Once a month, I like to point to all the good stuff I’ve been reading, watching and listening to, especially as it relates to what’s going on in the world and in my own life. If you are a regular reader, you may have noticed I’ve been thinking, writing, and posting about the theme of change recently. Maybe you’ve seen an essay on my blog or post on Instragram. We’re finishing up that theme with a round up of resources from around the internet, off my shelves, and even on my own blog.
1. “The High Cost of Change” by Sam Bush for Mockingbird. The author begins by talking about how “quarantine life hasn’t changed us so much as we’re wearing sweatpants more often.” Real change, he says, “has to happen all the way down to the heart.”
2. “Not Sure What You’re Feeling? Journaling Can Help” by Andrew Limbong for NPR. Whether or not our hearts have changed, it has been a season of extreme external change. And those changes often are difficult to process with so much up in the air. In this article, learn more about how journaling can help you deal with the stress and disruption of pandemic life, along with some tips for getting started.
3. “The Video Conference is Starting. Time to Put on Your Zoom Shirt” by Joel Stein for the New York Times. This fun piece highlights the way dressing for work has changed during the pandemic, mostly for those of us working from home. Of course I’ve been working from home for years, but the idea of a single shirt or jacket that can be slipped on before going live on Zoom sounds like a good way to take WFH casual up a notch.
4. BONUS: If you haven’t seen the Room Rater (@ratemyskyperoom) Twitter feed, you’re in for a treat. (H/T to Ann Kroeker for pointing this out to me.) They take celebrities, politicians, newscasters, and other on-air personalities who are broadcasting live from home, and rate their settings. Hint: Artwork, plants, and natural lighting are a must. So are book cases, though points are taken off for horizontal books. And blank walls and framed awards are a definite no-no. Yours truly actually arranged my new home office specifically with these ideas in mind. How would you rate my room?
In addition to the pressures of life during COVID-19, we’re also facing down ongoing systemic racism as a country and hearing regular calls from protestors and politicians, actors and athletes and more for long-over-due change in nearly every aspect of institutional and cultural life. For many of us who are white, we have a lot of catching up to do on the history we were never taught and the injustices we’ve been impervious to and sometimes complicit in. Here are a few resources to help educate and invite us into the conversation.
1. “The Purpose of a House” by Emily Bernard for The New Yorker. This beautiful essay is a cross-section of quarantine life and a mother helping her black daughters navigate the racism they’ve encountered in their mostly white school. The author’s insistence that she intended to write a different essay, both at the beginning and the end of this piece, is just another reminder of how much life has been interrupted and changed for us all.
2. Just Mercy (the book and the movie) by Bryan Stevenson. If you’ve read the book, still go watch the movie. And vice versa. There’s so much to learn and feel and experience from both. Basically, this work will provide an introduction to the systemic racism of our justice system and give you a place to begin understanding some of our nation’s untold history.
3. A Year of Anti-Racism Work compiled by Michelle Panchuk. After a few weeks of listening, reading, discussing, grieving, and more, I feel like I need to take more steps toward becoming an antiracist (a term new to me that means I want to go beyond simply not being racist). This list offers some practical action steps, including more education and conversations, to doing the hard work for the long run.
4. Bread for the Resistance: 40 Devotions for Justice People by Donna Barber. This is a great book of short daily readings for people who are hoping and working toward a better future for all but feel overwhelmed by the slowness of that change. I highly recommend this book.
5. Finally, if you missed one of my recent posts about change, you can find those here: