Saturday Morning Links

1. Ever heard of Hamnøy? Me neither. It’s a really small island in Norway and its  in probably in a Volkswagen commercial. There’s nothing really on the Wikipedia page about it, but it is just really pretty.

Photo by Mischa Bachmann on Unsplash

2. This is a map of where Indigenous nations lived. I find it fascinating to scroll and dig into the details, who was here where I live. I believe I’m where the Tawakoni, Wichita, Jumanos, and Kickaapoi nations lives and there’s a Lake Tawakoni that’s about 30 miles away.

3. Carpe diem doesn’t mean “Seize the Day!” JStor Daily’s Chi Luu, but actually means “plucking the day”:

Gathering flowers as a metaphor for timely enjoyment is a far gentler, more sensual image than the rather forceful and even violent concept of seizing the moment. It is not that as a culture we can’t understand what it means to harvest something when it’s ready—we do have related metaphors like “making hay while the sun shines,” after all. But there is something in the more Hollywood phrasing “seize the day” that has clearly resonated with people in the last thirty years. We understand the phrase to be, rather than encouraging a deep enjoyment of the present moment, compelling us to snatch at time and consume it before it’s gone, or before we’re gone.

As John Keating teaches his students to value their own individuality above conforming to rules, he stands on his desk, as he says, not to feel taller, but to remind himself that we must constantly look at things in a different way. By seizing the day rather than plucking it like a flower, however, we’re actually conforming to hidden cultural values that we all share, not looking at the world in a different way from the norm, but in the same way as everyone else. These are cultural values that some argue have been co-opted by advertisers to sell us more things that we’re told will make us happier.

4. I don’t know what to tell you about this piece from The Atlantic’s Jennifer Senior, but it was the best thing I’ve read this year. the title? “WHAT BOBBY MCILVAINE LEFT BEHIND | Grief, conspiracy theories, and one family’s search for meaning in the two decades since 9/11.”

When she finally left the McIlvaines’ house for good, Jen slammed the door behind her, got into her car, and burst into tears. Shortly after, she wrote Helen a letter with her final answer: No, just no. If Helen wanted to discuss this matter any further, she’d have to do so in the presence of Jen’s therapist.

Helen and her husband never saw Jen again. “She became a nonperson to me,” Helen told me. Today, she can’t so much as recall Jen’s last name.

But for years, Helen thought about that diary. Her mind snagged on it like a nail; she needled her husband for giving it away; it became the subject of endless discussion in her “limping group,” as she calls it, a circle of six mothers in suburban Philadelphia who’d also lost children, though not on September 11. They became indignant on her behalf. A number proposed, only half jokingly, that they break into Jen’s apartment and liberate the diary. “You don’t get any more memories,” one of the women told me. “So anything written, any video, any card—you cling to that. That’s all you’re going to get for life.”

The McIlvaines would have to make do with what they already had. Eventually, they did. Three words of Bobby’s became the family motto: Life loves on. No one could quite figure out which diary or legal pad it came from, but no matter. Helen wears a silver bracelet engraved with this phrase, and her husband got it tattooed in curlicue script on his upper arm.

5. It’s only 1:35, but worth it. Don’t eat alone.

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