#36: These travels wrought strange changes

This letter has the best lizard, the most thoughtful karaoke, and the tiniest royal things. By far.


Lovely Linky Bits

Thoughtful reads and so forth.

Sing to Me
“If karaoke is a safe form of intimacy, solo karaoke is a safe form of self-reckoning. I watch my face contorting like a strange muscle, I hear the notes I didn’t hit, the vibrato I couldn’t hold, and if I can love myself in the raw I can confirm that I am lovable — I swap out the ugly for the awkward. There are versions of me, and of you, that are lovable in their imperfections. And there are versions of us that are really unlovable, and must be continually excreted in private for as long as we live. Real faults are harder to air in public. They invite scorn for the same reason that even a good speaker is a bad speaker if they seem genuinely uncomfortable: We empathize in a way we’d rather not.”

“These travels wrought strange changes. Dishwasher safe the toys may have been, but newspaper safe they were not. By the time they drifted into my own imagination, the plastic animals that had fallen into the Pacific in 1992 were scarcely recognizable. For one thing, the plastic had turned into rubber. For another, the beavers, frogs, and turtles had all turned into ducks. It had begun the day Eben Punderson published an unusual ad in the pages of the Sitka Daily Sentinel—the metamorphosis of happenstance into narrative and narrative into myth.”

The Lost Virtue of Cursive
“The sight of my father’s or mother’s script on a small white envelope was what I anticipated right until mail call, after lunch, and what kept me going for the long afternoon hours afterward. I liked letters on which their handwriting was rushed and slightly illegible, because if I had trouble deciphering the handwriting the letter lasted longer. When my grandmother wrote, I had difficulty deciphering her elegant, Palmer Method hand, but I enjoyed the antique nature of the challenge. It felt as if I were playing tennis with a wooden racquet.”

Curiosities & Delights

Some things to be glad about.

All the pretty holloways.
All the royal tiny things, of which there are many.
Nothing says something like a personalised potato.
Punk rock knits and oven mitts.
How long will it take to read that book? Here’s a chart.
The chamber pot museum of Prague.
The human alphabet and the not an alphabet.
A brief guide to finding slices of joy.
Some curious ways in which animals panic.
Behold! The thorny devil lizard.

Moving Pictures

Video treats upon which to press play.

The gloriousness that is Ilona.
The beautiful unfolding of chemicals meeting.
The mad navigation skills of baby sea turtles.
A visit with the classical musicians of North Korea.
And here are some robots making tiny springs.

Happening Things

Book releases, courses, and other timely tidbits.

Like rowdy card games about books and writing?
You might like to help kickstart Papercuts.
Perhaps a new book of essays from Mary Oliver? Here’s Upstream.
Also, here’s the freshly launched Smithsonian podcast.
And here’s a free month of The Great Courses Plus.