For several months I’ve been wanting to write more online, without really knowing what to say or how to say it. Not because I felt pressured to Build My Platform(TM), but because I missed sharing a part of myself, seeking to connect with others, in the way that others have shared part of themselves, seeking to connect with readers like me.
I still don’t know how to get back into it in a way that feels right, but The Sunday Currently, even a selective version of it, is always a good place to start.
Down. Late last night three terrorists in a white van drove into the crowd at London Bridge, then went on a stabbing spree in Borough Market, killing 7. It’s a place I walk through six times a week, but pointing that association out doesn’t really matter because a) it’s one of the busiest areas in London, millions pass through every week and b) these days it could be any one of us, anywhere, at any time. Matt & I consumed but didn’t share the details, raw and unverified, pouring into our feeds. We checked in with friends and family and fell asleep to the sound of helicopters–and the loud, slightly slurred chatter right outside the Italian restaurant below us, from people who, if they’d heard the news, carried on, as those who could, did.
This morning, the helicopters are still in the skies. On my way to the library, both buses I was on abruptly diverted from their routes, and traffic halted as several unmarked police cars rushed past, sirens blaring. I checked Twitter, and assumed it was part of the raids and arrests carried out in Barking. I’m trying not to check Twitter too often, because the hateful comments, misinformed hot takes, MUST READ THREADS, and people acting like spokespeople of their country/race are bubbling at the top, like the floating scum that you have to skim off whenever you boil potatoes. And because I have a rough draft of my dissertation due Tuesday. I am alive, unharmed, grateful and mournful, but I am also really, really behind.
The aforementioned dissertation. This probably deserves a post of its own, but let’s just say that this book and I are not friends right now. A good chunk of time and money has gone into this book, and I will finish it. But I also feel that I’m working in a genre that is out of my depth, on a topic which taunts the limits of my understanding, and whose subject matter compels me to look at how the horrifying events of seventy-five years ago parallel our world today.
Which sounds exactly like what a dissertation is supposed to do. But wow do I miss YA fantasy, because I’m realizing belatedly–or this is delirium caused by dissertation stress, by being so deep in a book I can’t see the way out?–that that’s all I ever really wanted to write.
The best book I’ve read this year is The Bees by Laline Paull, which was shortlisted for the 2015 Bailey’s Prize. It’s about a worker bee named Flora 717, who is born into the lowest caste of a beehive ruled by a Queen with a secret. Abnormally large and armed with gifts that others of her kin don’t have, Flora devotes her life to the good of the hive, until her own secret–and a growing suspicion that the biggest danger to the hive comes from within–forces her to make devastating decisions.
I finished it late into the night and wept, overcome by the book’s portrayal of love and sacrifice. Then spent hours on Youtube looking up bees. Paull’s worldbuilding is fantastic, and meticulously researched.
Matt is insisting we get into the Glastonbury mood by listening to some of its headliners. Which is fine, but his playlist consists heavily of what I call “bloopy” music, replete with baby-voiced women. After fifteen minutes of this I’ll slip Carly Rae Jepsen’s new song “Cut to the Feeling” into the Sonos queue. I have an even deeper appreciation for it after reading Spin’s review, in which Jordan Sargent compares the transition to chorus to “the newer versions of Mario Kart, in which the rainbow-slicked ramps launch you even more theatrically into the beautiful blue sky.” Um, yes.
My KeepCup, featured at the top of the post, which I bought when I went down a madcap ‘zero waste lifestyle’ k-hole. I became convinced that if I never used a paper cup again, I was basically Jesus. Despite not being Jesus, I love it. I got the 8 oz ultra-hipster model with glass body and cork band, otherwise known as the monochramatic Cafe Series in Filter. Every coffeeshop I’ve been to has been more than happy to accommodate it, it looks elegant, and even drinking out of it feels nice.
The only thing I hate is how difficult it is to pop the lid off. I don’t care if each lid has been hand-fitted to each individual glass body, which according to the website it literally has. If there’s still any liquid inside when you try to remove it, woe betide any surfaces in the immediate vicinity, including yourself.
My go-to library outfit, which is cropped pants, a T-shirt, a baggy grey cardigan bought on a whim in Baguio, and my orthopedic-style white Skechers. I’m really channeling the 80s grandpa style. Whenever I wear it, I dance around Matt saying, “Oppa grandpa style!” He loves it when I do that, he thinks it’s very charming.
Like trash. Cooking delicious and nutritious meals is at the very bottom of my to-do list these days. Dinner is whatever we can put straight in the oven with minimal mixing or fuss. Besides, Kewpie mayonnaise disguises all culinary sins.
A mechanical keyboard. I know the feeling will pass, because it’s my brain’s feeble effort at distraction. If you really want to be a writer, it will say, You need a mechanical keyboard. Fortunately I’m too busy panicking over my dissertation to pay any heed to looking up keyboards (though the Cherry Mx Blue keys do sound nice…).
*checks time* To get back to writing. Like now.
The Sunday Currently is a series originated by Lauren. To learn more, click here.