September 20, 2019

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I recently had the chance to re-pack my ~25 journals into a better storage system and came across this amazing list in the back of one of my notebooks. It had two columns, one with the title “Things Emily Likes” and one with the title “Things Timothy Likes.” My list included excellent things like “cheeseburgers” and “neopets” and “mulch.” My brother Tim’s list had “corn mazes,” “athletics” and “talking.” Basically what I’m saying is that it’s really fun to revisit records of yourself from childhood, in whatever form you might have them. I was a very tender and very sincere kid!

  1. Underground Railroad Quilt Codes: What We Know, What We Believe, and What Inspires Us, Folklife. “At its center, a quilt is an assemblage of historical and creative cues in the form of fabrics, shapes, symbols, textures and colors. Quilts were often made to commemorate important family events such as marriage, a birth, or moving to a new place. Often made from scraps of old dresses, burlap sacks, and dish cloths, it gives physical, even functional, form to a family or individual’s past and present.” This is a super interesting discussion of whether or not quilt codes were used in the Underground Railroad, which is a conversation that a lot of historians are divided on. Either way, “Quilts allow Tindall to sustain a conversation about these men and women who were valiant, who fought slavery by taking the ultimate chance—running, and maybe even trusting the message on a blanket when everything was at stake—and encouraging others to do the same.” This also introduced me to the wonderful Quilt Index, an open access digital repository of images and info about thousands of quilts! Browse by year or other categories at this link.
  2. How Mom Jeans Became Cool (Again),The Atlantic. “But McClendon suggested that there’s more driving the shift toward modest, comfortable, practical clothing than playful irony. After the 2016 election and the national reckoning with powerful men’s sexual misconduct sparked by the #MeToo movement, she began to notice a clear “shift away from extremely sexy clothes, toward a more unisex style,” she told me. She saw women ditch their stilettos for designer sneakers and their dresses for tailored suits. “The tight clothes, the high heels—there was this general sense of Why am I wearing these things?” As the national mood sobered, McClendon noted, the body-punishing, form-fitting extremes to which high-profile women pushed their looks in the 2000s (McClendon pointed to Lady Gaga and her famously tall heels as an example) gave way to androgynous shapes and looks that prioritized comfort. Today, the zeitgeist-iest young pop star of the moment is 17-year-old Billie Eilish, “who wears very large, oversized clothing that’s completely body-obscuring and unisex,” she added.” Interesting. I can relate to the idea that women/people in general are gravitating toward unisex and shapeless clothing as a result of gender dynamics and feeling objectified. For me, the thought process lately has been, “There is so much bad happening in this world! I have so much work to do! I cannot be squeezed into these skinny jeans anymore. I need room.”
  3. The Hardest Stunt I Ever Pulled Off, Vulture. WOW the stunts described in this piece are cool and stressful to imagine completing. “I would never do that one again and I would never ask anybody else to do something like that again. In today’s world, we would do it with a much smaller explosion and enhance the fire in the background with CGI, and also put the guy on a cable so he can never really hit the ground. Back then, we didn’t have the safety. The way we did it was the only way to do it.” Dang!
  4. Advice from Therapists on What to Do When You Feel Lonely, The Cut. My favorite piece of advice: “One thing to remember in our age of instant gratification is that friends aren’t found; instead, friends are made — crafted, really — over time. It takes between 6–8 conversations before someone considers us a friend. We wish we could walk into a party, instantly connect, and walk out arm-in-arm with a new BFF, but really it’s an incremental process. The good news is that the bar to start is low. It’s been shown again and again that, as long as we are mutually kind to each other, we become friends with whoever we see most often. Proximity and repetition are key. So put yourself in situations where you see the same faces again and again: a dog park at the same time each morning, a weekly writer’s workshop, or a co-working space.”
  5. It’s Time to Let Meat Loaf into Your Embarrassing Little Heart, Electric Literature. On the 5 feelings that the first 10 minutes of Bat Out of Hell expresses: “Motorcycle—not classically a feeling, no, but what else can be said about the lyric “I’m gonna hit the highway like a battering ram/ on a silver-black phantom bike” except that it encapsulates the feeling of Motorcycle—that is to say, motorcycle-qua-motorcycle, the Springsteenian motorcycle, the emblem of masculine longing to get out?”  This look at that wild album is really sympathetic and cute and reminds me of David. “Meat Loaf offered his slobbering heart on a silver tray, and so did we all before we knew better, and thus did he violate one of the cardinal covenants of artistic maturity: as adult creators, we are never again to partake of the gasping desperation of those teenage years once they pass us by. If we only wrote what we felt, we’d be teen idols forever, enslaved and enfeebled by our emotions. If we said what we felt as soon as we felt it, what havoc we would wreak!” Also I like how often the author refers to the feeling of Motorcycle.

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