Hey there. I haven't written since the beginning of May. At that point I was writing from San Antonio. Since then I've given a graduation speech here in Charlottesville, been in conversation with a truly brilliant writer on the occasion of her book launch in DC (those were the same day), been to New York twice, wrapped the summer issue of the magazine I work for, hosted my organization's annual week-long writers' conference—the first seriously hot week of the summer, with temps regularly into the 90s—and then slept for four days straight. None of this is harrowing or heroic; I'm not saving any lives. But I haven't been reading for pleasure a whole lot, either.
Not to worry—I have recommendations anyway.
In June, my mother and I went to New York City to hear my aunt sing at Carnegie Hall (sidenote: I never get tired of saying that—oh my aunt was singing at Carnegie Hall). She was great, Carnegie Hall was imposing in its grandeur and significance (and I wasn't even the one onstage), it only rained one of the six days we were there. I'm not sure it even got above 80 most of the time. The city was quite welcoming for mid-June, all things considered.
1. My mother and I spent some time at MoMA, where we took in the exhibition "Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction." I'm not always a fan of this type of identity-based segregation, but the curators contextualized the works to make visitors aware of the social movements and political actions, the fellow artists and current events the creators were in conversation with. For the first time, I bought the book that accompanied the exhibition. Modern Women: Women Artists at the Museum of Modern Art covers more of the museum's holdings than just the exhibition. With more than 500 pages of essays and full-color images, it's something between a coffee table book and a reference work, to be appreciated and referred to often. Mine sits proudly on display in my living room.
2. The day after my summer deadline, I bought Samantha Irby's new book, We Are Never Meeting In Real Life, and enjoyed it with a beer at one of my favorite hideaways. Irby's collection is comedic yet brutally honest—she leaves it all on the page—to be savored and mined for its deepest truths.
3. I think it's more important that potential partners ask each other these questions than these. (h/t my source for the first link, which, in case you declined to click on it, is a list of 20 Literary Would-You-Rathers. Don't miss out.)
Today (July 27) is my mother's birthday. I won't divulge her age but, based on what I'm reading in Barbarian Days, she and William Finnegan were in school in Hawaii at the same time. Here's a blurry (filtered) pic of us on that trip to New York last month. It was taken on our last night there, after we had walked and cabbed and trained—basically hauled our asses—up and down town in the rain and then had a couple of glasses of wine. Cheers, Mom!