The Good Stuff
Because we need it
It’s been a rough couple of weeks. You, too? Here are some things that are reminding me of how dear this life is, even when it’s difficult.
The reads that affected me most: This banger of a poem by John Murillo, and Justice Katanji Brown Jackson’s dissenting opinion in the Supreme Court ruling against affirmative action. Also this tweet, which I’d 100% wear on a t-shirt.
Books I’ve read (or reread) and loved of late: Everybody Come Alive by Marcie Alvis Walker, Why Sinead O’Connor Matters by Allyson McCabe, Litany for the Long Moment by Mary-Kim Arnold, A Hundred Lovers by Richie Hofmann.
Always affecting in the best way: listening to music, seeing bands live, singing in the shower and in the car. Three concerts in a single week is *chef’s kiss* for me: boygenius in Columbus with my daughter Violet…
…Yo La Tengo in Chicago with my dear friends Lisa and Bill Roe (if you don’t know their record label, Trouble in Mind, you should)…
…and then Metric back in Columbus with my friend Dawn (whose handmade soap is the best I’ve found, period). If you’ve read You Could Make This Place Beautiful, you’ve read about Dawn; she’s the friend I’d go dancing with into the wee hours, pre-pandemic. I miss those days.
As I said: Music always helps. Even when the guy in front of you at the Newport is emphatically waving his water bottle.
Recently I spoke to the wonderful and hilarious Jen Hatmaker for her podcast, For the Love, and we talked all about friendship. Coincidentally, the day I spoke to her, I had a whole weekend of plans with friends. That Friday night I went to Metric with Dawn. The next morning I drove 90 minutes to spend the whole day with five of my beloved high school friends. They’d rented a cabin for the weekend, and while I couldn’t get away overnight, I was able to find a sitter to be “home base” for my kids (and Phoebe the Boston terrier) for nine hours so I could sit outside, looking at old yearbooks and photo albums going back to middle school, catching up and most of all cracking up.
The next morning, I had brunch with my friends and neighbors Lisa and Jen, who I get together with at least once a month without fail, and we’re on the group chat in between. We all need this kind of connection, and Jen Hatmaker and I talked about how challenging it can be to find—and maintain—friendships in middle age. I’ll share the podcast conversation when it goes live.
It was a privilege and a joy to speak to grief expert and psychotherapist Megan Devine for her podcast, It’s OK That You’re Not OK. I said, during this conversation, “trauma does not give you a glow up.” I stand by that. It’s OK to let the hard things be, well, hard. Megan is so wise, with a wonderful sense of humor, and I hope you’ll listen to our conversation—and the other episodes, too.
What else has been bringing me joy? Hanging out with my kids: baking, long walks, bubble tea runs, bookstore adventures, movies all snuggled up together on the couch or sharing a king size pack of Twizzlers in the theater. Binge-watching Veronica Mars with Violet. Riding bikes with Rhett. Trimming my backyard trees and more-giant-weeds-than-actual-trees with a small, battery-powered chainsaw. (Yes, you read that right, a chainsaw. It’s so satisfying, y’all. I’m very careful.) Roadtripping. Writing, even though it’s slow going. Enjoying the summer pace as much as I can.
What’s bringing you joy right now?
Wishing you more of it—
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