Whisked forward

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Textured oil painting of a blue sky with a bank of clouds, a field of white in the background, two cabins in the foreground, and a few people in the yard, behind a fence.
Horace Pippin, Cabin in the Cotton   

This week
"Blackness is infinite," write Jenna Wortham and Kimberly Drew in their introduction to Black Futures. The book, they explain, "is just one manifestation of a project that spans millennia. We are in a continuum of those who came before and those who will come after and make a dent in the archival project that is required of us as humans on this planet." We are in a continuum. I know I am not the "we" they are writing and curating for. But this framing resonated with me. It's how I hope to shape my own experience of seeking out histories I don't know—histories that have been deliberately buried and hidden. That process isn't just about revisiting or uncovering the past, it's shaping a present and seeking out a future that I can't yet see. Embracing my place on the continuum.

I'm reading
Why humans seek solace in patterns. When books by authors from under-published communities are promoted to readers as a way of becoming a "better person," it exacerbates problems of representation. On The Supremes, afrofuturism, and processing grief. For trans people, Sophie’s impact has been inescapable—all about gazing into the void of self-creation. I devoured Torrey Peters' novel Detransition, Baby. It asks, "How can cis people help trans people get what we want, and how can trans people help cis people get what they want? Can we work together to create something new?" Reintroducing Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the future of the Supreme Court left. Survivors of sexual assault react to AOC's coming out as one of them. The "anti-squad" has arrived in Congress to troll, not to legislate. The Trump administration was full of bad tippers. How California's vaccine rollout screws people with disabilities. Deaf people face serious communication gaps as the pandemic drags on. Captive orca whales are miserable, but they cannot be simply released. "Perhaps the only thing worse than submerging yourself too deeply in other people’s sorrow is to not feel it at all." A chest-thumping all-male spiritual retreat. The vintage furniture sellers of Instagram are burned out. Abolish the racist, sexist sub-minimum wage. Unemployment statistics can’t capture the full extent of what women have lost"How am I?" 

Pie chart
I Hope This Email Finds You: 25% out of the office, 25% tested negative, 10% enjoying that breakfast brownie, 40% Secure in your worth as a human being, regardless of your title, salary, or productivity
The Greetings Pie

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I’m looking & listening
A Black women-led group of Amazon warehouse workers is on the verge of organizing the company's first U.S. union. Nile Rodgers on the origin of Diana Ross's "I'm Coming Out." Judas and the Black MessiahNapkin-folding diagrams from the 1600s. The prolific, warm, and hilarious Jenny Han is on CYG.

a woman in workout clothes and a mask dances as military vehicles drive in the background
"You'd think it would be a paradox but it's not—the video is just two utterly distinct things that happened to be mashed on top of each other, both unrelated and inextricable."

I endorse
Hand-whisked Caesar salad dressing. In the BeforeTimes™, a Caesar salad and fries was my standard travel meal—so much so that I mentally referred to it as the Businesswoman Special. These menu items are available in almost every airport, every diner, every hotel restaurant in the country. The combo is never really exciting, but it's pretty difficult to screw up too badly. It works for lunch, dinner, or any nameless meal in between those windows. I've even had it for breakfast.

I rarely ate either of these things in my own home—they were Away foods. But lately I've been making Caesar salad a lot. Like, every week. The last time I went to search for the dressing recipe, I realized I didn't need it anymore. I had memorized every step. If Proust's madeleine is about going back in time, my Caesar dressing is the opposite: A sour and salty wish to whisk myself forward, outward, away to an unknown future.

I have not engaged in much "How will we be different after all this?" speculation. But I do know a few things. This pandemic will be officially over for me when I meet a friend at a faraway bar and we share a plate of fries. And I will not order the Caesar to go with them.

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Forward it. Backward it. Right now it.

Ann Friedman

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PO Box 26932 | Los Angeles, CA 90026
© 2021

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