Hello, everyone. It's Friday. Here are some things that mattered to me recently:
- In his newsletter a couple of weeks ago, Jamelle Bouie wrote about the ineffectiveness of non-voting as a means of pressuring political candidates. This may be obvious to many people, but in case it isn't, I thought he laid out very well why it doesn't work.
- I spent some time recently catching up on podcasts from earlier in lockdown, and this episode of VS with Chris Abani was great. Such an interesting discussion of how language shapes one's understanding of space and time.
- Alexander Chee wrote about the Japanese occupation of Korea, and how the scars of that time are still felt, both in his family and in Korea and the Korean diaspora. For me, learning about the occupation of Korea changed a lot about how I understood Japan and Japanese-ness and Japanese American-ness. Reading this, it deepens that new understanding, but also makes me think about how our understanding of America and American-ness is changing and must change.
- In a recent installment of his newsletter The Reading, Yanyi wrote about acknowledging the pain of living through world change, and the need and desire for community. It was exceptionally generous, I thought.
- Hai-Dang Phan's poem "My Father's "Norton Introduction to Literature," Third Edition (1981)" is about language and migration and family, the power of literature and (I think) its limitations. Such a beautiful, amazing poem.
- Finally, Jesmyn Ward wrote about personal loss and collective grief, about how the pandemic and protests and our responses to them are both individual and shared, intimate and massive. What a gift this essay is.
As always, this is just a portion of what mattered to me recently. It is a lot, this feeling of being broken by the world again and again, and more and more. It is a lot, and too much, to where we feel we cannot go on. And yet you do. I see you.
Thank you, and take care.