Monthly Archives: February 2017

Something Good


1. #RememberingTrayvon. Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, “whose extrajudicial murder sparked a global movement to demand an end to state-sanctioned violence against Black people. Trayvon — who was profiled, stalked, and killed in his neighborhood of Sanford, FL, by vigilante George Zimmerman — is remembered by his family and friends as kind and gentle. Zimmerman’s acquittal and the subsequent police murder of Michael Brown and public uprising in Ferguson, MO, catalyzed the Movement for Black Lives and the Black Lives Matter Global Network.” This post shares links to educational resources and ways that we can continue to help support this movement. In related news, Remember Trayvon?

2. ‘Get Out’ movie controversy? Film called ‘anti-white’ and ‘racist’ by some viewers. I can’t wait to see this film, which has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes — unheard of. When I shared the link to this article on Facebook yesterday, I included the caption: They say “anti-white” like that’s a bad thing. We should all be “anti-white” and if we aren’t we need to investigate what whiteness actually means. In related news, Chance the Rapper hosted a Q&A about the movie.

3. Native Nations Rise, which has all the information you need about the upcoming Native Nations March on Washington, including how to donate.

4. Intro to Body Image Work from Isabel Foxen Duke.

5. How Long You Can Freeze Everything, In One Chart. A very helpful graphic.

6. Google Just Dropped $11,000,000 to Make Sure #BlackLivesMatter.

7. Fluidified. Years ago there was a streaming station called “Beach House Radio” that I loved so much. This YouTube channel totally reminds me of it, playing “chilled, deep and atmospheric electronic music. Genres include chillout, downtempo, garage and others.” In related news, Moby Has Just Released Four Hours Worth Of Free Music Designed For Yoga And Meditation.

8. An entire Manhattan village owned by black people was destroyed to build Central Park.

9. A moment that changed me: lashing out at a man who opened the door for the newly thin me.

10. Losing Alberta: Gentrification in Northeast Portland. A really good short documentary.

11. Stop Using Women And Girls To Justify Transphobia. “The safety of women and girls is at risk, but certainly not because of trans people.” In related news, Transgender 101: A Guide to Gender and Identity to Help You Keep Up with the Conversation.

12. Recipes I want to try: New England Clam Chowder, and 30-Minute Chocolate Donuts (Vegan + GF).

13. Play Social Media Bingo!

14. Pages Matam performing his poem “Black Joy, Uninterrupted.” Holy wow.

15. This Agency Created an Obstacle Course to Show People What It’s Like to Be ‘Black at Work.’

16. The Rise of Roxane Gay. “A career decades in the making, Gay’s literary stardom looks more sudden than it is.”

17. Day 22 of Investment in Black Lives: The Ferguson Response Network. Michael Moore just launched a website to keep traction of actions happening around the country — problem is, Leslie Mac and the Ferguson Response Network have already been doing the exact same thing for three years now. Black women were already doing the work, and what Michael Moore should have done is: 1. his research, and 2. give the credit where credit is do and direct people to the resource that ALREADY exists instead of building a copy. As Leslie Mac herself said, “research before you build.”

18. Why work doesn’t happen at work, a great TED Talk I recently rewatched. “Jason Fried has a radical theory of working: that the office isn’t a good place to do it. He calls out the two main offenders (call them the M&Ms) [**Spoiler Alert!!!**: managers and meetings] and offers three suggestions to make the workplace actually work.”

19. The only bookstore in the Bronx.

20. 34 Books by Women of Color to Read This Year.

21. To America, written and performed by Danielle Ate the Sandwich, featuring videos submitted from fans across America.

22. This Day in History, a really fun page from The History Channel.

23. Author: ‘Not All Black Girls Know How to Eat.’ An interview with Stephanie Covington Armstrong, author of an important memoir, Not All Black Girls Know How to Eat. I just finished it, and it was so good. As far as I know, this book was the first of its kind: a memoir about disordered eating written by a black woman.

24. Fake News, Misinformation, and Propaganda. A guide from the Harvard University Library, that “offers a brief introduction to the spread of misinformation of all kinds and tools for identifying it, and reading the news with a more informed eye.”

25. Why Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand Black Life.

26. 13 Empowering Photos Show There’s No ‘Right’ Way To Be A Boy.

27. Documentaries about amazing women: Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, and Toni Morrison Remembers, and Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth.

28. Write Unafraid, Without Fear Of Failure from Chuck Wendig. Also from Chuck, The Many-Headed Hydra Of Republican Hypocrisy.

29. School Asks Teachers To Take Down Pro-Diversity Posters, Saying They’re ‘Anti-Trump.’

30. What Ever Happened to all the Old Racist Whites from those Civil Rights Photos?

31. A Town Hall with Constituents but No Senator.

32. A Guide to the Basic Anxiety of Life.

33. When Society Breaks Your Heart from Lodro Rinzler.

34. When Things Go Missing.

All of this is made more precious, not less, by its impermanence. No matter what goes missing, the wallet or the father, the lessons are the same. Disappearance reminds us to notice, transience to cherish, fragility to defend. Loss is a kind of external conscience, urging us to make better use of our finite days. As Whitman knew, our brief crossing is best spent attending to all that we see: honoring what we find noble, denouncing what we cannot abide, recognizing that we are inseparably connected to all of it, including what is not yet upon us, including what is already gone. We are here to keep watch, not to keep.

35. When A Woman Deletes A Man’s Comment Online. “To be able to take issues fundamental to the health and safety of millions of people and turn them into sport where winners and losers are decided by talking points requires some level of insulation from the negative impacts of the outcome in order to enjoy participating.”

36. On Dylann Roof and the Expectation of Black Forgiveness.

This range of emotion — grief, horror, rage, forgiveness given or withheld — ought to be woven into how we tell the story of one of America’s darkest days in living memory. It isn’t only Roof who’s on trial. It’s also America’s sense of itself. We can’t afford to write off this crime as an unfortunate but exceptional incident. History has taught us that this isn’t that — that it’s never been that.

37. I’m a Silicon Valley liberal, and I traveled across the country to interview 100 Trump supporters — here’s what I learned.

38. Don’t Burn Out or Numb Out: On Pacing Myself for Long-Haul Resistance from the always amazing Jena Schwartz.

39. US Holocaust Museum’s “early warning signs of fascism” sign is going viral.

40. President Trump’s First Month Approval Survey. I will absolutely be filling this out, and you should too.

41. Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson, And The Normalization of Slave Rape Narratives.

42. Love for Graeme and Jasmine. These women do good work, and they need some help as they find the next place and way they’ll continue doing that.

43. How Dieting Makes You Gain Weight. “The diet industry doesn’t want you to know it (because it would mess with their bottom line), but scientific research has proven it.” And **Spoiler Alert!!!*** “Chronic dieting actually increases your weight over time.”

Wild Writing: Watermelon Dream

Written in my Wild Writing class, inspired by two different poems: “A Prize Watermelon” by James O’Hern and “Prayer on National Childfree Day” by Abby E. Murray.


I’m in the watermelon dream. As a kid, even though my grandparents had a farm and we had a large garden, we didn’t grow watermelons. Maybe it was too wet in Oregon, or there wasn’t enough sun. Watermelons were the stuff of picnics, barbecues, special occasions in summer, something you bought at the store. I don’t remember ever buying a watermelon for us to eat at home. Maybe they were too expensive, or maybe my parents didn’t like them, or maybe I just don’t remember.

As I got older, lived on my own, I never thought to buy a watermelon, unless it was for a picnic, barbecue, or special occasion. I didn’t think I particularly liked watermelon. But then I moved to Colorado, and they grow watermelons here — crispy, sweet melons that are local and in season for a month towards the end of every summer. The first year we bought one for no special reason, just to eat, it was so good we ate half of it immediately, standing over the kitchen sink with two spoons, eating straight out of the melon, juice running down our arms. We obsessively ate watermelon that summer, couldn’t stop, never felt satisfied no matter how much we ate, even when we made ourselves sick to our stomachs from eating so much.


Then one year, as our garden got bigger and bigger and we had to come up with more different things to plant, we decided to try watermelon. At the end of the summer, two tiny green striped melons sat in our garden. We picked them, so excited because everything else we’d ever grown proved to be better than what we could buy in the grocery store — we gobbled tomatoes right off the vine, standing in the sun, the fruit still warm, and I ate whole cucumbers raw. But we cut into those first watermelons and they weren’t even pink yet, a pale fleshy white dotted with black seeds, wholly inedible.

We tried again the next summer, had more fruit, but still none of it ripe. Maybe our growing season wasn’t long enough in the north? Last year, we tried one more time, researched how to know when they were ripe — you had to wait until the little curl at the end turned from green to brown.

Blessed are the poems you scratch into the ground. The watermelons, those round green poems scratched into the ground. Our mistake in years past was picking them too soon, even though everything else in the garden was done — except for the tomatoes and strawberries, which slow down for sure but as long as there is sun and the nights didn’t get too cold, they’d keep going. We learned we had to wait, until the tiny green curl at the end of the fruit turned brown, and then they’d be ready.


This year they were bigger, maybe a different variety than we’d tried before but we’d lost the tag so couldn’t be sure. There were six of them. It was very late, summer practically over when the first curl turned brown. We took the melon inside and set it on the counter. We were both skeptical, didn’t really believe they would be any better than before, but when Eric split it in half with the knife, the flesh inside was deep pink and juicy. He leaned in close, took a deep breath, and said, “well, it smells like a watermelon,” but neither of us really believed the fruit would be tasty, anything we’d want to eat.

We each took a bite, our eyes widening as we chewed, smacking each other on the arm before our mouths were empty enough for words. It was good. It tasted like watermelon. We moved half the melon into the sink and another spoon so we each had one, and like that first time, ate half a watermelon standing over the sink, spitting black seeds into the compost container on the counter, the dogs hovering by our feet, begging for a bite.

A watermelon, from my garden!

We could hardly believe we’d done it, that there were five more huge watermelons in our garden that would soon be ripe and ready to eat — their seeds were poems we’d scratched into the ground, our garden yielding the watermelon dream.

What we remember, what I write might all be fiction, but it’s also the truth — pink, juicy, and full of seeds.