“Here, this is my theatre.” Motherly effort, winterising yourself, readers and writers kissing like two fish, Daddy Issues and traumatic narcissism, Simone Rocha’s brother’s cooking

“The designer comes to this compact one-bedroom, one-bathroom bolthole — with its sweeping views of the city that take in the Villa Medici and the magni cent Altare della Patria — to be on her own, “to write, to think, to dream”. She moved in eight years ago, for an escape from the home she shares with her husband in another part of Rome. “Here, this is my theatre,” Orsini explains. “For most of my life, I have thought only of my husband and son; now it is time to sometimes think only for me.”

Hello friends,

I only sometimes get in the mood to do one of these so when I do, I just do it! Here we go —


“The effort I made was mostly in setting up the right environment and getting to a place where – it sounds strange to say – I could believe myself as I was performing. Most of the effort was a motherly kind of effort to myself. Letting myself take the time that I needed to think. There is a lot of effort and thought put into something that may come out as a primal scream ’cause you’re giving yourself the conditions to be able to scream and have it sound welcoming. It’s an effort to get out of my own way.”

“ I hadn’t realised I’d winterised myself. I hadn’t realised I’d wasted so much time. I’ve been saving love for a special occasion, like a bottle of wine I’d hung onto, even though it would not age well. I’d given my pretty years to no one.”

Celia Paul’s Diary for the LRB (it will make you want to read her amazing book. I wonder how she is going in lockdown in her flat overlooking the British Museum? Probably loving it.) | Alan Bennett’s 2020 diary!

“If you revise something 20 times, for a mysterious reason, it becomes more social, empathic and compassionate.” / “… in the moment of reading, the writer comes up to the surface and the reader comes up to the surface and they kiss, like two fish.” George Saunders interviewed by Zadie Smith.

I’m so fascinated by the Australian writer Charlotte Wood. (She has a really measured, almost stern but compassionate vibe when she talks.) I was so intrigued to listen to her episode of How to Own the Room podcast and discover that this was a choice. She imagined women she’d looked up to in public life (I would bet so much that Helen Garner was one) and aimed to become more like them. A great interview.

Gripped by Katherine Angel’s Daddy Issues (and this, on traumatic narcissism). And I think I have mentioned this quite a lot, sorry if I have, but I’ve now read it about four times and still love Francesca Wade’s Square Haunting.


Did you know you can subscribe to lots of Substack newsletters and view them as an RSS feed, like the old good internet?

Simone Rocha’s brother’s cooking instagram / his ham and vegetable broth..!

Bridie Hall’s house in BOBT — her collection of volcano paintings! I have to warn everyone that at some point I will be copying those bookshelves.

Nigella’s old fashioned sandwich loaf smells like Brumby’s Bakery outside Nightcliff Woolworths in Darwin NT. (That’s a good thing.)

If you haven’t watched High Maintenance I think it would really calm and elevate and intrigue you at any time but especially these unprecedented ones. I am doing it on Amazon, regretfully. It may be elsewhere. Do you remember Emily’s profile of Katja Blichfeld?


Whenever there’s “stuff happening” in America I refollow Maggie Haberman. She was intense on Fresh Air.

In the last eleven months, probably ten years’ work has been done.’ The great project: how Covid changed science forever.

“I’d finally caught an extreme case of self-consciousness that I probably should’ve had all along but that the rules of engagement on Instagram had given me permission to override.” / “Friends with far fewer followers than I have tell me they feel hesitation about posting because they don’t know if they’ve ticked all the boxes, if the comments will be hostile or demand further information (even simply “Recipe?” can cause anxiety). There seems to be an informal decree to no longer let people exist on social media as they want to exist: Instead, constant explanation and information is demanded.”

“…for many people, voice is contingent - as soon as the problems are satisfactorily resolved they stop complaining and go back to living their daily lives. But a subset of people will never stop complaining. When a problem becomes less severe, they switch to a different problem. And they will always find some problem that they feel requires their vocal complaint. That subset - the people who will never stop complaining and giving negative feedback - are the Shouting Class.”

“Like poison, the revenge memoir is a weapon of the weak. A person unlikely to prevail in an open fight will naturally resort to indirect methods…”

Who did JK Rowling become? (How the “experience of womanhood that anti-trans feminists present often seems to be defined by fear.”)

“Only if you admit your ambivalence even towards those you love most is there the faintest chance that you will reach out across the world to everyone, including your putative enemies”.

Who do you follow on IG or Twitter who likes the same sort of stuff as I like only is cooler than me and less jaded? I need some new stimulus (but don’t we all). Please do share if you have any tips. Comment me @dailydoseofjess on IG and Twitter.