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The Good Stuff
School’s out for summer
Summer is in full swing here, with all of its delights: sunshine and fresh air and—a mixed blessing—4:00 A.M. birdsong. Also, my kids would certainly emphasize, no morning alarms, no class, and NO HOMEWORK.
Our first few days off did not disappoint. I visited Birdie Books and had breakfast with Andy J. Pizza. My kids and I went to our community Pride walk. (My daughter volunteered to paint faces, and she painted a rainbow heart on my son’s cheek. I TOOK SO MANY PHOTOS AND I DID NOT CRY.) We went to see a Columbus Crew game, and we came home hoarse from laughing and cheering.
Here are some more things that are bringing me joy and making life easier (and dearer!) these days. I hope you’ll discover some new finds this way.
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Summer necessities: Supergoop SPF 50 sunscreen for everyday (I keep one large bottle in the house, and one in the car. And I like their Matte Screen for my face.) A bag of green grapes in the freezer for a quick, popsicle-like snack. A few bunches of quick-fill water balloons like these to keep the neighborhood kids happy.
What I’m listening to: My Goldenrod playlist from summer 2021, The National’s new record, and a lot of music that my kids and I agree feels like summertime: Superchunk, Nada Surf, Harry Styles (Rhett is obsessed with “Watermelon Sugar” right now), New Pornographers. We’re looking forward to a summer full of live music: boygenius, Metric, Nelsonville Music Festival, Old 97s.
I also recently listened to the incredible Julia Louis-Dreyfus read my poem “First Fall” (from Good Bones) on her podcast, Wiser Than Me. Julia’s mother, herself a poet, shared “First Fall” with her. Just…wow. The whole episode with author Amy Tan is terrific. The beautiful reading of my poem is in the first couple of minutes.
Best reads this month so far: Elise Loehnen’s On Our Best Behavior and Airea D. Matthews’ Bread and Circus, which are both out now; Kerri ní Dochartaigh’s Cacophony of Bone and Leslie Jamison’s Splinters, which you can and should preorder; and Jedidiah Jenkins’ Mother, Nature, which you will definitely want to read and share with a friend or family member, so preorder one or two.
Just a handful of the books I’m planning to read between now and August (and may be seen with in a chair at the pool): Monsters by Claire Dederder, The Twelfth Commandment by Daniel Torday, I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself by Marisa Crane, and early copies of Psalms of Unknowing: Poems by Heather Lanier and How to Say Babylon by Safiya Sinclair.
Summer fun here means reading a lot, yes, and it also means spending a lot of time outside, which means A. everyone is hungry by dinnertime and B. I don’t feel like cooking. “Easy” is the name of the game this summer. At the end of a long, hot day, what I really want is for a meal to appear in front of me with no effort on my part. Takeout is your summer friend. So is any summer salad you can throw together quickly. Our favorite: Chunks of watermelon, chunks of feta, mint, lemon balsamic drizzle. (My favorite easy summer cocktail: mezcal with Jalapeño limeade from Trader Joe’s.)
A few weeks ago I took a long walk with my friend Isaac Fitzgerald here in my neighborhood for his Substack, Walk It Off. (And we also ended up meeting Saeed Jones for an early happy hour afterwards.) I look forward to sharing our conversation with you when it goes live.
Vulnerable, wide-ranging conversations are such a gift. Recently I’ve gotten to have some great talks with Jessica DuLong for CNN, Glennon Doyle for We Can Do Hard Things, Ely Kreimendahl for Shame Spiral, Jen Taub and Charlotte Clymer for Booked Up, and Jane Ratcliffe for Beyond.
This summer I’m looking forward to relaxing with my kids, hanging out with friends and family, and working on a new book. Now that’s the good stuff.
What are you looking forward to this season? What’s bringing you joy right now?
Wishing you more of it,