June 21, 2019

My dad loves the beach. Whenever I go, I take a short video of the waves coming in and out and text it to him. He always writes back, “Love that sound.” When I was still in floaties, all I wanted was to be beyond the foam, where the waves calm down and you can’t hear sounds on the shore. For most of the 1990s this meant my dad would carry me out. I very clearly remember his wet hair and his squint (because he always took his glasses off to swim), and I remember his “whoo!” when a wave buffeted us, him laughing to reassure me or for the raw joy of the cold water. I remember feeling so sturdy with his arm holding me up that I thought his feet must be planted on the ground somewhere under the water. A good dad can take you where you’re scared to go alone, and help you experience something as big as the Atlantic with simultaneous exhilaration and perfect safety.

My dad’s got a great laugh and a sometimes-restless sense of adventure. He has a soft heart that has miraculously not hardened over the years. When I conjure an image of him in my mind, I smell coffee. I love my philosopher, mathematician, teacher, helper father. Happy (late) Father’s Day! Here’s what I read this week:

  1. Do People Finish Their Goodreads Challenges? The Atlantic. I do reading challenges every year…why? I love to keep track of what I’ve read for a few reasons. One, it prevents me from accidentally getting 10 pages into a book with the vague sense of “hey, have I read this before?” Two, I can keep much better track of which books go in what order in long series. Three, the social aspect is pretty nice — unlike most other social media networks, Goodreads is pretty much a feed of what your friends and follows are reading, not all kinds of info about their lives. It’s just one piece of data, so it feels easier to parse and less like you have to represent yourself as perfect in any way. I used to be shy of putting “embarrassing” or “guilty pleasure” reads on my list, but then I figured that if I’m enjoying it, so why be ashamed. It’s brought me more genuine joy in reading, and that’s a big reason why I complete or exceed my reading challenges every year.
  2. Monster Self-Care, Black Cardigan Edit. This archived edition of Frye’s newsletter takes a look at a Hayao Miyazaki movie but I really liked how she relates it back to a familiar experience. “…That feeling you get when you’re feeling strange and restless, maybe a little blue or maybe anxious, and instead of doing some work or taking a walk or doing anything you find truly enjoyable, you start clicking and clicking and clicking around the internet, hoping it’ll release the magic sugar pellet that will make you feel satisfied and content.” Well hello I recognize that feeling and behavior very well! And later this gem about self-care to overcome that feeling: “Step one: change of scene. Step two: letting yourself be quiet, not trying to cover uncertainty and unhappiness by rushing at people with handfuls of fake gold. Step three: doing whatever your version is of a little knitting and spinning. Step four: staying open to the comforts of friends and tea and connection.”
  3. How to Spot a Fake Viral Story, The Cut. “The benefit to stories like these popping up so frequently is that they become easier to spot. Once you know the formula, it’s hard to read past a tweet or two before checking out, knowing full well what you’re reading is just fiction. And not particularly nuanced fiction at that.” I learned how to spot fake viral stories from my days on Tumblr, because a lot of those stories end with something like “And everybody else on the bus clapped!” Just another list of strategies to smell something fishy on the Internet. Sniff sniff.
  4. 15 Rare Photos of Black Rosie the Riveters, Stuff Mom Never Told You. The quoted history is a little random and hard to read, but this is a great round up of photographs of Black Rosie the Riveters! I love their intent expressions and the flash of red nail polish on hands of the woman in the last photograph.
  5. D-Day Veteran Reunites with French Love after 75 Years, Today. Oh this is such a sweet video. It says at the bottom of the story that they’re planning to meet again soon. I was moved! I love love.

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