Uncomfortable stories

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Like many families, my family enjoys retelling stories of my own idiocy or deviousness.

There was the time I ruined dinner at the campsite by knocking the entire pot of pasta into the dirt; the time I locked my brother in the shed for the better part of the hour; or the time that I stood on my baby sister’s hands, grinding them into the floor, and professed I did not know why she was whimpering. They all laugh at these memories, and I squirm. I don’t like to be reminded of my past mistakes, or more seriously, my own inner darkness.

Uncomfortable stories are never our first choice. We don’t want to listen to or think about difficult things. We use Netflix as a salve and drift along the shallow seas of outrage on Facebook and Twitter. We keep ourselves from the hard stories. The complicated stories. The stories without tidy endings. The stories that might require too much of us as a person, that might urge us to change our minds or talk with our neighbors.

We are all very tired, and we need more grace for each other than ever. But I’d contend that it is a good moment to sit with our discomfort a little and listen to something challenging. Listen to a story that makes us squirm. Listen to a story that shows us ourselves. And perhaps, in this tragic time, such stories may resurrect our imaginations.

(Opening letter from this week’s Story Matters, the little email that I get to write and send for work.)

. . .

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This is how we spend most of our free time now. What else is there to do?

Moses continues to be great fun, nearing his fourteenth month. He is inquisitive and sweet, sensitive as a spring flower. We take daily walks, we work, we read, we try not to talk too much about coronavirus, we focus on the moment (when we can, when visions of the future don’t send us into a hypothetical tailspin). I have nothing meaningful to say about the space we find ourselves in, as a country, except that we are all finding ways to persevere and extend grace when we can.

. . .

With light from the sunken day

It’s hard to believe that it’s July, that we’re already in the final month of our sweet summer sojourn in London. This month, we have particularly enjoyed a bit less international travel and a bit more local travel: getting to see more London museums, parks, and neighborhoods. Despite my true nature as a small-town-loving woman, I have developed quite a fondness for this sprawling city. Some recent photos follow.

British Museum and nearby
Window boxes for the win.
British Museum and nearby
Decapitated beauties at the British Museum.
British Museum and nearby
The Molossian Hound at the British Museum.
9-mo.-old GSD in the neighborhood
A 9-month-old German shepherd in our neighborhood. Be still my heart.
High tea
Aunt Jane treated us (and Windy) to high tea at Brown’s Hotel.
Hammersmith
The Thames, in Hammersmith.
Hammersmith
Hammersmith.

Monday Snax

Today, importantly, is Guion’s 24th birthday! I wish I could have just stayed home to celebrate with him all day long. I love that man very much and I think I love him more every day, as totally absurd and romantic as that sounds. He’s the best. I hope his unsurprising birthday present, Bon Iver’s LP, comes in the mail today… G., love you forever and always. Happy, happy birthday!

On Saturday, we went adventuring in the gorgeous wilderness of White Hall with a band of friends. We bought a wheel of gouda from a Trappist monastery and then went to a forbidden but wonderful swimming hole on the Moormans River.

Sam
Sam in the very green Moormans River.
Band of trespassers
The band of trespassers.

After we’d had our fun and settled down with some gouda and wine, we were discovered by a pair of old and understandably grumpy farmers, who kindly asked us to leave and stop trespassing on their land. We complied. Although we won’t be going back there again and felt bad about clearly violating their “no trespassing” signs, it was definitely worth it.

Snax with Trappist cheese and wine on a rock outcropping:

Catching the Bouquet. Here, Emma gives prime advice on how to catch the bouquet at any of the zillion summer weddings you’ve probably been invited to. Heed her wisdom, friends. She “caught” my bouquet and saved that moment from an otherwise awkward end. She’s a pro. (Take Two)

Finally in English: The World’s Best Type Reference Guide. Oh, want it. (The Atlantic)

Brooklyn Moms Now Need to Get High to Play with their Kids. This is sad and funny. I love the comparison in the last paragraph between a high mother and a toddler. (Daily Intel)

Gay Talese: What I Read. A day in the life of the Internet-free human. How nice! (The Atlantic Wire)

The Mind and Fog. So gorgeous and haunting. As you can probably tell by now, I’m a sucker for foggy field photos. Can you believe this woman lives here? Jealous. (La Porte Rouge)

Sebastien Galtier: Beautiful Friends. A collection of dark and dramatic photographs of modern ballerinas. Love. (The Ballet Bag)

Yann Gross. Fascinating photographs of high-fashion models with unusual animals. (Wolf Eyebrows)

Please Have a Seat. A collection of pretty place cards from calligrapher Barbara Kua. (Barbara Kua Calligraphy)

Stereotyping You By Your Favorite Rapper. I don’t know enough about rap to verify these generalizations, but it’s a funny catalog nonetheless. (Flavorwire)

Good News! I’ve reached the point where Etsy just makes me viscerally angry. This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. (Regretsy)

Dog and Orangutan BFFs Are Today’s Reason for Living. Um, yes, please. I can never get enough inter-species friends (we’re not kidding, mac!). The dour expression on this hound’s face in all of these photos is priceless. (Best Week Ever)