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No Book Is An Island

There are so many dreadful things afoot and if we let them (as I did yesterday) they can devour us entirely. This morning I did not. Some of you may know I am writing a book and finding it the greatest challenge I’ve ever tackled. It is lone-wolf work. You must be alone and you must be focused and you must listen well. But it is also collaborative. Spiritually, emotionally and even physically I sometimes need rescuing from this story, and I am used to relying only on myself. On a day like today, when I write long and well and see how it all may fit together, I feel more grateful than any time since I was a 3-year-old viewing the world from the safety of my daddy’s shoulders. In turn, I send love to you. For the love we each generate shores everyone else, even when we think ourselves islands.

Alt Delete

Today at the coffee shop, the mansplainers who always hold court while I roll my eyes– three left-ish, bearded dudes who’d rather be heard than be just–effortlessly folded the term “alt left” into their discourse. Jesus it all happens so fast. Obstensibly they were using 45’s latest malapropism to blame the actions of the alt right (read: Nazis) on the left, as they so often do. But really these dudes seized this term, jumped on this bandwagon, because it resonated with something fetid in them even here in Brooklyn.

It’s always such mishegos when Northerners act like white supremacy is relegated to the South. With the men in this story, I used my traditional weapon of mockery. If people are laughing at not with hipsters, it does embarrass them into watching their words; their brand may be nonconformity but they’re self-conscious conformists at heart. But this worked only because of context. There, I had enough social capital to be the bullies’ bully. G-d knows this is not always the case in these alleged united states.

My family is small on my dad’s side because we were Polish Jews and everyone knows how few of us survived World War II. Those of us who could fled to America and thus inherited its complex story of liberty and oppression. Today the past is so painfully present. After all, Hitler didn’t create the third reich in a vaccuum. He tapped into an evil already lurking–an ugly entitlement rotting at the core. Nothing untreated ever heals.

Fur People Books

Check out anyone’s social media feed, and chances are good it’s as full of pets as it is of kids. In the last few decades, we have developed an unprecedented intimacy with our domesticated animals; we give them human names as opposed to the Smoky and Spot of yesteryear, and their diets are often as organic and carb-conscious as our own. As an unabashed cat lady – though I prefer the sultrier title of “cat woman” – I see no problem with this trend. Animals provide unconditional love; animals remind us to stay present; animals never ignore our text messages. Judging from these wonderful books about the relationships between humans and animals, I’m not alone in my animal passions.

My Dog Tulip–J.R. Ackerley, Introduction by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
British writer and editor J. R. Ackerley didn’t even like dogs much until he found himself the kept man of Tulip, a German shepherd with tastes as particular as his own. Droll, dry, and tenderhearted (aka eminently British), this memoir will hurt the heart of anyone who’s lived alone with a dear pet.

Flush–Virginia Woolf
A well-known animal lover (her friends called her Goat), Virginia Woolf was so charmed by poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel Flush that she wrote an autobiography about him. Yep, you read that right. The author of Orlando and A Room of One’s Own wrote a whole book from a pup’s perspective. Whimsical and warmhearted, this is easily Woolf’s most loose-limbed literary effort. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy