Here’s what gave me direction this week. Arts and culture at the DuPont Underground, new books and podcasts, and inspiration from one of my favorite authors.
Lately, I’ve been obsessed with listening to the Dear Sugars podcast. It’s like a free forty minutes of therapy, and Strayed’s voice is just so soothing. The show can get intense, as Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almost dissect a lot of tricky relationship/friendship/general life problems that don’t often have a clear cut “right” answer. However, their vast empathy and ability to view a problem from so many perspectives makes the listen worth it. I’ve also reserved Strayed’s book Tiny Beautiful Things, compilations of the original Dear Sugar column that appeared in Rumpus magazine, from the library and I can’t wait to read it.
I started reading A Man Called Ove this Sunday. I watched the movie on Amazon Prime a few months ago, which I loved, and so far I’m both liking and disliking the book. Backman is a visceral writer, and he is skilled at portraying the physical and emotional movements of small, almost imperceptible moments in time. My issue so far is with the main character, Ove, who’s lack of patience and inability to relate to others (so far) is quite bothersome to me. The writing is good, so I will stick around for now. I’m about halfway through, and I’m hoping I can see this character develop soon.
Last Saturday, I attended the DuPont Underground’s Uncensored Underground cocktail party (special thanks to my gal Catherine for this one!). The Uncensored party celebrated the end of Banned Books Week, a week of programming and events organized by literary organizations to promote the freedom to read and address the problem of book censorship. The Uncensored party featured literary-themed cocktails, a pop up market with books, writing accessories, and merchandise from local vendors, and live music from Cheick Hamala Diabate and JoGo Project.
The DuPont Underground, a converted underground streetcar system that originally opened in 1949, is now a nonprofit committed to developing a “multidisciplinary platform for creative expression.” The space hosts theatrical performances, lectures, concerts, special events, as well as art exhibitions. Helene Berg’s Loops of Light, animation for music video and stage sets, is now showing in the Underground until the end of October. Back in January when the DuPont Underground reopened, I took a tour of the Underground that explored it’s history and reinvention as an arts space. I was amazed at how an old trolley system had been transformed into such a unique venue for artistic and cultural expression. I’ll be looking forward to the next time I visit the Underground.
“The true artistic path is not tied to outcome, but to the transformation that happens”
– George Saunders.
This sentence, which I heard on an episode of Dear Sugars, featuring George Saunders about following our dreams, really inspired me. We all have our own paths, in art and in life, that aren’t always linear or straightforward. When I’m working on writing project that is frustrating or taking longer than I’d hoped, or feel stuck at work, I try to come back to this sentiment. Real art isn’t motivated by a finish line – these will happen on their own – but by the need to express something, or to capture a truth, which you can only find by staying in the moment.
What inspired you this week?
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