This Is What I Read And Watch To Remind Myself That I'm Alive, Dammit


Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. As the year comes to a close, I couldn’t help but pick up my copy of Meditations from my dusty shelf and revisit the lines that have brought me solace in life’s toughest moments. The grip Marcus’s words have on me is worth noting: “The cucumber is bitter? Then throw it out. There are brambles in the path? Then go around them.” The image of a bitter cucumber continues to occupy my mind. We can only do so much, but oftentimes small actions trump bemoaning our way through life. In 2023, I’m channeling walking around some metaphorical brambles in this one and precious path of life. This is the year of being & feral joy. —Fran


“The Glass Essay” by Ann Carson. “I can feel that other day running underneath this one / like an old videotape / here we go fast around the last corner / up the hill to his house, shadows / of limes and roses blowing in the car window”


“Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga. Because my heart is not made of stone, I’ve been a fan of “Bad Romance” ever since it debuted in 2009. But for a long time, my relationship to the song was passive; I let it play through when it came on the radio and cheerfully thrashed around when someone queued it at a party, yet I rarely sought it out myself. Recently though, something clicked for me with this song, and it was like I was hearing it in all its symphonic glory for the first time. “Bad Romance” is a masterpiece — in just under five minutes, Gaga cascades from memeable mad libs to crying-in-the-club pop to operatic wailing. “I want your love and all your lover’s revenge,” she howls, and I regret all those years I spent underrating this anthemic joyride.

Wow, you read the whole thing! Thanks for that. If you have a favorite corner of the internet that you’d like to share, send it my way at with the subject line “reSEARCH.” We may feature it in a future newsletter.

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