166. READ.LOOK.THINK.

A piece that will give you back a sense of hope. Celia Paul. Parent detective work. Risk assessments. Instant Pot yay/nay? Sleepovers. “I’ll be your family.”

Dear friends,

You might have missed this perfect, deceptively simple little piece in the New York Times. It helped reshape my entire thinking about climate change. When I shared it on my Instagram Stories many people said it helped them too.

Here is how it ends:

As we fight, it is important for our mental health and motivation to have an image in mind of our goal: a realistically good future.

Imagine dense but livable cities veined with public transit and leafy parks, infrastructure humming away to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, fake meat that tastes better than the real thing, species recovering and rewilding the world, the rivers silver with fish, the skies musical with flocking birds.

This is a future where the economic inequality, racism and colonialism that made decades of inaction on climate change possible has been acknowledged and is being addressed. It is a time of healing. Many ecosystems have changed, but natural resilience and thoughtful human assistance is preventing most species from going extinct. This is a future in which children don’t need to take to the streets in protest and alarm, because their parents and grandparents took action. Instead, they are climbing trees.

This future is still possible.

How to stop freaking out and tackle climate change: a five-step plan to deal with the stress and become part of the solution, by Emma Marris.

READ.

Two amazing pieces of writing where a parent becomes a detective to decode or solve an aspect of their child’s behaviour. 1. Keith Gessen. 2. Rivka Galchen.

I thought
that pain meant
I was not loved.
It meant I loved.

First Memory, Louise Glück.

“It was a conundrum. In many nonavalanche-terrain scenarios, if a person falls into a heuristic trap, the outcome isn’t death.” Hard to think anything further up my alley than this piece by Heidi Julevits about avalanches and risk assessment.

"... congratulating yourself for toughness is much less important than making a world where toughness isn’t necessary".

“… I was more worried about my own body’s aging process than his, anticipating the day I’d be too old for him, an irony after having started out, on some levels, too young for him.”

Instagram felt innocent by comparison. No one I knew cared about it or made a living on it. The people who confessed a troubled relationship with the platform were visual artists, which I was not; prone to FOMO, which was not my flavor of social anxiety; or influencers concerned with a standard of perfection that was not my standard, and so I felt immune.”

"It is worthwhile to point to the absences, the silences, the erasures in stories. But the questions should be an invitation to creation, not an end to conversation."

"Blankson-Wood improvised a ‘‘tisk-tisk’’ sound against the back of his teeth, the way you’d call a cat. It was delicately, compellingly dirty, and the production staff sitting around the edges of the room made sounds of instinctual approval."

"At real stripper bars women just dance—so many things/ they could be checking off their lists. I guess men don’t want / to see women work? They get that at home?"

The magic and mystery of childhood sleepovers.

“Pregnancy became an invisible cloak I hid inside with lofty ideas of who I would become once my baby arrived.”

2019 Diaries: Alan Bennett. Helen Garner.

I loved this book: Self-Portrait by Celia Paul. The bit where Lucian Freud orders a coffee, and the waiter doesn’t hear him: better than any novel.

LOOK. A partial list of Rome. | One step closer to buying an Instant Pot. | “data is no use; it’s too late,” she says wearily. | The meat-lover’s guide to eating less meat. | Instagram Face.

THINK.

This is not an optimistic piece, but I felt relieved to have my own fears clearly stated: The darkness where the future should be. (Scroll back up and read the vision of the future there afterwards. Also read this: "In that moment I just felt so clearly that I was seeing the future. A future where someone like Noli is a leader. A better time than now.")

And this, by Gary Younge: In these bleak times, imagine a world where you can thrive.

Intentional communities.

Protests don’t seem to be working. What can the Left learn from churchgoers?

If your family doesn’t want to be your family, come to me,” Andy thought when he sent out an open invitation for dinner that night on Facebook and Telegram. “I’ll be your family.”

The 2010 riots remembered by someone who participated: "The feeling was immense, I'm not going to lie to you. For once, the streets were unified, were one. All these different gangs were standing together. People who were usually shooting each other were working together. It was unreal."

"... I dive right in, trying to grasp at some false sense of power that I know has been used against me a thousand times in another life."

Attachment, and how psychotherapy gives you the chance to reach back and repair your earliest emotional bonds.

"The idea is that you don’t show too much, because you’re destroying your patient’s capacity to have fantasies about you. My perspective is that nothing destroys anyone’s capacity to have a fantasy, and certainly not about their analyst."

Two amazing books: Trauma and Recovery | The Body Keeps the Score.

I love Alex Ronan’s writing. A deeply empathetic 360 degree story about neonaticide.

I’m starting a section of Story highlights on my Instagram about what I’m reading. Join me!

Jess X