Maureen Corrigan celebrates Jane Austen's 'Pride And Prejudice' At 200

Two good articles on "rape culture," gender, masculinity, and empathy - from Ms: Thinking About the Steubenville Rape and Raising a Son, from Feministing: Gender and empathy: Men shouldn’t need to “imagine if it were your wife/ daughter/mother”

Image: “Standing Tall Amid the Glares” by Paul Schutzer: "Lewis Cousins, age 15, the only African American student in the newly desegregated Maury High School, standing alone. 1959, Norfolk, VA."

Stream the new Frightened Rabbit "Pedestrian Verse" here (thanks, honey!)

Forty Years Of Prison Work Detail, Through The Lens Of Paul Kwilecki

I thought this was really interesting - the chance to get away from the feeling that if you're feeling anxiety or sadness it means something is "wrong," or the idea that the ideal life is one free from discomfort: Stop Chasing Happiness (and a Better Moment) and Discover Lasting Contentment Right Now

After more than 3 months off, I started CrossFit again this week. It was hard to go back, because I knew I was going to face being a lot weaker than I had been last time I stepped into a box, but it feels amazing to be back lifting heavy and pushing myself. Only two classes in and I feel more "me." Stronger, more energetic, and more proud of myself. It's super expensive here in Boston compared with back in Oregon, and I miss my home gym (RVCF!) so much, but I'm realizing this is what I need to do to get back where I want to be, physically and mentally.

"I loathe the expression 'What makes him tick.' It is the American mind, looking for simple and singular solutions, that uses the foolish expression. A person not only ticks, he also chimes and strikes the hour, falls and breaks and has to be put together again, and sometimes stops like an electric clock in a thunderstorm." - James Thurber


I'm going through some kind of 70's thing, musically. First it was Neil Young, now it's Fleetwood Mac...


Listening to: Red Hot Chili Peppers "By the Way & Scar Tissue (Live at Slane Castle)." What can I say, I love Anthony Kiedis. (Um, also listening to: "Drunk On You" Luke Bryan. Country love forever.)

Image: source.

Beautiful: You Are Going to Die. (Thanks, Amy, for the link!)

Interesting upcoming two-day conference, for those in the Boston area: "Recognizing, Addressing, and Assessing: GLBT Communities and Domestic Violence"

I'm just back from a really lovely weekend in DC with my girlfriend, seeing her old stomping grounds. I was surprised by how exciting it was to see all the famous memorials and monuments - I didn't know I had that patriotic/history dork part of me, but it was great! One of the spots we hit up was the National Museum of American History, where we saw a great exhibit: Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963.

While we were in DC, we also went to Kramer Books, which was such a dreamy bookstore. Basically, everything there seemed to be something from my "to read" list. I picked up Parting the Waters: Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement 1954-63 by Taylor Branch, which is volume 1 of a trilogy I've been wanting to read for a while. It will likely be a multi-year undertaking, but I'm looking forward to it. Of course I have to have a mystery going too - luckily, my girlfriend's mom is a fellow mystery buff, and lent me If I Never See You Again by Niamh O'Connor, the first I've read from this author.

NYMag: Why You Truly Never Leave High School


From the BBC: Johnny Cash and his prison reform campaign

Photo Essay: Meet New York’s Loyal Public Library Patrons

"Refugee Hotel is a collection of photography and interviews that documents the arrival of refugees in the United States. Stabile’s images are coupled with testimonies from people describing their first days in the U.S., the lives they’ve left behind, and the new communities they’ve since created."

Image: beautiful new years resolutions from emilja frances.

From Oxfam: 7 photos that reveal what families eat in one week: "In a new series of photos, families worldwide pose with one week’s food supply."

This book looks interesting: Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life (reviewed in the LARB) 

Listening to: having a Neil Young moment recently, and listening to "Harvest" at work a lot.

True heroes: Inside Mississippi's Last Abortion Clinic: "Mississippi used to have 14 abortion clinics. Now there is one. If you visit it, here are some of the people you might meet."

RIP Jayne Cortez: "And if we don’t fight / if we don’t resist / if we don’t organize and unify and / get the power to control our own lives / Then we will wear / the exaggerated look of captivity / the stylized look of submission / the bizarre look of suicide / the dehumanized look of fear / and the decomposed look of repression / forever and ever and ever / And there it is" - "There It Is"


I just started reading "The Sisters Brothers." It had appeared on so many lists from reliable book-recommending sources, but just didn't appeal to me (Westerns aren't really my thing). However, I borrowed a friends copy and was immediately engrossed. The chapters are super short (one or two pages) so I kept thinking, "OK, just one more...." It's always nice to be excited about a book.

Image: source.

There might be hope for me yet! After moving to Boston about four months ago and throwing myself into a new (and very difficult) job and sort-of-newish city and life, my once super active and healthy lifestyle took a hit. No more 2-hour lunch time workouts or beautiful bike commutes to work. No more leisurely Sundays cooking lunches for the week (or afternoons to spend blogging). It's been a huge a change. Anyways, I'm fighting back against the winter doldrums and the new routine, and this weekend was, I hope, a turning point - after not running more than 4 miles at a time in over 4 months, I pushed out 9! That's almost double digits, folks. It was painful and I wouldn't have made it without my two running buddies, but it got done. It was part of our training for the Hyannis Half Marathon (at the end of February - brrrr), and now I've decided to start loading up the race calendar a bit so I don't lose momentum. I signed up for a trail half in April, and the BAA half in October. The healthy me is still in there somewhere...

I'll admit that I totally choked up at this lovely article - go Jesse!: The Jesse Mermell Story : Small Town Girl Makes Good In Brookline.

Even though this article was about one woman's divorce, an experience I've never had, I still found her thoughts on coping with loneliness really beautiful, practical, and helpful: How To Cope With Loneliness: A New Version of My Lonesome Self

"All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why." - James Thurber


The full script for Moonrise Kingdom is online, incorporating lovely stills and behind-the-scenes photos.

"None of us is ever OK, but we all get through everything just fine." - Pema Chödrön

Listening to: Wilco "I Must Be High" (live)

Relatable: Depression and Money, Some Real Talk.

Image: The Möbius structure of relationships, one of David Byrne’s hand-drawn pencil diagrams of the human condition.

Truth. From WNYC: Job Seekers With Criminal Record Face Higher Hurdles.

Reading, on the recommendation of Slate Culture Gabfest, at NYMag: The Self in Self-Help: "Try something. Better still, try everything—throw all the options at the occluding wall of the self and see what sticks. Meditation, marathon training, fasting, freewriting, hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, speed dating, volunteering, moving to Auckland, redecorating the living room: As long as you steer clear of self-harm and felony, you might as well do anything you can to your inner and outer ecosystems that might induce a beneficial mutation."

"A woman’s beauty is supposed to be her grand project and constant insecurity. We’re meant to shellac our lips with five different glosses, but always think we’re fat. Beauty is Zeno’s paradox. We should endlessly strive for it, but it’s not socially acceptable to admit we’re there. We can’t perceive it in ourselves. It belongs to the guy screaming “nice tits”. . . Women's looks are supposed to be our salvations . . . But looks are an escape hatch to other places where they're no longer as important. Beauty is powerful because it is pleasing. Real power means not having to please." - from "The World Of A Professional Naked Girl"


From NPR: 'Black America's Law Firm' Looks To Big Cases With New Leadership. Go go NAACP Legal Defense Fund!

Image: yoko ono's 1996 cleaning piece.

Did you know that today is the anniversary of Boston's Great Molasses Flood? Did you even know that was a thing?

Tegan & Sara cover The Rolling Stones' “Fool to Cry." (Also from Cover Me, the best cover songs of 2012.)  And, again, I'll say it: I need a Thermals show to thrash around at, ASAP: "I Let It Go" (or an acoustic version: "I Let It Go").  Bonus archival video from Daytrotter: Van Morrison "Don't Look Back Belfast (Belfast, Ireland) Feb 1, 1979"

"15 year old Noah St. John recounts a defining car ride with his two moms, and in the process earns the title of 'NPR Snap Judgment Performance of the Year.'" Incredible performance.

A nice interview with EB White (in spite of the fact he admits to not being a big reader). I thought this was interesting: "I was deeply impressed by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. It may well be the book by which the human race will stand or fall." True enough. (Also, the opening paragraph reminiscing about a visit to his farm is sweet.)

"The more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers most." - Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain


Great read: Cold Turkey by Kurt Vonnegut (thanks, nk!)

Recently added to the "to read" list: A Life in Letters by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Night of the Gun by David Carr, Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders, Emma by Howard Zinn, A Hard Rain Fell: SDS and Why It Failed by David Barber, Slavery and Public History: The Tough Stuff of American Memory by James Oliver Horton, Sing a Battle Song: The Revolutionary Poetry, Statements, and Communiqués of the Weather Underground, 1970-1974, and Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell.

Image: source.

KEXP: Shovels And Rope

Listening to: Wait, why is Taylor Swift so good at what she does? "I Knew You Were Trouble." OK, sure: Mike Doughty covers "Take Me Home, Country Roads." Beautiful: Phosphorescent, "Song for Zula." Ugh, damn: Ryan Adams, "Do I Wait (Live on KCRW)." Incredible, hopeful: Josh Ritter "Joy to You Baby" (I can already tell "In It's Tracks" is gonna be one of my 2013 albums).

"That is what I have always understood to be the essence of anarchism: the conviction that the burden of proof has to be placed on authority, and that it should be dismantled if that burden cannot be met." - Noam Chomsky

"As I walked I looked at the dark basalt hills, and at the cactus and shrubs and trees; all of them were in harmony with one another, and I felt within that beauty. In an instant I saw that even man-made things—the roll of old fence wire, the old rail ties withered by sixty years of the heat and sun—were in the light of that beauty. In that beauty we all will sink slowly back into the lap of the earth." - Leslie Marmon Silko


Recently finished 1222. The minor/side plot took a turn towards the completely ridicuous in the end, but overall I enjoyed the book. Now, in the midst of sickness, I turn to my ultimate comfort food: P.D. James, specifically The Lighthouse, an Adam Dalgliesh book. She's just so good.

I've been listening to BEST OF 2012 by Sasha Frere-Jones on Spotify. Clearly, however, I took a break and went back to 90's R&B for the weekly apartment cleaning. And then also some Montgomery Gentry, because, yeah.

Finally watched the documentary Page One: Inside the New York Times (available on Netflix streaming) last night. I enjoyed it, although I'm definitely biased since I was raised to think that reading the Times was the only way to spend Sunday morning.

Left: Wow. The Sound of Heaven: Isolated Vocals Tracks from The Ronette's "Baby I Love You."   image source

“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” -Frederick Buechner

"Fiction is a kind of compassion-generating machine that saves us from sloth. Is life kind or cruel? Yes, Literature answers. Are people good or bad? You bet, says Literature. But unlike other systems of knowing, Literature declines to eradicate one truth in favor of another; rather, it teaches us to abide with the fact that, in their own way, all things are true, and helps us, in the face of this terrifying knowledge, continually push ourselves in the direction of Open the Hell Up." - George Saunders


Amazing stuff in the NYTimes magazine this weekend, including: Can Forgiveness Play a Role in Criminal Justice?, an incredibly powerful portrait of two families suffering trauma and the potential of restorative justice; and this profile of George Saunders. Also, this fascinating portrait: After Years in Solitary, an Austere Life as Uruguay’s President.

By the partner of a friend, in The Believer: But Never A Lovely So Real: "Despite his literary brilliance and humanist resolve, Nelson Algren was the type of loser this country just can't stomach."

Image: Bikini Kill.

Being sick in bed for a few days has given me the opportunity (I'm really looking on the bright side here) to catch up on tv shows I didn't even know I wanted to watch. Namely, my new obsession The Next Iron Chef, and the entire first season of Scandal, both of which are surprisingly (to me) addictive. Good times.

Really interesting: Femme Privilege Does Not Exist

What Queerness Means To Me: "Queerness, to me, is about far more than homosexual attraction. It’s about a willingness to see all other taboos broken down . . . I have also learned that human relationships are deeper, wider, more mysterious, more diverse, more perverse, more intense, more free, less definable and infinitely more beautiful than I was ever taught that they could be. The word queer sums up that hope for me, the hope that there is more than one kind of sex, more than one kind of meaning to romance, and far more than two genders."


I finished "Help, Thanks, Wow" on the train home last night. To be honest, it really could've been a long article instead. If you're new to Anne Lamott, I wouldn't start here. Instead, I'd start with Operating Instructions (if you're a parent or a kid or a best friend or a human), or Bird by Bird (if you're a writer or a reader or a lover of words), or Traveling Mercies or Plan B (if you're a recovering church goer or new church attendee). "Help, Thanks, Wow" is mainly for those of us who just can't get enough of Annie, or be reminded regularly enough to go easy on the neurosis (and go easy on the going hard on ourselves for the neurosis).

Of course "H, T, W" still has lots of classic Annie gems like:

"God keeps giving, forgiving, and inviting us back. My friend Tom says this is a scandal, and that God has no common sense." 

"The movement of grace from hard to soft, distracted to awake, mean to gentle again, is mysterious but essential. As a tiny little control freak, I want to understand the power of Wow, so I can organize and control it, and up its rate and frequency. But I can't. I can only feel it, and acknowledge that it is here once again. Wow."

"Gratitude begins in our hearts and then dovetails into behavior. It almost always makde you willing to be of service, which is where the joy resides. It means you are willing to stop being such a jerk. When you are aware of all that has been given to you , in your lifetime and in the past few days, it is hard not to be humbled, and pleased to give back."

"We can be freed from a damaging insistence on forward thrust, from a commitment to running wildly down a convenient path that might actually be taking us deeper into the dark forest. Praying 'Help' means that we ask that Something give us the courage to stop in our tracks, right where we are, and turn our fixation away from th Gordian knot of our problems. We stop the toxic peering and instead turn our eyes to the middle distance, to the hills, whence our help comes - someplace else, anything else. Maybe this is a shift of only eight degrees, but it can be a miracle. It may be one of those miracles where your heart sinks, because you think it means you have lost. But in sureder you have won. And if it were me, after a moment, I would say, Thanks."


Beautiful prayer/poem: Hymn to the Nameless One by Dorothy Walters

Listening to: Josh Ritter “New Lover,” P!nk - Perfect (Live In-Studio) (ps: Can it really be true that this year is the 20th anniversary of both "Janet" and "August and Everything After"??)

Image: source.

From the NYTimes' always-moving The Lives They Lived, a letter written to David Rakoff about friendship and lessons learned.

“‘Sometimes,’ said Julia, ‘I feel the past and the future pressing so hard on either side that there’s no room for the present at all.’” - Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh

“What we hunger for perhaps more than anything else is to be known in our full humanness, and yet that is often just what we also fear more than anything else. It is important to tell at least from time to time the secret of who we truly and fully are . . . because otherwise we run the risk of losing track of who we truly and fully are and little by little come to accept instead the highly edited version which we put forth in hope that the world will find it more acceptable than the real thing. It is important to tell our secrets too because it makes it easier . . . for other people to tell us a secret or two of their own . . . ” - Frederick Buechner