March 2, 2018

Are you feeling fresh and rejuvenated? It’s a new month, and where I am, it smells like rain.

  1. The Good Room. This is a really long read and took me a few tries to get through, but I’m glad I did, even though I think I need to revisit it in a quieter frame of mind to drink it all in. Toward the bottom there’s two figures of how much time we use certain apps and how much we regret/feel negative about the time. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

    – “A library is the gift a city gives to itself.”
    – “…if technology is a place where we live, a place that we carry around with us, shouldn’t we choose to be in lively and nourishing digital environments? This reasoning should be enough to encourage you to leave the optional digital places that you don’t enjoy.”
    – “Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon aren’t going anywhere at this point—nor should we expect them to—so it’s best to recalibrate the digital experience by increasing the footprint and mindshare of the kinds of cultural and communal value they can’t provide. The web isn’t like Manhattan real estate—if we want something, we can make space for it.” There’s so much more here, this is one of the finest things I’ve read this year.

  2. The Case Against Open Kitchens, NYT.  “And yet people who actually like cooking tend to crave boundaries—to want to be, as Julia Child assured us we could be, “alone in the kitchen.” What if you wish to preserve a kitchen secret—to slip, say, the odd, shameful envelope of Lipton’s onion-soup mix into your meat loaf, à la Ann Landers? Radical transparency becomes kitchen exhibitionism: we are all on cooking shows now. “ This is so weird because I feel like I’ve read this piece in a more raw form on some vintage house-restoring blog…but maybe that’s because not everyone loves an open kitchen. While I don’t like that I can’t hear anything David says when he’s not standing in the kitchen doorway (which makes for a lot of accidental startling), I do like that when we have guests over we can whisper and scheme in the kitchen like Dick van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore.

    Also: “The history of taste is full of these moments when completely stupid, destructive misbehavior takes hold.” What a line! Spoken by a poet.

  3. My First Year Sober (Comic). This is vulnerable, winding, and valuable. I appreciated this quoted quote: “You might think you don’t have the willpower to stop smoking, but how many times have you smoked in the freezing cold or wet? Or driven, late at night, to get cigarettes? Your will is strong.” Memoirs that are a little more raw, that haven’t been wrung through an editor, that are maybe remembering things as they’re still happening around the writer, have resonated with me recently.
  4. Phone Calls Taught Me About the Power of Intimacy, Lenny Letter. “Phone calls have taught me about the power of this intimacy, how to be present in an emotional space with another person. It’s good to hear joy and anger and sadness, to receive it in your body, and to be heard in all of these states, too. This is what we mean when we say “It’s so good to hear your voice.”” Shout out to my faraway phone-call friends! I really love and relate to this essay.
  5. The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce. I got into this book, about a lonely record shop owner who knows how to find the perfect song you need in that moment, despite myself. It feels like a quiet, sweet, awkward romantic movie where the best characters are the secondary friends and coworkers (like Notting Hill). The final chapters took a twist I wasn’t so sure about, but it won me over.

Happy weekend!

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