Monday, September 20, 2021

The Pace Is Unrelenting

I remember looking up corporate policy at one job after a relative died and noting that they had codified how much time off each death earned. Like three days for a parent or child, two for a grandparent, one for aunts, uncles, and so on. Everything else counted as regular vacation time. 
I mention this not so much to fault the HR people who were tasked with figuring this out. But we are trained early and often to believe grief has a measurable timeframe, and after that, any failures to return to normal are a personal problem. 
Obviously as I count up the personal griefs I am working through, this is more noticeable. But with this many losses, you have to be just incredibly lucky to be untouched. And if you remain in that privileged place it feels odd. It felt odd for me to live through both September 11th in DC, and the Beltway Sniper shootings the following year and feel mostly untouched. (I was also grieving my dad, so my sense of okay was likely profoundly off kilter.) 
We are all experiencing pandemic related change, and yet we are now supposed to be experienced pandemic people, and therefore should need no more time for grief, worry, or concern. So what if literally nothing is back to normal yet, we are expected to carry on. And I recognize that no one reading this is surprised, but sometimes it feels important to keep mentioning, this is not normal. It is okay to feel sad, mad, tired or some variation thereof. 
And yes, I realize I say all this after wrapping a work week, followed by volunteering/attending a virtual convention, so if you even doubt these posts are me talking to myself as much as anyone else, it definitely is.  

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. In my apparent new role as person who reads thoughtful pieces about TV I have not watched, I enjoyed this piece with Meg Conley talking about some of the context of US Housewives, prosperity gospel, and capitalism, that didn't make it into the "LulaRich" documentary. 
2. This interview with Gabrielle Union looked at how she has found radical transparency to be a superpower
3. And yay for the local resident who won the Tiny Desk Contest.  

Monday, September 13, 2021

Questions I Have Not Seen White Writers Asked

And yes, every one if these is based on a real question I have seen an author asked. 

1. Do you always think you'll write about white people, or are you interested in other kinds of characters too?
2. I know you've said you write the stories you wish you'd had growing up, and that's great. Do you think non-white people can find something for themselves in your work?
3. I really enjoyed reading your work. If I wanted to learn more about white people, do you have any other recommendations?
4. There's another white writer that I know of, have you met them?
5. I've adopted a white child, do you have any recommendations for things I could do or not do in raising them?
6. My child is marrying someone who is white, do you think she will enjoy your work?
7. I teach a lot of white students, but they aren't sure they want to read your work. What should I tell them?
8. I didn't always understand all the references in your book. Do you know where I can go to learn more about white culture?
9. I was reading yesterday about these white bank robbers. Have you considered writing a story on that?


Thursday, September 09, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. This is written about UU congregations, but I think the idea of creating workable communities in the face of one or more members holding back progress is applicable to other spaces as well. 
2. An artist created the Salon of the Refused, after not being selected for a collection, and talked about the project here. 
3. This piece on periods and sports was fascinating.  

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Energy vs. Experience

I've been watching the US Open and well, feeling a bit tired and please join me as I turn this into an extended analogy. 
One of the things that is often true about younger players is that they have skill, of course, and so much energy, but less pro experience. Players who are ten years older have simply played more games than you. They have more experience to draw from. 
But younger players have a lot of energy. So if the game goes to extra sets, they eat extra sets for snacks. They bounce on their toes between points, not just to stay warm, but also because they are so jazzed to be playing. 
And so the lack of experience can push you through errors like trying a fancy shot that didn't work, or focusing more on returning the ball and not planning for the shot after that. They can get run all back and forth by a more experienced player and just keep going. 
And that works for a while. Sometimes four rounds of that catches up to you. 
As an experienced player you can be strategic with your shots. You are accustomed to thinking through returning serves, when to move in and when to hang back, planning lobs and other things to keep your opponent expending lots of energy while you conserve yours. So if your opponent in the energizer bunny that's fine because you have the skills to wear them out until they make a mistake. 
But of course some days the player with the energy wins, and some days the strategy and experience wins. And some days you thought you were the strategic player, but it looks like you're relying on energy and vibes today. 
And some days you do what you can to survive long enough to get a nap.