February 14, 2020

Finding the things that you love

Today is Valentine’s Day, and so I’m asking you to write a love letter.

Last week, L and I went to a pop-up supper club hosted by a very talented couple who make North Nigerian cuisine. I didn’t know what to expect when I walked in, but I was quickly blown away: not only was the food incredibly delicious and cooked with love, but the group assembled at the supper club was amazingly diverse—the room was filled with people with an immense variety of backgrounds and histories and perspectives, all celebrating each other around a long table, where we all sat together to enjoy this very special meal.

The supper club reminded me that though this city infuriates me often (and though our elected officials seem to continue to do everything in their power to make our city worse instead of better), it is still filled with small gems, small delights—wonderful people, delightful events, surprising and joy-giving experiences—that make me appreciate, and even love, this city where I live.

It’s hard for me, sometimes, to say that I love this city, but I do, and events like last week’s supper club remind me that I need to voice that love, express that gratitude, more often.

Today, on Valentine’s Day, I’m asking you to do the same: what are the small things that make you love where you are, who you are, and what you do? Take a moment to articulate that gratitude, to show that love, and to really let it wash over you as you go through the weekend ahead. It is, of course, that love that will carry us all forward, together.

Three (short) poems

from Black Oaks
Mary Oliver

Today is a day like any other: twenty-four hours, a little sunshine, a little rain. Listen, says ambition, nervously shifting her weight from one boot to another―why don’t you get going? For there I am, in the mossy shadows, under the trees. And to tell the truth I don’t want to let go of the wrists of idleness, I don’t want to sell my life for money, I don’t even want to come in out of the rain.

— — —

My Words to You
Jean Valentine

My words to you are the stitches in a scarf
I don’t want to finish
maybe it will come to be a blanket
or a net to hold you here

love not gone anywhere

— — —

Frederick Seidel

Snow is what it does.
It falls and it stays and it goes.
It melts and it is here somewhere.
We all will get there.

There is no neutrality in racism: we are either racist or antiracist. The mantra of do what you love” assumes that your self-actualization is tied to your economic effectiveness, and that’s worth dissecting. Punctuation evolved a lot since the advent of writing and then the printing press; what will the next evolution of punctuation look like? A new executive order could make classical architecture the preferred and default style” for America’s public buildings, and that might end up being a big mistake. The Oscars suddenly look like evidence of white flight, this reliable suburb of quality’ and taste’ and eligibility. A man, a plan, a canal, Panama. My daily journaling practice. The pervasive assumption that the past was overwhelmingly white and male is wrong, and we shouldn’t give filmmakers working in historical genres a pass for their lack of diversity. Twitter micro-games, like the ones created by Tara Oono, are an example of taking advantage of the constraints of a medium to create glorious art. A big part of the reason I stopped watching football a few years ago is because the sport is a racially-biased public health crisis. Speaking of public health, the erosion of funding in that specialty is something that should leave us all concerned. Shouldn’t we be moving from the concept of self-care to a broader, more inclusive notion of collective care? More and more of our friends are getting in to puzzling—is Instagram to credit for the rise in puzzles as a hobby? We don’t need a new espresso machine, but if we did, I’d love this one. The controversy around American Dirt is perfectly encapsulated through biting satire. A wonderful way to learn about a city is to draw all roads in any city all at once.

William Lane Architects designed 5 lifeguard towers to replace those towers that were lost in Hurricane Andrew, and they are stunning:

Lifeguard tower on Miami Beach designed by William Lane architects

This simple way of solving quadratic equations would have been a game-changer when I was in school:

This video of Happy Birthday” played in the styles of ten different classical composers is mesmerizing. I’d be happy to hear any of these renditions (especially the Satie one) played for me next week:

As always, Poorly Drawn Lines does so much in its brevity:

Poorly Drawn Lines comic saying Shit, I just started thinking of stuff

Wishing you all an immense amount of love as you go through the weeks ahead. Until next time, my friends.

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