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This week
Has it only been seven days since I sent one of these?? In our new reality, weeks feel like months. If the people you love are anything like the people in my world, you're hearing a lot about exhaustion and overwhelm and depression. You're probably feeling these things yourself.

I certainly am. I haven't wanted to write lately, but I wouldn't call it a block. "Writer's void" is more apt. I am at a loss. To be a writer, especially an opinion writer, is to know that your power lies in crafting a narrative. Although I can step outside myself and realize that compelling narratives are more important than ever in this moment, I'm still trying to shake the feeling that I—and the people I love—are not in charge of the story at all. That we are merely reacting. Scrambling to keep up. Getting sent to voicemail while powerful people are making decisions that we don't condone.

I'm working on it. Writing about not wanting to write is, in fact, writing. Powerful counter-narratives can't be far behind, right?

Last Friday, my mom reminded me that I forgot to shout out Mary Tyler Moore, who died last week. "What, no little movie of her tossing her beret?" she asked. (Yes, my mom calls GIFs "little movies.") This is an oversight! I'm going to try not to let my resistance to America's comb-overlords crowd out other important things like celebrating independent-woman icons of the small screen or Beyoncé pregnancy announcements or deliciously bad puns. Because, as my friend Jade Chang says, "joy itself is a rebellion" and "living unapologetically is an act of defiance.”

I'm reading
The unwritten rules of Putin's Russia and the future of Trump's America. How to build an autocracy. One week under the sentient Cheeto, as a Muslim immigrant in America, where fewer lives now matter. Understanding Steve Bannon's worldview, how Trump is responsible for the death of an 8-year-old Yemenii girl, and the consequences of purging a whole department of public servants. It's hard to recognize dystopia when you're living in it. Hanging out with a taxi union organizer. How the news agency Reuters is covering Trump. Four ways to get rid of a crummy president—and how Democrats can play hardball. The least surprising announcement of a justice in the modern history of the Supreme Court. How to defend America the Indivisible. How Viet Thanh Nguyen never stopped being a refugee, a Somali mother's letter to her children, and a look at refugees' lives in middle America. Apparently Americans think being American means speaking English—ugh. Have you seen this photo of Muslim and Jewish kids protesting together? Jared Kushner's moral failure. The youth group that launched the Standing Rock movement. A visit to Whitney Plantation, "America's Auschwitz." "People of color are not asked about our areas of expertise... We are asked about how white people can do better and feel better about diversity." Rahawa Haile on why hiking the Appalachian Trail was more than just a hike. Johnny Depp's whining and the future of regulated financial advice. The death of the artist and the birth of the creative entrepreneur. "I know designers can’t help themselves but aesthetics are no replacement for ethics." How T.Swift cashed in on victimhood. Mary Karr on menstrual huts. When two names become one. Somebody please send me a weed bouquet for galentine's day.

Becoming a paid member is a nice way to acknowledge the hours I put into this newsletter. And it's the only way to get a pie chart here! Just $5/year aka less than 10 cents per week.

DVR
A 9/11 survivor speaks out against the Muslim ban. If you still haven't read that Mother Jones investigative report about private prisons (or even if you had), you can also listen to it. Stories from the resistance. I'd like to personally thank Lizzo for every single thing she does.

GIFspiration
👆 Last week


👆 This week

We're gonna make it after all.

I endorse
Taking at least one action a day. Sometimes I open up 5calls.org on my phone and leave a few voicemails for my reps. Or I send a snail-mail note to a friend who is more directly affected by this administration's policies than I am right now. Or I make a small donation to an organization that's pushing back. The Action Now and Easy Action newsletters also regularly give me good ideas.

De-prioritizing social media and focusing on the NYTimes and LATimes and The Guardian and the BBC. Yes, I still feel that dread in the pit of my stomach when I look at the headlines every morning. But more straightforward, traditional-news delivery is easier for me to handle than Twitter opinions lately. As Ann Douglas put it, "Recognize that there's a difference between being immersed and being informed."
Leaving your phone at home and going for a walk. Or turning it off to do some yoga (I like the relaxation sequences in the YogaStudio app). Or reading a novel. Basically, I try to shut out the news for at least an hour every day.

Quick note for those of you who replied with ~hundreds~ of questions for newsletter genius Jacque Boltik last week: Jacque is working to personally reply to everyone, and in the meantime she's publishing her answers to the most common questions here

The Classifieds

Red Hot & Powerful is NYC/MN abstract painter AJ Atwater’s Feb Online Show. Indulge in the $100 Gallery. Free shipping to lower 48 states.
Does your least favorite word end in -ism? Ours too. Listen to The Accessible Stall, a podcast hosted by two Actually Disabled™ people.
WMFA is a new podcast where writers talk writing. One convo, every other week, hosted by Courtney Balestier. Listen. Subscribe. Create.

Tired of making the same mistakes? Need real energy for this year? Get feminist self-care support that works. Spring circle starts soon!

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This newsletter knows you are the Mary.
Forward it to your Rhoda.



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