It goes without saying that March felt like a whole year (or two). I mentioned last month that I’ve been in a reading slump. I think I kind of broke that? But only because we’re all stuck these days.
#6 Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad
This one’s been on my list since reading The Nickel Boys last year, which is a must-read if you’ve not yet picked it up. Railroad was published in 2016 and tells the story of two slaves who leave Georgia via the Underground Railroad for freedom. It’s a hard read, but a wonderful read, worth the discomfort of the stories. I find that to often be the case with Colson’s writing. He tells beautiful stories we need to hear.
Notes on a month in Boston: I spent 72 hours in Boston in March, anticipating this go-live that (spoiler) didn’t happen (again). It wasn’t for lack of readiness, but a rapidly spreading virus changes things. Those 72 hours, ironically, were some of my favorite Bostonian hours. Quality coworkers who are also good friends will never be lost on me. We shared pitchers of margs over mexican food and found a speakeasy and walked across the office just to say hello.
#7 Tommy Orange’s There, There
This, like Colson Whitehead, was a hard story to read. The plot follows many characters who all, in some way, identify as Native American, on their way to a pow wow in California. It is a worthwhile, but heartbreaking, read from the voice of a people we often overlook.
Notes on a virus: This pandemic has changed so much. I had a panic attack in Boston after booking my flight home two weeks early. The unknown and uncontrollable and inability to play Scarlett O’Hara and just think about this tomorrow felt like a tidal wave. I spent 12 days home alone, no other humans, before fleeing to Atlanta and kitchen table work-from-homes with friends. Community is a beautiful thing, near or far.
#8 Kiley Reid’s Such a Fun Age
This book made me uncomfortable, as well. (I’m noticing a pattern here.) When we (white people) talk about being “woke” it sometimes still comes across with an edge of superiority – some kind of white savior complex or “missionary dating” sort of thing. Call it what you want, but it’s still racism. Seeing Kiley’s characters wrestle through this was incredibly uncomfortable, but also eye-opening. Again, worth the discomfort.
Notes on Atlanta: It’s another level of sweet to drive across this Hometown City in no traffic to spend time with someone I wouldn’t be able to see if I were in Franklin. Convenient, sure. Magical because loving people is my whole heart? Without a doubt. I’ll be over here finding ways to encourage and love in the middle of all this distance.
What’s saving my life right now:
1. Video chats with everyone (sorry if you’re tired of my duo calls, but this is who i am now)
2. Madison’s porch furniture
3. Music – lyrics I already know and recite mid-conversation and the new tunes, too
Notes on where we go from here: Easter is coming. This Passover season is one of my favorites in the Church because of its solemnity and repetition and remembrance. Practice makes perfect, but in the massive undertaking of a year (or the month of March) we forget this one little week. What an exhale it is to remember.