What I Read This Week - 7th April

The other day I stepped out of a café and got a face-full of snow. Yesterday the sun came out and we walked along the river and sat outside at sunset drinking cider, admiring the serenity of the slow evening rowers, pretending that it was warm enough to behave like this, and it almost was. - On Packing (Molly Beer at Vela)

This problem of weighty, freighted things terrifies me utterly. I do not want the burden of either the object or its implicit value. One I have to carry, the other I will inevitably lose: Crusoe’s knife, after the journey, won’t even look at him; it is a dull, dead thing. What objects, I wonder, will bear my history along some dusty, wrong-sided road? My grandfather’s compass? The leather-bound diary? A sarong (read: table cloth, dress, satchel, curtain, mosquito net, bed sheet, towel)? And what will I cast aside as dead weight?

- Cities of Sleep (Pico Iyer at The New York Review of Books)

The content of my dreams has long ceased to interest me; but their proportions, the way they rearrange the things I thought I cared about, the life I imagined I was leading, won’t go away. Why do I almost never see my mother in my dreams, although, alone in her eighties, she fills my waking thoughts so much? And why, conversely, do I return again and again in sleep to Paris, a city I haven’t visited often in life, as if under some warm compulsion?

- First Love: Memories of an Elusive Boyfriend (Lena Dunham at The New Yorker)

Here’s the thing, or at least a thing, about me—I hate offending people. Even though I love the feel of something vaguely offensive on my tongue, I guess I want to have my cake and tweet it, too.

- "Felicity" And The Joys Of Decent TV (Ben Dolnick at The Awl)

The things that I take pleasure in exhuming are the works of reasonable quality, created in at least relatively good faith. I'm talking about the books and movies and shows that did their job—causing some number of minutes of your life to pass with a minimum of fuss—with a certain soldierly sense of responsibility. Someone once took care to construct a plausible plot by which the character of Ben Covington could make the turn from an aimless slacker to an aspiring doctor. Some group of (deeply misguided) people once sat around a table and decided that, beginning with season three, "Felicity" needed a a new theme song and credit sequence. This care, this effort poured into something so soon forgotten, is oddly moving to me, in the way that watching monks work on a sand mandala is moving.

- Maps (Ben Lytal at The Paris Review)

What an act of love, I hoped, to have transposed these kinds of walks abroad back onto my hometown. As a teenager I guess I had sometimes half-wanted to slow down my car, to get out and walk around downtown Tulsa. But I never did. Tulsa was a table of facts, laden with buildings. I only got sentimental when I went way up in elevators and looked down. I couldn’t always quite understand what I was looking at; the topdown perspective didn’t match my experience driving through it.