Friday Goodie Bag 08/12
Recommended stories and a brief note from yours truly
Dear Lorain fam,
Wow. What a week it has been. Since Lorain launched this past Monday, I have been overwhelmed with all the support that I’ve received from readers like you. I’m so excited to build this community. I’m happy to wake up every morning with excitement over what kind of stories I can track down and write without waiting for an editor to give me permission. Thank you.
As promised, I will be rounding up some recommended reads along with brief commentary every Friday. So let’s get it:
“Serena Williams Says Farewell” by Serena Williams, As Told To Rob Haskell
I know you’re not living under a rock but I would be in the wrong if I did not start this link round-up with a story from one of our greatest athletes of all time.
Yes, y’all. Serena is retiring. Her daughter Olympia wants to be a big sister, and Serena wants to grow her family too. Something had to give. The piece from start to finish is a bit of a tearjerker.
I still remember headlines when Serena admitted that she played while pregnant with Olympia. Serena has given us so much.
But I won’t lie, I do get upset when I see how much men can have it all: the careers and the children simultaneously.
But nevertheless, Serena is doing what’s best for her and she has nothing left to prove. I look forward to seeing what the next stage of her life will be like.
2. “The Money Is In All The Wrong Places” by Kelsey McKinney
I’ve been a fan of Kelsey’s writing for years so I was not surprised that many media people who I follow on Twitter were circulating this article around.
If you aren’t aware, a few weeks ago, Sydney Sweeney, an Emmy-nominated actress who’s been in shows like Euphoria, The White Lotus, and The Handmaid’s Tale, talked about her financial precarity in The Hollywood Reporter. Of course, social media didn’t take too kindly to that because Sweeney lives in a multi-million dollar home but she admitted that she wants to take time off to have a baby.
And dear reader, this is what I hate: When someone is being vulnerable, even a privileged someone, it’s easier to attack them without considering their context and attacking the system in which someone can make millions and still not be able to rest.
Kelsey puts it perfectly in her piece:
“It’s a reminder of how thin and permeable this country’s social safety net is, and how few jobs in the arts in general pay enough for people without generational wealth to survive. If Sydney Sweeney—who has been a star for years, and a working actor for a decade—still feels up against her limits before she has even started a family, then something is either not working as it should, or working in a way that is wildly, worryingly universal.”
3. “Issey Miyake Was a Designer’s Designer” by Diana Budds
On August 5, Issey Miyake, a groundbreaking Japanese designer, died at the age of 84 from liver cancer. While many people, including the author of this piece, cite Steve Jobs’s Miyake-created turtlenecks, I think more of Miyake’s collaboration with Grace Jones. I highly encourage you to google both of their names to see how the angles and dimensions of his clothes for her were simply perfect on her tall, muscular frame.
Though Budds’s write-up is rather short, I do appreciate that she wrote of Miyake’s background. He didn’t grow up in an era of Tokyo where he could easily be an apprentice to a couturier. Instead, he drew inspiration from bridges. As someone who once lived and worked in Tokyo, I conjure images of all that gorgeous architecture in my mind. I miss it. I find it all fascinating.
4. “American Literature Loses Out to Consolidation” by Richard Howorth
I cannot wrap my head around the fact that Penguin Random House wants to buy Simon & Schuster. They are two of the world’s biggest publishers. In his New York Times op-ed, Howorth succinctly lays out why this type of consumption poses so many problems.
I’ll admit that I’m not as well versed on monopolies and anti-trust regulations but reader, I am scared.
As Min Jin Lee, author of Pachinko, tweeted:
“I quit lawyering in 1995 to write fiction. I published my first novel in 2007. For me, the path to publication was difficult & measured in years—it took at least 12. The path to distributing them took even longer to pass through the narrow, guarded gates.”
I am afraid for all the emerging writers out there, especially those from marginalized backgrounds, who might have to struggle a bit more because the gates are in fact narrower. I worry for the authors who might not get enough promotion because there isn’t much bandwidth to go around. I’m worried of too many cooks in the kitchen.
5. “Beyoncé’s Ode to Black Joy” by Janell Hobson
How many times have YOU listened to Renaissance? Of course, whenever Beyoncé releases anything, whether it’s new Ivy Park gear, a song, or an album, it’s always an event. God, I have no idea how that woman stays so prolific with over 20 years in the game. But in any case, we are so thankful.
In Hobson’s piece, she writes:
“If Lemonade taps into Black pain, Renaissance immerses itself in Black joy—an elusive fantasy world anchored by a pulsating bassline traveling across the Black Atlantic sonic waves of Chicago house, Detroit techno, Harlem ballroom, Jamaican dance hall, New Orleans bounce, London garage, Lagos Afrobeat, and the nostalgic echoes of 1970s disco, ’80s funk, pop and early hip-hop, and ’90s club music, syncing with millennial-era Internet hyperpop. This album effortlessly interweaves sound technologies across space and time in the most Afrofuturistic sense to connect Black communal sites of pleasure: from the ballroom to the dance club to the house party.”
Reader, what have you been diving into this week?
What are you planning on getting into over the weekend?
Lorain is just getting started, y’all. But I need your help to do this work. Consider becoming a free or paid subscriber. You won’t regret it.