Inspired by Tim Ferriss’s 5-Bullet Friday emails, I thought it would be fun to start my own weekly list, which I’ll simply call my “Friday Five,” to record and share things that are moving me in some way lately. Since I lost my job and recently turned my blog back on, I’ve been enjoying re-reading some of my own entries from past years, which provide a snapshot in time of what I was reading, watching, listening to and it’s a trip, let me tell you. I thought it would be fun to continue this kind of documentation, largely for my own pleasure to look back on when I’m 85, but also simply to share artistic endeavors with others. It won’t always be the same categories every week, but it will always be five things. Although let’s be real, it’s my blog, so I can change the rules at any time.
What I’m listening to:
I listen to a ridiculous amount of podcasts, but I’ll share one or two from the week that I enjoyed the most.
I was ecstatic to discover that writer Cheryl Strayed has a new podcast. I was a huge fan of ‘Dear Sugars’ which she co-hosted with Steve Almond, and hearing her voice again in this format is comforting right now. On her new show, Cheryl calls up some of her favorite writers to glean some wisdom and advice, a departure from Dear Sugars where she herself was doling out the advice. In this episode, she interviews Margaret Atwood and it’s everything you’d hope for and more. I particularly enjoyed hearing Margaret’s method of putting “hot pepper down their hole” to deter the squirrels living in her roof. I hope I’m as sharp and witty at 80 as she is.
DNF, which stands for “Did Not Finish,” is also a new podcast, produced by Trail Runner magazine. It features conversations with elite athletes and everyday trail runners discussing some of their biggest failures in life, and the role those played in helping them achieve some of their greatest achievements. In this episode, ultrarunner and writer Katie Arnold (whose running/writing retreat I just attended in Utah) talks about navigating the grief and anxiety she experienced following the death of her father and how running helped her through (and continues to help her). I particularly love how the host Zoë Rom framed up the conversation with a discussion about the power of the stories we tell ourselves, (and the use of sound effects was fun too).
What I’m watching:
“Waco” on Netflix. WOW. This six-episode mini-series had me on the edge of my seat, and also left me feeling extremely angry and sad. I didn’t actually know much about the Waco tragedy in 1993, so I learned a lot (and proceeded to read everything about it after I finished the series) but I highly recommend it if you’re looking for something riveting to watch. The cast and performances are phenomenal, including Taylor Kitsch, Michael Shannon, Paul Sparks (House of Cards – took me a minute to place him), John Leguizamo, and Julia Garner (Ruth from Ozark who I’m obsessed with) to name a few. Interestingly, the show was broadcast back in 2018 on the Paramount Network (formerly Spike), but it’s gained a bit of a second life now that Netflix has picked it up. I’m surprised it didn’t receive more critical praise in 2018.
What I’m reading:
A story I didn’t know: One night in Chicago in 1970, film critic Robert Ebert left a movie he was supposed to be reviewing because the popcorn was too salty and made his way to a nearby bar instead. He listened to an unknown singer-songwriter playing in the backroom and proceeded to write a music review for the Sun-Times even though he wasn’t the paper’s music critic. That review, linked above, was the first one John Prine ever received and subsequently launched his career.
Quote I’m pondering:
“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.” ― Viktor E. Frankl
In the span of a week, Victor Frankl kept showing up – in a tweet, in a book I’m reading, and a podcast recommended by a friend – so naturally, he gets this week’s quote slot.
Favorite image of the week:
Finn (my cousin’s dog) and Penny on the run, captured by my sister Nicole.