3 April 2020
“[W]e learn to swim during the winter and to skate during the summer.”
|Jen Myers||Apr 4|
Hey cats and kittens, welcome to another week of home lockdown. I hope everyone’s health, morale and snack stores are doing as well as they possibly can be. I’m pleased to report that my daughter’s new hobby is baking cupcakes, so, clearly, I’m in pretty good shape. Not physically, perhaps, but certainly spiritually.
Earlier this week, I sent out an essay to paid subscribers. It’s about feeling stuck in between. (For no particular reason at all.) If you would like to sign up to support the newsletter, you can get it plus all the other essays, past and future.
I’ve decided to take advantage of the times being what they are to engage in more traditional epistolary pursuits. Which is to say: I would like to send you a letter or postcard. If you would like to receive one, send an email to email@example.com with your mailing address. Small note: I injured a tendon in my little finger in January and it’s still healing, so my handwriting will be a little shaky for a while. But I will do my best.
The most obscure movie recommendations list ever. For your watchlist.
Useful information: bookshop.org is a new one-stop website to find and order books from independent bookstores.
One of my favorite things, the show Community, is now on Netflix. Which is not news if you have Hulu, where it’s been available for a while now, but if you’re Netflix-only, welcome to the study group. Here’s an oral history of Community. (I feel like the movie is a real possibility at this point. Keep believing.)
This is also a good opportunity to share this somewhat old but still relevant video on Community as a postmodern masterpiece.
A bunch of Jungle Cruise Skippers, past and present, take you on a ride from the comfort of everyone’s home.
I’m reading Dracula for the first time now. It may not be the lightest reading in terms of subject matter, but if its status as a “classic” ever intimidated you, I can reassure you that it’s an easy and engaging book to read. As when I first read Frankenstein last year, it’s an interesting experiment to take off the layers of significance and interpretation that have accrued to a tale over the years and examine it in its original form.
However, I’m assuming many of us could use a tale that is light and frothy and effortlessly enjoyable. In which case, there is Miss Fisher. I believe I’ve already recommended Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, an Australian television series about amateur detective and 1920s free spirit Phryne Fisher. They just released the post-series movie, Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears, and while it’s not great, it does give Miss Fisher some Indiana Jones-style adventures, so, you know, why not. The movie and the three seasons of the show are available on AcornTV (there’s a free 30-day channel trial on Amazon), as is a season of the 1960s-set television series sequel, Miss Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries, which is also slight but, you know. Why not.
I’m also currently reading The Courage to Create by Rollo May. I think this is marketed in the psychological, self-help realm, but it’s more of a philosophical investigation into creative impulse. It’s essentially an affirmation of why it’s objectively important to create at all, which might be of use to many of us right now. Recommended.
You’re doing great. Keep going.
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This week’s quote is from William James in a 1914 essay “Habit,” as quoted in Rollo May’s The Courage to Create.