**pls forgive the disgusting way i’m using en- and em-dashes in this post**
here’s some of what i consumed this month:
i finished reading the following:
the virgin suicides, by jeffrey eugenides (if u like scott pilgrim u will probs like this one)
the death of the artist, by william deresiewicz (great, hefty nonfic work)
afterparties, by anthony veasna so (electrifying, cataclysmic, delightful)
the love hypothesis, by ali hazelwood (prose went down easy)
conversations with friends, by sally rooney (reread; love)
perks of being a wallflower, by stephen chbosky (reread; also love)
olga dies dreaming, by xóchitl gonzález (compelling, complex look at the interplay of politics and family; also learned a lot about puerto rico)
i started reading the book of isaiah (from le bible) last year and finished it this month. what i found most compelling about it is its imagery: hands full of blood, sins like scarlet, silver turned to dross, spirits of burning, the growling of the sea. there’s also just massive amounts of scathing language, like from the last verse of chapter 3 –– “stop regarding man / in whose nostrils is breath / for of what account is he?” the viscerality of God’s anger towards the people of israel is expansive and overwhelming, and when juxtaposed with the oft-quoted isaiah 53, those famous passages about Jesus – a servant whose appearance is marred, one who had no form or majesty, no beauty, a man of sorrows – feel like a startling, but welcome, about-face towards grace.
fun articles that i enjoyed:
terry nguyen’s jack harlow thirst explainer
e. alex jung’s vulture profile of mitski
dhananjay jagannathan’s substack post on marriage
i also keep thinking about this 2015 piece on carly rae jepsen by jia tolentino for the awl. it so perfectly encapsulates carly’s music that it makes me like...aghast. like it empties all the thoughts in my head except for the word “totipotency.” speechless.
this month it’s been hard for me to consume film and tv, bc i’ve been having trouble doing things that don’t actively engage my brain in some way. but i watched cleo from 5 to 7 bc i’ve always wanted to watch an agnès varda film, and i actually really liked it. i also started watching freaks and geeks and got like 7 episodes in; it’s FANTASTIC, but feels like a predecessor of bo burnham’s eighth grade in that it relies heavily on high school awkwardness to propel the episodes forward. i have to be in a *very specific* mood in order to receive that.
this month i’ve been listening to more bob dylan (the freewheelin’ bob dylan is the first full album i listened to in 2022) and indie rock (i’m in my early-2010s pitchfork phase; “when the sun hits” by slowdive landed on my 2022 playlist). other projects i listened to this month in their entirety:
emotions and math, by margaret glaspy
paramore, by paramore
rapunzel, by dhruv
black coffee, by delacey
emotion side b, by carly rae jepsen
flight risk, by tommy lefroy
one foot in front of the other, by griff (perpetually on repeat)
have also been dipping my toe into stuff from soundcloud; vibing to this song from addison road which, despite being too on-the-nose in a 2010-Christian-music way, still hits; & marveling at this beaut from dora jar (who is going to be a star).
i also exclusively listened to the track “head on fire” by griff and sigrid for like 48 hours straight when it came out. it very wonderfully captures what it means to be caught in an upsweep of feeling, comparable to taylor swift’s “gold rush” and the entirety of carly rae jepsen’s discography. contained within “head on fire” is a sense of rapture, the pause and crash in the chorus –– the oh / i / think / i’m / losing / my / MIND –– and then the looming sense of crash and burn. if & when i see it performed live, i will lose my mind.
vignettes (last section! promise!)
this month, i:
played wordle for like three days, then failed it two days in a row & gave up.
have been trying to broaden my vocal range by singing the alicia keys part in “empire state of mind” when i’m alone in the car (the scene that plays in my head when i’m doing this is from the d’amelio show on hulu when dixie is trying to learn how to sing). i can’t actually hit the high note but it’s very fun to try.
briefly considered buying a “live, laugh, love” pillow with kim jong un’s face on it, then briefly considered buying a “live, laugh, love” tapestry with pitbull’s face on it.
hit 45k words on the third draft of my book.
learned that lush sells – i kid you not – “big eggplant” bath bombs.
i also struggled to write a piece on sally rooney all month and, at one point, composed the following question in earnest:
when i went back to edit i laughed at myself for a solid 20 mins. but it was also like, lol, pain.
much of this month was hard and chaotic, and my mind has been wrestling with insurmountable feelings of futility so hard that it feels like it’s slowly fraying. we (me and my public and private personas) have been trying to practice healthy coping mechanisms, though, one of which has been reading poetry.
with that, i will leave you with this one from rainer maria rilke:
We’re only mouth. Who sings the distant heart
that dwells whole at the core of all things?
Its great pulse is parceled out among us
into tiny beatings. And its great pain
is, like its great jubilation, too much for us.
So again and again we tear ourselves loose
and are only mouth. But all at once
the great heartbeat secretly breaks in on us
so that we scream…
and then are being, transformation, visage.
i loved it the moment i read it. isn’t it beautiful?