The Point of No Return

Okay, I’m calling it. We’ve crossed the line. There is no going back to normal. Or what we thought was “normal”. Now what?


Find Something to Do

When I was a little girl wandering around the house aimlessly wishing I could somehow be entertained, or have a friend to play with, my mum always had an answer for me: “Find something to do.”

It is the same now in our pandemic. It is time to indulge ALL THE ECCENTRICITIES! Open up to obscure interests, dive deep in single topics, read classics or trash, become more of yourself. You know, “dance like nobody’s watching” because, well, it’s true: nobody is. Take the time we all have on our hands and turn it into … whatever you might have always wanted to do. Memorize poems. Don’t stop at the first gate - the one that says it doesn’t matter, expand further into those activities that used to be called hobbies. If at first it feels foolish, don’t worry, press on. Line up those little figurines as if they matter. Show off that fluffy hairdo as if it were the best thing ever. Learn to cha cha. Put eyes on things that don’t normally have eyes and take their picture. Play with it all. Make stuff. This opportunity won’t last forever, so we may as well have some fun with it. Maybe assign some time in that partly-abandoned productivity calendar for this kind of play, this “useless studying”. It will be spring soon enough, and the outdoors will bring a new spectrum of pleasure to our confined lives. Don’t just bounce from small screen to medium-sized screen to big screen. Dress up, reach out, imagine.

The inspiring images of the shepherdess and the grenadier are from Mascarade à la Greque, a parade of fantastical, architectural outfits from the imagination of French artist Ennemond Alexandre Petitot (1727-1801) - Public Domain Review.


Time Warp Continues through 2021, May Accelerate

“What? It’s nearly the middle of February?” As one of the memes put it: 2021 came in and was like … “previously on 2020 …” I think most of us are still drifting through the pandemic time-shift. The seasonal markers are a big help, but the hours/days/weeks/months seem to blur from one to the other. I try to anchor the days on my calendar but those numbers are looking kind of arbitrary, and seem to have less and less meaning. '

Here are two different takes on our new experience of time: Temporality and Belonging and On Vibing. Longer reads, but worth it. (You have time, right?)

And speaking of things I enjoyed reading in other newsletters on Substack - this article on our loss of the stars: What did we lose when we lost the stars? Not really about the time warp, but then again, maybe it is.


The Perfumed Garden

These days my “something to do” involves expanding my interest in scents and perfumes. This dovetails dangerously into another popular pandemic activity: online shopping, so I modify it to be simply screen shopping. I love evoking the scents just by reading the ingredients. Try it!

I’ll be zooming in to this free online lecture this Friday, the 12th: The Perfumed Garden of Iran: A Contribution to the History of Smell and Odor by Dr. Touraj Daryaee


The lists are getting longer, but I don’t think they’re better

So many lists and nothing to watch. Looking for some new movies to watch, as usual I googled “best movies”. Yes, I found some movies, but found something else, too.

Reflecting the avid desperate rapid scrolling everyone is now accustomed to, the old lists of 3 best, 5 best or 10 best are totally passé. That’s not enough anymore. We need more, much more. Instead we have lists of 55 best, 30 best, even 61 best. (Then there are the other lists: 37 IKEA hacks, 50 ways to clean your bathroom, 75 items you can’t live without.) A quick google will confirm this for you, too - just look for best movies, or tv series and google delivers a very long scroll of lists of articles. When opened, these, too, are equally long scrolls. All so we can compare one list against the others.

Weirdly, I was so satisfied by the long scroll of possibilities I didn’t feel the need to see any of these movies. Just knowing they’re there and available may be enough, like reading recipes for the future or looking at pictures of possible pets. These lists are so long I may as well give up and just go through Netflix directly to see what their algorithms are recommending based on my past viewing. Then hop over to Amazon, and down to Criterion.

I’ll venture a short list of what we’ve seen for this Black History month: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, One Night in Miami, Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, The 40-Year-Old Version.


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