I play this game with some friends of mine, though quite honestly, I don’t know that they know they are playing. For the past couple of years, every time the air turns crisp, the grapes hang heavy on the wines and the leaves begin to change I wait to see which of them will post Colin Nissan’s funny essay “It’s decorative gourd season, motherf*ckers!” on their Facebook feeds.
This year, I couldn’t hold back, so I was the first.
If you’ve never come across this humor piece, I feel kind of sorry for you, since it is something of a rallying cry around here. You see, Fall drives me kind of nuts. I become all Rilke-wandering-the-woods, my insomnia kicks in for the holidays and I feel, all-in-all, like the world is going to hell in a hand-basket.
But what if that hand-basket were, instead, filled with colorful decorative gourds, lined with fake red maple leaves and placed artfully within the places that matter in your home to remind you that it is okay to rage rage rage against the dying of the light?
Is there feng shui for Seasonal Affective Disorder?
There is around here!
First, let’s take a look at that essay. My apologies if you don’t like swearing, but there it is again this year in all of its autumnal glory on the McSweeney’s site.
Just how influential is this tiny ecstatic rant about autumn?
When you try to google it it doesn’t even come up first anymore for all of the people who are linking to it, getting inspired by it, putting it as their Twitter covers, or otherwise appropriating it for their own projects. There’s even a decorative gourd season mug. I’ve been following its author, Colin Nissan, on Twitter for some time now, and I took note when he smartly decided to put it in his Twitter bio.
Poor guy. I imagine he’s going to spend the rest of his life being that guy who wrote “It’s decorative gourd season, motherf*ckers!” At least, until he writes something that hits as big. (I liked his last NYer humor column on married people doing bedroom play).
So back to SAD. If you read this blog you know that despite my best intentions I have been falling down the rabbit hole of feng shui. I must not be the only one, since my post “Feng Shui for the Book Lover: How to Pare Down a Library” is, to date, the most popular thing I’ve written on this website.
What I love most about feng shui is that it affords me a sense of control (real or non-existent) in this crazy world. It makes me feel like there is always something I can do when things feel off in my life. I don’t need anyone to tell me this is pure poppycock, but it has certainly allowed me to embrace some activities that I might have thought silly before.
Wreath-making, for instance.
Feng shui holds that your door is the most important part of your house — it is the entryway for all of the energies in your home. Its color should be auspicious, its placement front-and-center, and there is nothing blocking the entry. The door should open and close smoothly. The front door is something you should actively tend, says pretty much every feng shui expert ever.
At the end of last summer I decided to tackle the front door, which, for our 10-year-old, architecturally insignificant house meant getting a new mat, a new glorious paint color and some dusting and cleaning. Painting our boring maroon door bright purple was just one thing I did to bring the happy home. It wasn’t a color I would have picked normally, but after reading about color choices for homes on Red Lotus Letter I thought maybe purple would feel lucky (and it does). The project isn’t done yet, but last weekend I decided to channel my fiery autumnal energy, that thing that makes me feel like the caged pacing panther in that Rilke poem, and make a decorative wreath, motherf*cker!
Poseyland, local flower shop was holding a wreath-making class so I went and made this autumn explosion wreath for our front door.
I was thinking about my mom the whole time. Since her retirement, she’s been dabbling in floral arranging. Perhaps using the word “dabbling” really undermines what she is doing, which is creating beauty. When she comes to visit we buy her one big bouquet and she drops these little beauty bombs all over the house.
I’d like to thank Colin Nissan personally, not just for giving me a laugh come every autumn since 2009, but for sending me a text that says: “It’s okay! Girl, you’re a woman now! You can put a scary colorful wreath on your front door and then every time you see it you’re gonna be happy and you’re gonna forget that the sun is dying earlier every day!”
Does fall turn you into a modernist German poet? Tell me about it!