It’s the first Friday of 2023! Here are 10 things I thought were worth sharing this week:
I made my first collages of the year.
Further adventures in vegetable printmaking, inspired by Bruno Munari’s Roses in the Salad: This time I used bok choy. (Previously: peppers and onions.)
My reading was a bit all over the place this week. On New Year’s Day, I finished up Lewis Hyde’s A Primer for Forgetting. I read What Time Is It?, a slim book of drawings by Selçuk Demirel, juxtaposed with excerpts of writing on time by John Berger. (Not essential, by any means, but I enjoyed the format.) I really like Robert Louis Stevenson, so I’m slowly paging through Claire Harman’s biography, Myself and the Other Fellow. My bedtime fiction is Ted Chiang’s Stories of Your Life and Others.
A list of works that entered the public domain in 2023.
I’ve been having trouble with the yellow ink in my custom brush pens clogging up, so I went looking for a thinner fountain pen ink in yellow and turned up Pelikan’s fluorescent yellow highlighter ink, which has been working splendidly. (I may try some of these Noodler’s inks next — let me know if you have any suggestions!)
John Martz on his first NYTimes crossword puzzle.
I’ve enjoyed Mandy Brown’s writing at A Working Library for years, but her recent pieces have been particularly good and connected to things I love and have written about: “Latewood” on creative seasons and growth, “Not knowing” aka one of my favorite tags on my blog, “Your labor isn’t a sign of defeat” referenced “shitty first drafts” and Verlyn Klinkenborg’s Several Short Sentences About Writing, and “Reentry” reminded me of Walker Percy on the subject. (Mandy is also the writer who hipped me to The Comedy of Survival.)
Ted Gioia on what we can learn from the surprising turnaround of Barnes & Noble.
Movie: I was a big fan of In Bruges, so I loved seeing Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson reunited with director Martin McDonagh in The Banshees of Inisherin. One of the reasons I loved the movie is that no computer could have generated it. It’s so simple and human and hilarious. Brutal and sweeping like a western and gruesome and absurd like a fable. (For something lighter with the kids, we enjoyed The Pirates! Band of Misfits.) I feel like this is going to be a good year for movie-watching.
So many RIPs in the past two weeks it’s overwhelming, and I will not be able to list them all. RIP fashion/punk legend Vivienne Westwood. RIP Earth, Wind & Fire drummer Fred White. RIP Modest Mouse drummer Jeremiah Green. RIP Anita Pointer of the Pointer Sisters. RIP photographers Tony Vaccaro and Henry Grossman. RIP Pop-Up Magazine. (I’m so glad I got to see one of their shows.)
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Noodler's! Do I know Noodler's! I worked at an art supply store for 17 years, and we started carrying Noodler's a couple years before I left. At the time I was using Rowney FW inks for my painting, which are permanent, lightfast, saturated and dependable. I poo-pooed Noodler's at the time because they are definitely not dependable—any new shipment we'd get there'd invariably be a colour that needed a new swatch made because it didn't look like the last time we had it. I guess they were dependable in that respect. Anyhoo, fast forward to today, I use Noodlers more than any other ink. Yes, they're unpredictable, but they're also magical. Every colour has its own character, and some have undertones of different colours that come out around the edges... actually you can't predict how they might come out. They are 100% unique and there are colours that you will never (but NEVER) find anywhere else. I still use other brands of ink because Noodlers doesn't have certain "normal" colours, like a straight-up yellow for example. But I'm a convert.
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