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Alma Thomas  

This week
A thought experiment: What if we scrutinized the effects of wealthy Americans' internal migration half as much as we scrutinize immigrants from other countries? I examine some of my own causes and effects in a column about the wave of newcomers to Los Angeles.

And speaking of how everything is connected, on the podcast Amina and I talk about the positives and negatives of having a wide, intricate network of friendships: The Ladyweb.

I'm reading
Depressingly, perpetually relevant: Guns are our Moloch. A teenager survived a mass shooting just like her grandfather did: by hiding in a closet. On being black with (some) white privilege. The beauty and mystery of Amy Sherald's Michelle Obama portrait, and the flies in Kehinde Wiley's milk. The revolutionary power of Black Panther. The bittersweet beauty Adam RipponCostume designer Ruth Carter and novelist Tayari Jones discuss their creative processes. The story of podcast pioneer Combat Jack. Alexander Chee on writing for love or moneyLouise Linton is... wow, just wow. (Not wow in a good way.) Facebook's two years of hell. The lessons of an iPad's slow death. Laser-scanning an ancient Mexican city. To understand how autocrats rise in the modern era, look to Hungary. What Putin really wants. How sexual harassment shapes DC politics, and what life is like after accusing a powerful man of harassment. People still treat domestic abuse like a private matter when it's actually a crime. The student loan serenity prayer. The scent of feelings.

[The app I used to shared these links as a list is apparently down. You'll have to settle for this paragraph style until I figure out a fix.]

Members only
You do realize that you get pie charts and other great stuff here when you become a paying member for just $5/year, right? This week's chart is about the Olympics. Click here for some archival Olympic-themed pie to see what you're missing.

I’m looking & listening

Right now.

Unrelated but fascinating: This GIF history thread.

I endorse
Hugging your loved ones a little tighter. Ok, a lot tighter. And finding a way to show your people how much you care about them.

The recurring real-life nightmare of American gun violence is one reason I'm thinking about this. But also because my good friend Kenesha unexpectedly lost her father this week. Her family is raising money to cover the funeral expenses. If you have a few dollars to give to this person I love very much, I would so appreciate it. 

So yeah, definitely call your representatives to demand some actual policy changes on gun control. (Here's an easy way to find their phone numbers and get some talking points.) But also make something (food or art or whatever) or do something nice for someone you love. It's my go-to way of feeling a little bit better, because even calling Congress or donating a few dollars can feel inconsequential. Caring for the people you love is always expansive and important.

You endorse

Decolonizing spiritual practices. Erin James-Brown writes, "POC in general are gathering together to decolonize spiritual practices that were white-washed by Christian missionaries "evangelizing" communities of color, either when white people "discovered" populations in the Americas or when white people enslaved humans and forced them to worship a Christian God (usually depicted as white) rather than engaging in spiritual practices of their ancestors. POC were stripped of their spiritual practices that offered a sense of community and identity including the meaning/nature of grief, honoring the dead, and connection to a sense of place/home. There is a movement of POC called the Mystic Soul Project educating POC (and white folks) about decolonizing spiritual practices and reclaiming ancestral practices with integrity."

Recently, the Mystic Soul Project hosted a conference in Chicago. The co-founders, all women of color, anticipated 100 people to attend the 3 day conference. Over 400 people registered for the event. The founders and their leadership team quickly expanded the conference to accommodate people from across the United States. I felt fortunate to attend and experience the healing work of reclaiming spiritual practices for people seeking to heal from the spiritual trauma of white-washing and colonized religion."

I'm celebrating black history, present, and future by recognizing the role that black Americans have played in corners of culture and society that have been whitewashed in the popular narrative. Want to join me? Submit your thoughts and links here.

Say hi in the following places...

March 4: Drunk Education: Anti-Oscars edition. This is going to be a LOT of fun. Teaser: My drunken talk will be about The Post.
March 6: In conversation with Joy Press at Skylight Books
March 13: In conversation with Lidia Yuknavitch and Amber Tamblyn at ALOUD  

March 31 / April 1: My brilliant friend Jade Chang and I are bringing our pitching workshop to New York! And this time we're doing not just one day-long session but TWO: One about developing great ideas, and the other about pitching them for publication. Get the details and register here.

The Classifieds

Writer Anne Valente says ALL THE CASTLES BURNED "is compulsive, harrowing, and beautifully rendered". This is the debut novel you must read.
Calling all lady freelancers! Join SISTER, a community of professional women connecting and collaborating around project-based work.
How the media covers DeVos, segregated school districts, & more! The Grade sends you the best education journalism in your inbox each week.

Feminist psychotherapy downtown San Francisco; grow your power, intuition, resilience, sense of humor, judgement, self-discipline and joy.

Love Jenny Zhang? Have dinner with her! Need a long wknd to read + enjoy Mexico City? Ann Friedman gets you a discount on both "ANNREADS"!

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"PEAK READING" -Amal Giknis. Well, you only hit the peak experience if/when I happen to link to one of your favorite writers. Some weeks merely circle the peak.

"It’s become necessary reading on the state of the world, people and culture - things joyous, fascinating and sometimes demoralising!" -Robert Wagner. I am henceforth always putting an exclamation point on "demoralising!" Thanks, Robert.

This newsletter might not be the best, but it has the most fun.
Forward it to your haters, along with a thank-you note.

Ann Friedman

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