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WHAT'S STICKY? About feeling a little joy
THE LIST for March 12th, 2023
ICYMI: I wrote about what it takes to be a “successful” writer and I transparently shared my book advances, what I make in royalties, and what I make at my real job (brand, advertising, and design). Big thanks to for linking to it in her newsletter (below)! In my newsletter before that, I put together a lightning round of vintage picks — many of these killer and affordable gems are still available! Find them here.
NEW: I finally met up in real life with my long-time book/internet/social media pal Jenn Romolini of Everything is Fine podcast when I was in LA a couple of weeks ago. It was the best, best time, as if we had been hanging out like that forever. But I sure didn’t think it’d make it onto a podcast! But that’s not the point! EIF has a very important announcement! Listen here and get your tickets quick, quick, quick — and as coincidence would have it I’ll be in NYC that very day (and week) so … see you there?
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Look I’ll admit it, I’m not known for bringing the LIGHT, BREEZY FEELINGS. But I’ve had an intense go of it the past couple of weeks. Intense emotions, intense life changes, intensely thinking about the past, present, and future. And if that doesn’t call for just finally committing some of the feel-good tabs I’ve had open for weeks (months) to this newsletter then I don’t know what does.
March is always fairly March-y around these parts, meaning in Vermont it’s the last shitty gasps of winter (even if it sometimes will snow as late as Mother’s Day). Which means everyone is fed up and by everyone I mean me. I’m fed up with being cold, fed up with feeling cloaked in gray gloom, and fed up feeling like the weather and temps will never change. But they always do. They always do. I keep reminding myself of that same thing when it comes to life — none of the seasons last. Not the good ones and not the bad ones either. So let’s all pause for a minute or five to … feel good? Does anyone remember how?
These Young Musicians Made an Album. Now It’s Nominated for a Grammy. by Kalia Richardson in The New York Times [gifted link]
“When the Grammy nominations for best orchestral performance were announced last month, several of the usual suspects made the cut. There was the august Berlin Philharmonic, for an album conducted by the composer John Williams, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the baton of its maestro, Gustavo Dudamel. But a newcomer also got a nod: the debut album of the New York Youth Symphony, a prestigious musical program for musicians between the ages of 12 and 22.
The recording might never have happened had it not been for the pandemic. When live performance was halted in 2020, and a Carnegie Hall concert was canceled, the ensemble decided to try to make an album instead.
After the police murder of George Floyd and the social justice protests that spread throughout the nation that summer, the orchestra decided to rehearse and record works by Black composers, and selected pieces by Florence Price, Jessie Montgomery and Valerie Coleman. ‘We need to promote music that deals with these issues,’ the orchestra’s music director, Michael Repper, said in an interview.
The album, which is untitled, came together after six weeks of remote instruction followed by in person socially distant rehearsals and four days of recording sessions in which the musicians recorded the sections of the orchestra separately.”
If there’s one thing I try to be more aware of, it’s the sort of disability porn that social media has normalized. But as someone who has autism threaded throughout their family tree — and has also experienced how music has fundamentally shaped the lives of my kids — my heart soared watching this story. I’ve watched it several times, experiencing a release of tears that I haven’t had in exactly that way in a while, just pure joy and gratitude for both this awesome talented and sparky kid and for this man who is so giving of his financial, professional, and emotional resources.
“Magnusson is a piano tuner. He saw a local news story about Jude and heard him play. He learned Jude's parents immigrated from Ghana and were raising four children, as well as sending money back home to their family in Ghana.
‘What resources are left over to help this special little soul?’ Magnusson said.
Using his father's inheritance, Magnusson bought a $15,000 piano — estimated to be worth $45,000 — and promised to tune it once a month for the rest of his life. He's also paying for Jude to get professional lessons.”
Elementary school kids hold their own mock town meeting in Woodbury from Vermont Public [be sure to listen to this story vs. reading it]
Town Meeting Day is as Vermont-y as it gets. And I didn’t think there could possibly be a fresh angle on it at this point. But this story is an absolute delight. Not surprisingly it was done by the outrageously talented Erica Hellman (who won a Peabody for the most universe-redefining, emotionally gutting, and artfully and sensitively told story I have ever heard, “Finn and the Bell”).
“Just because it's not the real town meeting doesn't mean that things aren’t getting pretty heated here, or that the stakes are not high.
There are two articles on the agenda today, and both are binding.
‘You the students will decide how the school will spend its time and how the school will spend its money,’ Murray says. ‘This meeting will follow rules of order. These rules protect your rights. Among your important right are your freedom to speak and your freedom to vote. But with your freedom comes responsibility — to follow the rules and respect each other so that all students can exercise their rights equally. So, let's get to work.’”
“I'm 13. In a world ridden with so much hate, and disconnect; How do I live life to its absolute fullest, and not waste my potential? Especially as a creative. Also, what is a great way to spiritually enrich myself? in general, and in my creative work.” answered by Nick Cave in The Red Hand Files
When I read this question, my initial thought was that the kid who wrote this has nothing to worry about, they’re going to be all right. Ruben, you are very smart, you are engaged with the world and I’m not sure what your creative interests are, but you can certainly already write. Not only that, you are also reaching out for answers. At thirteen, this is all brilliant! Luckily for you, Ruben, I have some! So here goes!”
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You can find my books here. You can find my writing here. You can find my copywriting and creative direction work here. You can find me on Instagram. Please do not find me in real life, I’m busy gently weeping into a store brand facial tissue, thinking about the beautiful symphony of life etc.