Things I Read That I Love #146: The Fumes Of A Magic Marker

HELLO and welcome to the 146th installment of Things I Read That I Love, wherein I share with you some of the longer-form journalism/essays I’ve read recently so that you can read them too and we can all know more about the drought! This “column” is less feminist/queer focused than the rest of the site because when something is feminist/queer focused, I put it on the rest of the site. Here is where the other things are.

The title of this feature is inspired by the title of Emily Gould’s tumblr, Things I Ate That I Love.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Making (August 2014), by Tim Maly for Quiet Babylon –  I think I only fully understood 75% of this but I think it was really good. “It is a strange thing to be at a conference with orders of magnitude of difference for current or expected income/attention hanging silently between participants. It is stranger still when it is a conference about making a living (or at least making a life) doing these creative things which mobilize vast virtual and physical networks. When you introduce the labourers who make it possible, even via slide, the mind reels. “

Without You I’m Nothing (July 2014), by Alexandra Molotkow for The Believer – Really interesting and well-done survey of the memoirs of rock stars’ wives. [DISCUSSED: “The Little Woman with a Spine Like a Rubber Hose, Bob Dylan’s Cryptic Magnetism, A Slow and Stifling Ego Death, Girlfriends and Wives as Fairy-Tale Heroines, David Bowie’s Unofficial Creative Director, The Threat of Obliteration, A Bombed-Out Wall in Soho, Reliving One’s Life as a Ghost, The Eyes of a Botticelli Angel, The Fumes of a Magic Marker, Catharsis for the Reader”]

Acting French (August 2014), by Ta-Nehisi Coates for The Atlantic“I came to Middlebury in the spirit of the autodidactic, of auto-liberation, of writing, of Douglass and Malcolm X. I came in ignorance, and found I was more ignorant than I knew. Even there, I was much more comfortable in the library, thumbing through random histories in French, than I was in the classroom. It was not enough. It will not be enough. Sometimes you do need the master’s tools to dismantle his house.”

The Source Of All Things (December 2007), by Tracy Ross for Backpacker Magazine – This is a very intense and moving personal essay about a woman hiking a mountain with her stepfather who did just about the worst thing you could ever do to a young person when she was a young person and now she’s trying to deal with it.

Zero Percent Water (September 2014), by Alan Heathcock for medium – I drive through this part of the state all the time — the Central Valley, where the drought is killing off all these farms — so I’ve seen all the signs they mention here. Obviously the drought is something everyone in California is talking about all the time. I know there are many sides to this story that aren’t addressed in this story, but it was quite compelling.

The Most Fascinating Profile You’ll Ever Read About A Guy and His Boring Startup (August 2014), by Mat Honan for Wired – At some point in the mid-’90s, I believe, I read an article in Time Magazine about the guys who started Google, and the thoughts behind their algorithim. I probs used Alta Vista at the time but after reading the article I started using google. As I was reading this — about the off-the-beaten-path path of the guy who started Slack — I was like, will this make me want to use Slack and then I’ll look back on this like I do that article about Google? Anyhow obvs a big reason I liked reading this is ’cause it’s about an app that’d be designed for teams like mine if we could ever afford anything of the kind.

Futures on Demand (September 2014), by Matthew Goldmark for The Appendix – “How a colonial past shaped Star Trek‘s utopian futures.” This is some seriously interesting shit I’d never thought about before and I think about Star Trek (TNG, mostly) more than you’d think.

Black Life, Annotated, by Christina Sharpe for The New Inquiry – I think I included an excerpt from Alice Goffman’s book in an earlier TIRTL and this is a really good article about how it’s “the latest installment in a sociological tradition that subjects black life to scholarly scrutiny” and that specifically Alice Goffman’s whiteness and inexperience should’ve been enough to make her colleagues and publisher think twice about the project.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3211 articles for us.


  1. I’m gonna admit that I didn’t read the whole Slack article, but I just wanted to say that the AS team should try it! You don’t have to pay for Slack! There’s a free version which is free for as long as you want for unlimited users! So yeah. I had never heard of Slack until this past summer, when two projects/jobs I was involved in started using it.

    Not sure exactly what my opinion is on it. Works fine, nicely designed, and was better than a typical work instant messenger, and I like that you can see messages that were sent while you were away.

    • I was about to say this as well, as someone who convinced my office to start using Slack this summer and is now loving it.

      HOWEVER I took another look at the pricing plan and remembered that the free version only archives 10,000 messages, which might be a downside for the AS team. Having access to conversations you had 6+ months ago is pretty valuable when you regularly quote old conversations in your articles.

      My second choice for team-wide chat is Skype, actually. Not as pretty or lightweight, but gets the job done.

      • We use Skype now — but it seems like a lot of the features are only accessible with a paid account? And our team has like, a BILLION people in it.

        • We just started using Slack in the office – it’s fantastic. Seriously. It’s chatting, direct messaging, groups, and integrated with a bunch of services, and its free to use for as long as you want to use it with as many users as you want. I particularly like the desktop app that you can download. It pings you when you get a message with an unobtrusive little popup notification, and if you miss it/don’t respond/aren’t online it’ll email you.

          In short: DOOOOOO ITTTT.

  2. Loved ‘Without You I’m Nothing’, the piece about rock star wives. Create feminist spaces everywhere!

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