Nothin' but the links
A massive pre-hiatus purge
I realize I sent a newsletter full of links just last week but I’m prepping for an extended newsletter/social media/writing/work hiatus so I’m clearing the decks. Also, in some of the section headers below I’ve linked to a previous newsletter of mine that’s related to that topic. I’ll be writing one more real newsletter before I go but for now, TO THE LINKS —
DIVORCE | MARRIAGE
• “Divorce Can Be an Act of Radical Self-Love” by Lara Bazelon in The New York Times. “I no longer think of divorce as shameful or feel sorry for people who tell me that they have decided to end their marriages. There are many ways a family can be broken. Sometimes, the healthiest decision is to remove the cracking shell of the nuclear family before the shards embed themselves in the precious little people nestled inside.”
• “The Married Will Soon Be the Minority” by Charles Blow in The New York Times. “We are nearing a time when there will be more unmarried adults in the United States than married ones, a development with enormous consequences for how we define family and adulthood in general, as well as how we structure taxation and benefits.”
• “Your Ghost Is Right” by Cheryl Strayed. “Doing what one wants to do because one wants to do it is hard for a lot of people, but I think it’s particularly hard for women. We are, after all, the gender onto which a giant Here To Serve button has been eternally pinned. We’re expected to nurture and give by the very virtue of our femaleness, to consider other people’s feelings and needs before our own. I’m not opposed to those traits. Certainly, an ethical and evolved life entails a whole lot of doing things one doesn’t particularly want to do and not doing things one very much does, regardless of gender. But an ethical and evolved life also entails telling the truth about oneself and living out that truth.”
• “Blue Marriage and The Terror of Divorce” by Anne Helen Petersen. This newsletter came out 2 days after my book and a lot of people sent it to me (I’m already a subscriber though, babes!) This is such a smart piece. “As normalized as divorce has become within society as a whole, it has been denormalized for people in Blue marriages. It is a different stigma than when it was frowned upon for religious or moral reasons, but it is a stigma nonetheless. Within this larger polarized conception of marriage, divorce has become something that people unlike you do; like being unable to conceive, it is an identity-smasher. And for people who considered their route to marriage and/or parenthood to be well-reasoned — and, depending on your family history, the opposite of what others in your life did — it can feel like a real failure, of foresight and wisdom and perseverance, for it to fall apart.”
• The most eighties of eighties stories: “Sex, Money and Murder: My Life as the Chippendales Den Mother” in Elle.
• If you care anything about Prince and/or high stakes shit, you will eat this up with a spoon. “Better Call Dave” from This American Life.
• Holyyyyyyy fuckkkkkkkk I have no idea what Paul Thomas Anderson’s new movie Licorice Pizza is about but apparently I will 10,000% be seeing it based on this trailer?? And WOW HOW REFRESHING TO SEE PEOPLE WHO JUST LOOK LIKE PEOPLE AND NOT EXPERIMENTS IN SYMMETRICAL PHYSICAL PERFECTION.
• This is so interesting: “Memories of Terrible Tuesday, a 9/11 message board for teen girls” in Input. “My parents had no idea I was sitting in their back room communicating with strangers about George W. Bush and flag burning for a year. But there I was, talking to fellow teenage girls — at least I hope they were teenage girls — on the Terrible Tuesday board, beginning to establish what would become my political identity.”
GRIEF | DEATH
• “The Language of Ambiguous Grief” an interview with Samira Rajabi by Anne Helen Petersen. “I think there’s a bit of an anxiety that in naming ambiguous grief, and in grieving the various day to day losses, that we might expose ourselves as not grateful enough and as not fitting within the normative boundaries that have been so cleanly scripted for us. We just don’t have a script for this grief, and many people feel like they're not entitled to it. But this loss is not meant to stand in contrast to other, more concrete and tragic losses that are so full of injustice and so marked by racism, class and power, because those losses matter and are deeply worthy of our social, cultural and political attention. Rather, I think recognizing ambiguous grief as a real grief is just a means to be able to say ‘I don’t know why these changes and ruptures feel so painful, but they do and it's okay to feel that.’”
• “Life Talks: A Necessary Check List” by Carmeon Hamilton. Carmeon is an interior designer who I discovered through Hygge & West. She’s one of the few influencers I follow and that I just purely enjoy, I love her approach to design and her energy as a person. I’ve loved how she’s talked about her work, her husband and their relationship, and their son. But just a couple of months ago she suddenly lost her husband who was only 37 years old. Witnessing her navigate her deep grief while also doing Instagram talks like this, full of practical information and honest, straight talk, is incredible. This is a long talk (45 mins then 45 mins of Q&A which is just as good, especially how she thought through guardianship of her son) but it’s so worth watching.
• If you, like me, find yourself identifying with every story of a dying mother who writes letters to her kids on the occasion of future milestones, you will 100% lose your shit over this essay. “She Put Her Unspent Love in a Cardboard Box” on Modern Love in The New York Times.
• “One of the worst parts of being an adult” in Evil Witches newsletter. “Today’s issue is the first part of a fascinating conversation I had with California-biased veterinarian Jeni Goedken about some of the most complicated aspects of pet ownership. Q: What do you tell folks about when it’s truly time to end a pet’s life? A: That is one of the most difficult decisions to make as a pet owner, as well as a veterinarian to try to counsel. It doesn’t matter how much money you spend, how many tests veterinarians do, how many drugs we give out, how much you adore your pet, we are going to lose him. It took me about 12 years of being a vet to figure that out.”
• I’m not even remotely exaggerating when I say I HAVE WAITED THE ENTIRETY OF MY TIME AS A PARENT FOR THIS ARTICLE. “More Parents Are Rejecting Nightly Family Dinners — Some Experts Say That's OK” in HuffPost. We’re a family of four that includes 3 vegetarians, 2 of whom are “selective” eaters (I am one of them), 1 adult who’s hungry at like 5, 1 adult who’s hungry at 9 at night, and all of us rarely like the same goddamn meal ever. As a woman I’ve been made to feel pretty pretty pretty bad about not knowing how to/liking to cook not only my entire life but especially as a mother — including by friends, acquaintances, and family who would certainly think of themselves as feminists but also low-key think all women should be good at cooking because that’s what women are supposed to do/be I guess because of I don’t know vagina-related reasons or something???* Somewhat related: If I never hear the phrase “roses and thorns” again for the rest of my life it’ll be too fucking soon.
HIGHER EDUCATION | WORK
• “Research: Women Leaders Took on Even More Invisible Work During the Pandemic” in Harvard Business Review. “The concepts of invisible labor and office housework put a spotlight on a societal reluctance to value work that is predominantly done by women. This happens because such work is often conflated with assumptions about what women are naturally good at or interested in. And women are not rewarded for capacities and concerns deemed to be intrinsic. Therefore, when a woman manager provides team members with emotional support during a time of societal crises, it can be overlooked as ‘caretaking’ instead of being recognized as strong crisis management … When companies run mostly by white men reap rewards from the unrecognized and unremunerated labor done by women, especially those from traditionally marginalized groups, the work companies say is critical begins to look more like exploitation.”
• An incredible, rich, delightful episode of On Being. “Mike Rose – The Deepest Meanings of Intelligence and Vocation” From the episode summary: Mike Rose died in August, yet the particular way he saw the world resonates more than ever before as our debates about the future of school and work only intensify. “Especially in this high-tech era, where we are so captivated by electronic media, by the continued breakthroughs in technologies of all kinds. And absolutely, those are worth celebrating and worth marveling at. But what unfortunately happens is that our marvel at these new technologies plays into this unfortunate trend in the West of looking down on those who work with their hands — a tendency that goes all the way back to Plato and Aristotle, to consider the person who works with his or her hands … manual labor of any kind, to be of lesser quality, to be soul-shriveling, to be — the Greeks even talked about it making one unfit for civic participation. So this tendency has been around for such a long time. And it’s so undemocratic, to my mind.”
• Related, this is so cool: “Norwich University and Vermont Granite Museum Team Up to Train Stone Carvers” in Seven Days. “The program's supporters want to help revitalize a trade that once drew farmworkers from the Vermont hills and immigrants from a dozen countries to work and train in Barre. From about 1900 through the early 1950s, Barre dominated the industry in North America. ‘This could become the kind of place where we could create a renaissance in America's stone arts as we merge new and old tools and ideas,’ said Cara Armstrong, director of Norwich's School of Architecture + Art, home of the new program.”
FASHION | DESIGN
• "You’re Showing Up in the World, and Nobody is Fooled," an interview with Dacy Gillespie in the newsletter Burnt Toast by Virginia Sole-Smith. (“Burnt Toast is a twice-a-week newsletter about how we navigate diet culture and fatphobia, especially through parenting.”) “I do feel that little bit of sadness when I realized that the sizes I bought for years don’t fit anymore and I’m in a different size now. I always say to my clients that 100 or 150 years ago there was no size. There were no clothing sizes. Clothes were made for your body. Sizing is a construct that ultimately makes a lot of people feel bad. But it’s imaginary.”
• “Fleur Cowles and the Making of Flair, History’s Most Beautiful Magazine” in AIGA Eye on Design. Over the past year I’ve collected almost all of the issues and from a design and production standpoint they’re every bit as bonkers as this article details.
• “Your Own Harriet” by Anne Helen Petersen (3 AHP appearances in one newsletter! She’s just that good!). I just loved this so much. “Most of my childhood memories of adults are snapshots and flashes, and my snapshot of Harriet is that she was always happy and rarely doing the things that other women were doing. While other women in my parents’ friend group were rounding up children and making sandwiches and drinking a Coors Light while we were out on the river, she was just drinking a Coors Light out on the river. She never wore dresses, never spent time on make-up. Everyone else I knew went to church. Harriet didn’t. And because she didn’t have children to distract me when we visited her house, I spent time staring at it: it was filled with light, covered in pine, uncluttered by toys.”
• “Men Working in Abortion Care Know It's Their Fight, Too” in Esquire. This is such an interesting piece and we need way more like it. “It's never sat right with me that there simply is no equivalent for me as a cis dude, there isn't a single procedure I could possibly need that would require such a journey, let alone the harassment outside when I actually get there.”
• This just made me laugh.
* Incredible sidebar, I got so fired up summarizing this article that I completely forgot about the leftover pizza I was reheating in the oven and burned it. Case closed!
Buy BUT YOU SEEMED SO HAPPY here. Buy a SIGNED copy of BUT YOU SEEMED SO HAPPY here. You can find my (not-updated-for-3+-years) copywriting and creative direction work here. You can find my writing-writing work here. You can find me on Twitter. You can find me on Instagram. Please do not find me in real life, I’m busy working on my last newsletter of 2021 … or EVER?