Cruel Compendium #61 🧸
Practicing radical empathy and playing through the pain
This week, I walked through my daily life while war raged far away. I watched the eclipse. I saw friends. I went to yoga. I lay in bed at night in the dark, in the warmth, in the quiet, and thought about those lying under rubble.
There are so many others who are better qualified to speak on what’s going on right now, and I’ll link to some of them below. But I am mourning for the hundreds of murdered and kidnapped Israelis, and for my Jewish American friends who are mourning their dead family and friends and are afraid to send their kids off to Jewish school. I am angry and scared for the millions of Palestinians trapped in Gaza, half of whom are children under 18, who have nowhere to go to escape the siege and no water or electricity. My heart is with the people of Ukraine, at war for 600 days with no end in sight, relying on the West for support and survival.
I have never known war on my own soil. Sometimes it feels shameful how little I know, and pathetic how little I can do or give. But I know that when things feel too giant to grasp, there are always much smaller things I can do to help others. I can do what I can within my own community. I can show up for my friends, be sure they know I support them and listen. I can educate myself. I can pay attention and not look away when it gets uncomfortable. I can donate. I can protest. I can understand that any one of us could become a refugee at any time and cast my ballot accordingly. And I can hold space for others’ suffering, in all its vast complications and nuances.
I hope you continue to take care of yourself and your loved ones, as well as hold space for strangers who also need your empathy and support.
What I’m Reading
Practicing radical empathy by Sera Bonds
Specific suggestions of how to check in on your Jewish and Muslim community members.
Have we learned nothing? by David Klion
Will liberals repeat their highly consequential post-9/11 mistakes?
Americans rarely see the true face of Israel’s bombing of Gaza by Elise Swain and Alice Speri (2022)
America’s sanitized coverage of war. h/t Caitlin Dewey
Ben Kweller is playing through the pain by Dina Gachman
Ben Kweller’s 16-year-old son, Dorian, died in a car crash outside of Austin this February, just a few months before he was set to go on tour as his dad’s opening act. This portrait of a family’s grief, and music’s part in it, is staggering.
How to revise your own writing by Meaghan O’Connell
For writers, on editing.
90% of love is showing up.
I’m listening to:
My dear friend Mike Kelton’s incredible podcast, Beyond, is back for a new season! Listen along as he joyfully tries to solve life’s problems through supernatural means. In episode one, he debates whether or not he wants to hex his neighbor (who among us, am I right?).
NPR Life Kit’s episode on how to avoid lifestyle creep with guest Paco de Leon, author of Finance for the People.
Questionable Self-Care Advice
I traveled to Seattle recently and what my bestie wrote at the top of our itinerary is excellent life advice:
*SUBJECT TO CHANGE BASED ON, BUT NOT LIMITED TO: ACT OF GOD, WEATHER, HANGOVERS, GENERAL DESIRE*
Let them have their moment—you know yours is coming.
🎃 It’s decorative gourd season, motherfuckers. A classic.
❓ Ask yourself 10 questions—get your answers a year later.
🌲 I want to be Looking at Trees
🍅 Want to start a garden? Don’t overthink it—just throw herbs in a pot and get a move on. This same advice stands for most things in life.
🎁 An actually good Gift Finder
🟪 Did you know you can change your Mac’s link/highlight colors?
🕺🏽 Future me as a parent leaving my kid at a Millennial-themed party. This made me laugh this week.