June updates & summer hiatus

Friends,

Click here to read this month's blog post, which is the narration of a silly story about the image of Josh Groban I used to have set as the desktop image on my computer at work.

In addition to the ongoing political atrocities so baldly perpetrated by the current regime in power, June has also been bookended by two celebrity deaths that have affected me more deeply than expected: Anthony Bourdain and Harlan Ellison. I'm not what you would call a superfan of either of them--my knowledge of their written and televised works barely scratches the surface and I am fully a latecomer to them both. But as I wrote on the day of Bourdain's death, "the absence of their vibrantly alive hearts from this plane of existence is hard to have to absorb, when we need all the light we can get." Brian and I just listened to Harlan reading "Paladin of the Lost Hour" on our roadtrip to Dartmouth last month. We'd driven most of the day through Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, listening to our iPods on shuffle as well as Janelle Monae's Dirty Computer. But as the darkness fell and we were settling in to the monotony of eastern Pennsylvania, we gave our ears over to Harlan's voice, his vocabulary, to his wisdom, and his love. I of course didn't know it would be our version of a farewell from him, but now I'll always treasure that hour in the car.

June has also been full of personally wonderful busy-ness. Friends came to stay for a weekend; I got my hair cut; we've seen a batch of excellent films (including the Filmworker documentary about Stanley Kubrick's righthand man Leon Vitali, which I unreservedly recommend as an incredibly moving meditation on a life dedicated to art); I've finished reading a handful of excellent books (including David Hajdu's revelatory biography of Billy Strayhorn, Lush Life); and we checked out the somewhat lightweight but still fun “Amplified: Chicago Blues” exhibit at the Chicago History Museum.

As noted at the bottom of this month's post, I'm going to be taking the summer off from both the blog and this newsletter. I'm looking forward to some down time to rest and reconsider how I'd like to reshape my writing practice going forward.

In the meantime, be good to yourselves, and each other.