suburban views of snow and stucco.
Today was the first day of real snow. It snowed here and there over the past few weeks, but those snowfalls are often false starts. Either way, I usually mark the start of winter with the first snowfall that really stays. So, I'm calling it: today is the start of winter around these parts. Get out the snow boots and mittens.
This past week my city (Winnipeg) and my province (Manitoba) have been transitioning to strict COVID-19 public health measures. Unfortunately, many of us thought we'd continue to be the envy of Canada— and much of the world— after a summer of low case numbers and lax social distancing. Not only is that no longer the case, the pandemic pendulum has swung in the opposite direction. Which is just a fluffy way of saying we fucked up, and hopefully we can chart a course back to calmer waters.
Looking ahead, my weekend (and all of next week) will be reading, writing, consuming too much media, and going for walks in snow-covered suburbia. (Unless it melts and I have to rescind my opening declaration.) If reading and writing is all that's left for me, I'll be at peace. To find refuge in the expanses of our minds is one of the greatest gifts of humanity.
It's the weekend. Get your 90s alt rock vibes on folks.
Last night I heard the screaming Loud voices behind the wall Another sleepless night for me It won't do no good to call The police Always come late If they come at all
And when they arrive They say they can't interfere With domestic affairs Between a man and his wife And as they walk out the door The tears well up in her eyes
Last night I heard the screaming Then a silence that chilled my soul Prayed that I was dreaming When I saw the ambulance in the road
And the policeman said “I'm here to keep the peace Will the crowd disperse? I think we all could use some sleep”
— Tracy Chapman, “Behind the Wall,” Tracy Chapman, 1988
“But on the fringes, a new type of blog was emerging. The personal blog. These sites ditched the curated links and focused exclusively on commentary. Bloggers used their site to chronicle their personal journey, from the almost boring and banal to the weird and wonderful. This new type of blog was less an alternative media source and more akin to an online journal or diary. And these writers saw themselves not as gatekeepers to the web, but as sharers of their own identity.”
— Jay Hoffmann, “The Evolution of Blogging,” The History of the Web, August 14, 2017
Baby Yoda holding a candy cane. Holiday spirit stitched together in a factory far, far away.
“An attitude to life which seeks fulfilment in the single-minded pursuit of wealth— in short, materialism— does not fit into this world, because it contains within itself no limiting principle, while the environment in which it is placed is strictly limited.”
― E.F. Schumacher, Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, 1973
i saw myself in a stream. i swirled, oh i swirled. the gentle stream, the distant dream. the shore, worn down from too much thinking, (worn down from too much thinking) too far to anchor anyway. i just want to make my way home, but home isn’t home anymore, even though i’ve been here so long, home isn’t home anymore. a leaf floating through static waters. please, take me home. please. take me home.
“I read everything. I read my way out of the two libraries in Harlem by the time I was thirteen. One does learn a great deal about writing this way. First of all, you learn how little you know. It is true that the more one learns the less one knows. I’m still learning how to write. I don’t know what technique is. All I know is that you have to make the reader see it. This I learned from Dostoyevsky, from Balzac.”
—James Baldwin, “The Art of Fiction No. 78,” the Paris Review, Spring 1984