Posts Tagged ‘reading’

Storytelling

April 2, 2017

There are so many stories to hear–to study–and there are so many more to tell.  The story of the distance between these words and my last will be saved for another time.  Suffice it to say, things have been chaotic, I’ve felt an inadequate cruise director for my life and some of the lives around me, I’ve bemoaned calendrical hegemony, I’ve lost matrix pseudospectra in my daily life, I’ve done the horribly terrifying thing of sneezing while driving, I’ve tried to live while parenting and parent while living, and I’ve been trying to or at least learning about trying to dismantle my privilege.

But recently I’ve been entranced by some very interesting stories, and I need to elevate them out of my private consumption and study as a means to honor them, reflect on them, and move forward and find a new pace for my daily life that acknowledges the wonder of storytelling but doesn’t get as lost as I have been in them.

  • Flygirl – I started reading this during #BHM17 because my city had some great programming at our public library around this book.  Racism, colorism, feminism, #blackgirlmagic, and the struggle stripe this coming of age tale.
  • Shittown – A binge-able podcast brought to you by the folks over at Serial and This American Life not without controversy but a deeply resonant story nonetheless.  Lots of triggers, so I’d recommend seeing if it’s your cup of tea by reading up to (or past, if that’s your thing) the spoiler warnings at Vox,  the New York Times, and the Atlantic.
  • The Expanse – Everything that I’ve been missing since I finished watching every episode of every Star Trek franchise over 2015 and 2016.  Not Enterprise though, of course.  This embeds comprehensive Deep Space Nine galactic politics in a believable reality of our simple complex solar system with exceptional editing of any fluff or cruft.  Season 1 for free on Amazon, and while you can stream Season 2 (which has three more eps in April) on the SyFy website, I recommend paying for it on Amazon so they know you’re watching and so they can afford to make more of this absolutely marvelous show.  Only you can stop The Expanse from becoming the next cancelled Sci-Fi classic.  Also, representation matters and the cast sets a new standard for a future of diversity and inclusion by our standards here in 2017.
  • Kings of Kings – Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History is probably one of the most important things I was missing from my education: true history through broad as well as deep context.  This three-parter clocks in at just under 13 hours of content about the rise and fall of the Achaemenid Empire.  The 500 to 1000 years of events covered in this epic has everything to do with the world we live in today, since they set the stage for mono-theism and the intervening 2000 years.  Primarily, listening has given me confidence to dive down the (Wikipedia) rabbit hole into a better understanding of Passover as it nears but also recent events in the Levant.
too_many_tabs

At a certain point, Chrome stops counting how many tabs you have open.

This feels better: to confess to reading on every toilet seat, staying up too late, staring at bright screens while sitting under-babe even though they are ready to go into their crib, going on longer runs and waiting in driveways and having a single headphone in my ear while doing almost everything so that I can keep the stories coming, and watching one more ep on a lunch break that was already too long because I was listening to podcasts while prepping my food too slowly or reading books and articles while waiting for water to boil or the microwave’s beep, only to delay any reaction until getting to that next comma, period, vocal pause.  Or just one more.

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unsubscribe or: how i resolve to support things i actually care about

January 1, 2014

I'm a GENDER scout!

So, this is the new year. I’m very fortunate in that I was given (and can take) the opportunity to relax, defocus, and reflect, and something that I come back year after year is the intention to write. Write more, write better, write for me, write for others. It doesn’t seem to happen. In mathematics, when you can’t get at what you want the direct way, you can come at it from the other side. So I started thinking about how I read.

I’ve always thought that I’m a slow reader and it turns out that I subvocalize when I read (and when I do math). That I’ve been punishing myself with subvocalization was quite a realization and I can now put a label on it and take steps to improve my reading, my comprehension, and my overall purpose while reading.

Which gets to the heart of the matter: why am I reading anything at all? What’s in it for me? I feel as if I’ve not consciously asked this question of myself in my waking memory. To date, I know that I am reading a book to finish it, to acquire knowledge, to integrate it into my being so that if someone asks me about it I can give them an honest and relevant and direct and precise support or criticism. This has proven to be an insurmountable goal, for I read everyone’s prose as a mathematical proof, where every word has been isolated and selected to provide necessary meaning.

Sincerely thinking hard about why I am reading something has already helped me read faster–skim paragraphs, pages even–at the cost of being able to recite the book when asked (which I couldn’t even do). That’s okay.

So what does this have to do with my support of the Gender Book? Various things, the first of which is that I support people participating in the current and important dialog about non-binary gender and gender self-identification. Another, though, is that the Gender Book is something real, personal, engaging, and I think necessary. The notification that there’s a new Japanese whiskey on sale from a liquor store in NYC from which I once ordered a small batch of vodka is not necessary to me. Neither is the fact that there’s a class at the Tustin REI that I can’t go to, nor that StumbleUpon have found more unnecessary things for me to read.

Sure, by opting out I am opting out: I won’t learn about certain offers or deals or current events in the same timescale or at all. I may opt-in again at some point. But my choice to unsubscribe from the unnecessary and legitimately support the ones I find necessary is what I’m trying out as a 2014 resolution. Maybe from this absurd reduction to only reading what’s necessary, I’ll get a better handle on the things I find it necessary to write. We’ll see how far it gets me.

Happy New Year and 2014.