HELLO and welcome to the 262nd 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 writer’s block! 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.
The Silencing of the Deaf, by Sujata Gupta for Matter, April 2014
Fascinating! I had no idea that sign language was discouraged until the 1970s! That’s so recent! There’s so many things that I as a hearing person do not know about the world of deaf people and perhaps many other hearing people, perhaps many of you, are in that boat. Here is a starter boat!
You’ve Reached the Winter of Our Discontent, by Rebecca Schuman for Longreads, April 2018
This is not even the first link I have shared on this general topic but here I am again, looking at adolescent me and thinking “wow, what the fuck.” We really did romanticize these guys who hated jobs and money and selling out was like the root of all evil, that seems so indulgent now.
Trapped: The Grenfell Tower Story, by Tom Lamont, November 2017
I let this one sit on my instapaper for quite some time before finally opening it to read and once I did my eyes never left the page (my ipad). Very tragic!
Derivative Sport: The Journalistic Legacy of David Foster Wallace, by Josh Roiland for Longreads, December 2017
This piece is just RICH with ideas. The author talks to authors who’ve been compared to David Foster Wallace in some way or another over the years, and editors who worked with him, and it’s like a great overview of his career and style and a recognition of his lasting influence and so much. One of my favorite things about him was that he’d write 7,000 word essays but use w/r/t as an abbreviation for “with respect to,” to save those three words.
Dry, The Beloved Country, by Eve Fairbanks with pictures by Pieter Hugo for Huffington Post Highline, April 2018
An intriguing and information-rich dispatch from the most privileged section of South Africa, Cape Town, where an extreme drought is causing the community to come together in surprising ways… while still, so much also remains the same. I learned a lot about South Africa in general from this piece! Highly recommend it A++.
Improbable Cause, by by Amy Dempsey for The Toronto Star, April 2018
If the police had investigated the first murder, they could’ve prevented the second and the third. If they’d investigated the second, they could’ve prevented the third. Why wasn’t any action taken until an entire family was dead?
What Fullness Is, by Roxane Gay for Unruly Bodies, April 2018
I mean you are going to read this one!
I had weight-loss surgery, but I am still the same person who went under the knife. I still have that yawning cavern inside of me that I want to fill with food, only now I cannot fill it with food. I’m rarely hungry, but I am ravenous. Want continues to rage desperately beneath the surface of my skin. I turned to food when I was sad and happy and lonely and scared and anxious. I turned to food, and away from everything else; it was my comfort and my friend. Food helped me survive something I did not think I would survive. Food numbed the uncomfortable feelings I very much did not want to feel.
Blocked, by Alice Gregory for The New Yorker, June 2004
I’ve never believed that Writer’s Block itself is its own psychological phenomenon, more that it’s a combination of other psychological things that already have names coming to bear upon the writer’s mind for one reason or another. This piece gets into that, and how we conceive of writers being inspired to write in the first place, and it also tells the tales of many authors who have struggled with it, and why, and how they did or didn’t emerge from it. Good stuff!
Style Is an Algorithm, by Kyle Chayka for Racked, April 2018
I’ve loved Racked for a long time but love them even more for publishing this incredibly theory-heavy piece about taste, inspired by the Amazon Echo Look, which sounds like a terrible machine!
Two Weeks in the Capital, by Nicolas Medina Mora for n+1, Winter 2018
Jogging for an hour in Mexico City, a concerned voice repeats on the radio, harms your lungs as much as a pack of cigarettes. That last claim seems dubious to you, but you never liked running anyway. The absence of rain also implies the absence of clouds, which in turn implies it’s 90 degrees in the shade. This gives you two choices: close your windows and stew in your own sweat or open them and drown in your own mucus. Either way, you suffocate.