Missed you all last week, I just plum forgot it was Friday! It’s nice to forget it’s Friday sometimes. These offerings touch on different kinds of sorrow but also the power of human connection and love. I think that combination is appropriate for the complexity of this season. Love you all:
- “Suggested Donation,” Heather Christle. I’m not sure if I shared this strange little poem with you all yet or not. But I like the conversational language. I like this bit about deer: “If they kept diaries / the first entry would / read: Was born / Was licked / Tried walking / Then they’d walk / away and no second / entry would ever exist.” Nice.
- How to Go Home for the Holidays When Your Family is a Bit Much, Vice. My favorite internet writer, Jennifer Peepas of Captain Awkward, had a piece published in Vice about going home for the holidays when navigating family relationships can be difficult. She quotes a therapist, Rae McDaniel, who has (like all therapists I’ve known) some very good soundbites, like: “You’re not going to be able to buy groceries at the hardware store, by which I mean, some people just are not going to be able to meet your needs.” But, McDaniel tells their clients, arguing with someone isn’t the only way to stand up for yourself. “Quietly changing the subject can be authentic; leaving the room and taking a walk can be authentic.” Good advice here!
- Design Over People? New Fine Arts Library Critiqued for See-Through, Grated Floors, Cornell Sun. “Every space that we use is designed by someone,” Nomura said. “[These concerns are] starting a really interesting conversation: Who is that someone? What’s their intention? Who are they really designing for?” Another library designed by someone who doesn’t seem to go in public or know any other people. See-through, grated metal floors? Sounds like my nightmare. The metal floors don’t dampen any sound either, so it’s also loud? And what if you spilled your coffee ON SOMEONE’S HEAD.
- Sarah Miller on How to Deal with Despair in an Age Full of It, Insider. In this piece, Miller doesn’t diminish the heaviness of what causes despair in these times, but offers a few ways to avoid wallowing in the heaviness. They’re maybe commonsense but still worth remembering, like doing something for someone else, or getting exercise. Also, I relate to the way she describes walking her dog, here: “I like to look at its tiny fat body pushing its way through space. I got another dog just because watching two animals at once made me feel even slightly happier, something about the symmetry, who knows, who cares, hello, endorphins, welcome, I am sure you will not have trouble finding a seat.” I love to see two dogs! And I know a lot of friends have been staying tuned in to the news as crisis after crisis unfolds, and for you all I think this piece would be helpful. It ends with: “I have some curiosity about what is going to happen next, and I might even feel like I have some power over the future. It doesn’t solve everything, but it allows me to get to the next day, when, with any luck, and maybe even some effort on my part, this sense of curiosity and power can connect with the curiosity and power in other people.”
- “I Come Home Wanting to Touch Everyone,” Stephen Dunn. As a lover of physical touch, this poem made me happy. My favorite bits are: “tonight the body-hungers have sent out / their long-range signals / or love itself has risen / from its squalor of neglect.” and especially: “everything, everyone is intelligible / in the language of touch.”