefly) by the many expressions of me, Sarita.

From the Desk:

The whiteboard has words like cupless and scree scribbled on it, a part of a list. It has reminders to work on edits for current projects, rediscover and submit writing that has lived on my hard drive for over a decade, have my IUD removed from my uterus, schedule a mammogram for August. For now, at least, I can leave the need to think about removing my ovaries hanging abstractly in the air. But, every six months, I’m dipped, pen and ink, into the hospital environment for a screening. My breast MRI took place over a week ago, and, well, I suppose the point is to say that it’s hard for anyone to imagine the universe that arises every time I have to write MRI or Mammo on the whiteboard — and this is just screening protocol. I don’t want to fathom what having cancer would actually feel like.

There are ideas, ideals, goals. I’ve pinned a list of FKTs I’d like to attempt this year onto the corkboard: Wind River Peak, Telescope Peak, Mummy Loop, Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, even some repeats of ones I’ve already done…I’ve pinned a list of Masterclasses I’d like to someday take: Roxane Gay, Neil Tyson…I have pushpins that hold nothing but space. I have photos of aspens, a dune crest, a river flowing from mountains in the Tetons that were taken by Ansel Adams. Then there’s a photo of a child me in sandals gripping the edge of a stone overlook in a funky dress, holding a teddy bear — the cliffs and water dress the background as faded memory. The memory of whoever took the photo, that is, not me. But, eventually, the fading will reach me, too. In many ways, it already has. I find it harder and harder to remember specifics from my childhood.

To the right of the corkboard is a calendar. The February photo is of saguaro cacti before a snowswept mountain in Arizona, at either dawn or dusk. The red and peach glow seems to be pressing the long cacti limbs toward snowline, which rests where the horizon would’ve been if the mountain wasn’t there. Beneath the cacti, the words “House/dog sit” are written with a long line drawn across the third week. A heart encircles the 14th with “7 YRS” off to the side. 26th: RUFA — I’ll be racing soon.

I have three official races I’ve signed up for in 2022: RUFA Staunton Rocks, the Missoula Half Marathon and Run the Rut 50k. RUFA is a fundraiser event for cleaner air (more on that below). My older brother, my husband, and my younger brother are all racing the Missoula Marathon, so I chose the Half in order to participate, but also just be there in support. I’m looking forward to a family gathering that weekend in June, and I really hope that my dad can make it. He probably wouldn’t want me posting this, but, my dad doesn’t know how much longer he has left to live. The doctors won’t give him an answer beyond stating that the status of his prostate cancer is incurable.

Perhaps that is what is currently missing from everything that exists at my desk. Maybe that is what the lone pushpin holds. There’s no list or plan that could ever mend what is happening in his life, nor the relationship between us. And saying such a thing doesn’t mean that I haven’t tried. After 33 years, all I can say is that I can’t help what he doesn’t want to be helped. And I can’t do anything to prevent the grief that exists already and the grief that is to come. But, I suppose I don’t need to go into all that right now. Lo que será, será.

La Vida Mundial:

I haven’t written much in my journal since October 2021, to be honest. For 2022, I wrote down some thoughts and quotes from a Zoom event I attended in January. The event featured an interview with artist & “cultural disruptor” Gregg Deal, whom I am a huge fan of and own a painting from, entitled, “Ziggindigenous” — a profound commentary on pop culture and stereotypes at the intersection of an indigenous man who lives within and under the contemporary American experience.

There is much to be said about him and his work, but I highly recommend browsing his website.

I plan to attend an exhibition of his, “Tutse Nakoekwu (Minor Threat),” this week in Denver at the Emmanuel Art Gallery before I attend a 5k fun run in honor of Black History Month, organized by Kriste Peoples.

To reiterate the RUFA event that is taking place this weekend, the 25th/26th, runners will gather to “amplify informed dialogue and empower organizations actively working on air quality solutions.” Funds will benefit Protect Our Winters and Conservation Colorado. My goal is to raise $800 and I’m not quite halfway there, yet, but I’ll be grateful for whatever happens! Many thanks/muchas gracias to those who have already donated — I know fundraisers have been tough during the pandemic, not only for financial reasons but for the reality that there are many taking place all the time and I know it can feel overwhelming.

I’m considering applying for the Artist in Residence program for Death Valley National Park 2023, but that’ll depend on whether or not I can get my sh*t together by February 24th (the deadline)! If you’re an artist, you should consider it as well! I’ve never been a part of a residency, but it’s certainly a bucket list experience I’d like to have. And this program in particular pays $3,000!

Birthday Shoutout:

My older brother, Michael Aranda, is turning 36 on Feb 27th! If you’re a fan of vlogs or YouTube channels in general, check him out and consider supporting him on Patreon.

Happy 7 years with Patrick.

Recent Top Pick Reads:

+ “Black Walden Came First. Thoreau, After” by Courtney Lindwall, NRDC.org

+ “Zero at the Bone” by Heidi Czerwiec, RiverTeeth

+ “Spark Bird” by Emily Raboteau, Orion Magazine Spring 2021

+ “A Sky Without Blue” by Anya Groner, Orion Magazine Spring 2021, PRINT ONLY.

Books on the Shelf:

+Poet Warrior by Joy Harjo

+Craft in the Real World by Matthew Salesses

+Thin Places by Jordan Kisner

Recent Listens:

+ “Of Consequence to the Signified,” Episode 8, Black Mountain Radio.

+ “Guarina Lopez (Pascua Yaqui),” Episode 29, Grounded with Dinée Dorame.

Writing Projects:

+Essay for Campfire Stories Volume II anthology: in edit phase. The book is currently due to come out Spring 2023.

+Essay for Alpinist Magazine: awaiting edit phase. Will come out sometime 2022.

+As of right now, I have 2 submissions in the ether. A short prose piece for Western Humanity Review and a pitch proposal for Orion Magazine.

+The hybrid essay I wrote last year, “Chuckwalla,” still needs some revision before I submit again.

+I’ve revisited my Science Fiction short story, which has been fun, so I hope I can keep up the progress and finish the manuscript this year.

MISC/Brags:

+ “Clip it Good” music video ad campaign for TRUBLUE auto belays featuring myself, my husband, and two other friends. Silly fun!

Snow comes and goes.

Thanks for tuning in to the inaugural Moonbox Notes!

Happy wintering.


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