Because history found you
words for the class of 2020, zoom orgies, false balance, embracing failure, car seat headrest, post-punk writing tips - and there's a new addition to the newsletter!
Brady Gerber’s “7 For Seven”: (At least) seven links on writing and creativity in your inbox by 7 AM EST every Wednesday. New fiction published on the first Friday of every month. Writer interviews published every second and fourth Friday. Read on your browser here. Want to help? Tip me for coffee, ask me a question, and share this dang thing.
history big and not fun to look at and why does it have to stand so close to me
It’s Wednesday morning. Oof.
But I have some exciting news … this Friday, I’m launching a new writer interview series on this newsletter! Wa-HOO!
For a while, I’ve been wanting to expand the newsletter to involve other talented writers to contribute and share their own tips and tricks for writing and staying creative. As lockdown continues to wipe out our current work and opportunities, I think it’s important to support each other and share how we’re getting through this time - so that when the dust settles and work reappears, we’ll be ready. (And you’ll now have some talented people on your radar.) Because I’m obsessed with consistency, I’m asking every writer the same seven questions; it’ll be fun to see how we all answer the same questions differently. I love a good theme!
To start, these interviews will be running every second and fourth Friday of each month, so Fridays are becoming bonus days for the newsletter. (Don’t worry, these Wednesdays emails will remain the same.) I’m excited about our initial lineup of writers, and if you know of anyone who would be a perfect fit for this series, let me know!
I appreciate you all on your patience and flexibility as the newsletter goes through more changes. From your survey responses, it seems like most of you are excited about the changes, which makes me happy.
Now then, away we go … Here are at least seven things to make your week more interesting:
The Atlantic is publishing a series of commencement addresses for students unable to attend their graduations this year.
(This speech almost made me cry - because it’s so well written, or because I’m enough years removed from my own graduation that I can now act like a proud parent and forget how annoyed I was when I was 22 and hungover and a bunch of old people were yelling at me to Be Great. It’s probably both.)
((Then again, I wonder how I would feel knowing that I’m graduating into the worst job market in a generation and all my parents and relatives can say is Fix This Because The Future Depends On You And Not Us And We’re Still Going To Leave You With So Much Debt So Sorry About That But Like What Can You Do Oh Well???))
(But in all seriousness, congratulations, class of 2020.)
“But you won’t get to have this very special event, four years in the making. Why not? Because history found you.”
The Erotic Chaos and Suspense of a Zoom Orgy.
(You know, some light reading.)
Pundits, journalists, and the insistence on media “false balance.”
(I keep talking about Merchants of Doubt, but this article is literally what that book is all about: how scientists, politicians, and media all talk about and dance around climate change.)
“The urgent need for accurate, reliable news during the COVID-19 crisis is revealing that from the start there’s been an even deeper illusion media is obliged to preserve, even more than the illusion of objectivity. What broadcast media is really selling—literally selling, to its advertisers and to its viewers—is the illusion of stability and certainty in American life, as well as its own role as a wise, trustworthy leader within that system. Journalists are forced to protect the illusion of stability by normalizing the fraudulent tactics of Ailesism as just standard operating procedure on “the other side.” Pretending that the balance is real, that the emperor is clothed, means that everything is still basically okay in TV-land. You can keep right on buying the latest SUV, or refinancing your home.”
A few “Zen” links:
CSS Zen Garden - a website in which the exact same HTML content is transformed by different CSS coding, for those who wish to understand what CSS actually … does.
Another form of zen: Learning how to COVID-19 budget.
And the kind of zen that comes from overcoming, or at least with being at peace with, fear: LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphey on how he got over his fear of failure. (Thanks, James, for the link!)
KEXP’s Dusty Henry made a new comic! The Scene is Dead. About music, ghosts, and, most frightening of all, blogs; this made me both nostalgic and terrified of my former blogging days, oof.
"A comic about the Purgatownia music scene and the one blogger willing to blog about it.”
What I’m listening to this week: I’m a big fan of the new Car Seat Headrest album; don’t you love it when a non-single track immediately becomes your favorite song on an entire album?
And finally, the late and great and very bizarre Mark E Smith and his guide to writing guide. (Thank you again, James, for this very insightful look into the creative process.)
Brady writes about music (and other things) and draws cartoons. You can find him in New York Magazine, Rolling Stone, Interview, Pitchfork, McSweeney’s, Electric Literature, Literary Hub, and more. Check out his website, where you’ll find his reading list this year, his latest features, and more ways to connect. (He’s a freelancer for hire who can do interviews, reporting, criticism, and playlists - get in touch if you need a writer.)
Read this and all past newsletters online here. All cartoons by Brady Gerber.
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