A post-Charlottesville reading list

August 20, 2017

Here is the thing I want white liberals to know about Charlottesville: I highly doubt that most 2016 Republican/Trump voters are terribly upset about Nazis marching with torches, or that the past week has been any sort of tipping point for them. I would love to be wrong about this, but it seems pretty unlikely that if you voted for him/this party, that you’d suddenly be like, Oh, wow, these statues *do* need to come down, or that you’d actually see a difference between neo-Nazis and BLM (a LOT of white people think Black Lives Matter is a hate group! a lot!!!), or that you’d care if the POTUS said both sides had bad people — because you probably agree. And also, intimidation of or violence against black people (or the white people who care about us) actually…doesn’t…move…a lot of white people? I don’t think they really care what happens to us or care if a Nazi drives a car into a crowd of us, because they believe on some level that we deserve what we get if we don’t know our place. And that sucks! But, like, come on — most of those “nice” white Republicans (like the parents of all my friends growing up, and a not-insignificant amount of my college friends) or even the “nice” white people who “don’t do politics” aren’t actually bothered by any of this, or have honestly even thought that much about it at all. And if you think that I am wrong about this, please go read the comments from all the “nice” white ladies on this video of Heather Heyer’s mother on GMA

Onto the reading list…

White Feelings: 0-60 for Charlottesville, Erynn Brook.

White Liberals Still Don’t Understand White Supremacy, Harper’s Bazaar. “Racism doesn’t always look like the KKK marching hoodless in broad daylight. Racism also looks like white liberals getting angry at people of color who ask them to confront how they benefit from white supremacy and white privilege. It looks like white women telling me that I am being divisive by asking for an honest conversation about race and racism within feminist circles. It looks like tone-policing, emotional labor, objectification, fetishization, the white-savior complex, staying silent when you hear overt racism, saying nothing about working in a mostly white to all-white office, ignoring gentrification and the school-to-prison pipeline, loving The Help but hating Girls Trip.”

The Truth About Women and White Supremacy, The Cut. “Tyler spearheaded the Women of the Klu Klux Klan, the all-women, autonomous arm of the KKK that had roughly half-a-million members during the 1920s. As I wrote in a Timeline piece on the WKKK, the organization was savvier than its male counterpart because ‘they were better than the men’s group at hiding their white supremacist mission behind a facade of social welfare.’ The group helped to normalize the terrorism of the men’s KKK. Pamphlets from the time read, ‘Are you interested in the Welfare of our Nation? As an Enfranchised woman are you interested in better government?’ Through picnics, lunches, and cross burnings, these white women rallied around racist immigration laws, anti-miscegenation, and segregation.”

And some other “nice” white ladies.

The Many Lives of Hazel Bryan, Slate.

Love Needs Fury To Defeat Hate, Fader. “Neither is love inaction, silence, or complicity. Love does not stand down in the face of terror. Love does not demand silence in the face of injustice or submission in the face of oppression and its attendant brutalities. Real love proves more expansive and powerful than previously imagined when tested by the specter of death.”

For Our White Friends Desiring to Be Allies, Sojourners. “Privilege means that you owe a debt. You were born with it. You didn’t ask for it. And you didn’t pay for it either. No one is blaming you for having it. You are lovely, human, and amazing. Being a citizen of a society requires work from everyone within that society. It is up to you whether you choose to acknowledge the work that is yours to do. It is up to you whether you choose to pay this debt and how you choose to do so. Sometimes living with privilege can disillusion us into thinking that being in community with other humans doesn’t require work. This is a lie; it requires a great deal of work. And all of that work requires being a human and trying to love other humans well.” This quote will stick with me for a long time.

There Was Never Doubt Over What Trump Thought of Charlottesville, Salon. God, the number of “Why won’t he just denounce the neo-Nazis?” headlines this week was OUTRAGEOUS. WE KNOW WHY.

Is America Headed for a New Kind of Civil War?, The New Yorker. The article is less terrifying than the hed, FYI.

How Corey Long Fought White Supremacy With Fire, The Root.

Father of White Nationalist Denounces His Son After Charlottesville: He’s ‘Not Welcome at Family Gatherings Any Longer’, The Cut. TBH, I thought this was going to be kind of basic, but it’s legit.

Why the Charlottesville Marchers Were Obsessed With Jews, The Atlantic.

If you’re still sad about the removal of these statues, please read this thread about the origins of Confederate monuments, and just how worthless they are.

Speaking of statues, can y’all get this out of the goddamn Capitol?

“Condemning killing is the easiest thing. It does not take courage. It doesn’t mean one supports the advancement of civil rights or equality.” Read this thread from Hannah Nikole-Jones.

This episode of The Daily is great — legitimately so inspiring.

And here’s one link that’s just for my black and brown friends who are reading this.

I’ll post my regular links for the week later tonight.

Just a bunch of things I’ve been doing to be more creative/focused/productive (and to spend less time screaming into the abyss)

August 16, 2017

Photo: Death to the Stock Photo

One of my big goals for the next few months is to recalibrate my relationship with my phone/social media/notifications/etc. Like a lot of people, I spend a lot of time looking at various screens, and while I don’t believe our phones are the root of all evil – like, I’m quite often reading books or consuming things on my phone that are genuinely helpful and good, and every time I see hand-wringing commentary from people fretting about the simpler times before smartphones, my response is some variation of “Get off my dick” — BUT I know that I’ve developed some not-great phone habits in the past year or two, and that’s what I’m aiming to reset right now!

I’ve gotten my media diet to a pretty good place (more on that in a second), but the thing I’m really thinking about right now is notifications and multitasking. I’m very available/easy to reach/responsive, and I worry that all the side conversations I’m having – some of which are absolutely a part of my job and can’t be avoided — are having an effect on my creative output. My thought is that I expend a lot of mental energy on texts, Slacks, etc., and that perhaps this steady drip-drip-drip of words all day leaves me drained, even though I’m actually not really producing anything. So I’d like to cut off as much of that as possible so that I can focus more, and, hopefully, publish more! I also sometimes lose an hour after I get home just scrolling aimlessly through Twitter/Reddit/blogs (…while also texting…) instead of reading books or doing things that truly feed my brain, and while we all need a mental break and some time to zone out, I am trying to be more thoughtful and intentional about when and how I do this.

So! Here’s my current plan/the rules I’ve set for myself for how and when I use my phone and laptop.

1. I don’t really check Twitter or Facebook anymore when I wake up, and I typically don’t respond to new messages first thing anymore either. Instead, I’ve been doing morning pages from The Artist’s Way — three pages, stream of consciousness, by hand, first thing in the morning. Like, first first thing; I write while I’m still in bed, per the author’s strong recommendation of doing it before you’ve had a chance to do anything else. I actually now get up about an hour earlier to do it so I can still get to work at my usual (early!) time, and it’s been going quite well. I’ll probably write more in-depth about morning pages later, but I’m mentioning here because it’s definitely keeping me from checking Twitter/FB/Snapchat as soon as I wake up, and by the time I’m done with morning pages, I find that the urge has kind of passed. (And I’ve also run out of time and need to start getting ready for work.)

2. While I’m getting ready for work (and sometimes also once I’ve started walking to the train), I listen to two podcasts: NPR’s Up First (~8-12 minutes) and NYT’s The Daily (~12-20 minutes). The podcasts ensure that I have the major stories for the day, but unlike when I’m reading the news, it’s impossible to read comments/click other links/get lost in a dumb rabbit hole. I’ll often catch up on Seth Meyers segments from the previous night at this point too, but it really depends on the day. I may spend a few minutes on Twitter or FB at that point, like, as I’m walking out the door, but it’s becoming less likely, and when I do go there, I’m not staying for nearly as long as I used to.

3. One of my big goals at the moment is to stop texting/reading on my phone when I’m walking to and from the train (because it’s just a really bad habit/a stupid way to die). I’ve switched to podcasts/audiobooks instead. This is definitely one where I still struggle, but it’s getting easier and I’m even starting to enjoy it. Getting good bluetooth headphones helped a lot; they make listening while walking way more convenient/pleasant. (Full disclosure: I got them from a PR rep like a year ago.) One challenge is finding podcasts I like (especially because I prefer ones under 30 minutes for these walks), but I’m definitely building out a little list. Also: I’ve been using the Overcast app for podcasts, and I love it! People always complained about the default iPhone podcast app and I didn’t understand why until I switched to Overcast. It’s great.

4. Once I’m at work, my *general* rule is that I don’t read any news or open the Twitter app until after 4pm; this has actually been my rule since January or so, and I cannot recommend it enough. If I do go to Twitter (or to FB) it’s mostly for a specific reason – like to Tweet something or to RT something a coworker sent me. But I’m well aware that the latest news story and all of the responses to it has the power to derail my entire day and it’s just so rarely worth it. If someone sends me something to read during the day, or I see something on Facebook or whatever when I pop in, I almost always Pocket it for later. (I read what’s in Pocket once I’m on the train, or later in the evening at home.) Sometimes I’ll check Twitter midday (like if I step out of the office for an errand, or while I’m in the lunch line) but I’ve been reducing that too. I…don’t miss it.

Now that I’ve stopped reading while walking, I typically don’t read much news until I’m actually on the train heading home, or even until considerably later in the evening. It’s fine. I am surrounded by media people and do not feel like I will miss anything important, or like I’m just opting out of the news entirely. I truly, truly cannot fathom getting breaking news alerts on my phone, or keeping TweetDeck all day. Like, what?! Why would you even WANT to???? Of course, this means at like 6 pm I’m often suddenly in a state of “WAIT WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?” because I’ve just checked Twitter for the first time and everyone is screaming and I’m trying to find the source of the story and then once I do, I’m screaming too, but, well…2017!!!

5. The big, very recent change I made: I completely turned off iMessage on my computer. Up to this point, 99% of the texts I’d get were going to my computer (lol @ the one friend with an Anroid phone). It’s been this way for, like, years, and every time I’d get a text, I’d get a notification, and it would break my focus/I’d respond right away. Basically none of these things were urgent, but I just couldn’t not respond. But I recently realized that Slack/email notifications are distracting enough; I just cannot have non-work notifications coming in too. I also was using iMessage as a distraction…because every time I’d see something funny or cool, I’d iMessage it to all of my friends (and coworkers) and then we’d discuss, and so I was just zooming between tabs — having the same conversation with like four different people at once — and just not working very efficiently. This was probably my the biggest nonessential use of my mental energy up until this month, and while I miss iMessage/texts, and some days it takes a lot of willpower not to open it up to send something funny/interesting, or to avoid checking my phone to see if I have any new messages, it was 100% the right choice to make. I just feel so much better already. I do check my texts/Snapchats/Insta once or twice a day during the day, but I try to do it when I specifically decide to take a break instead of doing it out of habit.

6. Work email is still a problem — if I see I have an unread email, I HAVE to see what it is to clear the notification (something I just need to get over, and I’m trying) — but I’ve never done the Gmail pop-up notifications on my computer, which I think helps a little bit. I probably need to be better about closing my Gmail tab while I’m working, though, or only checking at set times during the day. The thing that’s so stupid is that I’d estimate that like…85% of the emails I get every day are non-essential? I wish I could accurately communicate how many PR pitches I get to my work email, or how fucking annoying they are. I’ve been actively and aggressively setting up filters for each new one I get (mark as read, skip the inbox, file to “pitches,” or just mark as read, skip the inbox, delete) for the past several months; as of right now, the pitches folder where these filtered emails go has 6,837 emails in it. SIX THOUSAND. And this doesn’t include the ones that I’ve set to just delete. And yet I still get about dozen new ones to my inbox each day from people/lists I haven’t filtered yet. Meanwhile, I get maybe one good/useful pitch a month, if that. It’s a huge problem, but one that doesn’t really have a clear solution at the moment.

7. I aggressively curate my Slack channels/Slack notifications so that I’m not getting notifications for everything. This is still a major work in progress — I really do need to be on Slack most of the time, and I honestly just love Slack — so this is one of the areas where I’m still trying to make improvements. But at least it’s, like, actual work (ish).

8. Another new thing I started this month: as soon as I get home, I put my phone away, sit down at my desk, and do a way less intense/time-consuming version of morning pages. It’s kind of a post-work, post-commute brain dump and I have to do this before I can get comfortable with my phone. It’s actually been pretty useful because a) this is prime time to flop down and scroll/text for an hour, and I need something simple/straightforward to do instead, and b) because often get a big burst of creative energy/ideas on my walk home and then never DO anything with them. So writing by hand for 20-30 minutes (the goal is three pages, but in a relatively small journal) is really helping me get over the hump. Once it gets colder outside, I’m excited to add a cup of tea to this part of my day, and to my morning pages!

Also, if this all sounds like a lot of writing, that’s…kind of the point. I want to be writing more. I also don’t think it’s any more writing then I was doing in tiny bits before this…it’s just that it’s more focused and happening all at once, which is actually great.

9. If/when I have actual down time later in the evening, I’m trying to opt for actually-good-for-me activities for at least a little while at night…so things like doing a puzzle, watching a documentary, listening to a podcast, working on a a crossword puzzle, reading, watching segments of Planet Earth on YouTube, working out, doing chores, cooking, writing an email to a friend on my laptop (and ONLY writing an email on my laptop…not, like, also shopping on Amazon and texting), writing to my pen pals, etc. (I keep a list of good things to do in my journal, which is helpful to have handy!) I’m not totally anti-screen/anti-phone (at least not until right before bed); I’m mostly just trying my best to single-task, and to have a plan for what I’m doing vs. just scrolling and tabbing around aimlessly for hours until suddenly it’s bedtime.

When I’m doing these activities, I try really hard to be present and focused and not check my phone, or I only check my phone, like, every 45 minutes — which I know is not super impressive! But I am already able to stretch that time out to be longer as I get more used to it. (I also didn’t check my phone or email or anything else while I was working on this post, so…that’s something!)

10. If/when I do news at night, I try to be super intentional about it; I really like Vox Sentences and WTFJHT, and I may pick up stuff on FB in the evening, but, again, I’m trying to minimize my time there and cut myself off well before bed so I can actually sleep. I have an alarm on my phone that goes off at 10 pm each night to remind me to start winding down, and my phone automatically goes into Night Mode/Do Not Disturb at that point too. Once the clock strikes 10, it’s basically like, journaling/relaxing/melatonin/den time.

Of course, there are always going to be occasional exceptions to these rules (I simply could NOT calm the fuck down after that terrible press conference on Tuesday night), and the plan is totally a work in progress. In the next few months, I want to continue to figure out where to add and where to subtract, and also find ways to create more rituals. (So, say, having a cup of tea while journaling, or lighting a nice candle and putting on Leon Bridges every evenning when I get home, or making a point to read a poem every night before bed.) I also still basically never get up from my desk while I’m working except to go to the bathroom and meetings (though I do stand when my Apple Watch tells me to!!!) and that is…not a great habit. But I feel good about where I’m going with this, and with each new rule or habit that I’ve implemented I just feel…better? Like, each of these things has had a really soothing and sort of healing effect that makes me feel a little more whole and present and like myself.

32. Thirty-two

August 13, 2017

Photo by Arielle Vey

Photo: Arielle Vey; I recently ordered the print and I *love* it

I turned 32 on Monday. My birthday was fine/good, this week was fine/good, but things are…not fine/good. Whatever. Here we are.

Reading

Charlottesville and the Bigotocracy, The New York Times. “Now is the time for every decent white American to prove he or she loves this country by actively speaking out against the scourge this bigotocracy represents. If such heinous behavior is met by white silence, it will only cement the perception that as long as most white folk are not immediately at risk, then all is relatively well.”

Take the Statues Down, The Atlantic. “The statues in public squares, the names on street signs, the generals honored with military bases—these are the ways in which we, as a society, tell each other what we value, and build the common heritage around which we construct a nation. The white nationalists who gathered in Charlottesville saw this perhaps more clearly than the rest of us. They understood the stakes of what they were defending. They knew that Lee was honored not for making peace per se, but for defending a society built upon white supremacy—first by taking up arms, and then when the war was lost, by laying them down in such a way as to preserve what he could.”

Charlottesville and the Effort to Downplay Racism in America, The New Yorker. “The belief that America is somehow better than its white-supremacist history is sometimes an excuse masquerading as encouragement, and it’s part of the reason why the K.K.K. is back in business. What happened in Charlottesville is less an aberrant travesty in a progressive enclave than it is a reminder of how much evil can be obscured by the appearance of good.”

So, about those pesky Nazis again., Captain Awkward. “They wait until they’ve charmed you, until they’ve met your parents, until things are all comfortable between you, to show their true colors, betting on the fact that you’d be too far in to leave. I know you’re embarrassed and it’s embarrassing as fuck but it’s not too late to get out of there. I know it’s not fair. Cut. Your. Losses.”

@boguspress on how we shame young boys and raise violent men.

@JuliusGoat on why white supremacists think they are oppressed.

White folks who are struggling to explain why the statues must come down: please re-read Mayor Landrieu’s speech in New Orleans, and study up on Robert E. Lee so you are adequately prepared to talk to the friends and family members who would have you believe that he was not racist.

And donate: to the family of Heather Heyer and to Deandre Harris (more on him here).

Onto some lighter things…

How Eclipse Chasers Are Putting a Small Kentucky Town on the Map, Mental Floss. “Humans have tried to describe the corona for more than three millennia, and every account is said to not do it justice. It is ineffable. But all accounts agree: It is the most beautiful phenomenon in the natural world. The corona makes sunrise over the Grand Canyon feel like a sightseeing trip to a vacant strip mall. … When the brain processes unfamiliar or unusual surroundings—such as, say, a colossal sheet of darkness hurtling in your direction at Mach 3—the amygdala, the brain’s fear center, goes haywire. It incites an unconscious reaction that is difficult to articulate, even for those expecting it. McClean, for instance, felt afraid when he witnessed his first eclipse. ‘I was terrified,’ he says. ‘I felt a sense of dread … It was like the Eye of Sauron was peering through your SOUL.'”

Why do stars like Adele keep losing their voice?, The Guardian.

The Handshake, New Republic.

To be more productive, try angling your morning toward what brings you joy, Quartz.

An Oral History of the Time a Dog Ate a Heart on ‘One Tree Hill’, The Ringer. I have never even seen this show, and I still fully enjoyed reading this.

I am sorry for killing everything: A millennial’s confession, The Washington Post. “I watched homeownership burn while I ate an avocado, coolly, smeared on toast. What home could ever shelter me after all that I have done? I have no home. I am more mobile than any past generation, because my crimes compel me ever onward. The pleas of Applebees fell on deaf ears. ‘Do you think that if I could not find it in myself to spare the nuclear family, I would let you live, Applebees?’ I murmured. Buffalo Wild Wings received no mercy. There will be no wings where I am going.”

The Google Doc I Send to People Who Ask About My Skin, NY Mag. My coworkers and I are all obsessed with this list!

Tag Yourself As An Ugly Renaissance Baby And We’ll Reveal What Type Of Drunk You Are, BuzzFeed.

I also finished reading The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness.

Entertained by

This episode of Revisionist History, which focuses on Brown v. Board of Education. I’m also enjoying The Butterfly Effect, a free download from Audible, which two friends recommended to me. (FYI, if you have an iPhone, you have to download it from your desktop.) And I saw Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Comet of 1812 on Friday night; if you’re in the NYC area, I definitely recommend seeing it before it closes at the end of this month! (You can get a really good deal on tickets here. The website is a little finicky, but click “find tickets” and then go from there. There are good seats for $39!) I’ve also been watching The Roosevelts on Netflix and very much enjoying it. I’m about 90 minutes in and it’s super interesting and also just very soothing.

The week ahead…

Stay safe out there, friends.

31. Present

August 6, 2017

Photo: Death to the Stock Photo

Hello and happy August! Here’s what I’ve been up to this week…

Writing

Millennials, What Should We Kill Next?

And a review of my new favorite toothpaste!

Reading

I’m just about finished with The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness and it’s really, really good! Definitely recommend.

Also:

Losing It in the Anti-Diet Age, The New York Times.

We Need to Talk About Digital Blackface in Reaction GIFs, Allure. This is so sharp.

How Do You Do Your Hair When You Only Have One Arm?, Racked.

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?, The Atlantic. “Even when a seismic event—a war, a technological leap, a free concert in the mud—plays an outsize role in shaping a group of young people, no single factor ever defines a generation. Parenting styles continue to change, as do school curricula and culture, and these things matter. But the twin rise of the smartphone and social media has caused an earthquake of a magnitude we’ve not seen in a very long time, if ever. There is compelling evidence that the devices we’ve placed in young people’s hands are having profound effects on their lives—and making them seriously unhappy.” I normally hate this sort of hand-wringing about technology, but…woof.

Facebook’s Complicity in the Silencing of Black Women, Ijeoma Oluo on Medium. “My Facebook page is infested with racist hate and violent threats from people who are so angry that I would be nervous to be surrounded by them. And finally, Facebook decided to take action. What did they do? Did they suspend any of the people who threatened me? No. Did they take down Twitchy’s post that was sending hundreds of hate-filled commenters my way? No. They suspended me for three days for posting screenshots of the abuse they have refused to do anything about.”

Dear Men of “The Breakfast Club”: Trans Women Aren’t a Prop, Ploy, or Sexual Predators, Allure.

The Lost Cause Rides Again, The Atlantic. “Skepticism must be the order of the day. So that when Benioff asks ‘what would the world have looked like … if the South had won,’ we should not hesitate to ask what Benioff means by ‘the South.’ He obviously does not mean the minority of white Southern unionists, who did win. And he does not mean those four million enslaved blacks, whom the Civil War ultimately emancipated, yet whose victory was tainted. Comprising 40 percent of the Confederacy’s population, this was the South’s indispensable laboring class, its chief resource, its chief source of wealth, and the sole reason why a Confederacy existed in the first place. But they are not the subject of Benioff’s inquiry, because he is not so much asking about ‘the South’ winning, so much as he is asking about ‘the white South’ winning.”

Update: is the work environment I’ve created on my team too exclusive?, Ask a Manager. H…holy shit. (Please also do a search for “letter writer” on the original post so you can see their truly terrible comments there.)

They trashed their wedding photographer over a $125 fee, so a jury told them to pay her $1 million, Washington Post.

The Fiercely Precise World of Competitive Table-Setting, Atlas Obscura.

Rosé Is Exhausting, Eater. “The rosé train comes often and it is a comfortable ride.”

How Many Former Lawyers Work at Bethesda’s Williams-Sonoma?, Bethesda Magazine.

Grocery stores are adapting to more male shoppers — whom they treat like knuckleheads, The Washington Post. This article derailed one of my work Slack rooms for like an hour; everyone had a lot of feelings about it.

12 Ways Airports Are Secretly Manipulating You, Mental Floss. “Especially crucial is the ‘golden hour,’ the first 60 minutes spent beyond security, when passengers are ‘in a self-indulgent mood.’ The ‘golden hour’ is great, but two golden hours are even better. ‘One hour more at an airport is around $7 more spent per passenger.'” I found this super interesting, especially because I just got my first-ever airport manicure a couple weeks ago because I got through security really quickly and had two hours to spare before the flight.

Real Deal Summer Water, Kale & Caramel. Dang, this recipe looks fantastic. Planning to make it ASAP.

Buying

This notebook. I recently started using it for morning pages since the notebooks I’ve used in the past have all technically been too small. I just really love this brand for lined notebooks/journals; I was using this one before and it’s amazing; the pages are really amazing quality. The new one has slightly lower quality pages than the other one, but they are still very good.

Cherry blossom tea. So, motivated almost entirely by the stupidly beautiful kettles Amazon keeps showing me in their “new and interesting finds” section, I’ve decided to become a looseleaf tea person! I’m also trying to re-calibrate my relationship with social media/my phone and looking to create some new rituals/routines, and I thought drinking tea might be a good think to add to my list. Wayyyyyy back in the day, I used to get white berryblossom tea at Starbucks with a pump of vanilla and a little milk and it was so comforting and wonderful and such a nice afternoon treat. So that’s the flavor/vibe I’m chasing and I’m hoping this tea will do the trick! (I bought some vanilla syrup too.) I am holding off on buying a tea kettle until it gets colder/I actually commit to drinking tea regularly. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes! Also, if you have any good non-caffeinated looseleaf tea recommendations, HMU.

The week ahead…

Reclaiming my time

30. Roller coaster

July 30, 2017

Pleasure Pier by Matt Crump

Photo: Matt Crump

This week had so many ups and so many downs — once of which was that I did not make it to Six Flags this weekend as planned. Whomp whomp. But hey: my book is now out in the world and that’s pretty neat! Here’s what else I had going on…

Reading

I read Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too on Kindle and loved it so much, I bought the hard copy for myself and bought one for my brother. I finished Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud. And I read this review of Goodbye, Vitamin, immediately bought it, and finished it within 24 hours.

Also:

Online Dating Made This Woman a Pawn in a Global Crime Plot, Wired. This is so wild…like, way more than I expected. 

Why Judging The Poor Isn’t Actually Helping Anybody, Refinery29.

17 Debbie Downer Facts To Whip Out At The Next Party You Go To, BuzzFeed. 

How to Make a Movie Out of Anything — Even a Mindless Phone Game, The New York Times.

Advice About Sex for a College-Bound Girl, Design Mom. 

This Cheap Wine From Walmart Is Ranked as One of the Best in the World, PopSugar.

The X-Rated Furniture Of Catherine The Great Is Something You Need To See, BuzzFeed. 

The week ahead…

Still laughing about this video (watch with sound). 

29. Coast to coast

July 23, 2017

This week, I made a really fast trip to LA and back for work, and I’m feeling rather under the weather today. It’s just a loooong trip and that time change really fucks with me.

Anyway, here are some links!

Writing

Only A True Expert Can Get 11/15 On This Secret Service Code Name Quiz

Just 19 Fascinating Things About The Hair & Makeup On “GLOW”

I also posted the intro to my book here!

Reading

Real Men Might Get Made Fun Of, The New York Times. “‘Do you ever stick up for me?’ That question has been quietly nagging at my friendships with men since last fall when the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape tore through the news cycle. The sound of Billy Bush snickering as Donald Trump talked about women in the most dehumanizing terms was devastating in its ease, and in how little it surprised me. I know that my male friends are privy to those kinds of conversations, even if they don’t take part. I also know that some of them do take part. I know that they consider themselves to be good people who fundamentally care about women’s safety and equality. So, if you care, how often do you say something?”

R. Kelly Is Holding Women Against Their Will In A “Cult,” Parents Told Police, BuzzFeed.

It’s Never Been About R. Kelly. It’s Always Been About Black Girls, Bitch. “A culture that protects predatory Black men, in our families, at work, at church, comes at the expense of Black girls who deserve better. Sorry, but there’s not enough good music in the world to make me throw Black girls under the bus. There are so few people who are willing to fight for girls of color, especially Black girls, because interrogating the behavior of predatory Black men is much more difficult than simply telling a girl to put on more clothes or ‘stop being fast in the ass.'”

If You’re Still An R. Kelly Fan In 2017 You Might Be A Worse Person Than R. Kelly, VSB. “R. Kelly is who he is. A talented musician — a person actually considered by many to be the most talented contemporary musician — and a man who, for years, used his considerable wealth and influence and status to prey on young Black girls. And continues to do so.”

The Black Person’s Guide to Game of Thrones, The Root. (I have never seen Game of Thrones but I enjoyed this.)

Sheila Michaels, Who Helped Bring Honorific ‘Ms.’ To The Masses, Dies At 78, NPR. “They were roommates and lifelong friends: The black woman who fought to be called ‘Miss’ instead of condescended to as ‘Mary,’ and the white woman who pushed to be called ‘Ms.’ because it was nobody’s business if she was married.”

The Lawyer, the Addict, The New York Times.

Blood and Guts in High School: How Seventeen Made ‘Traumarama’, Jezebel.

Everybody lies: how Google search reveals our darkest secrets, The Guardian. This takes a little while to get going, but then it gets very good.

Magic Can Be Normal, Hazlitt.

American Airlines Seems to Be Gaslighting Its Employees Over Fashion, Racked.

The ‘Hide the Pain Harold’ meme model has no pain to hide, The Independent.

Why Are We So Unwilling to Take Sylvia Plath at Her Word?, LitHub. “I want to point out the cultural bias against women’s voices and the domestic truths of women’s lives and the deep role this has played in painting Plath as both a pathetic victim and a Cassandra-like, genius freak. It is only in a culture where these two things be claimed simultaneously that Hughes, a known philanderer and violent partner, can spend forty years botching the editing of, or outright destroying, his estranged, now dead wife’s work, then win every conceivable literary prize and be knighted by the Queen. It is only in this culture that Plath can tell of his abuse, in print, for the better part of the same 40 years, only to have the same reports in a handful of letters recognized as ‘shocking.’ And it is only in this culture that unseen letters detailing abuses as dreadful as a miscarriage induced by beating, and the expressed desire that one’s wife was dead, be described, without irony, as ‘tantalising.'”

Venus Williams, a Car Accident, and the Outrageous Police Response, The Nation.

Home Delivery! What Will They Think of Next?, The New York Times.

Why is hyperfemininity expected of fat women?, Dazed.

We Found Him, The Worst Person On Earth, Deadspin. “‘Honestly, yeah it’s terrible,’ Paul said about his neighbors’ complaints. ‘It’s a bad situation. No, I feel bad for them, for sure. There’s nothing we can do, though. The Jake Paulers [Paul’s fans] are the strongest army out there. Dab.’ And then he dabbed.”

Listening to

This fantastic episode of Revisionist History.

This wild first date story (the whole podcast is good, but the date story starts at 29:55).

The week ahead…

I’m just so glad to be home!

Sneak peek: Dot Journaling—A Practical Guide

July 20, 2017

Dot Journaling—A Practical Guide

My book, Dot Journaling—A Practical Guide, is coming out on July 31! If you’re interested, here’s a preview of the book’s intro.

◦ ◦ ◦

I started my first diary when I was nine years old and in fourth grade. Onward through middle school, high school, college, and my early twenties, I wrote almost every single day, filling notebook after notebook with my thoughts and observations. (And my crushes. So many crushes.) I also used a physical plan­ner and wrote out my to-do list every single day, long after apps and websites made both unnecessary.

But in the second half of my twenties, my diary writing slowed down, then ground to a halt. Part of this happened because I was writing as my full-time job, plus keeping a blog. But I was also sharing my thoughts with my friends via texts, instant messages, and emails all day, and I didn’t feel like rewrit­ing everything in a notebook at night. And though I still wrote out to-do lists every day in a steno pad, it wasn’t a habit that I did with a sense of intention, or that gave me any real sense of joy.

So, this is where I was in my journaling ~journey~ when I came to dot journaling a couple years ago. I first read about something called a “Bullet Journal” on my friend Jessica’s blog in December 2015, and was intrigued. Initially, I assumed it was some sort of new diary or planner to buy—and I thought, Great, I love buying new things! But when I went to the official website run by its creator, Ryder Carroll, I just got confused. Not only was it not something to buy, I couldn’t understand what, exactly, it was. When I heard “journal,” I thought “diary,” but this seemed like it was a . . . to-do list? And also a . . . calen­dar? Or . . . something? There were bullet points involved, and also a lot of words and phrases that I didn’t recognize, along with photos of incredibly simple journal pages that seemed to have very little in common with the elaborate, creative, beau­tiful pages I was seeing on Instagram—pages that were also, somehow (apparently?), from Bullet Journals. It seemed like a lot of people were using dot-grid journals to do . . . whatever it was they were doing, but that type of paper didn’t appear to be a requirement. I couldn’t figure out what the rules were, or exactly what the point was, either. Eventually, I gave up.

But after asking around and discovering that my friends had also been hearing about this new type of journal and also couldn’t understand what it was, I became determined to fig­ure it out. Turns out, Bullet Journaling is an incredibly simple concept that is remarkably difficult to explain, in part because “you do you” is such a major aspect of it—meaning everyone does it a little differently, and there are no real rules. And, over time, the Internet has transformed the basic idea—using sim­ple symbols and dot-grid journals to record the things that matter most—into what I’ve come to think of as “dot journaling” . . . aka, a creative, colorful, robust, and—listen, take this with a large grain of salt—Pinteresty version of the original concept.

I started dot journaling on January 1, 2016, and I quickly fell in love. It was exactly what I hadn’t realized I needed: a single notebook that incorporated my to-do lists, helped me stay organized, served as a fun creative outlet, and led me back to my roots as a diarist—I was thrilled to discover that I had no problem writing in it every single day. And in this book, I’ll show you how to get started dot journaling, and how to make it a habit (or an addiction?) for you, too.

◦ ◦ ◦

You can enter to win a copy of the book, a blank dot-grid journal, and a bunch of other amazing journaling supplies here (the winner will be chosen on July 31), and pre-order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Books-a-Million, Workman, or Powell’s.

28. Out

July 16, 2017

Encyclopedia of Rainbows: Our World Organized by Color by Julie Seabrook Ream, published by Chronicle Books 2017

Photo: Encyclopedia of Rainbows: Our World Organized by Color by Julie Seabrook Ream, published by Chronicle Books 2017

I was off all week purging and cleaning the hell out of my apartment so I don’t have anything for you tonight; I’ll be back next week! 

27. I hope you’re somewhere praying

July 9, 2017

Pastel Pacific by Matt Crump

Photo: Matt Crump

Hi, guys. Here’s what I was up to this week when I wasn’t listening to Kesha’s new single on repeat…

Reading

4:43, Candice Benbow. “I saw the best in you. I nurtured it, pruned it, watched it grow. And now someone else gets to sit in the field of my flowers. I can’t even fault her though. I’m sure our stories are similar. I’m sure, before you, there was one who robbed her of hope too. I’m sure he allowed her to invest in him with no intention of ever offering a return. So, I can’t even be mad. They say when one of us wins, all of us do. I mean…I guess. I just hope she knows where to offer gratitude. Because the man you are now doesn’t exist without me — that’s the legacy. And it’s a damn shame. I long for the day when a woman’s strength isn’t measured by how much shit she takes from a man.”

Black Women Writers and the Secret Space of Diaries, The New Yorker.

“How do I have the ‘is this a real relationship?’ talk with someone without messing up the relationship?”, Captain Awkward. “DON’T STARTLE THE WILD MALE HUMAN.”

And Chief Justice Roberts’ words for grads.

The week ahead…

Doing some (extremely belated) spring cleaning!

26. Glow up

July 2, 2017

Hello, holiday weekenders! It’s July, which means my book is coming out in a few short weeks! I just finished watching the Netflix series GLOW (it took several episodes to grow on me, and ultimately I liked — but didn’t love — it) and am now seriously contemplating living the workout leotard life. Anyway, please enjoy the above photo of my grandma (in the midst of some kind of summer romance she refused to tell me much about except that the man who took the photo picked her up at the grocery store where she worked, and that she didn’t tell her mother because “he wasn’t Catholic”) and these links!

Writing

25 Things Men Can Finally Do

I also worked on this video.

Reading

Report: Black girls thought to need less protection, AP. “These findings show that pervasive stereotypes of black women as hypersexualized and combative are reaching into our schools and playgrounds and helping rob black girls of the protections other children enjoy.”

I Don’t Know How To Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People, The Huffington Post. “Personally, I’m happy to pay an extra 4.3 percent for my fast food burger if it means the person making it for me can afford to feed their own family. If you aren’t willing to fork over an extra 17 cents for a Big Mac, you’re a fundamentally different person than I am.”

How a Joke Becomes a Meme: The Birth of ‘Milkshake Duck’, The New York Times.

A Circular History of Circle Jerks and A Cultural History of Men Sucking Their Own Dicks, MEL Magazine.

How Wrestling Explains Alex Jones and Donald Trump, The New York Times.

Hi, Please Don’t Call Something a ‘Pant’ If You Mean ‘Pants’, Racked.

MTV News: The Good, the Bad, and the Contradictions of an Ill-Fated Experiment, Spin.

Being Pretty Is a Privilege, But We Refuse to Acknowledge It, Allure.

David Bouhadana Has a Problem, and We Need to Talk About It, Eater.

The $2 Meal That Changed My Budget, A Cup of Jo. This is the second time I’ve heard about this salad in the past couple of weeks.

After the president’s tweet, I must withdraw my support for everything but his agenda, The Washington Post. “His remark about Mika Brzezinski is absolutely shameful and I do not stand with him, except insofar as it is necessary to stand with him so that we can make sure infants get access to pesticides, as the Founders would have wished.”

Just A Bunch Of “Bachelorette” Moments That Will Make You Laugh, Even If You Don’t Watch The Show, BuzzFeed.

Don’t Light My Expensive Candles. Ever., ELLE.com. “‘But Sally, aren’t candles supposed to be lit?’ You might ask, head tilted. No, not SIXTY-FIVE DOLLAR CANDLES, FRIEND. Sixty-five dollar candles are meant to be admired, sniffed, dreamt about, saved for special occasions that would never actually come because what occasion could possibly be special enough for a $65 candle?” It me.

How to Be a Contemporary Writer, Roxane Gay. An oldie but a goodie.

And this poem.

Loving

This Alex Jones remix, these sweaters, this music video, and Piers Morgan’s lack of self-awareness.

The week ahead…

God bless America.

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