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.
-Jia Tolentino, who writes for The New Yorker, is so whip-smart that I am often envious of her ability to flesh out, articulate, and make intellectual connections between ideas that I’ve barely touched on in my own brain. I don’t always agree with her, but her work always makes me question and further refine my own thinking. Case in point: her most recent piece, “Where Millennials Come From.” Here’s a little nugget for you:
“And, when humans learn to think of themselves as assets competing in an unpredictable and punishing market, then millennials—in all their anxious, twitchy, phone-addicted glory—are exactly what you should expect. The disdain that so many people feel for Harris’s and my generation reflects an unease about the forces of deregulation, globalization, and technological acceleration that are transforming everyone’s lives.”
-Read with wonder and awe this piece about The Last of the Iron Lungs. I knew, as the kids would say, that this was “a thing,” but I definitely didn’t have a very detailed understanding of what life with polio really entailed. It’s so powerfully humbling:
“But another thing they all had in common is a desire for the next generations to know about them so we’ll realize how fortunate we are to have vaccines. “When children inquire what happened to me, I tell them the nerve wires that tell my muscles what to do were damaged by a virus,” Mona said. “And ask them if they have had their vaccine to prevent this. No one has ever argued with me.”
-In case you haven’t seen it yet, the Merriam-Webster Time Traveler feature is a pretty fascinating time suck/wormhole. Search by year to see what words had their first known usage the year you were born, or look up any year/time period you choose (it goes pretty far back!) Fun fact: gaydar first showed up in the year of my birth, 1982.
-Consider this your annual reminder that the World’s Greatest Eggnog Recipe was passed down to us from Lynn Robinson Williams, who died in her Memphis bed at age ninety-six with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other. Southern writer Julia Reed published this recipe in Garden & Gun magazine several years ago, and it’s become a staple of our family’s holiday traditions ever since. I plan to go ahead and make the base (everything minus the whipping cream) now, then let it hang out in our fridge for a couple of weeks. It really mellows the flavor – just be sure to store it in an opaque container! (Even better, save half the base for next year – the longer it ages, the more amazing it is.)