Week 1


Words, words, everywhere, nor any book to read

Since starting a library masters program (along with my full time library job), I predictably have almost no time for pleasure reading. I did, however, finally finish The Story of San Michele, which is a delightful, vaguely haunting memoir by Axel Munthe published in 1929. Chunks of self-assuredly frank narrative are sewn together with silver hairs of magical realism, and now I want to restore an old chapel and move to Italy with my life. Munthe's story is meandering and unreal (altogether like Italy herself), and I highly suggest picking up your copy at San Michele on Capri, as I wish I had done when my partner and I visited last year. As it is, I'm holding on to my library copy until the tides of life tear away the wisps of Italy that still cling to my psyche.

And speaking of library copies, I did something pretty remarkable this week and purchased a book I have never read. As a low waste, minimalist cheapskate, I am very particular about the possessions I acquire new, but Joanne McNeil's recommendation of Shaun Prescott's The Town in her newsletter hit a very particular series of buttons in the ol' lizard brain, and before I knew it I was paying half again the price of the book to have it shipped from an indie publisher in Australia. I'll let you know how it is after I get it read in six months to a year.


Desire paths and Dessa

I'm a sucker for pop music, doubly so for the 90's noir angry female sub-genre. Short little repeating pieces with lyrics that read like something I would have copied down from my undergrad poetry class are tops. "Poor Atlas" by Dessa is a melancholy little poem that has been rattling around my head the past couple weeks.

I'm building a body
from balsam and ash.
I'm building a body
with no god attached.
I'm building a body
from blueprints in braille.
I'm building a body
where our design had failed.
There's a book full of plans
at the feet of poor Atlas,
titled "For Man,"
but the architects only drew blanks.
Now there's nowhere to go
but go back.

I learned last week about desire paths, the packed dirt where feet and wheels have strayed from concrete in search of more convenient passage, and connected the idea with "Poor Atlas". What a glorious manifestation of self-architecture! What representation of the vitality - messy, sticky, organic - of choice! To see a plan before you, hollow and impotent, and to say, No thank you, I think I will pave my own way, seems to me a beautiful act of micro-affirmation.


Read this, not that

While I am relieved that The Hustle is more frequently being exposed as a scam with good PR, articles like this get my blood up in a bad way. Not that I'm not eternally grateful that the term "toil glamour" is now in my life...but masticating the gristle of societal issues without offering more positive ways to navigate the world is bleak as hell. As an alternative, I would like to offer "How I Got My Attention Back" by Craig Mod, a piece that discusses the "long and shitty con" of technology attention hijacking while also asking, but what if we didn't? I, for one, am encouraged by the only modern success story that matters - knowing that it is possible to put our little black shit boxes down for a few days and remember what it's like to be a human being.


Thank you for sharing with me the most value able asset we each posses, your time. I hope you have a lovely week.


...if you dare.