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What I’m reading: 8/27-9/2
Bye bye, Social Media (for now)
I deleted my social media apps off of my phone today in a fit of “oh my god I have work to do when did I pick up my phone again why can’t I stop scrolling is my brain broken” horror.
I do this periodically. Each time I tell myself that I’m going to stick to it for a significant amount of time, that I’m going to shake this compulsion to pick up my phone and doomscroll every five minutes.
Talk to me in a week. (If you see me promote this piece on social media, give me a break - I’m posting from my laptop because a girl has got to make a dollar, ok?)
My lack of easy, accessible, bite-sized content means I’m using my downtime to read more. My hope is that challenging myself to think a little harder will help some of the lost braincells find their way back. But, only time will tell.
This week’s What I’m Reading post (and third installment of the “I have no idea what to write about when all I can think of is wedding” series) will be free to all. Think of it as my little treat after the uh, lackluster dedication I’ve had to writing for fun this past month.
Leave a comment with anything interesting you’ve read this week!
On Pandering by Claire Vaye Watkins
Lyz Lenz linked this 2015 essay in her August 23 interview with Margaret Eby, and I found myself quickly engulfed in Watkins’ analysis on who she’s writing towards. It’s essays like these that make me more thoughtful about being a writer.
I am largely uncomfortable with the state of journalism today and how it’s viewed, and I’m also largely unqualified and unable to explain that discomfort or back it up with anything of substance. Here’s an opinion piece by someone a lot smarter than me. My most thoughtful analysis I can muster: this one made me think.
Why Kindness Matters by Mike Sowden
Some people are absolutely miserable. Some people are like Mike Sowden and understand the intrinsic and holistic value of community and support. I much prefer the latter. Also, he backs up the need for kindness with research. Man, I think that’s cool.
My fellow Iowa Writers Collaborative member Mary Swander explores the concept of home in relation to death. Small town Iowa history is so fascinating to me, and as I’ve thought a lot about my grandpa and my own family since his death, I really appreciated this one.
Phil Lewis is someone I really appreciate following on Twitter (when I’m not on a break, of course). His Substack inspired me to do this series. I started reading the article featured in this newsletter on the lynching of James Byrd Jr. when I realized what a gift it is to have insight into what such an interesting man finds interesting. So, I encourage you to subscribe to his work.
Everyone should subscribe to Judd Legum (and pay him, if you’re able). He is doing independent journalism at its finest. As I mentioned before, I’m uneasy with the state of media, and this piece explores the issues of media influence on our perception of how things really are.
“When everything is available, all knowledge, all information, all entertainment ….nothing is perceived as valuable. Not the labor that creates the thing, not the person behind it, not the thing itself. The only valuable thing is our time, and if we spend it on something that isn’t amazing, isn’t exquisitely for us, we understand it as time wasted, instead of time gloriously wandering.”
If this quote by Anne Helen Petersen doesn’t speak to being a writer in 2023, then I don’t know what else would. This is especially poignant as I take my social media break. Read this, and then put your phone down.
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