The best of right now

I always do these things in the middle of the month, don’t ask me why. I cannot tell you.

I do know that this summer has been a roller coaster of up-and-down emotions, and that we are moving out of our apartment in 2 weeks time (we are sticking around Portland until Sept, but will be living with my parents for August). So, operation Not Bummer Summer is in full swing. This includes:

  • buying store-brand cocoa puffs and eating them for both breakfast and dessert and drinking the chocolate milk left behind with relish.
  • slurpees.
  • going to museums/parks/playgrounds with friends.
  • riding the streetcar (for free!) downtown and telling the toddler it is a train.
  • making and drinking iced coffee.
  • playing in fountains all day every day.

it is helping, a lot.

here are a few things i have been reading:

The Prophetic Imagination (Walter Brueggmann). This is my first foray into the WB world, and it is fantastic. His words resonate with me for days, specifically about how we are called to call out the Empire and actually live out the Jubalee way of life. So inspiring, that I am actually going to buy this book (gasp) and trek it across the country.

The Writer’s Notebook: Craft Essays from Tin House. This is an exceptional book–it gave me all the goods of attending a writer’s conference without any of the awkward interactions (I have never been to one, but I imagine they would be super weird). The essays in this book gave me so very much to think about in terms of writing, and I will be mulling over it for days.

Tin House (a very reputable literary mag out of Portland) put out an anthology of essays called Cooking and Stealing which I have been reading like popcorn. I never realized how pleasurable it is for me to read a finely tuned essay–I like it so much better than fiction. This anthology is great, and there is one particular essay on adoption (Little Brown Shack) that absolutely devastated me.

here are a few things i have been listening to:

Kishi Bashi. Trust me on this one, ya’ll. This is the music that you will write to, dream to, have a not bummer summer too. It sounds like the beach boys went all dreamy-electro on you and discovered classical violins. AmAHzing.

Wayfarer. Ok, another beach boys sounding band (it’s summer, ok? and i am like, related to one of them) Wayfarer completely  reinvents old hymns into these beautiful works of summer art. I love this music. They need to make more of it.

The Moonrise Kingdom Soundtrack. Trust me on this too. Again, too beautiful, too short.

Here is a bit about Wayfarer (click here to go to the site)

in other news, my new column at McSweeneys is up here. This might be one of my favorite things I have written (sound icky? I just like it!). It is amazing how sometimes just writing it out gives you a different perspective on life. I can’t believe I will have to say goodbye to everybody soon. I must start to focus on all the hellos to come as well.

So, what are you into this month? Anything to share?

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6 thoughts on “The best of right now

  1. J.R. Goudeau says:

    What do you like about the adoption essay? And I adore Brueggeman. Need to read more.

    • it basically came down to the author saying that he could give the $25,000 he was paying for the adoption to the birth mother in order for her to keep her child, or he could swallow that impulse and adopt. it struck me in a different way, the complete honesty of his particular experience. at some point i would love to hear what adoption books/essays you have read and what you like!

  2. Candyce says:

    I love that you spelled “Jubalee lifestyle” like your niece’s name is spelled. Also, I was reading “three cups of tea” which is about a mountain climber named Greg Mortenson who builds schools for little girls to get educated in Pakistan. Super interesting. It’s nice to read about someone who tries (with a good heart) to do something great, but encounters so many cultural differences and roadblocks, and finally always has to resign himself to become a listener of the people, take in their culture, and work with them rather than around them. I didn’t get to finish it. It’s somewhere in Alexandria, with Jubalee sized bite marks on the back cover.

  3. Kelley Nikondeha says:

    D~ Prophetic Imagination is amazing… when you are ready for more WB recommendations, let me know. Just finished Disruptive Grace last week and might squeeze one more WB text in before summers end.

    I’d love to hear about adoption books you stumble upon or are recommended to you. I am an adopted child with two adopted children… and have been writing about adoption a lot in the pages of my journal recently. Love to be part of other conversations…

    love your writing…

  4. i started reading Brueggemann in college and he’s really changed my life. his tiny book on the psalms is another gift to the world. (loved your piece ‘On Motherhood, On Death’ – you are a tremendous writer!)


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