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#MatteredToMe - April 24, 2020: Short Cuts, Wonderful!, Little Fires Everywhere

  1. There's a segment of the "Civil Disobedients" episode of Josie Long's Short Cuts podcast where comedian and activist Mark Thomas is describing the feeling of riding on a street flooded with bicycles, and it's just lovely.
  2. Just before the ad break in this week's episode of the Wonderful! podcast, there's this little interaction between Rachel and Griffin that is so sweet and so adorable, and it just made my day better to hear it.
  3. Finally, J and I sat down and watched the Little Fires Everywhere finale on Wednesday night. The whole series was so well done, and it just makes me so happy for Celeste Ng to see her book adapted so well.

As always, this is just a portion of what mattered to me recently. I hope you're well. If you're having a hard time, something I was reminded of recently is that it's okay to be upset about upsetting things. (A hat tip to Sarah Gailey for that reminder.)

Thank you, and take care.

#MatteredToMe - April 17, 2020: Space and Time, Responsibility and Reckoning

  1. It seems to me that this week the poems that struck me have in common something about space and time, memory and understanding. First, Matt Morton's poem "Not the Wind, Not the View," in which I feel the distance.
  2. Then Sasha Pimentel's poem "Leaving the University Gym," in which one moment brings another with it, so that they happen together, which to me is what memory always feels like.
  3. Then Wayne Miller's poem "We the Jury," in which, again, understanding is made impotent, or perhaps impossible. And what, then, does it mean to reckon with or to take responsibility?
  4. This question of taking responsibility is at the heart of Matthew Salesses's forthcoming novel, Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear, which is strange and unsettling, but which also felt strangely familiar to me throughout.
  5. Finally, Sarah Gailey's YA fantasy novel When We Were Magic, which I just realized that responsibility and reckoning are also central in, but also loving friendship and self-acceptance.

As always, this is just a portion of what mattered to me recently. I guess I'm thinking a lot about responsibility lately, and what it means to be responsible to each other. How freedom and responsibility seem opposite, but how both are necessary. I hope you're well.

Thanks, and take care.

#MatteredToMe - April 10, 2020: Meal Planning, Lean Economics, and Twitter Joy

  1. I have often found over the years that I am most comforted by poems that acknowledge darkness, but choose to turn toward the light. Ross Gay's poem "Sorrow Is Not My Name" does that.
  2. Lydia Kiesling wrote about meal planning, in a piece which is also about gender roles, and parenting, and the stress of isolation, and, I think, a certain grace in surrender. I think a lot of us will find it relatable.
  3. Anna Watkins Fisher's essay "Nothing to Spare" is about the precarity of lean production, and how running the government like a business undermined our infrastructure. It's not comforting, but it is illuminating, I think.
  4. This Twitter thread by Mary Neely, in which she reenacts moments from her favorite musicals, is hilarious and utterly delightful. Being a former theater kid, it really hit me exactly perfectly.
  5. Last night, my friend Cecily sang us all a little lullaby on Twitter—the song "The Dimming of the Day," which I know as a Bonnie Raitt song—and it was so beautiful it made me cry a little.

As always, this is just a portion of what mattered to me recently. It's been a strange and difficult time for most of us. If you're upset, just know: it's okay to be upset when things are upsetting.

Thanks, and take care.

#MatteredToMe - April 3, 2020: History, Cheer, Mending, and Surprise Joy

  1. Danny Ghitis posted a little "quarantinetet" to IG recently, and I thought it was such a jaunty tune, such a lovely little performance.
  2. William Meredith's poem "The Cheer" has such a warm-heartedness to it, I found it quite buoying. "The cheer / reader my friend, is in the words here, somewhere. / Frankly, I'd like to make you smile."
  3. This season of the podcast Scene On Radio has been exploring the history of inequality in America. They did a bonus episode last week showing how the themes they've been exploring of capitalist exploitation and anti-democracy are showing up in the current crisis. It underscores for me the importance of understanding history.
  4. Lyz Lenz wrote about growing up in an apocalyptic evangelical culture, about leaving that culture only to be faced with crisis after crisis, about offering what you can and taking time to look away. The last sentence, especially, meant a lot to me.
  5. Finally, this video from a 2009 Swell Season concert (courtesy of Stephen Thompson on an episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour this week), in which Glen Hansard pulled a singer out of the audience for an impromptu duet, was so wonderful and cathartic, and, yes, it made me cry.

As always, this is just a portion of what's mattered to me recently. I've been thinking a lot about what I need versus what I want. I hope that you're getting what you need right now. What's mattered to you lately?

Thanks, and take care.

#MatteredToMe - March 27, 2020: Quiet Beauty, Grief, and Hope

  1. Clint Smith's poem "When people say, “we have made it through worse before”" articulates something about the grief and fear and weariness of crisis—and not just this crisis—that is heavy, but the recognition of it feels like a breath.
  2. These photographs by Abraham Votroba have a quiet beauty to them that is just lovely.
  3. The breathlessness of David Baker's poem "Checkpoint," how birds and papers and interrogations and nature all run together.
  4. Cseslaw Milosz's poem "Hope" was on Poetry Daily yesterday. It showed me something new, a new way to think about hope, and I appreciated it for that.
  5. Finally, Lisel Mueller's poem "Things." At the beginning, the anthropomorphism feels funny, almost ridiculous. And yet that last line says something profound, I think, about why we do it.

As always, this is just a portion of what mattered to me recently. I hope some peace finds its way to you today. Tell me, what's mattered to you lately?

Thanks, and take care.

#MatteredToMe - March 20, 2020: Gorge, The Two Princes, Tranquillusionist

Many of you already know this, I imagine, but every Friday that I can manage, I post a little list to Facebook and Twitter of things that I read, watched, listened to, or saw that mattered to me. It's just a small thing I do to help me focus on gratitude, to tell creative people that I cared about their work, and to try to share things that others might enjoy. I've been thinking for a while that it would be nice to include these in my newsletter, and this seems like as good a time to start as any.

So, here are some things that mattered to me recently

  1. I liked how Dion O'Reilly's poem “Gorge” keeps correcting itself, and how it layers and mixes different kinds of desire. Or maybe they aren't so different.
  2. I've been listening to Gimlet Media's audio drama The Two Princes this week and it is a fun, funny, and heartwarming queer coming-of-age fantasy adventure. I like it a lot.
  3. Finally, Helen Zaltzman made a special episode of The Allusionist this week, which is just 10 minutes of her reading words submitted by her listeners that they find soothing. It's such a lovely and gentle bit of generosity from a podcaster I admire. I got pretty emotional listening to it, honestly.

As always, this is just a portion of what mattered to me recently. It's been a little challenging for me to keep up with everything lately, but that's okay. I'm trying my best, and I know you are, too.

Thank you, and take care.

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