Debbie Millman has an ongoing project at PRINT titled “What Matters.” This is an effort to understand the interior life of artists, designers, and creative thinkers. This facet of the project is a request of each invited respondent to answer ten identical questions and submit a nonprofessional photograph.
This week, we’re introducing our new columnist, journalist Monica Danielle. Starting today, we’ll be publishing entries from her blog A Broad View, where she navigates starting over in mid-life. You can keep up with her work here, or join her community over at Substack.
Monica Danielle is a storyteller who likes to write. She lives with her partner in a log cabin in the gorgeous woods of central Pennsylvania with their four kids, two dogs, four cats, pot-bellied pig, rooster, four hens, five ducks and three guinea pigs.
What is the thing you like doing most in the world?
Reading. Or road-tripping to anywhere and nowhere in particular.
What is the first memory you have of being creative?
My brother and I used to create concoctions by mixing different combinations of condiments from the fridge into a glass. Extemporaneous mixing, if you will. The color combos were incredible, but it takes a certain skillset to keeping everything from ending up dark reddish brown— easy on the ketchup and Worcestershire.
What is your biggest regret?
Things have happened that still make my guts roil and my chest tighten, but no regrets! It all got me where I am, and I’m good with that.
How have you gotten over heartbreak?
Time. Therapy. But I don’t think you ever fully get over heartbreak. You just get better at incorporating it into who you are becoming. It becomes part of you.
What makes you cry?
Kids singing earnestly at school concerts. Any time a dog dies in a movie.
How long does the pride and joy of accomplishing something last for you?
Not long enough.
Do you believe in an afterlife, and if so, what does that look like to you?
I’d like to think our human brains certainly can’t fathom what eternal enchantments are contained within the infinite universes we are a part of, so that hopefully involves transfers of energies and essences. Mostly I try to be as present as possible in this digitally-obsessed age and enjoy this life as if this is the main event, because probably it is.
What do you hate most about yourself?
That I’ve spent most of my life hating on myself.
What do you love most about yourself?
I really, really give a shit about people, even the ones that don’t care for me. I genuinely care if you’re unhappy or hurting.
What is your absolute favorite meal?
Tacos, burritos or nachos, baby! Mexican all the way.