Wednesday, April 29, 2020

my media diet

stumbling upon the WITI (why is this interesting?) newsletter, i found myself reading the whole stack of their monday media diet entries. aside: what is it about substack, it seems like all the cool kids are writing there these days.

when i first saw the title "media diet" - i was like, YES, i could use one of those. but it's more general than that, it's more like what media do you feed yourself with these days, rather than which media are you cutting out of your life to save on mental calories.

i recently did the latter, not reading any news, not listening to my usual news podcasts (the daily, post reports and today, explained), not even watching trevor noah, colbert or seth meyers. all of the anxiety out there has not been good for my sleep, i can tell you and staying up on the news does not help. but it did help very much to give myself some distance from it for about a week to ten days. i slept and felt much better. but slowly, i've started reading and listening and watching it all again. but never right before bed. then, i'm reading a book. at the moment, i'm rereading all of the mrs. pollifax series. comfort reading. i highly recommend it.

and as for my media consumption, i've fallen in love with the peaceful, serene videos from chinese youtuber li ziqi. she cooks and farms and dyes indigo and weaves cloth and makes a soft cotton mattress from cotton she grew herself and she just knows how to do all of it so calmly and beautifully and cinematically. it's mesmerizing. the guardian wrote about her in january, but i only just discovered her through the wonderful reply all newsletter. watch her and feel your blood pressure come down to a manageable level.

i've been reading a lot of substack newsletters. like this one from sluggo mczipp, and drawing links and nisha chattel's internet totebag. they have all led me to music i didn't know, or interesting things to read or delicious recipes to make or made me think or made me laugh. i highly recommend either these or others like them (please let me know yours in the comments, like it's 2008) to distract from the global pandemic. it's good when not all the things you read are about the latest stupidity to exit the spray-tanned clown's mouth. there are still smart people in the world, doing and writing interesting things. it gives me hope.

also on my media diet is a real life subscription to the paris review. i so love their podcast that i subscribed not long ago in order to support their work. it's nice to go to the mailbox and find a physical, real paper magazine in your hands,  and then to sit in a favorite chair, turning the pages, reading poetry and just generally good, thought-provoking writing. i highly recommend. and i actually just start at the beginning and read it through to the end. preferably while sitting in a comfortable chair with a latte or a hot cup of tea at hand.


will said...

OK, I just watched the Chinese Youtuber's ginger episode and my first thought was of the wife in Mari Sandoz's Old Jules. She worked the farm from before sunrise til after dark - meals, gardening, farm animals, cooking, sewing, etc. And Jules was out roaming, talking with other men, killing a rabbet or two and coming home to 'his' farm and to all the stuff his wife had done during the day. (I kinda doubt she dressed as nicely as the Youtuber.)

My other thought, these days I'm really glad there's Chinese/Thai/Mexican/American take-out.

kestrel said...

Reading a hard copy book is becoming a rarity, even newspapers are online and people do not buy hard copies any more. Like you, I like a good book on a rainy day - cool, peaceful and just let the day pass

julochka said...

@will - she does appear to work very hard and looks gorgeous all the time while doing it. totally aspirational!

@kestrel - i've never really gone over to the kindle or other eReaders, i love to hold a book in my hands. i am guilty of online newspaper reading, but i do subscribe to several, so i feel like i'm still supporting them. :-) i do listen to quite a few books on audible, though. i like being able to listen to a book while i cook or work in the garden. but it's definitely a different experience than reading.