"Because, you will never be brilliant if you’re too busy trying to extinguish shameful feelings. You can never truly step into the light if you’re too busy avoiding the dark. " How To Make Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep by Jamie Varon 

Amazing: Women Listening To Men In Western Art History

Image: "You have more freedom than you're using"

Finally listened to the Maron-Louis CK interview: fascinating. Comedy, life, & two people confronting a friendship that's fallen apart.

Cannot. Wait. Trailer for Season 3 of Orphan Black. (Also, are other people watching Black Mirror? It occasionally borders on unwatchable for me, since some of the episodes are so tense and realistic. But I keep coming back because it really is an incredibly well-done show, walking the dystopic, near future, almost-contemporary/possible-but-not-quite line so well....)

This final Q from "The Unspeakables" has stuck with me, and is rattling around in my head. Such an interesting question: "But who can be sure of such things? And what's so great about being sure anyways?"


Absolute gorgeousness: Sufjan Stevens - "A Little Lost"

Beautiful, powerful personal essay: Ferguson Divided My Family, But We Were Already Broken: As a black man I’d learned to fear the police. Then the police became my family.

Excellent, and so necessary for people to understand before making (or in lieu of) judgements: Why Poor People Stay Poor

Some local light in this messed up world: Cambridge teacher champions literacy

Angela Davis: ‘There is an unbroken line of police violence in the US that takes us all the way back to the days of slavery

Image: source: "Nothing is inevitable, everything is possible."

"Writer Alice Munro once described your early 30s as 'an age at which it is sometimes hard to admit that what you are living is your life.' I think that’s hard at any age. What gets easier with each passing decade, I suspect, is not comparing yourself to how other people are living their lives. As I age, I fully intend to give fewer and fewer fucks about how I’m supposed to be, or when I’m supposed to accomplish certain things. It frees up head space for the sort of creative thinking I’d rather be doing. Munro, of all people, should understand that this is a skill that takes time to acquire. She published her first collection of short stories when she was 37." Ann Friedman

I received the much-hyped "The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion" by Meghan Daum for Christmas, and devoured it immediately. My overall rating ended up being 3 stars. But my experience reading it was more complicated than the 3 star rating lets on. There are 4, and even 5, star essays in this collection, and they were an absolute revelation to read. Right out of the gate, "Matricide" is close to perfect. However, there is also a big ol 1 star-er right in the middle (the essay "Honorary Dyke") that angered, befuddled, and mystified me. And, so, I settled on a 3 star review not in the way I give most things 3 stars - "eh, I liked reading it, but can't say it was remarkable" - and instead with a frustrated shake of my head and a grumble. It feels uncool in this day and age to admit to being offended, and like it ends up seeming like a compliment to the author for their daring nature. But because it's nagging me so much, and because I do think it matters, I'll say it: the essay offended me. Whether it offended me as a queer person or as a similarly privileged white lady who wants to believe we can talk about our experiences with an ounce of awareness and originality, I'm still figuring out. My offense is not a testimony to Daum's daringness in this essay (although she is plenty daring elsewhere), but to her laziness in not thinking through this essay - and her own role - more critically. When the essay stops short of being offensive, it's simply embarrassing. It doesn't reflect the same self awareness and begrudging maturity of the rest of the essays in the collection but, instead, seems plucked from the mind of the 21 year old college kid who is the main focus of the essay. It's clear Daum thinks she's aware of her own position as a (regrettably!) straight lady, but her cliche observations about different types of lesbians, her casual gender essentialism, cool girl misogyny, privileged take on life as a series of joining whatever "teams" she wants, claiming of the word butch for herself (and her decisions about who else might qualify as such), and casual use of the word "trannies" comes across less as knowing irony, and more as oblivious self-indulgence. I'm so freaking disappointed. I was so smitten with this book - so wise, so beautiful, so funny - and particularly loved that the author is in her 40s, and not the sort of 20 something that might write an ode to the dyke she's not - and this essay just....sigh, man. What a bummer. It was such a glaring weak spot in the book and such a disappointment and just exactly what I didn't want from this book. I feel a little bit heart broken about it.


From Dear White Allies: Stop Unfriending Other White People: “This is the time to remember that the outrage you feel can in no way match my own and therefore you have way more emotional capacity than I do to talk some sense into the ‘other side.’ This is the time to remember that your 'solidarity' does not render you powerless; in fact, the entire point of your solidarity is to lend the power you DO have to folks who do not. And by the way, this is the time to remember that you do have power.” h/t Love In The Time of Ferguson.

Great story and storytelling: Dollree Mapp, 1923-2014: “The Rosa Parks of the Fourth Amendment”

Currently reading: "We Are Not Ourselves" by Matthew Thomas. Just read "The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair" which was AWFUL. Recently added to my "too reads" list: "Girl in a Band: A Memoir," by Kim Gordon, "The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion"  by Meghan Daum, "Fire Shut Up in My Bones" by Charles Blow, and "The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace" by Jeff Hobbs.

Image from NYC protest: Eric Garner’s eyes.

Why Poor People Stay Poor: "Because our lives seem so unstable, poor people are often seen as being basically incompetent at managing their lives. That is, it’s assumed that we’re not unstable because we’re poor, we’re poor because we’re unstable. So let’s just talk about how impossible it is to keep your life from spiraling out of control when you have no financial cushion whatsoever. And let’s also talk about the ways in which money advice is geared only toward people who actually have money in the first place."

Always a favorite, always I need reminding: “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” - Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

"History produces not only the forces of domination but also the forces of resistance that press up against and are often the objects of such domination. Which is another way of saying that history, the past, is larger than the present, and is the ever-growing and ongoing possibility of resistance to the present’s imposed values, the possibility of futures not unlike the present, futures that resist and transform what dominates the present." - Elizabeth Grosz


"President Obama, the son of a black man from Kenya, who is part of a mixed status family who had an undocumented aunt and has a formerly undocumented uncle with a conviction, says, "If you're a criminal -- you'll be deported... Felons, not families ... Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who's working hard to provide for her kids." We denounce the President's statement and the insensitive and criminalizing language that needlessly pits people, families, communities and movements against one another. People with felonies have families. People with criminal records have children. Working mothers and their children have been criminalized through gang databases. We are all family and friends...Sadly, President Obama's recent speech fits a historic and racist framework through which we can describe the exclusion and banishment of people with felonies who are detained and deported. It is simply felony disenfranchisement that further strips people of their human rights." People With Felonies, Criminal Records and Gang Affiliation Are Our Friends and Family.

Image: source.

Really thought provoking: I believe Shia LaBeouf – a person doesn’t have to be likable to be a victim: "And if you feel comfortable speculating – as most of the media has for the past decade – that LaBeouf might be grappling with some mental health and/or addiction problems, you should feel just as comfortable believing that mental illness or addiction could have impaired his consent. We are so gleeful with the diagnosis, but so dismissive of the consequences."

Gorgeous and devastating. On grief, love, and life: The American Man: Growing Up, by Thomas Page McBee.

"My son wants me to reassure him, and tell him that of course Darren Wilson will go to jail. At 10 years old, he can feel deep in his bones how wrong it was for the police to kill Michael Brown. 'There will be a trial, at least — right, Mom?' My son is asking me a simple question, and I know the answer. As a civil rights lawyer, I know all too well that Officer Wilson will not be going to trial or to jail. The system is legally rigged so that poor people guilty of relatively minor crimes are regularly sentenced to decades behind bars while police officers who kill unarmed black men almost never get charged, much less serve time in prison." Telling My Son About Ferguson by Michelle Alexander. 

Incredibly powerful: Last Words.