Discover more from Cruel Summer Book Club
Cruel compendium #28: Sweet birthday baby edition 🎉
Help me celebrate!
I’m Jillian Anthony, and this is Cruel Summer Book Club, a newsletter about change, heartbreak and healing. In the Cruel Compendium I send out links to everything I’m reading, listening to and thinking about. ICYMI, last week I wrote about reading The Artist’s Way, and reclaiming my bravery to dream big.
Special birthday request
It’s my birthday on April 8! (I’m a 🔥double Aries🔥, obviously.) Here’s how you can help me celebrate another intensely interesting trip around the sun:
In Cruel Summer Book Club’s 22-month lifespan, I’ve never asked you to pay for the work I do here. Today is the day. If you value this newsletter, please consider paying me on Venmo @jillathrilla, or sending me money through Paypal. If I did have a paid subscription option, it would cost about $5 a month or $50 a year—but I’d be overjoyed with any amount you are able to give. Thank you for your generosity and supporting my work.
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Remember to love yourself hard today.
“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and being alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You have to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes too near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself that you tasted as many as you could.”
–Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum
A compendium of good advice from Creative Mornings readers. I like this one: “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. I had a crummy childhood due to bullying and generally not fitting in. I’ve made play and friendships a priority in my adult life.”
58 things to do with the rest of quarantine that aren’t “get hot” by Rachel Miller
When the world is on fire, write by Alexander Chee
I didn’t really commit to writing until I understood that to write is to sell a ticket to escape — not from the truth, but into it.
White people, Black authors are not your medicine by Yaa Gyasi
So many of the writers of colour that I know have had white people treat their work as though it were a kind of medicine. Something they have to swallow in order to improve their condition, but they don’t really want it, they don’t really enjoy it, and if they’re being totally honest, they don’t actually even take the medicine half the time. They just buy it and leave it on the shelf. What pleasure, what deepening, could there be in “reading” like that? To enter the world of fiction with such a tainted mission is to doom the novel or short story to fail you on its most essential levels.
I’ve published two books during particularly fraught election years and the general tenor of many of the Q&A sessions has been one I would describe as a frenzied search for answers or absolution. There’s so much slippage between “please tell me what I’m doing wrong” and “please tell me that I’ve done nothing wrong”. The suddenness and intensity of the desperation to be seen as being “good” run completely counter to how deeply entrenched, how very old the problems are.
“The flower doesn’t dream of the bee.
It blossoms and the bee comes.”
I’m listening to
A couple of years ago I learned through Instagram that a friend’s sister, Leah, had been injured in a terrible work accident, leaving her paralyzed. Leah tells her incredible story on the podcast of a writer I love, Nora McInerny. Leah’s radical acceptance of the huge changes her life and body went through is deeply inspiring. You can support she and her sister Grace’s greeting card business here.
Questionable self-care advice
You can attend a concert just for you at BAM in Brooklyn in May
The Artists’ Grief Deck, a gorgeous deck designed by artists with help from grief workers, each one providing a grieving prompt like “welcoming tears”
Oh to be a bear in a hot tub
Artist Nicole Linh Anderson on the importance of self-interrogation in our continuing anti-racist education and allyship
What you clicked on most in the last Compendium: Julie Klausner’s stunning Manhattan apartment
Check out the full CSBC playlist here
Cruel Summer Book Club is grateful for another year on this planet. If you love this earth and this newsletter, consider showing your appreciation on Venmo @jillathrilla.
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You are not alone!