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This marigold color. YES.   

This week
Hello to my fellow extroverts, and everyone pining for more human interaction in this time of confinement. This piece of writing is a direct result of many conversations with friends, as are most things I write. (I will never be someone who goes to a cabin in the woods alone to work out my ideas.) It's also inspired by something I heard George Saunders say: "And that’s one of the things about this moment [...] is basically people saying, I want things to be the way they were. I want to live. I want to not be sick. I want to not have to worry about getting somebody else sick. I want to go to a bar. But really, what occurs to me is, why?" This question of why do I miss what I miss? really stuck in my mind. And prompted me to explore exactly what it is about gathering with friends in person that I am longing for. The answers took some twists and turns and eventually became this little essay.

I was also part of Pop Up magazine's foray into digital merriment, as a guest at their virtual dinner party with chef Bryant Terry. Eavesdrop on my convo with musician Thao Nguyen in which we talk about multi-functional home spaces, coming out, and making art over zoom. (Spoiler: We both cry a little.)

And on the podcast front, we have the first of two CYG episodes about our complicated feelings about Joe Biden. If you need something a little less intense after listening to that, you can chase it with a short episode of Annotation about that first sip of coffee, a ritual I'm really clinging to these days.

I'm reading
"The pandemic has exposed the bitter terms of our racial contract, which deems certain lives of greater value than others." Breonna Taylor was always essential. The four men responsible for America’s covid testing disaster. Doctors Without Borders is dispatched to the Navajo Nation. An account of trying to report out Tara Reade's allegations against Joe Biden, and the politics of believability. Youngstown, Ohio gambled its future on manufacturing something called the Chilli-Can. And lost. A few years ago, Jia Yueting ruled the Chinese tech world—now his electric car company, Faraday, is a mess. King Arthur Flour has three CEOs. (I love this, because the three-way power-sharing arrangement we have at CYG really works well for us, too. There's always a tiebreaker!) The secret lives of fungi. Why so many people are unhappy in retirement. "Our touchstone is changing color. Our criteria for earning a life, a living, are mutating like a virus that wants badly to stay alive."

Pie chart
The Whoops Yes Also Washing Our Hands a Lot Pie

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I’m looking & listening
The whole Betty Wright (rest in power) catalog, especially "Clean Up Woman" live and her cover of "I Am Woman," which is far superior to the original. What she and Little Richard and Andre Harrell meant to musicPrince in concert via livestream. On going gray as a power move. Rebecca Solnit in conversation with Brit Marling. And Emily V. Wilson is reading her translation of The Odyssey on YouTube, book by book!!

"The king of blues—and the queen, too!" The case for always being ruthlessly yourself and for appreciating good booty. A visionary. An icon. Forever and ever.

I endorse
Sam Irby's Wow, No Thank You. I wept with laughter while reading this book. It is a true and deep delight, easy to dip into and out of, but also tender and substantive.

Pairs well with this Smitten Kitchen strawberry sheet cake, which I have made so many times I now call it "covid cake." It works with any fruit, and if you halve the recipe like I do, it takes just one egg.

The Classifieds

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"A pandemic Saturday morning listening to Röyksopp and getting caught up on yesterday's Ann Friedman Weekly. Earlier, I took the dog for a walk. Filling my time with good things because I need the good things. We all do. Thanks, Ann." -some dude. I keep hearing "Just another pandemic Saturday" in my head, to the tune of "Just another Manic Monday." Yeah, I know it's not really a good rhyme.

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