July began with a glimpse of Venus and sparklers on the third. I turned 23 with Thai iced tea and white wine, sang bad karaoke during an Ybor bar crawl, watched the owner of an old Greek diner to do magic tricks at our table. I read Blackout and Blankets and bought too many books on a trip to DC. Now, apparently, the school year has begun, and fall approaches in its plodding way, though I'm enough of a novice here that all the months seem to melt into each other. It's all a bit unceremonious.
"In history and literature, the spinster is not typically cool and stylish like Bolick’s glamorous 'awakeners.' She is often weird, difficult, dissonant, queer — like an unnerving dream, or a pungent dose of smelling salts. And her social and emotional life is not primarily oriented around the familiar forms of straight romance."
Reaching my autistic son through Disney. I was told I'd cry and I did. One of the best stories I've read all year.
Just some light summer reading: the unnerving, convincing New Yorker story about the earthquake that, before long, will devastate a huge swath of the Pacific Northwest.
"It’s more the case that Antrim’s fictional universe is different. It doesn’t bend toward justice, not even the kind that knows there is none but sort of hopes art can provide absolution. His universe bends — it is definitely bent — but always toward greater absurdity (in both funny and frightening guises)." John Jeremiah Sullivan writes a perfect profile of Donald Antrim.
"I once brought the conversation at a dinner party to a halt by saying that if everyone I knew died tomorrow, I wouldn’t be undone, because I’d still have the streets of New York, where, sooner or later, almost every form of human expressiveness is on display and I am free to look it right in the face, or avert my eyes if I wish, let my jaw drop, offer it an ice cream, or call the cops—as the mood takes me." How to be alone: a guide.
"Depression calls on resources some women have and some women don’t, including a capacity to hatch intimacy out of despair. Wanting to love your child is not the same thing as loving your child, but there is a lot of love even in the wanting."
Beatlemaniacs 50 years later / Tig / Reimagined covers for classics by women / The Jefferson Grid / New York in June / LA dreamscapes / Kids need boredom / Down with LEGO kits / A safari through Tanzania / Keith Haring's Unfinished Painting / The airplane guy / 1970s Americana / Brownstone dreams.
"However dispassionately delivered, all of this amounts to a lament, the scientist's version of the mothers who stand on hillsides and keen over the death of their sons." Ballad of the sad climatologists.
Learn to be hot. Learn to be cold.
Death and anger on Everest: more and more Westerners clog the mountain, while more and more Sherpas die in increasingly dangerous conditions.
Suicide on campus and the pressure of perfection.
After reading and becoming somewhat obsessed with Edinburgh, I've been rereading some Alexander Chee essays. Here's one about his time as a cater-waiter for an extravagantly rich society couple ("When you’re a waiter, clients usually treat you like human furniture. The result is that you see them in unguarded moments, and that, I liked") and one about what getting his MFA at Iowa meant to him ("I still have a waiter check with an outline for my novel on it that came to me while I waited for my section to be sat. I wrote it, it was all that mattered").
Songs on repeat: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6.
"I felt like I was committing a sin, destroying one of the few connections I had with the girl, whose spirit I suspected could be kept alive through her possessions. But I was also pissed off that I had been inconvenienced by her death — a late move-in, a dirty apartment littered with worn-out junk, restless nights. I wanted to sleep; I wanted my selfish summer." Living in the dead girl's room.
Best apartment tour / Late August / JFK's favorite photo of himself / How Emily St. John Mandel edited Station Eleven / A home in Paris with really good rugs / A food critic cooks on vacation / Performative female friendship / Silent history / The Craigslist Killers / A speck in the sea / Walk more.
"It's everything you want in a story — consequential, evolving, complicated. This work will matter in a way that so many other stories don't or won't. But this beat has also been distressing and unrelenting. I've come uncomfortably close to handing in my resignation, asking to cover anything but this." How black reporters cover black death.
The 199 Most Donald Trump Things Donald Trump Has Ever Said. And the strange world of presidential campaign reporting.
"When we’re too angry to touch each other, we’ll still both touch Sadie." How a kitten eased my partner's depression.
Oddly specific fears for one's children, including "My daughter becomes the #2 in a mean girl trio" and "My children become committed, but utterly talentless, folk singers/poets."
Life in the Anthropocene!