Unsung heroes of tiramisu, holy of holies, ugliness, Cillian, and more
Seven links to thin(g/k)s I consumed this week
Hello dear reader,
Greetings from SF, the place that comes to mind when I think of what a decaying city would look like. Looking forward to my flight home.
Before then, here are this week’s seven links to bits of the world I have been exploring, shared with the hope that you will find them to be an inspiring springboard for deeper thinking.
The magnificent Cillian Murphy reads the poem “When You Are Old” by W.B. Yeats. That voice. On a side note, poetry recitation reminds me of a dying art. My parents and grandparents grew up with it and have so many beautiful Russian poems memorized by heart, and here I am with zero under my belt. It seems like it used to be a prevalent thing in schools back then for earlier generations to recite poetry by heart, and to learn the proper intonation and all the beauty that goes with evoking the intended emotions, and now, that’s not at all a thing either explored or taught in schools (at least that’s been my observation in California). Have you noticed the same?
Are you able to define or articulate what taste is? This here was a great observation on taste, the thing Susan Sontag describes as such: “[A] sensibility is one of the hardest things to talk about... To snare a sensibility in words, especially one that is alive and powerful, one must be tentative and nimble. The form of jottings, rather than an essay (with its claim to a linear, consecutive argument), seemed more appropriate for getting down something of this particular fugitive sensibility.”
“Virginia Woolf’s Idea of Privacy” — in a stunning essay about an individual’s inner life, Joshua Rothman from The New Yorker has this (and beautifully much more) to say on protecting one’s solitude, our very own innerness, a “kernel of solitude,” and what Levin from Anna Karenina called his holy of holies:
there is no final, satisfying way to balance our need to be known with our need to be alone. The balance is always uncertain and provisional; it’s always a matter of dissatisfaction, give-and-take, and sacrifice. Because an artist’s privacy is a state of mind, rather than a matter of law, there are no rules to help us master it. It’s up to each of us to balance the risks and rewards—to trade, in right proportion, loneliness for freedom, explicability for mystery, and the knowable for the unknown within ourselves.
“Why Is Everything So Ugly?” Kinda pained me to read this with NYC as the central figure. In particular here, I dwelled on this quote (from about a century ago) by H. L. Mencken found in the article: There is “love of ugliness for its own sake, the lust to make the world intolerable. Its habitat is the United States.”
watching: Daisy Jones & the Six. Yes, I’m still watching what would have been like a two-day binge had Amazon not dragged this out over the span of several weeks. Yes, I think Camila Morrone is stunning.
listening: “Making sense of encounters with violence” — take a look at my Stories on IG for my ‘stroll-not-scroll’ notes I jotted on the episode while on a hike in LA.
eating: A hidden gem in SF for your baklava fix
using: Paula’s Choice AHA exfoliant on my quest for the perfect skin that doesn’t exist
affiliate links: sometimes, I include links to my Amazon storefront (often for books or other recommendations around the home/self I’ve found useful and hope you will, too). This means I make a few pennies whenever someone makes a purchase using the link. It doesn’t detract from my recommendations coming from a place of a genuine desire to share with you. It just helps provide a few tangible tokens for my effort.
support: I love writing these newsletters and creating deeper threads of connection to you in this absurd world of ours, but in any case, it is a time-consuming endeavor. If you are enjoying my journey, and if able, please consider supporting it by way of interaction (follow along on Instagram, YouTube, or leave a comment/like here!), subscribing to my paid-tier here on Substack, or by buying me a coffee here! It is hugely appreciated, and my gratitude is with you.
Until next week, friends.