The Audacious Round Up

For the Week of February 15th

I suppose the big news is that I have a Masterclass on Writing for Social Change and you can take that class now!

I had a lot of things come out this week including a letter of recommendation at Wirecutter, for virtual reality.

In support of my Scribd essay, Writing into the Wound, I had an intense, and interesting conversation with Monica Lewinsky about trauma and its aftermath. We’ve gotten to know each other a bit in recent years and her resilience and grace are quite a thing to behold.

HGTV is one of my favorite channels to watch and I spoke with AV Club about their programming and what it all means.

My wife, Debbie Millman, has a book coming out in October called Why Design Matters. It is a collection of conversations from her podcast “Design Matters,” with creative people about how they make, live, learn, and love. I’ve watched her putting this book together for more than a year and it’s a wonderful project. Check it out!

I am excited for our book club discussion with Torrey Peters. We’ll also start our discussions about the book so stay tuned to this space later today and all next week. I cannot wait to get into Detransition, Baby, with you. There is a lot to think through in this ambitious novel.

Register now, for the discussion. We cap at 1,000 participants.

February 18th is Audre Lorde’s birthday, and Toni Morrison’s, too. What a grand day.

Ted Cruz flying to Cancun while Texans freeze, without power, is such a hilariously craven thing. He is so bad at politics. He is so evil. And his friends hate him. This story is delightful. I am utterly delighted by it.

Ava Duvernay has created an inclusive database of people who work in film and television. It is an incredible resource. There truly is no excuse for not hiring amazing people from all backgrounds.

This week I watched the documentary Black Art: In the Absence of Light. It is really well done, and features really insightful artists, curators, historians, and collectors. It is also a frustrating reminder of how black cultural production has thrived despite racism and white gatekeeping and systemic efforts to deny, demean, and dismiss the arts we make.

Wine Enthusiast has rounded up the 100 best wines of 2020. We’ve got some drinking to do, friends.

The Mars rover landing was interesting. Science! So many years to get there. It’s strange that so many people seem to want to go to Mars. For one, it is probably a one-way trip…

Icy Park drops today! 1 pm PST! Get on it. Praise Beyoncé. I would love to profile her, and go beyond the surface pieces we’ve seen about her. She intrigues me as an artist and businesswoman.

I enjoyed the Australian Open quarterfinals. Serena Williams is such a phenomenal tennis player, truly the GOAT. And Naomi Osaka is another star, so much finesse, so much potential. It was nerve-wracking watching them play because I was rooting for Serena but it was also a great match, and I would have been happy regardless of who won. They both deserved it.


by Audre Lorde

The difference between poetry and rhetoric
is being ready to kill
instead of your children.

I am trapped on a desert of raw gunshot wounds
and a dead child dragging his shattered black
face off the edge of my sleep
blood from his punctured cheeks and shoulders
is the only liquid for miles
and my stomach
churns at the imagined taste while
my mouth splits into dry lips
without loyalty or reason
thirsting for the wetness of his blood
as it sinks into the whiteness
of the desert where I am lost
without imagery or magic
trying to make power out of hatred and destruction
trying to heal my dying son with kisses
only the sun will bleach his bones quicker.

A policeman who shot down a ten year old in Queens
stood over the boy with his cop shoes in childish blood
and a voice said “Die you little motherfucker” and
there are tapes to prove it. At his trial
this policeman said in his own defense
“I didn't notice the size nor nothing else
only the color”. And
there are tapes to prove that, too.

Today that 37 year old white man
with 13 years of police forcing
was set free
by eleven white men who said they were satisfied
justice had been done
and one Black Woman who said
“They convinced me” meaning
they had dragged her 4'10'' black Woman's frame
over the hot coals
of four centuries of white male approval
until she let go
the first real power she ever had
and lined her own womb with cement
to make a graveyard for our children.

I have not been able to touch the destruction
within me.
But unless I learn to use
the difference between poetry and rhetoric
my power too will run corrupt as poisonous mold
or lie limp and useless as an unconnected wire
and one day I will take my teenaged plug
and connect it to the nearest socket
raping an 85 year old white woman
who is somebody's mother
and as I beat her senseless and set a torch to her bed
a greek chorus will be singing in 3/4 time
“Poor thing. She never hurt a soul. What beasts they are.”

Some tweets: