Week 30: "This piece of country matters"
A poem for us, books for babies, my pick for Mayor, and more
|Julia Smith||Mar 28, 2019|| 3|
A Mark of Resistance
by Adrienne Rich
Stone by stone I pile
this cairn of my intention
with the noon's weight on my back,
exposed and vulnerable
across the slanting fields
which I love but cannot save
from floods that are to come;
can only fasten down
with this work of my hands,
these painfully assembled
stones, in the shape of nothing
that has ever existed before.
A pile of stones: an assertion
that this piece of country matters
for large and simple reasons.
A mark of resistance, a sign.
Books for tiny readers
Last week I tried to set up a bracket-style ranking of the MVP books in our family’s rotation during our now-toddler’s first year. This started out cute but didn’t really make sense in execution. (Free idea!) For now, I’ve transferred most of my 32 reviews into Goodreads. If you don’t have a Goodreads account, that’s OK! I changed my settings to public for the occasion.
See the shelf here. Make sure it’s sorted by Ratings to see my Elite Eight (well, seven) and the runners-up. To read my reviews, click “view (with text)” on the far right side. Most are brief; a few read more like diary entries. I’ll keep adding to this list from time to time.
Also, the world of children’s book reviews on Goodreads is a wild one. If you’re a Sandra Boynton fan, check out the first few for Moo, Baa, La La La.
If you’re outside Chicago and not interested in our runoff election next week, scroll right on through this next section and you’ll get to this week’s links + recipes.
My Vote for Mayor
I’m voting for Toni Preckwinkle.
If you’re undecided, here are some links you may find useful:
Ballotpedia offers a neutral, nonpartisan, side-by-side rundown of where the candidates stand on many issues, from school closings to rent control and much more; where and whom their top donations and endorsements have come from (note the endorsements that came in before the general election last month, not just since then); and more.
The Only Endorsements That Should Matter Are From Young, Black, and Undocumented Organizers (Medium) - a LOT of people in my Facebook world shared this, but I want to lift up what my friend Prerna wrote when she posted:
When the most neglected are cared for, we are all cared for.
And I’ll just say: The minute Lightfoot entered the general election, she immediately went into my “Nope” column. I was at some of the Police Board hearings when Lightfoot was President. I didn’t envy her that job. But you know whose “jobs” were and are a lot harder? The families of Rekia Boyd (blackpast.org) and Bettie Jones and Quintonio LeGrier (ABC7) who were there, offering testimony and pleading for justice in the names of the victims, being cut off and shamed for their language in the process. They never asked for the job of keeping their loved ones’ memories alive, of activating and agitating others in order to hold police accountable. I’ll never forget being in that space.
No matter the results next week, this (from Niketa Brar / Eve Ewing), is on my mind:
wikipedia brown wins at the end of Game of Thrones @eveewingi don't pledge allegiance to any electoral candidate. politicians aren't sports teams that you sign up to cheer for. they're humans. you have to pay attention to where they stand on issues that matter to you, hold them ACCOUNTABLE, and let them know anyone can get this work.
Learn about the life of Amber Evans (Columbus Dispatch; BYP100) and donate to support her family (GoFundMe). This is so much bigger than a bullet point on a link list. And this isn’t the first time I’ve shared this tweet here, but:
Five Things Suicide Survivors Should Know (Healthline.com, via Veronica Arreola): Between recent news headlines and recent personal experiences with a family member’s death by suicide, I’m having a hard time really sitting with this and letting it sink in. But I’m trusting there are some important things to learn here.
If you are in crisis, you can text HOME to 741741 to reach Crisis Text Line. It’s free and anonymous.
The podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking is doing a really powerful three-part series about the aftermath of the shooting at Tree of Life last fall. Episode 66: Concentric Circles, is the first, Episode 67: Their Day just came out, and I’m staying tuned for the final installment next week. (APM Podcasts)
I am currently reading Salt Houses and it is beautiful. (Goodreads link)
Jussie Smollett is Free. That’s Good, Whether He’s Guilty Or Not. (Intelligencer, via Nikole Hannah-Jones on Twitter)
I like when friends send me links and suggest them as newsletter fodder! If you ever have a suggestion, feel free to hit reply and let me know. From Cara: “This is such a rage fists/all that's wrong with the world and down with the patriarchy news story.” (CNN) I really couldn’t do anything but laugh at this. In a not-ha-ha way.
Sustenance = key for taking everything in, metabolizing life’s hard stuff, moving forward with care.
Shoutout to Erika for introducing me to this baked oatmeal (Heidi Swanson via Food52) years ago. I revisited it this week, omitted the nuts this time and swapped applesauce in for some of the maple syrup, and can confirm it’s a good thing to share with a teething person. The edges have a nice gummable crust.
Baked falafel (Cookie and Kate): I wanted to love this recipe. Pros: you don’t have to deal with frying, and the flavor is decent. Cons: Mine came out very crumbly, even after letting it grind in the food processor longer than suggested. Anyone have a favorite baked falafel recipe to recommend?
Daydreaming about summer? Willing to buy out of season produce? This zucchini with basil (Orangette) is simple and tasty. We’ve eaten it as she suggests, with mozzarella and bread, and also with cheap brie. You do have to be careful not to let it burn.
Again, if you appreciated the images in this week’s installment, check out joyalogue.com and/or follow @rajovilla on Instagram, and maybe buy some of her work — looks like she’s planning to open an online shop soon.
Until next week,
A note to the newest subscribers: Welcome! I’m writing an email every week for 35 weeks. After that, TBD. If a friend forwarded you this email and you’d like to receive the probably-final five, you can sign up at julia.substack.com.