Giveaway, court awareness, cookbook, verbs over nouns, and more
Seven links to worthwhile thin(g/k)s
Hello dear reader,
This note is being dispatched from a plane — the first one I have been on since early March of 2020, when I was able to squeeze a lovely girls’ trip to Portland, Oregon before the insanity of last year ensued. Symbolically, it seems like marking a definitive endpoint to those crazy months, as I find myself coming full circle being at the airport in general and in the Pacific Northwest specifically.
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.
Seasonal exploration: The arrival of June brings with it the fruition of summer produce. I am most enthusiastic about getting my taste buds closest to apricots, cherries, berries, peaches, and basil (okay, okay, also avocado and cucumbers). Summer months are also lovingly paired in my home with cookbooks, and I’ve been eyeing this one in particular.
Giveaway: There is a giveaway happening on my latest YouTube video book update/review of Sarah Bakewell’s At the Existentialist Cafe. This Sunday, I’ll pick someone from those who have commented on the YouTube video and send them a new copy of the book. There is still time to hop on and comment for a chance to snag an amazing read!
Art of noticing: A serendipitous moment founds its way to me this week while I was reading up on Jean-Paul Sartre and existentialism. He recalled in personal narrative form a time his father once commented, “It’s not just a matter of having eyes; you have to learn how to use them. Do you know what Flaubert did to Maupassant? He sat him down in front of a tree and gave him two hours to describe it.” We are talking here about the same Flaubert who had this to say about the power of observation,
“There is a part of everything that remains unexplored, for we have fallen into the habit of remembering, whenever we use our eyes, what people before us have thought of the thing we are looking at. Even the slightest thing contains a little that is unknown. We must find it. To describe a blazing fire or a tree in a plain, we must remain before that fire or that tree until they no longer resemble for us any other tree or any other fire.”
The serendipity popped up when I then stumbled upon a podcast hosted by Angela Duckworth and Stephen Dubner. It is about behavioral psychology, and this episode was my introductory listen — it revealed Stephen’s anecdote about his father prompting him from an early age to play a game he called Powers of Observation to flex Dubner’s observational senses. It went like this: Stephen had five minutes to look around him and absorb everything before his father would grill him on questions like, “What did the lady behind our table order?” Stephen likened this to the court awareness basketball players must develop, and he hinted we would all do well to flex this muscle more in our lives.
I have been having fun all week flipping through a series on pop-culture depictions of owls “as stand-ins for educated, highbrow humans.” Adorable. On a similar note depicting one of my favorite animals, here’s Stella.
Perhaps Kate Winslet’s Mare of Easttown? (Worth it?)
A verb, not a noun by way of Oscar Wilde and Stephen Fry.
Cheers to June! And cheers to the weekend!
Until next week!