Life is weird right now. I’ve stopped replying with a habitual “good” when someone asks how I am. I’m forcing myself to be a lot more honest—with what I want, with the person I want to be, and the world I want to live in. I’m also trying harder to find everyday joys. Whether that’s the simple pleasures of a morning cup of coffee in my kitchen or the warmth of the sun on my pasty arms, I’m thankful for the small things. There are also some things that have particularly brought light into the endless stretch of quarantine days. Keep reading for the things I liked this strange and quiet May.
Taylor Williams (@taylorwilliamsstudio)
When I lived on the Outer Banks of North Carolina for my first year post-grad I made an effort to follow a lot of different local artisans and businesses. The area is filled with amazingly talented creatives and Taylor Williams is no exception. She’s a self-taught oils painter creating gorgeous oceanic landscapes. I recently bought one of her prints from Etsy and her work is even more impressive in person. You can check out more of her work on her Instagram here.
Black Dog – ARlo Parks
The newest single from London-based poet/singer Arlo Parks is perhaps even more dreamy and transcendental than her other hits (my favorites include “Eugene” and “Paperbacks”). She came onto my radar via COOL HUNTING, one of the best newsletters to hit my inbox. The song’s opening lyrics—”I’d lick the grief right off your lips”—immediately draw you into Parks’s emotional turmoil of longing and beautifully innocent love. I’m excited to see where her talent takes her.
Portrait of a lady on fire
Don’t watch this movie unless you’re ready to be absolutely WRECKED. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is one of those movies that you’ll adamantly insist every one of your friends watch during your scheduled quarantine video calls. The beauty of this French masterpiece by director Céline Sciamma is found in furtive glances, tonal cinematography, and powerful symbolism. At once a feminist manifesto and a liturgy of impossible love, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is everything you need to find yourself tearing up days after its end.
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
I don’t read a lot of fantasy but I’m glad I made the exception for Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House. This was the fastest I’ve finished a book since I stopped commuting for nearly two hours a day. I’m not going to tell you what it’s about because you can see for yourself but I will tell you that this is a gem of a storyline for anyone who’s looking for a mashup of crime mysteries, problematic Ivy League secret orders, dark magic, and a relatably flawed heroine.
Slow Factory + CéLine Semaan
I first learned of Céline Semaan and her nonprofit, Slow Factory, at the U.S. launch party for Riposte magazine. I was captivated by Semaan’s knowledge and passion for altering the fashion industry from exploitative fast fashion toward symbiotic practices of sustainability. She recently hosted a webinar series through Slow Factory with an introduction to waste-led design. As I grow in my own journey of slow living, I found her insights and instruction perfectly timed. Especially as we’re forced to slow down in these moments, now is a perfect time to reflect on how our society’s systems and values are destroying our fellow humans and our planet. You can follow Semaan on Instagram.