February is a rough month....Doctors Diagnose 100% of Americans With Seasonal Affective Disorder: “Those stupid lamps don’t do anything,” she added, folding the rest of the sandwich into her mouth and gesturing furiously a
t a very expensive, carefully calibrated light therapy chamber. “It’s a stupid fu**king lamp. It’s not the sun. It’s not summer. It’s not anything.”

Really interesting. “Imagining a positive outcome conveys the sense that you’re approaching your goals, which takes the edge off the need to achieve.” Stop Thwarting Yrself With Positivity

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Writes About Nigeria’s Anti-Gay Law

Long as hell, but amazing. When will we stop using the death penalty? Closing Argument in Leopold & Loeb by C. Darrow (yep, still reading that book)

Image: Séamus Gallagher

In support of and love for the 2-lane life // 2 Lanes, 1 Life: The America Far From the Freeway

In MoJo: Is This the Beginning of the End for Solitary Confinement?

For your sake, I'm hoping none of you out there have read Six Years by Harlan Coben, but if you have, please tell me if you had a similar response. I picked it up knowing it would be a trashy read but it was even worse than I expected. More troubling even than the terrible writing - to me at least - was the way the book makes a hero out of a man who exhibits some pretty creepy behavior. Basically, his girlfriend tells him she doesn't want to have contact with him and cuts him off. He abides by this wish for 6 years and then decides - for a variety of weird reasons - to break his promise. He finds all sorts of ways to justify his decision to try to get back in contact with her again, contacting family members, attending private events, playing detective. All I could think were all the deluded and borderline abusive guys out there reading this thinking "Yeah! This is so me! She said she doesn't want to be together, but I KNOW there must be some reason or conspiracy because she can't REALLY mean it! I'll start digging into her personal life and contacting friends and family - AGAINST HER WISHES - and get to the bottom of this. She NEEDS me!" Creepers to the max. Was hoping this guy would be revealed to be the villain somehow, in the end, for a twist, but no, of course he is the savior of a woman in need/true love. Blerg.


Like much of the world (at least, according to my Facebook feed), I spent last weekend devouring Season 2 of House of Cards. And it was amazing, even better than Season 1, I would say. Now all i want to do is talk about it, and read about it, and I can't believe we have to wait another year for Season 3! I'm trying to fill the void with Season 3 of Game of Thrones, but it's not quite the same.....

Why Go Out? by Sheila Heti

Image: source. Only about a month till mom and I go to Paris! So excited!

Definitely want to see this Anita Hill documentary.

On the "at work" music rotation: Neneh Cherry "Out Of The Black," Young Wonder "A Live Mystery," CHVRCHES "Recover," and Frances Cone "Rattles Your Heart" and "Mission."

Transgender, Schlumpy and Human by Jennifer Finney Boylan, a wonderful, smart, and generous short piece not just about trans representation in media, but about our shared human experience: "Many viewers will find it hard to see Mr. Tambor as more than a “man in a dress.” But not every trans female who comes out is going to be instantly seen as the woman she knows herself to be, in spite of what is in her heart. And it’s this, I think, that justifies the casting of Mr. Tambor in this instance, and that makes the quandary of the character so deeply moving. That “Transparent” depicts a schlumpy, older person rather than a gorgeous fashion model is good for both trans and cis folks alike. It captures the surprisingly universal problem of being defined only by our biology, rather than our spirits. It should make us stop and think about what it means to be a man, or a woman, and the struggle that so many people face in trying to live our truth. This isn’t a problem unique to transgender people; it’s the same for all of us."

I'm reading a ton of books right now - I would go so far as to say too many. The nightstand stack includes: Six Years by Harlan Coben, Olycksfågeln (The Strangers) by Camilla Läckberg, The Raven's Eye by Barry Maitland, Promise Land: My Journey Through America's Self-Help Culture by Jessica Lamb-Shapiro, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, and still working on Clarence Darrow.


I'm still reading Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned by John A. Farrell on my commutes, and loving it. It's just excellent (as evidenced by the fact it can hold my attention during chaotic T rides). Great American history, a clear eyed by respectful examination of a facinating man, and lots of incredible snippets of writing and oration from Darrow - lots of fuel for the good fight. As an added bonus, I wrote Mr. Farrell to thank him for his great work, and he wrote me back a very kind (and prompt!) response! It really made my day.

Image: Jenny Holzer.

A brief but devastating tribute to a brave, beautiful life cut short by fear and violence. This young man was killed so unnecessarily. It is so true, as Chase writes, that "so many people with power in Larry's life, on some level, facilitated his tragic murder." It's up to all of us to examine the role we play in deaths like Larry's, and to stop the violence. (Quoting the great Vijay Prashad's essay "The World We Want is the World We Need")

Well, I signed up for another marathon....! It's been almost 4 years (!) since my first and only marathon in Eugene. I definitely don't have as much time to train as I did in 2010, but I still feel like giving it a go. I was lucky enough to have a great experience before, and I have an awesome running partner now in my friend Maggie, so...it's on. After my experience as a spectator at the Boston Marathon last year, I've sworn off big races for a while, so instead I chose to do one voted one of the best "small town races in America" - the New Hampshire Marathon in October. My focus will stay on shorter races and on hot yoga for the next few months (as I watch the snow float by my window...) and marathon training starts in June....


A great essay by someone I happen to have first met decades ago, and who has always been a great writer: Hello, Handsome: On Never Being Beautiful: "I don’t mean to downplay the importance of preferred pronouns—they are important!—but there are nouns I prefer, too, and adjectives." It has only been in the last few years that I have asked partners - and myself - what are the words that feel good to you, that feel right to you? What are the compliments that make you feel seen? And it always leads to fascinating discussions.

Image: source. Love this!

"With the land and possessions of America rapidly passing into the hands of a favored few; with thousands of men and woman in idleness and want; with wages constantly tending to a lower level...with the knowledge that the servants of the people elected to correct abuses are bought and sold in legislative halls at the bidding of corporations and individuals: with all these notorious evils sapping the foundations of popular government and destroying personal liberty, some rude awakening must come. And if it shall come, when you look then abroad over the ruin and desolation, remember the long years in which the storm was rising, and do not blame the thunderbolt." Just started reading this biography of Clarence Darrow, so far it's great.

More books! I recently finished Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse, which I cannot recommend. More complicated are my feelings about The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. There were parts and characters I found interesting, and I definitely have more respect for Gilbert as an author now than I did beforehand - the book is nothing if not ambitious. But it dragged in parts, and had these oddly empty pockets where certain main characters were just left flat and seemed like voids in an otherwise rich story. I can't say that I would recommend it (especially not at 500 pages), but I also don't regret reading it. I'm very curious to hear other peoples thoughts, however, since it seems to have garnered a lot of favorable reviews and adoration, and was clearly quite an undertaking.

While waiting in court for a case to be called recently, I read Stitches: a handbook on meaning, hope, and repair by one of my long time favorites, Anne Lamott. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to have a word with her. Annie, I love you, but I'm gonna keep it real - cause I think that's what you'd want. I've been a fan of your books for years, and a fan of yours ever since I saw you speak near my hometown in Oregon about 15 years ago. I was a cranky teenager, there with my mom, and we both came away swooning. You were so honest, so funny, so smart and compassionate and wise. "Bird By Bird" was my everything as a young writer, and "Operating Instructions" made me laugh and cry and hug my mom and my best friend - I've given it to so many of my new parent friends. Your essays/columns on line floored me, as I read and reread them. In my late 20s, a lifelong interest in religion became a personal path towards Christianity, and "Traveling Mercies" and your other books on your faith journey captured so much of what I was feeling and struggling with. So, given all that praise, why did I start this with a warning? Well, your last two books - this one, and "Help, Thanks, Wow" a have left me disappointed. You seem to have transitioned into publishing gift books, small hardbacks with color font, short chapters, and, well, not much there. I don't know if it's a money making thing or swim thing about demand, but I beg you - dig in, give us another hefty, hearty, stewed over book, something not rushed to press or triple spaced. Or stick to blog posts and flesh out these short chapters. I know, I'm walking a thin line and risking offensive, obsessive fan like territory, but I think the green type in "Stiches" put me over the edge. Love always, Sarah