…the garden did not start out as metaphor. It started out as paradise. Then, as now, the garden is about life and beauty and the impermanence of all living things. The garden is about feeding your children, providing food for the tribe. It’s part of an urgent territorial drive that we can probably trace back to animals storing food. It’s a competitive display mechanism, like having a prize bull, this greed for the best tomatoes and English tea roses; it’s about winning, about providing society with superior things, and about proving that you have taste and good values and you work hard. And what a wonderful relief every so often to know who the enemy is—because in the garden, the enemy is everything: the aphids, the weather, time. And so you pour yourself into it, care so much, and see up close so much birth and growth and beauty and danger and triumph—and then everything dies anyway, right? But you just keep doing it.—Anne Lamott
—found in Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (1994)
funest · /fju:ˈnɛst/ · /fyoo-NEST/. adjective. Causing or portending death or disaster. Catastrophic, calamitous, lamentable. From French funest, same meaning, from Latin fūnus (funeral, death). See also: funestal, funestous.[Read more…]
- Gregory Prescott’s portraits
- I practically never hype a book before reading it, much less before it’s been published, but this case deserves an exception. Allie Brosh, author of Hyperbole and a Half—the book and the blog, where two pieces appeared that I’ve written about before because they changed my life (Adventures in Depression and Depression Part Two)—has a new book coming out. This is fantastic news in its own right, but also because it confirms that Allie is out there and still writing, after dropping out of sight for nearly seven years! → Solutions and Other Problems.
- “Each year, some choose to ‘disappear’ and abandon their lives, jobs, homes and families. In Japan, there are companies that can help those looking to escape into thin air.” → The companies that help people vanish ※ Based on this video.
- Van Gogh, Jesus Christ, Napoleon…and Lady Liberty? → bas uterwijk uses AI to create portraits of famous historical figures
- The Oxford English Dictionary labs have released a new tool that takes texts of up to 500 words and visualizes the words’ origins, date of first usage and etymology. Fascinating (and fast)! → OED Text Visualizer Thanks, Reader B!
- Drowning in plastic: Visualising the world’s addiction to plastic bottles
- Never Say Wolf: How taboo language turned the wolf into a monster.
- This week’s curiosity cluster → For the Love of Mail: Letter Writing in a Pandemic ※ WhatsApp is fun, but nothing beats the inky, intimate thrill of a letter ※ We love their books but these letters between writers and editors showcase a dying art form ※ RealSnailMail ※ China combats ‘seven year itch’ with love letter service ※ A Letter Is In Fact the Only Device for Combining Solitude and Good Company | Quote Investigator
- Accumulation and its discontents
- Today in 1916, the first self-service grocery store (in the US, anyway), a Piggly Wiggly, is founded in Memphis, Tennessee. In addition to being the first true self-service grocery, they were also the first, for obvious reasons, to mark all individual items with prices, and invented shopping carts and checkout stands.
► Planemah is “a trippy allegory about desire, ruthlessness and failing.”
Julian Assange (because he’s still a thing?) ☡ Covid spreading wedding (because the bonds that bind us) ☡ school re-openings (because it’s complicated) ☡ Amazon drones (because they should unionize) ☡ Facebook political ad ban (because horse, barn door)
- Reader B.: “1. exclaiming abruptly ‘I must mizzle!’ really sounds like the speaker has to pee, not flee. ¶ 2: returning to a text and finding it changed… I dimly recall the term; ‘fundability’ to describe a text revealing more on a reread, but can’t find my notes. ¶ 3: Turrell is gorgeous.”
- Reader K.: “Your quote from Halldór Laxness made me think of him for the first time in years. Have you read him? I loved his novel Independent People, when I read it 40 years ago, and I’m thinking I should read more of his work. Reminds me of Knut Hamsun (an even more complicated guy), whose work I read and loved about the same time.” — Independent People is the only Laxness I have read…so far. I’ve read a bit more Hamsun, but Hunger is the one that sticks with me, and a book everyone should read.
- Reader M.: “Those were some good Reddit forums (err, subreddits). Here are some you missed! Nature is F***ing Lit, Oddly Specific, Next F***ing Level, Aww, Made Me Smile, and Murdered by Words.”