Oh, sure, you’re thinking to yourself. You put on your sarcastic voice. Have to have a Mac device, or whatever. Need to buy into the iOS cult. And it’s only audio-based. How’s that for your inclusivity?

You’d be 100% right. No one is saying Clubhouse is perfect. But here are the reasons I’ve been enjoying my time on Clubhouse so far.

First, some parameters. The interests I checked off when I was building my profile involve different ethnic and demographic identifiers as well as topics like inclusivity, entrepreneurship, and culture. My bio clearly identifies me as being someone who is…

Art historian Amy E. Hermann uses fine art to teach everyone from FBI agents to ER nurses how to be better at their jobs. I use some of the methodology described in her book, Visual Intelligence, in my classroom, to help my students to become better observers of life — and, consequently, better writers.

One of her exercises involves using words to describe a painting they’re looking at to someone who’s never seen it before. To test the accuracy of what they’ve told their partners, they’re meant to draw what they think was described to them. …

What I’ve learned so far.

Six months ago, we got shelter-in-place orders for the state of California. And, like a lot of you, I made some changes. I wrote more letters; wrote more in general; signed up for a great many more classes, and checked in with people more often.

I also adopted a new-to-me budgeting system that I hoped would finally cure me of my fear of my own money. The fact that it was invented by Japan’s first female journalist was a pretty big selling point.

I’m six months in now, and I wanted to tell you all how it’s going for me.

Easy Wins

Echo chambers and information bubbles: An inadvertent experiment

In the last two months, the mister and I have been exploring a new-to-us neighborhood on our daily walks with the dog. This is a neighborhood full of front-yard seating areas—we see lawn chairs or bistro sets on nearly every porch. The front yards are shallower in this development than they are in our development; one can easily imagine the neighbors sitting on their porches with their morning coffee or with their evening cocktails, waving at each other or at passers-by, like us. …

In which I finally explore minimalism

You probably all know about minimalist wardrobes by now. This is that admirable thing in which you have a very limited number of clothes. The benefits, they say, are many; everything from taking better care of the clothing you do have to getting way more creative with how you’re styling your limited options.

President Obama did it too, but not because he felt the need to get more creative. During his presidency, he only wore grey or blue suits, so as to not to experience decision fatigue. He’s a smart man.

Well, guess what, everyone? I’m finally on the bandwagon…

Here’s what I learned

House w white picket fence. Both are festooned w American flags. Big red, white, and blue painted dinosaur in front of house.
House w white picket fence. Both are festooned w American flags. Big red, white, and blue painted dinosaur in front of house.
Best Fourth of July setup ever. Don’t @me.

Here are some things I did very badly in my teens:

  • Math
  • Boyfriends
  • Parental relations
  • Personal style
  • Government class

This last would not ordinarily rankle so much — after all, we have all have things that we gravitate to more naturally. Except, not only was I terrible student in Mr. Palmer’s government class in high school, I was also a terrible student in Dr. R’s government class in college. It was a nightmare. I really could not be bothered with any of it. I hated the Federalist Papers. …

Just in case you had questions.

Image for post
Image for post

For blind and low-vision readers

[This is a graphic narrative about my obsession with Licorice All-Sorts. The header at the top of the picture reads “Licorice All-Sorts/Definitively/Sorted.” There is a little picture accompanying each block of text, so I will describe the picture and then transcribe the handwriting. On the right-hand side of the picture there is a scale running from “yum” to “blech.” All handwriting is in caps.]

[Drawing of pink and sky-blue “pucks” of candy. They look like they’re covered in something.] “Candy coated bits of joy! These are the best! These are eaten with all your attention! They are crunchy & gummy…

So are you. Here’s what I’m doing about it.

Years ago, at my MFA program, a person who was considering joining the MFA test-drove a workshop. After, the new guy came up to me and said, “I just wanted to tell you, you’ve adjusted to life in America really well.”

Full set of diverse face>>palm emojis
Full set of diverse face>>palm emojis

It had been a long time since I had heard something like this, so I just smiled and said, “I’ve lived here a long time.”

Some of you will be horrified reading this. You will say, “Oh! He was so rude! He should not have said that to you!” To you, I say, thank you for being offended, but…

An illustrated memoir

When I was a teenager, my cousin Sunny took me to a Souplantation for dinner, or maybe it was brunch. It was the very first time she and I had a meal together all by ourselves. My parents had always told me Sunny was the epitome of a good daughter, you see, and I was so happy when she asked me out, as if some of her perfection might rub off on me. Or maybe I thought that her asking me to a meal suggested that she thought I was worthy of her company, even though she’d never suggested anything…

An illustrated memoir

On one of the streets where we walk our dog, there is a mailbox that is tipped slightly backwards on its post. I like to think of it as a baby bird, ready to receive whatever the postperson feeds it.

Image for post
Image for post

And just across the street from it is a mailbox that is tipped forward. If not for its little privacy flap, it would spill everything its postperson fed it.

YiShun.Lai

Author: Not a Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty Wu, and Pin Ups (9/20). ShelterBox Response Team member. Columnist @The Writer mag. TheGooddirt.org

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