4 min read

Today's a Two-fer

Okay, I know it's my newly minted WEW, BUT I didn't get an email out yesterday like I intended, so I'm sending it this AM and the writing exercise will go out this evening.

Newsletter reader Rebecca T. sent me a beautiful moment-in-time essay, "The Italian Girl on the Quad" about a moment she felt out of place in many places in the world and a self-assured stranger help her set a new course. What I really appreciated about Rebecca's writing was she does such a wonderful job of anchoring the reader in time and place as she watches this girl she doesn't know across the quad, but she also gets into a little speculative writing when she wonders what the Italian Girl would see if she looked at her in return,

Although, this essay is short and tight, Rebecca includes a bit of reflection that opens the essay up for even larger meaning and reflection as it smoothly comes to a close,

Wonderful work Rebecca, thank you for sharing, and I hope your "Italian Girl" finds her way into the world.

I look forward to future readers and writers sharing their words!

I've been listening to Robert Wright's Why Buddhism is True on my morning walks. I dunno that this is the book I recommend for those curious about Buddhism but it's what's on my phone – somehow – so here I am (this is no knock to Wright, it's a fine book. Perfectly fine, but I think there are probably just others you should turn to).

Anyways, the middle of the book is a lot of discussion about Not Self (Who is doing SEO over at Brittanica? When did they start outranking Wikipedia on Google searches?) and Emptiness.

I am absolutely the wrong person to summarize what any of this means, but basically, my very rudimentary takeaway, is that this means nothing means anything until you give it meaning. For example, my rice cooker means something to me because I grew up with a rice cooker in my home and the smell of rice steaming is comforting to me. My feelings give meaning to this object that is one of hundreds of thousands of objects exactly like it. If you come to my house, my rice cooker will likely mean nothing to you.

Everything is just a vessel that we pour our feelings into. Much of the book is about what happens when we blow this theory out and apply it to our lives and the choices we make about our lives and how broad can you go and the philosophy still hold up.

But because this is a newsletter (mostly) about writing, for an essayist, Not Self and Emptiness really speak to the way we take moments from our lives, step back from our immediate feelings, and apply a new narrative based on our shifting perspective. So, for me it feels like all of life is essays because we are continually creating narratives for our existence to understand the feelings we feel – How's that for navel gazing? Lol.

In this newsletter, I'm finding that I give a lot of advice for Second (and third and fourth...) Draft writing. Your first draft is much like the way we live life. It's just what happened and your feelings about what happened. Second Draft writing is the reflection that comes later. The stories we tell ourselves (and others). Second Draft writing is making choices. We choose our narratives, nothing just is. And as a writer once I understood this it freed me get a lot more interesting with my writing during the revision process.

It also frees you from the trap of "What's true." When it comes to creative nonfiction you can spend a lot of time stressing and doubting yourself and your memory and your understanding of an experience. But if you operate from the premise, and insist that your reader does to, that you are being true to your POV but that there is no singular POV or truth, then you can set all of that worry down. But this only works if you come from this humble place of your POV doesn't have more weight than the next person's, it's not special just because it's yours. I think this is what makes nonfiction more flexible than more journalistic style writing or you a court transcript or something.

My sister was over and commented how cute my shower cap is. It's this one:

Recycled Polyester Luxe Shower Cap - Floral
Shop shower caps and other beauty essentials from KITSCH

This is a $24 shower cap. But seeing has how I've used it mover a year, that's like $2 a month.  I used to use this terrycloth lined shower cap to help keep down frizz, but it was this real wild animal print and was just too busy for the whites, soft grays, and beige that dominate my bathroom. Also, the elastic would wear out in the liner and I was always worried about whether or not I should be laundering the shower cap because of the terry cloth.

A HASSLE (completely created by me).

Kitsch says the terrycloth isn't necessary and just adds weight. Pull your hair back, instead of up, when tucking it under the cap and the shape of the cap will do the rest. I also appreciate a bow on just about anything. There's lots of patterns, but I got the one I did because it's mellow.

I'll be back in your inbox later today with this week's writing exercise. Have a good one <3

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