199. READ. LOOK. THINK.
Disowning my work and the person who had done that work, daydreaming, sapphic style, why we cringe, NRx, fawning in the face of fear, 🐀 lifestyle update.
This is the 199th RLT!
'I have learned to need the body/ I spent years trying to rid the world of'. salvage by Rachel McKibbens.
'I had a space of my own to work in, there in that place, and though I could have spent all my time in it, I continued to behave as I always had, rising early in the morning and writing while the others were asleep, then disowning my work and the person who had done that work for the rest of the day.' Cusk
Leslie Jamison on daydreaming.
'We derive comfort not only from the content of stories but also from their structure—the fact that one event always follows another. Stories assert that things will always happen, that life will go on. Perhaps übernovels are expressing what we all intuitively feel: that a great interruption awaits us. The unceasing locomotion of events that has powered human history will end abruptly, and the next epoch will require us to tease meaning and coherence from oblivion. We will lose faith in the comforts and assurances of stories. We will have to start from scratch, to figure out how to fashion a new mode of being. Perhaps these novelists are asking us to start practicing now.'
'Last year I became convinced I did not know how to write. It wasn’t a lightning strike of insight so much as it was like waking up to find my house on fire and dimly recalling that a really long time ago I forgot to blow out a candle.'
When art goes global, it loses something. Do enough writers ‘[care] enough not to try to cater and optimize every word toward the biggest audience possible'?
'When mainstream culture addressed books by Black writers, people stopped talking about what it meant to be alive, or about beauty and pleasure. They talked about the books like they were high in fiber. Or they barely talked about the books beyond how important it was for us to talk about them and how good we were for doing it.'
I've pre-ordered Either/Or on audio because it’s read by Elif Batuman!
Currently reading: Cold Enough for Snow by Jessica Au, Disorder: Hard Times in the 21st Century by Helen Thompson (from Talking Politics, a podcast I had an increasingly fractious one-sided relationship with but miss a lot now it’s gone).
And The Palace Papers, the new Tina Brown ❣️
‘Seeing a straight-identifying woman wearing overalls, Tevas, and a bandana is somewhat disorienting, sure.’ Sapphic style is going mainstream / 'If femininity is a devalued form of expression then anyone can get in on it. But if masculinity is a protected and privileged form of expression, then there will be restrictions on who can do it.' On kings.
Prince Charles as style icon…
Overcast has had a redesign and is such a nice way to listen to podcasts, sorry if I’ve already said this.
How to turn any vegetable into a pasta sauce.
Children's enamel dining set, BLESS.
This made me buy an electric toothbrush.
‘Most music came from really abject origins. It doesn’t come from comfortable surroundings. So it’s not like ‘let’s make it accessible so some lower-class people can join in’. That’s where the power of it is coming from. The thing that makes it exciting, that takes you away, is that it’s come from frustration and somebody wants to blast through it into somewhere else.’ Jarvis Cocker
The cult of the dissociative pout.
We cringe at others when they remind us of what we hate in ourselves.
'Domesticity is a luxury. I work from home, for myself: I get to dawdle over a pot of beans, mix up tortilla dough, and mop during my downtime. When my husband gets home, I often ask him to make a martini for me to sip on while I cook. It’s all a beautiful little fantasy, until sometimes it isn’t.'
"I found out that all these people had been reading NRx stuff just like me. They just never told anyone about it...It has been very striking to me... how cool this world is becoming." (NRx means neo-reactionary.)
"Brain worms," then, carries with it implications of unthinking obsession, cognitive decay, and a fundamental loss of control. You are at the mercy of your brain worms, which circulate in your mind, slowly consuming it until nothing is left but the worms.
A study has shown that privileged people misjudge the effects of pro-equality policies on them. 'The work paints a pretty dark picture for those trying to convince people to support policies designed to reduce intergroup inequality.' New Scientist
'… we are all caught up in an ongoing conflict between the caring and uncaring sides of our psyches. And when a rigid, narcissistically entitled mindset prevails, people can exhibit exceptionalist behaviours – which, in turn, [Sally Weintrobe] argues, are responsible for environmental destruction across the globe.'
The role of the parent is to coach a nervous system to cope with being human in the world.
Criticism hits different if you've had a bad childhood.
The 'staggering' economic burden of PTSD.
Why we fawn in the face of fear. I was so moved to read this piece by Grace Tame about a commonly misunderstood trauma response / [Australian Labor leader] Anthony Albanese in conversation with Grace Tame (imagine having a Prime Minister who can have a normal human conversation/talk about emotions/draw links between the past and present?)
I’m having a little break from the internet now, especially my Instagram, which I love, but became hectic for me when my novel was published ten weeks ago, and my brain started saying mildly unhinged things like “only six nice DMs today????” To write I have to feel like a rat creeping on the margins of life and peering into the well-lit homes of others. In some ways that’s exactly what browsing Instagram is like?! But instead of being the rat I had somehow become the well-lit home? Which felt so nice for a while. Sadly to write again I must live the rodent life!! 🐀
Don’t forget you can still buy my actual book A Great Hope! ‘Stanley cleverly walks the line between showing her readers the genuinely awful things each of them says and does while also, often quite against the odds, rendering them sympathetic in their individual complexity and nuance’ — that’s something nice written about it in The West Australian! Australians can buy it anywhere, the best site for people outside Australia to get is Readings.
The next READ.LOOK.THINK. will be the 200th, and it will take a while to come out, but I hope when it does it will be somehow better than usual, as befits that august milestone.
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