letter nine

"Everything tangled in the string of everything else.
When her cat vomited, she thought she heard the word praxis."
(Patricia Lockwood on the communal mind of the internet).


Dear friends,

Warmer weather ahead! Sunshine! As always in Boston, winter seems interminably long, and I haven't packed up my winter coat yet (just in case), but I also pulled out all my denim shorts. Y'know, just in case.

Work things
Rejected from Ford, but had strong supportive reviews, which was still affirming! It would've definitely been nice, but also I feel privileged that this rejection doesn't prevent me from chasing any endeavors I'm excited about right now. Also submitted a module proposal about learning in online communities, which was a really fun exercise in thinking about what readings I care about and what I might be excited to teach to HGSE students. But also autonomy is scary! What is teaching without the context of T550? Anyway, happy to share the syllabus if it's of interest!

Otherwise, just wrapping up the end of spring break. Didn't go anywhere, but slept a lot and worked a lot and also had plenty of time to sit on the couch. Cooked & baked. The usual.

Yoga things
O2 Cambridge is closing 4/30, which is devastating--O2 has been my 3rd place for the last five years, since I moved to Boston. But as I've reminded my students, O2 Somerville is still open and not terribly far away, but I'll be sad that my morning weekend rituals will be gone. My Friday morning astanga crew is a small but mighty group, and my Sunday mornings are always full of laughter. Being able to look around a room of 30 students and realize that you know them all by name and have seen them grow and learn is pretty magical. I hope I'll still see a lot of them around, but you never know.

Other things
Safer spaces for all. Deep burning class rage. Avocado toast, four ways. Affording a room of your own. What to do with your life. The best kind of internet meme. Why new condos all look the same. Cole Sprouse's camera duels IG. Academic writing for clarity and grace.

Working your way out of a food rut.

Reasons to type in lowercase: "Trickery (Slack-related and beyond):
Sometimes typing in lowercase can mean you’re trying to cover your tracks. Slack, the office chat room app, automatically capitalizes the first letter of messages typed on phones. A capitalized Slack message is therefore often a giveaway that someone is away from their desk. Which can be fine — sometimes you’re just commuting — but other times going back and manually re-lowercasing your messages can indicate an attempt to convince people you’re somewhere you’re not."

R.J. Sternberg & collaborators on creativity:
"Creative people habitually (a) look for ways to see problems that other people don't look for, (b) take risks that other people are afraid to take, (c) have the courage to defy the crowd and to stand up for their own beliefs, and (d) seek to overcome obstacles and challenges to their views that other people give in to, among other things."

Ann Friedman endorses:
"Kacey Musgraves' "High Horse" as the soundtrack to all fawning 2020-primary coverage of Beto (or Biden or Bernie for that matter). These men are, in Kacey's words, classic in the wrong way. It doesn't cut it to say you're aware of your privilege. For that acknowledgement to be meaningful, you have to actually make some sacrifices and check your ego. You don’t just get to say you’re a good guy while acting like every previous generation of entitled men.

What do I want these guys to do with the national spotlight that, somehow, keeps refocusing on them? I want them to take a cue from Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams, who also lost very prominent races last year. Gillum and Abrams are dedicated to the long-haul, unsexy work of trying to change the system and improve things at the state level. But I guess some people just feel "called" to put themselves at the center. Classic
."

What are y'all reading? Thinking about? Working on? Send recs!

-p.