This Email is Not Trying to Sell You Things!
EXCITING DEVELOPMENT ALERT
Hello and I hope the Monday scaries are being kind to you. Perhaps you would like a non-monetary distraction? Here I am, just for you. Here are the things I’ve been thinking about lately:
This incredible convo between Kiese Laymon and Tressie Mcmillan Cottom on revision. There are so many good things in there, I enjoyed listening to it twice - once by itself and once while I read the transcript. Particularly for the gift from one essay Kiese wrote previously:
I thought he was talking about revision, a word our professors and high school teachers believe necessitated us, reducing all of our Black rhetorical abundance into meager ass absolutes. In my own sloppy work on and off the page, I was beginning to understand revision as a dynamic practice of revisitation premised on ethically reimagining the ingredients, scope and primary audience of one’s initial vision.
Revision required witnessing and testifying. Witnessing and testifying required rigorous attempts at remembering and imagining. If revision was not God, revision was everything every god ever asked of believers.
Thinking so much about revision as I crawl through the last of this round for my manuscript. I love being edited, but I hate revisions. So much! SO MUCH. Do you have any advice for me? Mostly I am learning that therapy is essential, and that the first rounds are more valuable than the 34th…usually.
Neema Githere’s work is incredible, have been sending this convo on boundaries as invitation rather than limitation to my friends for weeks.
Amy O’Dell as beauty writer! On Ariana Grande’s Zoom Manipulation. I love Ari (and I maintain the bragging rights of introducing her to her favorite tattoo artist) but I totally agree with what Amy said here. As beauty writers, we have an obligation to ask interesting questions - otherwise, why bother showing up at all? We have enough celebrity beauty lines.
The Year America’s Hair Fell Out, by Amanda Mull at the Atlantic
I am going to be so relieved when this weekend’s barrage of sales emails ceases. I feel harassed by capitalism and scarcity. I feel like for every hour I don’t buy something or don’t contemplate buying something I deserve something. Which is sickening! I don’t want more stuff. I want more brain cells and to feel like I don’t need anything else, actually. But somehow buying things feels close enough to progress that I still wait to hear the doorbell ring with something new, even junkmail - anything. I want to hard reboot my brain and remove this programming. What have you been doing to distract yourself?
I’ve been revisiting books I’ve bought over the past year but haven’t gotten around to reading yet. Been living out of a suitcase for the past few months has rendered me bored out of my skull with my clothing, but it’s very helpful for revisiting reading. I’ve been enjoying doing close-reads of old favorites and breaking down the structure of essays in the newer books I’ve collected over the year. And I’m enjoying being part of The Cosmos Book Club, reading Asian American writers and unpacking our reactions to their work together.
On that note, I am not trying to sell you anything this weekend, but if it is helpful, I did put together a list of my favorite books I’ve read this year you can peruse if you want recommendations for gift giving or what to check out from the library! Bookshop is running a free shipping promo right now and the purchases go to indie booksellers, so everyone wins. Here’s my compilation of my favorite books of 2021. I’ve read a lot this year - more than 150 books so far - these are the most memorable ones, and the ones I’ll be returning to for years to come.
Hope you’re doing ok. Did you buy anything this weekend? Have you declined? Have you had any weird dreams lately? Are you sleeping ok? I invested in some better pillows for side-sleeping and it’s made such a difference I feel embarrassed I didn’t do it sooner. Small gifts of sleep, what luxury.