It’s been a while. Let’s enjoy some more things.
Things to read
“The crisis affected everyone in some way, but the way it affected millennials is foundational: It’s always defined our experience of the job market. More experienced workers and the newly laid-off filled applicant pools for lower- and entry-level jobs once largely reserved for recent graduates. We couldn’t find jobs, or could only find part-time jobs, jobs without benefits, or jobs that were actually multiple side hustles cobbled together into one job. As a result, we moved back home with our parents, we got roommates, we went back to school, we tried to make it work. We were problem solvers, after all — and taught that if we just worked harder, it would work out.”
—This piece on “millennial burnout” has been everywhere on my Twitter feed this week, so you’ve probably already seen it scroll past. I think it’s worth reading. Email to Pocket.
“Once home, I eat an ice cream as a reward for my run as if I'm seven years old. It used to be a 99 Flake but they've changed the recipe so now it's a Mars bar one. Then I eat popcorn as a savoury chaser. I'll write for a bit, take the dog out and then eat like a grown up – normally eggs on brown bread or soup. I go to a café in the afternoon to get out of the house and stop myself from ignoring my work and deciding I should paint a wall or make an elaborate recipe, and I drink mint tea like I'm being serious and pure while I'm writing. It's gross. Later, I'll have a double macchiato, which is delicious but really needs a cigarette and not the Juul I'm using as if I'm a US high schooler.”
—Finally, one of those “what I eat and do in a day” pieces that doesn’t make me feel terrible, because I too like ice cream and sharing snacks with my dog. Dog food does seem unnecessarily boring, sorry Morris. Email to Pocket.
“It crashed onto my head and down I went. My feet kicked out for the bottom, to shoot up to the surface the way I’d done for many times, and met only empty water. The air bubbled out of me frantically, I set myself against the water, and the water began to win. I was panicking, utterly and completely, arms and legs thrashing as I fought to get myself back to the surface. I wasn’t a mermaid any more. In that moment, salt knifing up my nose, I wasn’t beautiful or weightless or strong. I was just a stupid girl who had swum too far out of her depth.”
—A moving little story about that moment when your childhood imaginings are rudely confronted, and melted away, by reality. Email to Pocket.
“In the winter of 1992, I began a series of interviews with the artist David Salle. They were like sittings for a portrait with a very practiced sitter. Salle has given many—dozens of—interviews. He is a kind of interview addict. But he is remarkably free of the soul-sickness that afflicts so many celebrities, who grow overly interested in the persona bestowed on them by journalism. Salle cultivates the public persona, but with the detachment of someone working in someone else’s garden. He gives good value—journalists come away satisfied—but he does not give himself away. He never forgets, and never lets the interviewer forget, that his real self and his real life are simply not on offer. What is on offer is a construct, a character who has evolved and is still evolving from Salle’s ongoing encounters with writers.”
—I only just discovered Janet Malcom’s piece ‘Forty-One False Starts’ from 1994, and I think it’s brilliant (and also how I would like to write one day). Email to Pocket.
“You’ve surely seen the selburose before, too: It’s knit into sweaters, featured on those mittens, seen at the Olympics, and printed on leggings and drink cozies. It’s shorthand for Scandinavia, if not Norway specifically, and feels at home on winter gear, especially our American faux-Christmas sweaters and earmuffs. Norwegians love it—especially on the famous black-and-white mittens my grandmother used to make. The symbol is one of that country’s proudest cultural exports, thanks to the knitwear on which it is most often emblazoned.”
—This is why lots of ‘cosy’ knitwear has that star pattern knitted into it. Also, you’ve now learned a new word today: selburose. Email to Pocket.
Things to listen to
+Free stuff alert: I am now writing a weekly podcast newsletter for The Browser, full of excellent podcast recommendations. They have given me a limited number of three-month free vouchers to give away to loyal readers — it’s normally $5 a month to get the email, so you’re getting $15-worth for nothing. Hit reply to this email if you want one of these vouchers. First come first served.
Things to watch
I was already terrified of smart speakers, and now of course I won’t ever be sleeping again.
Kristen Chenoweth’s face when this girl starts singing is *everything*.
Compulsory medieval thingamabob
The guest gif
Dancing out of this week like: