What are you loving right now?
A celebration of stuff we love
Valentine’s Day can provoke complicated feelings, whether you’re partnered or unpartnered.
So today on Be Your Own Hero, I thought I’d invite you to help me celebrate other things we are loving right now. What is giving you great satisfaction, lighting up your happy button, or otherwise contributing to your wellbeing despite, or in addition to, the corporate-enforced pink-hearts-and-roses explosion that is V-Day?
At my house, I was recently able to get a long-desired pantry re-do completed with the help of a cabinetmaker we know. The subsequent organizing of all my canned goods and staples into finally accessible spaces felt immensely satisfying.
That spilled over into starting to re-organize all my craft supplies (good lord I have a lot of craft supplies). Which in turn reminded me how much I love collaging, but I haven’t done a lot of it lately because all my stuff is so hard to get to. Above is one of my favorite compositions. For some reason a squirrel and a classic car on a scale just makes me laugh.
I bought the collage-and-poetry collection I Made an Accident by Kevin Sampsell recently and am loving it. If you enjoy quirky juxtapositions the way I do you will definitely enjoy this. You can find more examples of his collage work here.
Speaking of juxtapositions (not so much quirky but kind of terrifying), I highly recommend Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, by Kristen Iversen. It’s a powerhouse of a book. Part memoir, part investigative journalism, it tells the intertwined stories of Iversen’s family and the nearby plant most residents thought manufactured cleaning supplies, but in fact was a factory for plutonium “triggers” for nuclear bombs. Cold War paranoia and government secrecy led to egregious safety violations and unchecked radioactive contamination that is still an issue even though the plant has now been shuttered.
Iversen’s narrative shows the long shadows the twin secrets of her father’s alcoholism and the Rocky Flats weapons plant cast over both her family life and the community of this Denver suburb. It is superbly written, thoroughly researched, and a real page-turner.
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On audiobook, I recently listened to Billy Porter’s Unprotected. I didn’t know much about Porter before listening to this book. He’s an Emmy, Grammy, and Tony winner most known for Broadway’s Kinky Boots and the FX series Pose, but he’s also a hell of a writer and storyteller.
The book is a warts-and-all chronicle that covers his struggles from being a bullied young boy to a teen and young man trying to find his way as a gay Black man in a world where being himself required constant vigilance. As he puts it “I never could have passed for straight, even if I’d wanted to, and so I never had the dubious luxury of living a lie.” I highly recommend listening to it on audiobook just to hear Porter say, “Well, werk!”
Here’s his video for the song, “Children.” If this doesn’t make you smile, nothing will!
Lastly, I am loving the Substack publication. At this point I have saved so many of the posts I might as well just save the entire stack. Here's a snippet from her January post "Bravery is Relative."
You can read the rest of the post at the link above, but I love how her work is so relatable. We all have different strengths, and what feels routine to one person requires tremendous bravery from someone else. That’s why there are no moments of being brave that are too small!
Okay that’s enough for me — tell me what you are loving! Drop a comment below or respond directly to this email to send me a private message. And you can always show your love for Be Your Own Hero by clicking the little heart Like button♥️ just to let me know you made it this far and like what you see here 😉.
Note: Books linked through my Bookshop.org store earn an affiliate commission. In 2022, the affiliate earnings of $85.16 were donated to the Strong Hearted Native Women’s Coalition in San Diego County. Any 2023 commissions will continue to be donated there.
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Great question for Valentine's Day! I am enjoying Stephanie Foo's memoir, What My Bones Know. In my piano lessons, I'm working on Irish tunes that I'm loving too.