For this week’s roundup, I’ve got 3 things for ya.
1 book, 1 YouTube channel, and 1 essay from almost thirty years ago.
First up, the book. They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib. OHMYGOSHTHISBOOK. I chose this collection of essays for my MFA reading (we get to choose our own books! how great is that?) knowing almost nothing about it other than that it fit my areas of interest for this Fall Quarter (personal essay writing involving cultural / spiritual analysis) and that Abdurraqib is also a poet.
He writes a lot about music, most of which I’m unfamiliar with but it doesn’t matter because his writing invites you in and makes you familiar with the unfamiliar. He writes about other things, too. Race and being Black, politics and poverty and playing basketball. Here’s one of the essays to give you a small glimpse but my hands-down favorite, which can’t be found online (at least from my brief Googling), is Brief Notes on Staying // No One is Making Their Best Work When They Want to Die. I have returned to reread it again and again and again.
Next up, the YouTube channel. Five Parks Yoga. If you are like me and you (a) are an introvert or (b) don’t want to pay the big bucks for yoga or (c) just don’t have the time to get to the yoga studio or want to deal with the yoga-ness of a yoga studio but! You still want to do yoga from time to time, this is the channel for you. There are so many videos to choose from (stretching, vinyasa, power, yoga-for-surfers, you name it), the woman who teaches them does NOT do all the extra chit chat (thank the stars) and blah, blah, blah, plus she’s great at reminding you how/when to breath as you go.
This one is my go-to for a quick workout.
And finally, the (kinda old) essay. David James Duncan, as I’ve mentioned before, is one of my all-time favorites but I only just found this essay from 1992. If you’ve got the time for a longer read (15 minutes), it’s definitely worth the time. It’s about the death of his older brother who died when they were teens and a baseball, signed by Mickey Mantle, that arrived the day of his brother’s funeral.
It was originally published in Harper’s Magazine but I found an easier-to-read version here. It’s brilliant wherever you read it.