Midweek Mashup: Jamie
Nikki has a long-running game with one of her best friends where they periodically send each other screen shots of their recent Google search history, usually to great comic effect. But it's also a lighthearted way to check in with one another, see how the week has been going, and get an idea of what's been on the other person's mind.
This is kind of like that. Each week, Jamie and Nikki will scour our laptops, phones, and bookshelves to share a few of our current favorite things. We'd love it if you did the same in the comments!
On Monday morning before dawn, I parked myself at the entrance of the UC on our campus and waited for the student volunteers I was to direct onto a bus bound for volunteer sites across New Orleans. One by one, they stumbled in, red-eyed from sleep not yet shaken off. Some of them were so young, my heart ached when we spoke. She longed for a life taking pictures but felt pressured by her family to choose something more practical to study. One was near graduation and worried about finding a job in her field. One woman, a retired grandmother in a creative writing program, arrived wearing an Obama '08 sweatshirt and American flag pinned on the lapel of her jacket. Each one said they'd been called to volunteer that day. To give back. In a week that is raw and frightening for many of us, this filled me with a tremendous amount of hope. My friends, please remain curious and open. Please remember to speak to each other and to be kind. To listen.
The cover of The New Yorker this week stopped my breath when it arrived. It's such a gorgeous, haunting image, placing contemporary struggles clearly on a continuum connected to our past.
Laura McKowen's Drunk on Judgment
Oh, friends. This. This week. I showed up to my favorite meeting this week full of rage, irritable, rolling my eyes while women spoke in unison like a church ceremony. I sat myself, got my judgment out, and proceeded to get completely fucked up. Our step that night was 10, essentially talking about emotional sobriety, a concept that speaks to me as loudly as this post by Laura McKowen. I love this post. You should go read it right now. In it, Laura recounts the battle with self-righteous judgment and anger that everyone can relate to, whether you're an addict or not.
Look, if you know me, you know my book shelves are filled with some of the greatest literary fiction ever written. And if you know me really well, you know I hide all my motivational self-help books on my Kindle. I can't help it, holdover from my book snob days.
I am loving this book. Jen's voice is funny and conspiratorial, chiding you into action with humor and wisdom. Does it have woo? Yes. Is it dancing with that whole positive attraction crowd? Yes. But still, I love it.
The Pen/Robert W. Bingham prize announced its finalists today, and Brit Bennett's debut novel The Mothers was on it. This was one of my favorite books of 2016. Bennett weaves the story of young love, adult consequences, and lifelong connection with this beautiful choral "we" voice of the church mothers. My favorite passage has the church mothers addressing us, the readers, demanding if our young selves really think they haven't known gnashing-their-teeth kind of love. Oh, so good.
- I'm on Twitter. Come visit.
- I love this pig as if it were the child I don't have.
- I found a cat car on campus. A cat car!
- I made internet best friends with this woman. I love seeing radiant women show their body positivity so publicly. Because I don't have it. I turn 37 in a few weeks, and I still struggle with hating this body that is so much a gift. Post coming soon. In the meantime, look at how gorgeous she is.