A short update this month. Thanks for your patience—my piece on Yanko González’s Upper Volta goes into some of why I struggled to get a piece together about the book. It took me longer than I expected to articulate what I thought González was trying to do.
I started this newsletter because I enjoy the form of newsletters: bits of lives and thinking from people I admire that are conveniently delivered to my inbox. One of those newsletters is by the poet and writer Lightsey Darst. It’s called now*ing and is a monthly collection of ing’s that Darst is engaging with. August’s includes raging, reading, dancing, and learning, among others. I’ve been reading it since she started it and I admire how lucid Darst’s thinking and seeing are. It’s the same reason I adore her book Thousands, which is a record of living and loving and moving and so many other gerunds. Thousands is one of those books I read and thought, “oh, I want to write a book like this.”
I mention now*ing because I do admire it deeply, but also, selfishly, because Darst featured a brief response I wrote to one of her emails at the end of this month’s now*ing. You can read the “now. . . living” section I was responding to in her July newsletter here. And my response at the very end of August’s newsletter here. It’s something I’ve been thinking and talking about a lot in the last, oh, year or so—ever since it became obvious that the pandemic would not be “over” in any meaningful way as quickly as we (I) expected when it began. If we’ve had a conversation about the pandemic then I’ve probably said a variation on what I wrote for now*ing.