College price tags, remembering the future, the art of loss, and more
Seven links to worthwhile thin(g/k)s
Hello dear reader,
I am reporting from the road today! The Interstate 5 to be precise, as I am headed up North for a winter cabin retreat. Fingers crossed for some magical snow and a season of good change. I hope you are doing well, and that today’s newsletter finds you in an adventurous spirit!
With that said:
Here are seven links to bits of the world I have been exploring this week, shared with the hope that you will find them to be an inspiring springboard for deeper thinking.
The Last Interview: I recently discovered this series of 34 books within which we have collected and curated interviews of some notable figures in literature, culture and society. I am personally eyeing the ones featuring Hannah Arendt, James Baldwin, and J.D. Salinger.
RIP, Christopher Plummer: Before his career trajectory took off with acting, Plummer was a classical pianist student. Here he is playing the piano in between scenes on set for The Sound of Music. It is so interesting to see the multitude of ways one’s trajectory can take, and how the combination of our traits and surroundings nudge us toward a wholly unique path, one not even a past version of our own selves would have ventured on.
Invent Your Own Holiday: Here, Rob Walker contemplates holiday “parameters,” and how "the notion of creating our own holidays can serve as a “great design-class assignment, or family project, or just an individual thought exercise.”
The Price You Pay for College: In a newly published book, Ron Lieber explores how schools set the price tag on education. This quest stems from his observation: “In all my years of writing about money, I have come across no consumer decision that inspires more confusion and emotion than the question of what to pay for college.”
Remembering the Future: “The lexicon I know best, it turns out, is a lexicon of memory,” writes Rachael Nevins as she explores Natalia Ginzburg’s 1960’s novel, Family Lexicon, and writes: “Since reading Ginzburg’s novel last year, I have wanted to identify and investigate my own family lexicon, the basis of our unity. In the pressure of our semi-quarantine in a two-bedroom Brooklyn apartment with no yard and not much of a view, however, our most noticeable lexicon is fractious, dispiriting[.]”
Add or Subtract?: “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in,” Leonard Cohen poetically uttered. There might be something we want to delete from our lives or think unworthy of documenting. However, it could be that what you intentionally choose to leave out now may one day be the very thing you’d want to see down the line. Think about it as the mundane of today will be the interesting of tomorrow (just like today, we marvel at old ads, clothing styles, and other ordinary items that have withstood the test of time. In David Mamet’s Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama, we find a good test of how to edit not only writing, but perhaps also our lives:
I used to say that a good writer throws out the stuff that everybody else keeps. But an even better test occurs to me: perhaps a good writer keeps the stuff everybody else throws out."
If you’d like your response to be shared anonymously in upcoming newsletters, in the spirit of connectivity in this digital landscape, drop a line (or a few!) via email to email@example.com sharing where you are from or how you would introduce yourself. Alternatively, send along a quote you read this week that inspired you toward deeper thinking.
As noted, your responses will be kept anonymous. Grateful for you, dear ones. Here is this week’s note from a fellow reader:
A Warm Welcome
Thank you for having this good site to start with. I just wanted to introduce myself a bit.
I’m 58, no children without tails, happily married and he just retired from a long career as a surgeon. I am a French student and have always identified as an extreme athlete. Due to more and more injuries I’m feeding my mind and I’m loving it. I wish to study philosophy after French - after French lit .
Your video today was everything. Please pass on anything else like that you see - it absolutely made my morning.
Love to you and yours,