Today, we have Blair Thornburg’s gentle, beautiful love letter to sea shanties and what they meant to her while she tapered off Seroquel: How Shanties and Songs of the Sea Helped Me Weather the Storm of Depression.
I have a backlog of recent and not-so-recent articles that are worth sharing but seem a little too long or Too Meaningful to be a Friday Link. So I’m calling this week The Week of Long Reads and posting a string of them.
First up, a recent one by writer Lyz Lenz, which…well, the title says it all: Why Writing Matters in the Age of Despair
The Queen is dead, as I’m sure you’ve heard. There are hundreds upon hundreds of online tributes and obituaries, but these two stood out:
- Aretha Franklin’s Voice Endures and
- Soul Survivor: The revival and hidden treasure of Aretha Franklin (from 2016)
“Soul Survivor” mentions a couple of her stand out performances that I looked up, and yeah, that Kennedy Center Honors performance of “Natural Woman” is worth the hype:
And! This cover of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” is sublime.
As the youths today say, “IT ME.”
(From Mr. Bingo, via Swiss Miss)
We are 573 days into this tire fire of an administration and some days you just need to post things like this so you don’t start sourcing pitchforks.
You’re Dead, America
by Danez Smith
i fed your body to the fish
traded it at lunch for milk
i know where they buried you
cause it’s my mouth
they tell me bootstraps
& i spit up a little leather
they tell me Christ
but you don’t have black friends
during the anthem
i hum Niggas in Paris
i cha cha slide over the flag
C-walk on occasion
i put a spell on you
it called for 3/5s of my blood
apple pie, red
bones & a full moon
but instead i did it
in the daylight, wanting you
to see me ending you
stupid stupid me
i know better than to fuck
with a recipe
i don’t make chicken
when I don’t have eggs
look at what i did: on the TV
the man from TV
is gonna be president
he has no words
& hair beyond simile
you’re dead, America
& where you died
grew something worse –
crop white as the smile
of a man with his country on his side
a gun on his other side
tomorrow, i’ll have hope.
tomorrow i can shift the wreckage
& find a seed.
i don’t know what will grow
i’ve lost my faith in this garden
the bees are dying
the water poisons whole cities
but my honeyed kin
those brown folks who make
up the nation of my heart
only allegiance i stand for
realer than any god
for them i bury whatever
this country thought it was.
Since I started lifting at the gym four days a week (HELLO YES DID YOU KNOW I LIFT WEIGHTS NOW? LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT IT), I’ve found some holes in my workout wear, namely that I didn’t have much of it other than yoga leggings and an open back tank.
Fortunately, someone I follow on Instagram (An Elemental Life) did a Stories highlight of companies that make activewear patterns. From her, I found out about Greenstyle Creations. Their Tie-Back Tank was really similar to the solitary tank I had and liked; I had a yard of panel print leftover from this maxi four years ago*; and so I went for it.
Verdict: It’s great! (And SO much easier to sew with a serger; that maxi was all done with a mock overlock on my regular machine and I remember it taking forever.) It stayed in place during a workout really well (even doing back extension!) and the knot is easy to tuck up into the small of your back for floor work. I made the high neck option with the bands and it only took me an hour of sewing time.
*I know I still look pretty un-muscled in these photos, but compared to how bony I was four years ago, I’m really happy with what all this time at the gym is doing. Also, I’m going to be so in demand for helping friends move, pushing stalled cars, rearranging furniture, etc.
1. I haven’t posted a Sunday night conversation with my friend in a long time because we’ve gotten out of that Sunday night call habit and into a monthly dinner habit, and it’s just too hard to write all his sayings down in a restaurant. But we talked this week and he’s still a source of quotable quotes.
I was telling him about the Glacier trip and how nice it was to just sit on a rock at the edge of the river and not think, and he said,
“Oh I know the joy of escaping your worries and your own psyche…I should write a book about it.”
“But it would be a short book, because I haven’t been able to do it, really.”
2. Maybe not the most scholarly, but this was an interesting piece about textiles in Viking culture.
3. Via Kottke, a deeply informative story about who’s actually using “food stamps” and what they buy. Being picky about what I eat, being able to cook decently healthy meals, being able to shop when I want–it’s a luxury.
When we go back to Glacier I think we’ll have to camp, because I would love to see those lakes and mountains under a full moon. This snippet came through from Pome recently and I imagine it would be like this.
We have come to the edge:
the lake gives off its hush;
in the outer night there is a barred owl
calling, like a moth
against the ear, from the far shore
which is invisible.
The lake, vast and dimensionless,
doubles everything, the stars,
the boulders, itself, even the darkness
that you can walk so long in
it becomes light.
Margaret Atwood (1984)
I can’t stop making easy sleeveless summer tops and I’m ok with it. This is another True Bias Nikko in some really nice crisp cotton rib from Mood. (It was actually one of the suggested fabrics when the pattern was introduced.)
I made my first one at a size 10 and had to take it in quite a bit (trust the negative ease!) so I cut this at an 8. But this cotton isn’t as tightly ribbed as my first fabric so I ended up having to take in another half an inch on the seams under the arms so the armholes wouldn’t gape. (I think I also stretched out the armhole facings a little when putting those on, and the cotton just didn’t spring back like the rayon.)
Regardless, I’ve realized that I love a high neck sleeveless top and this is a great pattern. It looks like something you’d find in Madewell, except it really is made well because you made it yourself.