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This week
What is time anymore? Is it slowing down? Flying by? How is it possible that March lasted one million years and April was a blink? [Insert Groundhog Day reference here.] I find myself so interested in how we are all experiencing the passage of minutes and hours and days and weeks. Apparently when everyone's routine disappears and gets remade at the same time, weird things happen to our collective sense of momentum. Novel experiences slow down our perception of time (aka March), while repetition speeds it up (ahem, April).

My first few weeks of confinement felt oddly similar to the road-weary disorientation of being on tour for the podcast or Pop Up magazine: Every day marked by its difference from my norm and also similar to the day that came before it. A paradox of too much distinction and sameness. Now, deeper into this moment, the curve isn't the only thing that has flattened. Toddlers' birthdays are the same as work meetings are the same as concerts are the same as intimate dinner parties. I can sense how the whole year will just slip by this way, and I'm preoccupied with the question of how to create some spikes of difference, some strange stimuli, some milestones so that time slows down a little again. I'm trying to stay interested in it rather than despairing.

For a collage of time-related things, see this Nov 2018 edition of the newsletter.  Aminatou and I are on Hrishikesh Hirway's podcast Partners, discussing the intensity of our collaboration. And on CYG, Aminatou talks to the great Lulu Miller about chaos and resilience.

I'm reading
On mothers, motherlands, and longing for a clear narrative of each. A mother, a pandemic, and scorched riceThe World's Okayest Mom! The children of Colombia's border crisis. A review of more than 260,000 words spoken by Trump during the pandemic. Sign language interpreters are essential workers. How COVID-19 is amplifying health disparities and threatening Black women. Worth asking yet again: Is "wellness" just being well-off? A guide to making sense of a pandemic that's too big to comprehend, and how it seeps into literature. We're all now caught in the Biden Trap. The big-brand future of retail. A conversation with Lucinda Williams. Paul Auster on a Ukrainian city overrun by wolves. And an escape from Instagram Island—which is, shockingly, an actual physical island and not a metaphor.

Pie chart
The COVID Scroll Pie
(The bread slice ended up way too small but I didn't have time to re-do this.)

I love my paying members, who make it possible for me to do things like offer the pie charts free for everyone and donate all of my ad revenue to worthy causes because they make sure my lights and internet stay on. Become a paying member for just $5/year. It's a group effort.

I’m looking & listening
Illustrated interviews with frontline food workers, many of whom are on strike today to demand hazard pay and sick-day protections. Phoebe Waller-Bridge's one-woman Fleabag show is streaming for charity. (True story: I was not a huge PWB fan until I saw her perform this last year. It was really incredible.) Friendship and loneliness during COVID, illustrated. And of course Megan Thee Stallion x Beyoncé.


I endorse
The Zoom background as a mode of aspirational travel that transcends time, space, and reality. Ok, so we all know by now that Zoom is terrible, but I have been delighting in changing the backdrop to reflect places I wish I were. Some favorites include:

The Classifieds

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Feel like you're relying too much on food during this stressful time? Check out this newsletter for friendly, non-diet-y, body positive ideas.

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Join Sister District's Virtual Trivia Night Fundraiser to support awesome progressive candidates! Sat 5/9 at 5 pm PT. [Note from Ann: I'll be "there"!]

All of today's ad dollars are going to Polo's Pantry, a mobile food bank serving unhoused and marginalized communities in Los Angeles. (Read about them in the LA Times and in Hyphen magazine, find them on Instagram for updates about food justice in LA.) To join me in donating you can Venmo @polos-pantry.

Every Friday this month, I'm giving 100% of my ad revenue to COVID relief efforts. If you know someone who could use a financial boost in this moment, click here to tell me about them

You can also support this charitable effort by purchasing an ad—I'm almost sold out for May but there are a few left. Click for rates and info.

"One slice of @annfriedman's pie chart today made me do that hork-laugh you get when you identify with something too much." -Katherine Spiers. Yes, it was the King Arthur Flour slice last week. You all loved that one.

"Highly recommend @annfriedman's audio poem about a mo(u)rning dove - best moments include the author’s giggles about her own thoughts" -juniro. "The author's giggles about her own thoughts" is the most concise summary of this newsletter I've ever read. New episodes of Annotation are in the works!

This newsletter is unflattening the curve (of time).
Forward it to one of your sources of external stimuli.

Ann Friedman

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