Great reads 🔗
Art, a friend of mine is fond of saying, does not owe you anything. You might want a movie to contain a specific scene, or to end with your preferred conclusion. But that isn’t what art does. Art exists to challenge us, to make us see the world in a new way. As the Neil Armstrong of First Man might put it, good art often takes us out of our everyday, self-centered cluelessness, our facile assumptions about the world and about other people, and changes our perspective.
Alissa Wilkinson is one of my favorite film critics to read. And this article points to a very real problem in our culture: we now expect everything to be subservient to politics. I’m not sure any culture ever had a healthy relationship with art, but I know that we certainly do not.
The Roden newsletter is one of my favorite email list discoveries. The “Newsletter letters forever?” essay in this issue covers the recent venture capital investment in Substack, the email platform I use for this newsletter. In it Craig Mod shares his hope for the future:
Part of me wishes there was more of a trend in the startup world to build sustainably small, single-serving, hyper-focused, culturally-impactful businesses.
I share this hope, but I don’t expect to see it realized. Also, the last essay in the issue, “Never fast enough,” is great.
Colson Whitehead has a new book out that I am looking forward to reading, especially because I am enjoying The Underground Railroad so much. In this interview, he offers some very useful advice to writers, and all creatives, really:
I’m a homebody—I like hanging around the house with my family. I was never much of a schmoozer, or felt like I had to be seen at this party. My advice to writers is, stay at home and work. Don’t go out. It’s not very sexy advice. You go to a writer’s conference and it’s like, Shouldn’t you all be home working?
Current 📖 🎧 🖋
Reading: Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad. Amazon’s description: “In Colson Whitehead's ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor: engineers and conductors operate a secret network of actual tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora embarks on a harrowing flight from one state to the next, encountering, like Gulliver, strange yet familiar iterations of her own world at each stop.” It’s great so far
Listening: Cold War Kids’ LA DIVINE. As my wife says, they don’t do anything bad. It’s such a good album
Writing: I’m working on several stories for Story Team, as well as some curriculum for our Students ministry. Hoping to touch my novel again this week
Thanks for reading! If you enjoy this newsletter, forward it to a friend. If not, hit ‘reply’ and let me know what you would change.
Have a great week,