October Links

It’s been a YouTube sort of month, where I spent far too much time watching others do what I ought to be doing, and would be doing, if I had the energy to get up off the sofa.

Let’s not call it lazy, let’s call it “filling the well.”

Because the last couple of months — okay, the last couple years — have been energetically depleting, chaotic and stress-filled. Turns out chaos and stress are enervating. Who knew? Well, we all knew, the 99% of us, anyway, who aren’t buying Twitter and political candidates. We knew long before COVID, before QAnon and Donald Trump, before the market crash of ’08 and ’00 and ’87 and the oil crisis of the 70s and the missile crisis of the 60s and all the other upheavals in the (relatively) short life of our (pugnacious and bratty) country that chaos and stress are particularly hard on the bodies of human (and nonhuman) people. Yes.

But so is hanging out all day on the sofa. I can attest.

I did get the art room cleaned up after months of not doing it. It took an entire weekend, after which it was so tidy and organized it took another two weeks before I could bring myself to mess it up again. But I did. I messed it up enough to make those four panels in the photo up there. They’re small, but they’re done. Done is good.

All of which is to say, I sat down to write this post and realized the cupboard was bare. Apparently I’ve been prowling online a lot less these days (aside from the YouTube thing) and the few items I’d bookmarked to include in this month’s roundup were, upon a revisit, not all that interesting after all.

And those that were? Well, I can keep pointing you toward the work of Lyz Lenz and Meg Conley and suggest that you subscribe to them, and to Indi and Nick Cave’s Red Hand Files, because they’re all saying things that open us up in one way or another, and we need that. Even when it hurts.

And then we can go for a walk. And watch some YouTube.

I will say that, in my quest for less scrolling, more searching (or, as Austin Kleon would put it, “More search, less feed“) I’ve come to appreciate the work of Heather Cox Richardson, who curates a daily roundup of significant political happenings in the U.S. with ample historical context. It satisfies my current inclination to pay attention to politics, but at a safe remove.

It was not at a safe remove, and I don’t necessarily recommend it, but I listened to all four episodes of the Clarence Thomas story on Behind the Bastards, a podcast from journalist/former Cracked editor Robert Evans. Proceed at your own risk.

What I will recommend is Desert Oracle Radio, which is where I go whenever I need a cultural/emotional reset. Part rant, part woo, all deadpan and weirdly comforting. “Night has fallen in the desert.”

Also this month: I somehow got linked up with Coco’s Variety, a Los Angeles vintage collectibles/bike shop that had a public storefront until August 2021, and now sells online, through auctions, and at local swaps and fleas. I’ve never bought anything from them, don’t do fleas anymore, or auctions, or even garage sales, but I now read Coco’s Dispatch the moment it shows up in my inbox. It’s a window into a life so unlike mine but weirdly familiar all the same. Old school email newsletter, just a scroll and a story and a snapshot and another story and another one. I’m pretty charmed.

What else I’m reading: William Gibson’s The Peripheral. I had a go at Neuromancer when it came out in the 80s and couldn’t make it work for me. Cyberpunk was/is not my métier, but someone recommended this one, and it had been a minute, so I’m giving it a try. There was a language barrier for the first 50 or so pages — I’m not a gamer and don’t get any of those references — but I’m settling in. If I have more to say about it I’ll let you know.

How are you filling your well these days?

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