what we owe to each other



  • “Is language produced by the mind? Romantic theory has it otherwise: words emerge from the cosmos, expressing its soul. Language is an excellent way to understand the Universe, because language springs from the things it describes. If metaphors were mere fancies of the individual brain, how could they have possibly caught on?”  “The Say of the Land” by Mark Vernon
  • “This armadillo has zero back story. We know nothing about his past. But in 124 words (I counted), we see into his soul. He’s not like everybody else. He eats some cranberries, he jumps on his armadillo toes. He is in every way a perfect and unique armadillo, and all he’s asking is to be accepted for who he is. Not a bad message for a small child. Not a bad message for an aging novelist.” “Children’s Books Taught Me Everything I Need to Know About Backstory” by Ann Patchett
  • “Lying is not hard. All it requires is the nerve to say things that aren’t true, while remembering that even the people who know us best are rarely paying attention.” These observations and more in: “The Movie Assassin” by Sarah Miller
  • My love, my life, everything good and pure. I describe Marilynne Robinson’s writing as such: she writes so carefully and exquisitely that it’s impossible to read her books quickly. They demand you sit with them and absorb each word, sentence, page. “Marilynne Robinson, The Art of Fiction No. 198” by Sarah Fay
  • I don’t think I love this essay. But I think some of you might, and I want to see if I’m right. “Home is a Mug of Coffee” by Candance Rardon
  • “Some writers labor under the impression that they can write fiction that isn’t political, or influenced in some way by politics, which is, whether they realize it or not, a political stance in and of itself. Other writers believe it is an inherent part of their craft to engage with the political. And then there are those writers, such as myself, who believe that the very act of writing from their subject position is political, regardless of what they write.” “What Does a Political Story Look Like in 2018?” by Roxanne Gay
  • “The first step, Canby explained, was to underline all checkable facts. “Let’s crack on,” Radcliffe said, scanning the line “The dip itself was excellent, laced with chilies in adobo and cilantro and dressed up with cotija cheese and slightly smoky, lightly charred cherry tomatoes.” He underlined everything except “was excellent.” “Daniel Radcliffe and the Art of the Fact-Check” by Michael Schulman






  • “As nobly enraged as the Founders were at being taxed and policed by a government in which they had no voice or vote, they failed, we know, to establish a true representative democracy. Their government was one in which a minority ruled. The few cleared the field of competition by subjugating the many — the enslaved, women — and then built their economic and political power on the labor of those they’d deprived of any say in civic or social life.” “And You Thought Trump Voters Were Mad” by Rebecca Traister
  • “Trump’s only true skill is the con; his only fundamental belief is that the United States is the birthright of straight, white, Christian men, and his only real, authentic pleasure is in cruelty. It is that cruelty, and the delight it brings them, that binds his most ardent supporters to him, in shared scorn for those they hate and fear.” “The Cruelty is the Point” by Adam Serwer
  • “Trump did not cause Roof. But their temporal proximity reveals thematic connections between the two. Trump, the self-proclaimed billionaire, who blames immigrants and Muslims for America’s problems. Roof, the struggling young man, who blames black Americans (and others) for his stagnation. And if Trump embodies a white reaction to perceived decline in a changing world, then Roof represents that backlash in its most extreme and virulent form. Both Roof’s violence and Trump’s demagoguery flow from a shared swamp of resentment. The same white nationalists who led Roof down a path of hate and evil now gather in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the election of Trump as a triumph for their movement.Roof’s crime is so monstrous that it may rankle to put him on the same continuum as Trump. But to see both with clear eyes is to see the link between demonization and aggression, between Trump’s rhetoric, simmering with menace, and the wave of harassment, intimidation, and outright violence that followed his victory. “Brothers in White Resentment” by Jamelle Bouie


  • “Basically, what I said was that you never have to apologize for acquiring knowledge, even if it’s not going to be of immediate benefit. Having knowledge makes you better able to understand the world in which we live. The more I know, the less surprised I’m going to be.” “In Conversation: Alex Trebek” by David Marchese
  • “Schur loved not only the central thesis of “What We Owe to Each Other” but also the book’s title. “It assumes that we owe things to each other,” he told me. “It starts from that place. It’s not like: Do we owe anything to each other? It’s like: Given that we owe things to each other, let’s try to figure out what they are. It’s a very quietly subversive idea.”It is, in a way, deeply un-American — an affront to our central mythology of individual rights, self-interest and the sanctity of the free market. As an over-the-top avatar of all our worst impulses, Eleanor is severely allergic to any notion of community. And yet her salvation will turn out to depend on the people around her, all of whom will in turn depend on her. What makes us good, Chidi tells her, is “our bonds to other people and our innate desire to treat them with dignity.” “The Ultimate Sitcom” by Sam Anderson
  • “It’s a tension that’s practically universal: The knowledge that life is complex, often unfair, and generally mysterious wars with our innate need for simple answers. The trick is to find a way to tell stories that get past those well-honed defenses, stories that seem to believe in nothing but ultimately believe in everything.” “BoJack Horseman, Rick And Morty, and the art of cynical sincerity” by Zack Handlen
  • “The point is, you’re taking a risk for a reason. You’re doing it for the people who might feel better about something in their lives because of something you’re willing to admit about yours.” And that is all art, baby. “6 Tips for Getting Your Solo Play to Broadway” by Mike Birbiglia




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s