A few years ago, I attended a conference presentation during which audience members were asked to construct a metaphor to represent our experiences as students. No one had ever asked me to do this, so I was intrigued, but pretty stumped. Then I remembered my old boom box, with its radio and dual cassette deck–I always kept a blank tape handy, ready to press “record” whenever something caught my ear. I realized that I did the same in the classroom, gathering bits and pieces from various sources, often without an idea of how–or even if!–those pieces would fit together. That was the joy of making and sharing mix tapes; when crafted thoughtfully, they were greater than the sum of their parts.
In that same spirit, I share a weekly “mix” of articles, recipes, book recommendations, and ideas in the hopes that something I share might fit into your own personal, ever-evolving collage.
Have something you think I might be interested in? I’d love to hear about it. Share it here.
-I have long been a fan of the On Being podcast, and the newest episode with Ta-Nehisi Coates is a must-listen. Really, I could quote the whole thing, but here’s one that is especially resonant for me as we approach Thanksgiving, a holiday whose history is perpetually white-washed & misrepresented:
“I don’t know how you do this, but can you get to a place where citizens are encouraged to see themselves critically, encouraged to see their history critically? I don’t know, but that strikes me as what’s necessary.”
-Speaking of podcasts and of Thanksgiving, my mom and I were lucky enough to be asked to contribute to this week’s episode of The Mash-Up Americans podcast. We talked about the origin of our family’s traditions and why I’m so iconoclastic about Thanksgiving food; the podcast also features food writer Francis Lam on his family’s distinctly Chinese Thanksgivings. Listen here!
-If you’re a music person and/or a Southerner, you’ll enjoy this piece penned by Patterson Hood of the band Drive-By Truckers, “Into the Perilous Night.” In the wake of the Ferguson protests, Hood, who is white, wrote a song called “What It Means,” which alludes to the shooting of Michael Brown and draws on Hood’s personal memory of another, lesser-known shooting, that of Edward Wright, who struggled with mental illness and lived, with his mother, across the street from Hood in Athens, Georgia.
Hood’s piece is honest and self-aware, and a damn fine read. Sorry, but the ending is too good not to spoil it for you:
“I have never believed a song could change the world. But perhaps a song can provide an outlet for emotion, a tonic for the troops. Maybe a song can be a platform to launch our dreams from, a source of a little light to warm up our darkest nights. One more reason to raise our fists into the air and quote Patti Smith: ‘Love each other, motherfuckers!'”
-I posted some Thanksgiving recipes last week, but today I have one that’s actually perfect pre-or post-Thanksgiving, especially if you a) have extra fresh cranberries on hand and you don’t know what you do with them and b) you have extra people in your house. Might I recommend these cranberry-orange breakfast buns from Smitten Kitchen? They rise overnight, so you don’t have to wake up early to make them, and I guarantee they’ll make your houseguests happy.