Author Archives: jillsalahub

Something Good

1. The simple cure for writer’s block from Seth Godin. In related news, Antidote for Writer’s Block, a poem on bentlily by Samantha Reynolds.

2. Grief Becomes You, the website Maya Stein built as a companion to the book of the same name, “a collection of poems, essays, images, and other narratives of loss, a compilation of work from nearly 60 contributors from the United States and abroad.” I’m sharing specifically because she is still taking submissions, (for the website not the book).

3. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön:

To think that we can finally get it all together is unrealistic. To seek for some lasting security is futile. To undo our very ancient and very stuck habitual patterns of mind requires that we begin to turn around some of our most basic assumptions. Believing in a solid, separate self, continuing to seek pleasure and avoid pain, thinking that someone “out there” is to blame for our pain — one has to get totally fed up with these ways of thinking. One has to give up hope that this way of thinking will bring us satisfaction. Suffering begins to dissolve when we can question the belief or the hope that there’s anywhere to hide.

4. CTZN Podcast, “conversations at the intersection of wellbeing and justice. We’re not afraid to ask hard questions and have radical dialogue about politics and patriarchy, white supremacy and worthiness. And we’re serious about showing up for one another and taking action for the wellbeing of everyone.”

5. Justice for Breonna. “Breonna Taylor was an award-winning EMT and first responder in Lousiville, KY, who loved helping her patients and her community. ‘She was an essential worker. She had to go to work,’ her mother, Tamika Palmer said of her dedication to standing on the frontlines of this pandemic. ‘She didn’t have a problem with that.’ Breonna survived the frontlines of a pandemic that disproportionately kills Black people, only to have her life stolen by police.”

6. We Insist: A Century Of Black Music Against State Violence, which includes links to a playlist on Spotify and iTunes.

The 50 songs discussed in this list often describe specific acts of police violence but they are not limited to that subject. Together they construct a kind of timeline of an ongoing movement within American music, stretching back more than a century. It is meant to be revelatory but not complete. The songs here take on some of the ugliest stories with which America — and, since it goes international, the world — has to reckon. They mourn the dead and fight for the living. Some are easy to identify as protest songs; others feel like a party. Many address police violence directly decades before that subject became a lodestone in hip hop. Some of these songs have been misinterpreted even when their messages are perfectly clear. All contribute to the history of Black people showing what America’s official histories would hide in plain sight: the destructiveness of white supremacy and the uprisings against it that are not only organized and political, but personal.

7. You Want a Confederate Monument? My Body Is a Confederate Monument on The New York Times.

The dream version of the Old South never existed. Any manufactured monument to that time in that place tells half a truth at best. The ideas and ideals it purports to honor are not real. To those who have embraced these delusions: Now is the time to re-examine your position.

Either you have been blind to a truth that my body’s story forces you to see, or you really do mean to honor the oppressors at the expense of the oppressed, and you must at last acknowledge your emotional investment in a legacy of hate.

8. It’s Time For White Folks to Dismantle the Master’s House.

By design, white people have been diverted from critically analyzing the racial identity assigned to them. Whereas the survival of Black and brown bodies mandates that they develop an intimate comprehension of race, the privileged existence of white bodies within a racialized system requires that these bodies remain ignorant to the harm being wielded by the very same racialized system they receive privileges within, in exchange for their ignorance. The work before white people at this moment in our collective pursuit of racial justice is to do the very heavy and personal lift of increasing their own comprehension around whiteness. From there, it is then incumbent upon white folks to make the conscious decision to constantly free themselves of the many ways in which whiteness is weaponized… pro-tip: liberating oneself from whiteness, or anything for that matter, is an ongoing life-long commitment. It is a practice, not a perfect.

9. Chrome-Plated Pistols and Pink Polos: The Face of Elite Panic in the USA. “Rebecca Solnit on Plutocracy and Its Paranoias.”

10. ‘Black leaders aren’t just trying to save their lives, they’re trying to save your lives too’ — a conversation with Eric Ward. (video) “The executive director of the Western States Center explains why black leaders are so exhausted right now.”

11. Vivid Photographs by Trung Huy Pham Capture Annual Water Lily Harvest in Vietnam.

12. What is the Difference Between Cultural Appropriation and Cultural Appreciation?

13. No doomscrolling from Austin Kleon. Guilty as charged… In related news, Why I’m Social Distancing From Social Media.

14. 5 Things that Aren’t Allyship. “More and more people are awakening to the realities of racism and feeling inspired to become allies in the quest for racial justice. We are no doubt in a great awakening, and I am filled with hope and motivation to continue showing up and playing my part as an educator in the most honest and helpful ways I can. So this week I’ve created a guide of common things I’m seeing in the name of allyship that aren’t, in my eyes, actually helpful and some suggestions on what you can do instead.”

15. What Can You Do When You’re Flattened by Depression? Plan for It. “By adopting a take-charge approach towards living with depression, you can start to feel more in control and less powerless, says health activist Jessica Gimeno. She shares three helpful strategies.”

16. This is the right way to challenge someone’s thinking. “If you want to share your perspective in a way that gets heard, and acted upon to create positive change, try these three steps.” To be clear, even though I think these are helpful strategies, I don’t like the title insisting they are “the right way,” implying there aren’t other equally effective strategies.

17. Essential Meaningful Productivity on Zen Habits.

18. In this week’s People Behaving Badly: California Cops Seek Pair Who Defaced Black Lives Matter Mural Because There’s ‘No Racism’, and Texas Woman Who Claimed COVID-19 Was ‘Media Driven’ Hoax Dies From Virus, and Former Air Force Officer Betsy Schoeller Suggests Sexual Harassment That Lead To Vanessa Guillen’s Murder Was Deserved, and Aurora Police Officers Fired For Photo Mocking Elijah McClain’s Death At His Memorial Site, and A likely culprit in Covid-19 surges: People hell-bent on ignoring social distancing orders, and In Fourth Of July Remarks, Trump Attacks ‘Radical Left’, and An Attack on Indigenous People’: Mount Rushmore Trump Event Denounced as Racist, Dangerous, and Disrespectful, and Michigan Woman Who Pulled Gun on Black Family Charged With Felonious Assault, Husband Fired From Job, and Anti-maskers are decrying ‘tyranny’ in Florida, where face mask policies have been proposed as COVID-19 cases rise (video), and Hugo’s Tacos temporarily closed its two taco stands in LA after customers refused to wear masks (video), and White Hampton Inn Employee Fired After Calling Police on Black Guests Who Were Using the Swimming Pool, and Couple holds woman at gunpoint after accusing her of shoplifting, and Reddit, Acting Against Hate Speech, Bans ‘The_Donald’ Subreddit, and Entitled “Karen” Mistakes Customer For An Employee, He Makes The Situation Hilarious For Himself, and NYPD Shoved Protesters And Used Pepper Spray During Queer Liberation March, and Supermarket “Karen” Goes Viral For Food-Throwing Tantrum After Being Asked To Wear A Mask.

19. If Life Feels Bleak, It’s Because Our Civilization is Beginning to Collapse. “2030 Will Be Even Worse than 2020. And 2040 Will Be Even Worse than That. Unless.” Maybe don’t read this one. It’s really, really hard.

20. The Sordid History of Mount Rushmore. “The sculptor behind the American landmark had some unseemly ties to white supremacy groups.”

21. Widespread Use Of Face Masks Could Save Tens Of Thousands Of Lives, Models Project. In related news, Fauci doubts effectiveness of coronavirus vaccine in US due to anti-vaxxers, and Someone Comes Up With A ‘Freedom Cafe’ Analogy To Explain How Not Wearing Masks Is Dangerous And Stupid, People Love It, and to be filed under “things that six months ago would have seemed like a joke but now seem like they might be a good idea”, Pop-up wearable tent for COVID-19 protection in offices, schools, and medical facilities.

22. Florida State University Child Care Policy Draws Backlash. In related news, In the Covid-19 Economy, You Can Have a Kid or a Job. You Can’t Have Both, on The New York Times.

23. 21 Day Anti-Racism Challenge.

24. What Systemic Racism Means And The Way It Harms Communities. “NPR’s Noel King speaks with Ijeoma Oluo, author of So You Want To Talk About Race, about systemic racism. What is it, and how does it affect people day to day?”

25. Why the term “BIPOC” is so complicated, explained by linguists. “There is no ‘one size fits all’ language when it comes to talking about race.”

26. ‘I Will Not Stand Silent.’ 10 Asian Americans Reflect on Racism During the Pandemic and the Need for Equality.

27. Netflix Series About Colin Kaepernick Is in the Works From Ava DuVernay on The New York Times. “The six-episode show will be based on the athlete’s teenage years growing up Black with a white adoptive family.”

28. We found at least 70 people who died in police custody after saying “I can’t breathe” in the past decade on The New York Times. “More than half were black. You’ve likely heard of George Floyd and Eric Garner, but you might not know many of the others — including Willie Ray Banks, who struggled for air as Texas officers restrained and Tased him in 2011. Only a few officers involved in the deaths have faced criminal charges, and almost none have been convicted.”

29. Beautiful Clay Art With Plant Designs. (video)

30. Water Cherry House, Tokyo, Japan. Yes, please.

31. “La la la, joy, joy, joy”, (video). My new favorite song.

32. The Best Books of the First Half of 2020.

33. PBS to Broadcast Metropolitan Opera’s ‘Porgy & Bess’ in July.

34. LGBTQ Buddhists: Teachings, Profiles, and Conversations. “A collection of teachings from, profiles on, and conversations with LGBTQ folks in Buddhism. Featuring Larry Yang, Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Steve Silberman, George Takei, Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara, Finn Enke, Ellen Krug, Issan Dorsey, Lama Rod Owens, Jeff Wilson, Justin Simien, Caroline Contillo, Koshin Paley Ellison, Robert Chodo Campbell, Pablo Das, Ray Buckner, and more.”

35. The Grounding Quality of Mindfulness in Unsettling Times on Lion’s Roar. “The practice of mindfulness allows us to become more aware and less reactive in unsettling times, says Lisa Bennett. She shares how she rediscovered its grounding, life-giving quality in the face of uncertainty.”

36. Moose And Her Calves Decide To Spend A Day In This Family’s Backyard, Man Documents How It Went.

37. John Prine Posthumously Named Honorary Poet Laureate.

38. 23 Of The Funniest Tweets From Women Ever (This Week).

39. Italian Woman Documents The Carefree Life Of Her Cat And It Kinda Makes You Jealous.

40. Just a sec a poem from bentlily by Samantha Reynolds.

Gratitude Friday

1. Socially distanced meetings with friends. I got to see two people this week, in person, who I love dearly. I couldn’t hug them or even sit close, but it was SO much better than nothing. I’m not sure if it’s the smart thing, an entirely safe choice, but in light of the reality of how long we might have to keep our distance, I’ve been revisiting what I’m willing to risk and what for. I could realistically not see people I love or go to the pool or get a massage for six months, maybe even a full year, but since there is no way of knowing how long we’ll be living this carefully, I’ve reconsidered some things.

I’ve determined that, at least in this current moment, there are four conditions under which I’ll risk exposure: 1. Walking dogs, or rather for now, the dog. 2. Seeing people I love and trust to be careful, outside, socially distanced, preferably wearing masks. 3. Something necessary that can’t easily be accomplished any other way, like plants from the nursery. 4. Things that are lower risk which support my overall wellness, like getting an occasional massage or getting in the pool. This came in handy this week when deciding whether to risk aqua aerobics (which as far as I could tell only had two people signed up) or sign up for two lanes another time when we might be the only ones there. Eric and I determined if getting in the pool was the goal and I don’t care about seeing the people at aqua aerobics, that reserving two lanes was better, and we had the whole pool to ourselves, and the hot tub was open.

2. Our garden. Lilies, delphiniums, coneflowers, and daisies are blooming. We’ve got a baby cucumber, lots of green tomatoes, lettuce, and more kale than we can eat. So far the only life we’ve seen interested in the birdbath are the yellow jackets, but I’m okay with that as long as they leave our honey bees alone. We added a solar powered fountain to try and entice some birds. There are also more dragonflies, butterflies, grasshoppers, and moths than I’ve seen in a long time.

3. Practice. I’ve said it before and it continues to be true: this saves me, over and over.

4. Morning walks. We snuck in another walk close to the river this week. There really were too many mosquitoes and we won’t do it again until they are gone, but I love it there so much that it was a good thing even with the irritation.

Beaver! Image by Eric

Kitchen counter love note

5. My tiny family. Having Eric’s support and companionship keeps me alive. Laughing with him is probably my favorite thing in the world. There’s no one I’d rather be with when things get hard. Speaking of hard, Ringo has had a wonky belly this week. When you just lost a dog, it’s especially difficult when the only one left doesn’t feel good. He’s pretty happy though because his bland diet is rice and boiled hamburger. He’s on the mend and it wasn’t anything bad, so I’m grateful for that.

Bonus joy: Strawberry rhubarb yogurt with granola and berries, Rainer cherries, Dot’s pretzels, a big salad, the swallowtail butterflies in my backyard, our Golden Raintrees getting ready to bloom, texting with Chloe’ and Barb while watching Maria Bamford, hanging out with Mikalina talking about ALL the things, naps, yard time, texting with my mom and brother, reading in bed at night while Ringo and Eric sleep, stories about people who’ve had COVID-19 and recovered, my friend Liz reminding me of something I said and how that led to something I’d written and how that brought a clarity to something I’m working on and felt like a sign from the Universe, the people who load my car with groceries at the store and the ones who shopped for those groceries and the ones who stocked the shelf with those groceries and the drivers who delivered them and the people who cooked and cleaned and packaged the food and especially those who grew and harvested the food.