On our travels through inter-space we came across this poem, written by Kashmiri poet Sanna Wani for her friend Maya, that pretty much captures the mood for this week:
Tomorrow is a Place
We meet at a coffee shop. So much time has passed and who is time? Who is waiting by the windowsill? We make plans to go to a museum but we go to a bookshop instead. We’re leaning in, learning how to talk to each other again. I say, I’m obsessed with my grief and she says, I’m always in mourning. She laughs and it’s an extension of her body. She laughs and it moves the whole room. I say, My home is an extension of my body and she says, Most days are better with a long walk. The world moves without us—so we tend to a garden, a graveyard, a pot on the windowsill. Death is a comfort because it says, Transform but don’t hurry. There is a tenderness to growing older and we are listening for it. Steadier ways to move through the world and we are learning them. A way to touch your own body. A touch that says, Dig deeper. There, in the ground, there is our memory. I am near enough my roots. Time is my friend. Tomorrow is a place we are together.
And without much ado - here are our favourite links of the week:
To Read: An oldie but a goodie; Tim Kreider is one of our favourite short-story writers and his opinion piece on how we judge our lives against our friends’ is littered with insight, wisdom and humour. “Friends who seemed pretty much indistinguishable from you in your 20s make different choices about family or career, and after a decade or two these initial differences yield such radically divergent trajectories that when you get together again you can only regard each other’s lives with bemused incomprehension.”
Also, a great read on the return of the “bonkbuster”; it’s time to claim women’s power and sexuality, and move away from the old tropes of women as beautiful, blank objects of desire, to fleshed out subjects with permission to lose themselves in the whole spectrum of sexual passion. “But I was starting to understand why horny women were hiding. What chance did we have? When sex is weaponised and stories of sex are so often accompanied by stories of violence, it felt as if there was nowhere for us to express desire freely or safely.”
To Joy Scroll: This lovely account on instagram: Basanti, women at leisure - , a photo project beautifully articulated in this essay, “Women leisure in different ways: some worship, others indulge in online zumba sessions; some paint, others sew. What glues all these diverse experiences together is the joy, the agency flanking their acts which are the chronicles of everyday lives of aam-aurats and their desires. Women indulge in taking care of themselves and emerge as individuals, not merely as subjects seen in relation to others.”
To Listen/Watch: This charming video of a bird who never feels like they fit in, is for all you humans out there, whose heart may resonate with this little story. It’s created by a creative little studio run by a husband-wife duo, who are on a quest “to fill our lives and the world with more wisdom, wonder, and whimsy.”
A delightful, deeply moving visual poem by Ross Gay, to the background score of Bon Iver - a poem that shines light on the bipolarity of events we suffer through and celebrate. Even death can be celebrated by noticing how new life is born every day. There is always something to be grateful for, even in the darkest of times.
To Ponder: Self-help books top the charts for all best-sellers lists, promising a range of wisdom (and a better life) from Buddhist spirituality to get-off-your-ass productivity bluster. They’re so increasingly popular, they’ve coined the term “Bibliotherapy”. But do they really help? This article provides insight on whether they provide true guidance - or just gas.
To WTF: Now that the Ever Given has been freed, we can look back at some weird past events when ships got stuck in the Suez Canal : it left the crew stranded there for eight years and they developed their own secret society with its own Olympic Games.
“From 1967 to 1975, in the aftermath of the Six-Day War, 14 ships were stranded in the Great Bitter Lake, a salt lake connected to the canal. Unable to leave, the crews, dubbed the "Yellow Fleet" because of the desert sand that eventually covered them. Fifty years on, the surviving crew of the ships meets infrequently and keeps the story alive online. Many of them describe the period as one of the happiest of their lives.”
To Cook: On a scroll through Urban Platter’s website, we spotted the much elusive Persian Barberry on sale, which prompted an attempt at making Tahdig, (pronounced tah-deeg), which literally means "bottom of the pot" in Persian. It refers to a pan-fried Persian rice that is fluffy and buttery on the inside with a perfectly golden crust, laced with saffron and scented with orange zest. This detailed recipe provides detailed step by step instructions so you don’t end up with a sticky burnt mess.
To Life Hack: Figuring out what to order for dinner at the end of a long day can end up as a two-hour fruitless series of humming and hawwing on Zomato, with no food in sight. If you want your grub delivered quick, rather than asking your food partner, 'What do you want?' and getting the typical 'I don't know….err anything” and then having your suggestions shot down, start with: “What do you NOT want?'
To end: A poem by Louise Glück, winner of the Nobel Laureate in 2020 for Literature, written in 1990:
Long ago, I was wounded. I lived
to revenge myself
against my father, not
for what he was—
for what I was: from the beginning of time,
in childhood, I thought
that pain meant
I was not loved.
It meant I loved.
We hope this week you are safe and social distancing and keeping your health and spirits on the up and up,
P.S. If you are just joining us and would like to explore the Delights of Distraction newsletters No.1-46 you can find them here. As per your requests, we have archived all the previous newsletters on our website.