This week on Everything is Fine


It’s a holiday season extravaganza! Except that I’m a real killjoy on the topic! In this episode, we’re discussing being secretly uptight, Triangle of Sadness, season 2 of White Lotus, Jenn’s favorite new book, friendships that can’t time travel, holiday party outfits when you’re middle-aged, our favorite go-to gifts, mammograms, listener questions and a whole lot more. Do tune in, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Audible, or wherever you get your podcasts. And don’t forget: we have merch!

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23 Thoughts on This week on Everything is Fine
    15 Dec 2022

    Edna St. Vincent Millay all day!


    12 Dec 2022

    I’m just getting into The Old Man and highly recommend if you haven’t watched it.


      12 Dec 2022

      I loved The Old Man, and reading Vulture’s commentary on each episode only added to the pleasure. Sample line (approximately): “John Lithgow with two-day stubble is a thirst trap, don’t @ me.”


        Iris K
        19 Dec 2022

        John Lithgow is 77. I’d love to see someone call a 77-year-old woman a “thirst trap.” Will never happen, of course. Not sure why men have it so easy that even when they are actually OLD, they are still considered sex symbols, while women are culturally done at 50.


    12 Dec 2022

    Just finished this morning’s podcast. I didn’t get bored. And speaking of clothing…the other day I was walking Betty and we were stopped in an area where a lot of people gather outside one of the more popular Austin restaurants. It was a mild day and I was enjoying people watching when I spied what appeared to be a mother and daughter waiting to go inside said restaurant. The daughter was dressed for work in a skirted suit, but the MOM!!!!….she wore a long sleeved western shirt in a retro wester print (I could see bucking broncos, but wasn’t close enough to see details) with the sleeves slightly rolled up, a just below the knee super pleated skirt in a silvery metallic fabric and a pair of closed toe sling back one or two inch block heeled pumps in gold. She. Looked. Awesome. And I thought this is how we should all be dressing––fun, lighthearted, comfortable and shiny. I would love to see the inside of that woman’s closet! I should also add that she did not look like the delightful ladies of Advanced Dressing on Instagram. This woman looked very chic and sophisticated. I know it doesn’t sound like it. I should also add (also) that when I got home I looked into my own closet and didn’t find a single lighthearted fun piece of clothing. Very telling. Will keep my therapist busy for years.


      jenn romolini
      13 Dec 2022

      been thinking about how to recreate this outfit nonstop for 24 hours. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!


      13 Dec 2022

      That outfit does sound truly wonderful!


    15 Dec 2022

    I’ve been trying to commit Ozymandias (Percy Shelley) to memory for a while now, figuring it’s A) a good party trick and B) probably good for flexing mental muscles. I’m going to redouble my efforts with a line a night now.


    Lesley W
    12 Dec 2022

    I think it was Jill Kargman who on her IG compared mammograms to a panini press. Leave it to her to find that sliver of humor…


    12 Dec 2022

    Oh Kim. I, too, was once married to a poet and had poetry kind of spoiled for me. But here are a few more poets that I still like to read: Emily Dickinson, of course, Billy Collins, Naomi Shahib Nye, Gwendolyn Brooks, Frank O’Hara…


    Mimi A
    12 Dec 2022

    I am an unapologetic philistine; I will cross the street to avoid poetry, with the exception of cynically humorous poets like Philip Larkin and Dorothy Parker. As Kim perfectly described her poetry aversion the “deliberate obtuseness” turns me off. When my husband died after a long illness I was very ambivalent about dating and having another man in my life. Sadly, that wasn’t because he had been the love of my life who I was sure no mortal man would measure up to. Then a brief poem somehow wandered into my orbit, titled Pigs Can’t Look Up.
    Pigs can’t look up
    But I could pick a pig up one night
    and raise it to the sky and tilt this pig ever so gently.
    I can make sure this pig’s eyes line up with the stars.
    Imagine seeing the stars for the first time.
    I want to be treated that kindly
    And see the stars for the first time.
    That little poem rocked my world. It instantly made me realize that I did want to be treated that kindly. A year ago a widower I knew emailed me, inviting me to lunch. And he continues to show me the stars and more for the first time.


      16 Dec 2022

      Congrats on making your post read like a mini-screenplay – you rock Mimi A


    15 Dec 2022

    I also find poetry hard to wrap my head around but then I found Kate Baer. Her new book And Yet has just been published and she has completely changed my mind!


    14 Dec 2022

    Speaking of a poetry, I had to choose a short verse for a calligraphy class, using whichever style I wanted. I picked Shel Silverstein:

    “Can anyone lend me
    Two eighty-pound rats?
    I want to rid my house of cats.”

    The instructor shamed me for the content. I quit the class. It was a recreational class, but silly me — recreation does not mean fun. That’s my poetry experience: poetry and calligraphy are only for depressives.


      14 Dec 2022

      Wow – your calligraphy instructor had no sense of humour. That Silverstein quote is brilliant. I love calligraphy, like certain poets, and don’t care at all for cats.


        16 Dec 2022

        Tanya, you reminded me of something I wrote years ago. I’m going to attempt to put it in the following comment (though, the presiding Kim is welcome to remove it in case the comment section should be a poetry free zone).


          16 Dec 2022

          Simile by S.E.C.

          When someone learns I write poetry
          and then tells me, “I hate poetry,”
          I want to offer as reassurance:
          “That’s okay. I hate assholes. So,
          we’re even.”

          I’m not being fair. Take away the
          jerks who utter such things and you’ll
          find two other types. First, there are
          the ones who find poetry embarrassing,
          tender, intimate, an unsolicited secret
          bestowed upon them. I don’t blame them:
          you can’t control what embarrasses—for
          some, it’s characters bursting into song
          and dance on the street in a musical.

          Then, there’s the other type: the ones
          who have had something terrible done
          to them in the name of education—and
          we all know, when something terrible
          done in the name of education transpires,
          hatred comes and marks like a cigarette
          burning through a new dress.

          More succinctly: these are the ones who
          had a horrible high school English teacher.
          My mother was a good English teacher so
          I was immunized against them and can spot
          their work—third-rate con job on those who
          just stepped off the bus, new school, first
          time in the city.

          They tell the innocents that they’ve been
          doing it wrong, that they can’t read poems
          like they listen to songs, that loving Shel
          Silverstein doesn’t count (though, you ask me,
          Shel Silverstein and Robert Louis Stevenson
          and all the others who write poems children
          love, they count double), that if they’re having
          fun, they’re doing it wrong, instead they must answer,

          What does it mean? What is a dactyl? What is
          sprung rhythm? Can you give an example of
          synecdoche? What are the numbers for sonnets?
          What does the poet mean in the sixth stanza
          when she says what does she mean? To not
          answer is to be banished, to answer wrong turns
          you stone, the sudden death question is what
          does it mean?

          It’s a con, like selling tickets to a free concert
          in the park and the con is able to succeed
          because too many people have never enjoyed
          decadent reading, experienced a voluptuous
          giving over of space in one’s head to another
          voice, and thus, don’t complain at the repeating
          spike in the ear of what does it mean what does
          it mean what—

          What does it mean, I ask you. That question
          asked makes me think they want to take a poem
          as a butterfly, pinning its live wings to a board to
          immobilize to label its parts as proof of learning,
          thrown out after finals.

          Wouldn’t it have been better if those sorts of
          teachers had devoted their lives to making a
          new, improved vacuum cleaner, the world
          would have appreciated a better vacuum
          cleaner in place of teenagers humiliated into
          loathing Eliot, Robert Browning, and anyway,
          the reason I’m rambling in the territory
          Archibald MacLeish already covered in
          superior fashion is that I wanted to get at,

          I don’t want anyone reading my poems to
          feel she or he is on the outside of an inside
          joke. I know what it is to walk down a
          hallway and know the laughter is directed
          at me and would never want to do that
          to someone by way of a poem.

          Not to imply that I was a martyr deserving
          no reproach. There were a few times I
          astonished myself with cruel remarks to
          others for no good reason. What did it
          mean? It meant nothing other than I was
          a teenager and my prefrontal cortex was
          still developing and my sense of long
          term consequences and other people’s
          feelings was not what it is now. Having
          been on both sides, I can say, everything
          built on meaning and cruelty doesn’t work.

          The only way poetry can work, I figure, is
          that everybody can come in, anyone can
          come in, everybody can come into a poem
          until the accumulating words overcome
          like the sea reclaiming them, briefly, the
          sight of the arching wave is meaning enough
          for them a moment later as they stand, gasping,
          wet, salt on their tongues.


            16 Dec 2022

            All the spaces were collapsed in the ridiculous passage above. So, let me stress that I indicate in the second stanza that I DON’T think anyone is an asshole for hating poetry. Now, I will scurry away from this comment section.


            16 Dec 2022

            Thank you so much for sharing this piece. I’d read more if it’s on offer!


            16 Dec 2022

            D., I “feel so seen,” as people sometimes say now. I *did* suffer educationally at the hands of people calling themselves poets, and I *did* despise poetry for a long time afterwards. In retrospect, maybe I just wasn’t groovy enough. (They were basically teaching, I guess, free verse? To middle schoolers. Everything we wrote was really really amazing. Like that. I have forgiven them. I hate to imagine it from their side!) Oh and this was middle school, iirc which I may not. I had at least one really excellent English teacher in high school – I say she is excellent bc I still remember several things she said, though sadly I have lost most of my grammar. No, I mean, sadly I admit that I have lost it. We analyzed Pink Floyd lyrics, among other things. (I have forgotten her name. I’ll have to dig out a yearbook.) … … … In the middle part, I used to read the poems in the New Republic, I guess in the 90s or so, and some of those I liked. And I had a friend who liked Delmore Schwartz. Shakespeare and the Greeks I always liked, and should memorize but haven’t. … … … Long story shorter, eventually I realized that song lyrics are also poetry, and now I don’t hate it anymore – though I am still *resistant* unless it has been set to music. … … … I think there are just a lot of untalented poets, the same as in the visual arts. One must learn to weed through them to get to the good bits.


          17 Dec 2022

          Apologies, I meant to address the above comment to MJ, in light of the sorry calligraphy teacher lacking in Shel Silverstein appreciation. Though, I hope “Millay All Day” Tanya enjoys the comment thread as well.


    12 Dec 2022

    I just finished the previous episode, where you and Jenn discuss Christmas music. If you want something seasonal but different, I strongly recommend Songs in the Key of Hanukkah.


    19 Dec 2022

    Kim, I signed up for a poem a day email from Daily poem may be anything from any time…if I scan a few lines and not into it, or it’s a 12-stanza Old English poem, delete. But I have found some amazing poetry that speaks to me via this email. Highly recommend as an easy “in” to poetry.



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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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