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The Unraveled Month #03
Things that filled my cup in October
The reading flurry continued throughout October. My cat has been sick — upper respiratory issues on top of her cancer — and I took refuge in fiction to try to soothe my anxiety. I haven’t watched the news in years for mental health protection but I’m still very much plugged into our online world and see the horrors that get shared so fast (and rightly so).
Ten years ago I asked a friend who’d worked in Gaza to explain the Israel-Palestine conflict and I still couldn’t get my head around it. It was something that’d always been on the news growing up and in my young adult years, something that felt far away and in a part of the world I’d never see and never need to know about. It’s so easy to turn away, sometimes necessary too when you’re fighting fires in your own house, but I’m no longer turning so far that I cannot see. Fiction is helping me stay attached to the ground while looking after the most important member of my household, but slowly, mindfully, I’m educating myself about the real world.
It’s never too late to be more informed.
➸ Rory Stewart explains history of Israel-Palestine (thank you Eliza for this link)
Books will come next — there are books and links below the Gabor Mate video to go much deeper.
[Baba with presents from Auntie Zaara; on Auntie‘s lap]
➸ Substack Saves
They pin fake merit badges on you that say “wisdom, or “dignity,” or “good job on the gray hair,” as they send you to a corner on the wrong side of the velvet rope, where, it’s hoped, you’ll stop draining the world’s dwindling resources and quietly shrivel to a crisp. You’re advised to play pickle ball, avoid footstools, dote on your grandchildren, and watch movies where Judi Dench and Maggie Smith flutter warily around foreign hotels.
I am writing this with a very specific person in mind—someone I was until quite recently, and may one day be again. A person who loves an animal maybe a little too much and wonders how they will go on without them. A person who worries, despite the prevalence of pet apparel and pet strollers and human-grade pet food, that there is no one who will understand the magnitude of that love, or the hole it will eventually occupy.
It reminded me that when addiction is part of a person’s life, it is used to define who they were, when the reality is that like everyone, they had good and bad parts, and the stigma of it should never be used to scrub away the good. What a shame, what a waste, we say. And while it is, it’s important to not lose sight of the very best parts of them that wanted to help other people. And most importantly, who they were trying to help.
For most of us, taking pictures and hanging around Flickr was less about doing photography than it was about figuring out what kind of adults we would be. We were using cameras to find and record what we liked — each of us assembling, frame by frame, a kind of vision board, which was then bolstered and reified in real time by everybody else’s vision board.
➸ Bits n bobs
Finished two books in October — one I won’t share because I was so disappointed I needed actual days to recover from the disappointment (silly but true. I have such high hopes for books) but the second was excellent — Such Sharp Teeth by Rachel Harrison — and I have no problem recommending it. Well written, witty believable dialogue, quirky enough to satisfy me but not so weird that I can only recommend it to the handful of people I know like the same fiction as me ;-)
➸ I’ve set up a Bookshop.org page to collate all my faves