Posted to Twitter just now by a London book blogger: a paragraph of things that I would not miss very much if civilization were to collapse tomorrow, although I’ve mostly enjoyed my time on the Internet and am certain that I’d retain some fond memories of it.
Every day I hope the broken Kensington post office will deliver Emily St. John Mandel’s book to me at last and every day I am disappointed. It’s really just as well because I’m still finishing up this work project. Soon, though, the project will be over and I will be much more focused on my own book, and I will finally be able to read Station Eleven, which, along with Laila Lalami’s The Moor’s Account, is something I’ve been looking forward to rewarding myself with for a long time now.
“ Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.
Inventory #518: Harper’s Vol. 328, No. 1969, June 2014
REGARDING DETECTIVE WORK
My fear and my curiosity battled it out, and my curiosity won. It wasn’t much of a contest, honestly.
—Maud Newton, “America’s Ancestry Craze”
I’ll be appearing with Maud Newton and Peter von Ziegesar this Friday at India House for the season finale of Cafe Society. More information here.
I am nearly speechless with delight! Can’t wait for Friday and to hear Chelsea read.
Join us if you’re free—I’m giving away 50 copies.
“ The alchemy between our genes and our individuality is a mystery we keep trying to solve.
The other day, I had this discussion with a friend where we attempted to identify the most truly definitive 90s pattern in the world. What we came up with (WHITE DAISIES) is deftly presented to you here by Ms. Anderson, looking pleased as punch.
I almost wish the Duchov wasn’t in the shot, smugly distracting us from this classic casual poly-blend button-up. But then again, his plaid shirt has a zipper in place of buttons so we may as well give him a free pass, forever.
Was desperately wishing the other day that I still had these daisy earrings I bought in 1992!
Regram @andreabwalker! I didn’t know for sure that my editor also loved William Maxwell, but I had a feeling. And this bookplate in “Ancestors” from a collector who shares her last name seemed like a good omen. 🌿
“ I have never truly been in love with anyone who couldn’t write a beautiful letter. By beautiful, I mean spontaneous and true, surprising and passionate. I mean that every word feels as though it was written especially for me and that when I reach the end I read the whole thing again, two or three or five times more, without stopping. I mean that I want to bask in the language, or to bathe in it or eat it or have sex with it, or at the very least to put the envelope under my pillow so that if I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it and I want to make sure my favorite part really is as deep or as intimate or delightful as I thought, I can read it again right away….
The Dallas Morning News (whose archives have corroborated family legends of shootings, killings, socialists, and so much more!) runs a partial transcript of my segment from the local NPR affiliate’s Think program about my Harper’s essay on ancestry.
I, too, find it really exciting — finally realizing how we’re all related to one another, finally recognizing that humankind is a brotherhood and sisterhood that can’t be denied.
But there’s a history in the world and even in this country of some pretty terrifying eugenics programs. There were mandatory sterilization laws for “mental defectives,” which was a pretty broad and nebulous category at the beginning of the last century. And, of course, we all know about the Holocaust, which is the ultimate symbol of what can go wrong when this kind of information becomes available and people can classify and categorize and come up with ideas that certain people are less valuable than others.
(Photo of my essay from alexanderchee.)
“ In the world of social media, it can feel bizarre that potent evidence of grieving from one friend is followed so quickly by pictures of oven-fresh cookies from another. But Facebook is generated by algorithms without feelings. It’s not a narrative: The breast cancer went into remission, but the stories of the radiation treatment continue; the lost children remain as photos, woven into the threads of hundreds of lives. The details of everyday life begin to fill in around those threads. The tide brings in status updates; the tide takes them out.
"American prosperity was built on two and a half centuries of slavery, a deep wound that has never been healed or fully atoned for – and that has been deepened by years of discrimination, segregation, and racist housing policies that persist to his day. Until America reckons with the moral debt it has accrued – to generations of black Americans, it will fail to live up to its own ideals."
Go on, Mr. Ta-nehisi Coates, preach. THE CASE FOR REPARATIONS. Go on with your bad self.
Stuff I Like
I’m the kind of person who cries over Who Do You Think You Are episodes.
- “Meanwhile, on Tumblr and Facebook, we seek out the same private sociality that Woolf described. Usually, we think of social media as a forum for...”
- “Introverts don’t get lonely if they don’t socialize with a lot of people, but we do get lonely if we don’t have intimate interactions on a regular...”
On TwitterFollow @maudnewton