I made this for you!

Oh, friends, I should share these links more than once every two months. I have an email chain 62 messages long!

Though, to give an accurate picture of the process, here’s what six of those messages look like:

Screenshot 2014-10-22 08.34.09

(I have no idea what I meant by that Schrödinger’s Cat reference.)

Here’s the article that led to all of those ramblings. I love the way it ties something modern to something classic and leaves you wanting to read (or re-read) both. The Gawker Review of Books is a new-ish venture, and I would recommend staying away unless you want to be paralyzed by the number of great books you haven’t yet read.

Now…where do I start?

Roxane Gay released another book, and there were so many wonderful pieces and interviews released to promote it.
The Price of Black Ambition
The Books That Made Me Who I Am

How do you deal with the criticism, and how do you decide which notes to ignore?
I want to respond to things when they really hit me on a gut level. If you announce what your value system is and then your actions don’t necessarily align with it, like, you have got to hear [those criticisms]. That is calledgrowing, and I think if you are in touch with yourself, you can feel on a pretty deep, gut level when somebody points something out, and you can feel that you have betrayed your own sense of justice. And so if something hits me on that gut level, then I am going to respond to it, and I am going to respond to it as best as I can. People don’t want to look like hypocrites, they want to look like they are like perfectly considered in all their actions from morning to night. But I am just one person moving through the world, and the best that I can do is be open to change. I was a really stubborn kid, and I feel like I am, like, making my way out of that as an adult and doing it in a public way, which can be challenging. -from a conversation between Roxane Gay and Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham ALSO released a book in the past few months, and every interview I read increased my enjoyment of and respect for her.
Don’t Love or Hate Lena Dunham. Create More of Her.
Between Girls

Lonesome Road
Missing Church, Not Religion: Why I Read Marilynne Robinson

Somewhat related tale of homelessness and the church: Searching For Home

The Importance of Friendship Diversity – by Ann Friedman, who sends out a delightful and thought-provoking weekly email newsletter, if you’re into that sort of thing.

What riding my bike has taught me about white privilege. (I may have posted this before. It’s worth re-posting.)

The Only One: A Talk With Shonda Rhimes
Related: 14 Incredible Web Series Created By and Featuring Black Women

When no gender fits: A quest to be seen as just a person. This is so well-written.


Are you still with me? Here’s a glimpse of fall in Virginia from a few weeks ago, on Cole Mountain. The views are spectacular.

Of course, this was OUR view from the top:

2014-10-12 11.47.01-1

It was still a good weekend.

Okay, back to the links.

-Abby Pratt touches on what’s happened in our small city and one way it’s impacting the residents. We’ve all got trust issues now. (I just want to give everyone a hug. I also want to live in a world where that instinct is a safe one.)
-My old housemate Ebony has been dropping truth on her blog about the work she’s doing in Richmond. You should probably read everything she writes.
-Get That Life: How I Became an Urban Farmer – Kate Daughdrill isn’t local anymore, but we’ll always claim her as one.

Articles I found on the internet that talk about how the internet fails to connect us:
Using Technology to Connect
Forget Facebook, Abandon Instagram, Move to a Village

To Siri, With Love

A few interesting things happening in the garment industry:
closed-loop textile recycling
a garment made entirely from recycled cotton
“field to garment” movement

Something Borrowed, Something Blue – investigating the authenticity of the Madewell brand

And now we’re down the last few, which are completely unrelated but still worth sharing:

Don’t say goodbye. Just ghost. (I prefer ghosting – what about you?)

How to Be Polite. (Constant note to self.)

Put Yourself on the Pride Board (Remembering to encourage ourselves.)

Understanding Your Story with Dan Allender

How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy (!!!)

A Better Way to Introduce Friends at Parties (Shoutout to people with boring jobs!)

And, finally, because the weather is getting cooler and I will always remember, fondly, the winter I finally fell for Wendell Berry: Faith and fears in Wendell Berry’s Kentucky

26 books finished in 2014: Speaker for the Dead

26 books finished in 2014

I’m in the middle of three books right now. This isn’t normal for me. I prefer to take them one at a time, but somehow I keep choosing books that are challenging. One of them is stories about the Rwandan Genocide, which means I can only bear to read a chapter at a time, if even that much. The other is The Brothers Karamazov, whose paragraphs are so long that they fill pages and pages and pages on my kindle, and sometimes I fall asleep in the middle of one, then pick up the book and can’t remember what’s going on, and have to backtrack through all of those pages to the beginning of the paragraph.  The third is a book I’ve been reading for at least a year now, about suffering, and I put it down back in the spring but picked up again last week.

So OF COURSE, since I’m in the middle of three books, I started a fourth. But how could I not? First, it was the results of a months-long search by some friends, in every used book store they visit (they visit a lot of used book stores). Second, it’s the sequel to Enders Game (review is near the bottom of that post), which some people say is equally as good and other say is EVEN BETTER!

They gave it to me on Sunday. I started reading immediately. I didn’t cancel any plans Monday or Tuesday evening, but I stayed up later than usual. And then, on Wednesday, I hit the point of no return and finished the book around 2am.

What did I think? EVEN BETTER! I still love Enders Game, but the themes of this book are much more aligned with the themes that I think and care about on a daily basis. It even aligns with a sermon series at our church this fall (a study of Ephesians, asking specifically, “How can the many live together as one?”) – what a fun coincidence!

Here’s a tiny introduction: in the world of these books a Speaker for the Dead is someone who spends time learning the story of someone, then publicly speaks the truth about their life, the good and the bad, as a way to  to bring closure to those left behind.

25 books finished in 2014: My Name Is Asher Lev

25 books finished in 2014

You know who gave me this book? These two. My book pushers. And I can’t recall exactly what Sam said about how this book impacted him (the most beautiful, life-changing book he has every read?), nor what segment of the population he thought should read it (every single person?), but it was enough for me to forsake all other plans and start it immediately.

It was INCREDIBLE and YOU SHOULD READ IT and I can’t believe I hadn’t been told exactly that until just recently.

There are so many things that could be discussed, but I just want to share one moment:

That was the night I began to realize that something was happening to my eyes. I looked at my father and saw lines and planes I had never seen before. I could feel with my eyes. I could feel my eyes moving across the lines around his eyes and into and over the deep furrows on his forehead. He was thirty-five years old, and there were lines on his face and forehead. I could feel the lines with my eyes and feel, too, the long straight flat bridge of his nose and the clear darkness of his eyes and the strong thick curves of the red eyebrows and the thick red hair of his beard graying a little –  I saw the stray gray strands in the tangle of hair below his lips. I could feel lines and points and planes. I could feel texture and color. I saw the Shabbos candles on the table glowing gold and red. I saw my mother small and warm and silken in a lovely Shabbos dress of pale blue and white. I saw my hands white and bony, my fingers long and thin, my face in the mirror above the buffet plae with black eyes and wild red hair. I felt myself flooded with the shapes and textures of the world around me. I closed my eyes. But I could still see that way inside my head. I was seeing with another pair of eyes that had suddenly come awake. I sat still in my chair and felt frightened.


The infinite list: Fall 2014 version

You may have missed this article in the last post – reasonably, because there were SO MANY THINGS. Take a moment to read it, or just know that it’s chewing on the concept of to-do lists being infinite, and the freedom that can come with acknowledging that. Personally, I’m still in the “holy cow that list is infinite how in the world am I going to function” zone when I think about the infinite list.

Which brings me to my Fall Sewing Wishlist. Unfortunately, I’ve been adding to this baby since spring (I can’t sew with flannel when the weather is warm), and at this point it’s grown into an incredibly ambitious list.

Intimidating Things:

1. Archer Button-Up Shirt. Ooh, child, I just did some searching and it turns out I bought this pattern LAST DECEMBER so my spring/flannel excuse is entirely useless. If I’m being honest, I’m completely intimidated by this pattern. Plackets! Collars! Multiple buttons and buttonholes that will line up? POCKETS!?

BUT I am sick of trying on RTW button-up shirts and hating how poorly they fit my body. I have been hoarding beautiful flannels, dreaming of the day I can wear them around campfires. Also, I suspect that the high of tackling and conquering all of these scary aspects of the shirt will last for at least a year.

2. Undergarments. I know. This is insanity. But do you know what else is insanity? Buying bras. Either when you try on eleventy billion in a department store and can’t find a single one that actually fits OR when you go to a fancy boutique where someone hangs out with you in the fitting room and brings perfectly selected bras with pricetags too heinous to mention.

So I’m going to slowly test some lingerie patterns, and build a custom fit for myself, and then whenever I need a new bra it’ll be a matter of purchasing less than a yard of fabric and a few notions and sitting down to assemble. That’s the end goal.

(Also I need to just buy some silky fabric and make a few pairs of tap pants (the slip that’s actually a pair of shorts) because apparently NOBODY MAKES THOSE ANYMORE THEY JUST FORCE YOU TO BUY SPANX.)

Less-Intimidating Things:

3. Another pair of leggings. This time in a crazy print. (How do we feel about zebra stripes?)

4. More plantain tees. Do you see the way I’m slowly eliminating all excuses to buy things in stores? I have a lovely bright green fabric that’s calling my name. It’ll probably become a t-shirt this weekend.

5. A crazy-patterned cardigan. This will be another plantain/wrap hybrid like I made during Me Made May. That cardigan traveled with me to Europe – where it kept me warm on planes and acted as the perfect layering piece during transitional weather. Basically, I want something a bit kicky to wear with boring basics. Which brings me to…

6. Boring basic work dresses. I haven’t made any dresses in black or gray or navy in years, so it’s time to make a few staple dresses. They’re probably going to be the exact same pattern – my favorite hybrid dress – and I’m going to wear them to pieces!

7. One more Lady Skater. I already have two, but one of them is red and the material is shiny so I rarely put it on, and the other one is the first dress I wear after laundry day. I think this one will be navy.

“Oh hey! I must make you!” Things:

8. Anna Dress! I am getting this and the Georgia for my birthday – the physical patterns instead of PDFs! It won’t be long before I sew one. Probably in this fabric, which is already in my stash.

THE END (for now)

Odds are good that I knock out 3-7 on this list in the next few weekends. Hopefully I can use some of that momentum to get to work on my first Archer!