5 Quick Things #264 🕯🕯🕯🕯
good news, cool teens, joy and jollity, & a pet unicorn
This past week our school co-op held their latest Exhibition Nights, when four times a year our students present to the community a project they've been working on in a specific subject. Lower School presents one night, then High School presents the second night. Since I've got kids in both I'm there for both events, along with my usual presence during the day for my classes. …And now I've got final essay grading and general end-of-the-quarter shenanigans to finish up.
All this to say: I'm wiped out this morning. But in a good way. And huzzah, we're now on holiday break! All I need to do is finish progress reports and grades, and that'll be helped along with some festive drink in hand, I'm sure. 🥃
This weekend I plan to mulch the raised beds with fallen leaves, clean the kitchen, and test-bake some cookies for our annual friend-gathering cookie swap, set for next week. It's finally beginning to feel a bit like Christmas around here!
5 Quick Things ☕️
1. 📻 Bonus episode of A Drink With a Friend! 📻 I recently talked with Sam Smith and his teenage son, Josiah, about the fine art of writing a book together. Sam, often known as S.D., is the author of the beloved Green Ember series, and his son came up with an idea for his own story. So, he took him under his wing and together they published the first in a new book series! Sam and Josiah share what it’s like to write together and how to cultivate a home life that loves good stories.
2. It’s so easy to bemoan the lost cause of Gen-Z, and I’m guilty of old-man-yelling-at-clouding them, too. But there is hope, and I see it in some of my students who are truly exhausted by the culture’s screen obsession. I love this piece about a teenage-founded Luddite Club in Brooklyn, where they’ve kindled certain pasttimes such as whittling and reading Boethius. One-hundred percent here for this.
3. I’ve admittedly never given thought to the concept of jollity, but this piece had me thinking this week. “To be jolly is truly a profound thing. It is to recognize the winsomeness and levity present in the world around us, and to appreciate it by responding with an exuberance of joy. Jollity, in its proper time and place, is an inestimable treasure.”
4. I just adore Fr. Mike Schmitz, and I listened to this episode twice this week simply because I needed it. He embodies that which he preaches, and I love that he’s summoned Chesterton at his finest: “Joy is the gigantic secret of the Christian.”
5. And finally, a week of only good news. I like this idea.
Currently Reading, Watching, Listening 🎧
A Christmas Carol on audiobook — an annual tradition of mine; highly recommended (it’s only three hours long; like a long podcast episode)
“Into this world, this demented inn in which there is absolutely no room for him at all, Christ comes uninvited.”
— Thomas Merton #
What’s the Most Earworm-y Holiday Song? 📻
I know, I know, I could have added ten more songs to the options on this question... But among these, I'm going with third place on this one. Not only is “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime” a truly awful holiday song, but I also contend that it's one of the worst modern songs ever. The lyrics, the music, the performance, the tune... all of it is truly abysmal. I actively avoid this song.
Find this week’s poll here.
Quick Links 🔗
Become a paying subscriber of The Commonplace (and thank you!)
Question(s) For You to Ponder… 🤔
What can you do in the next two weeks to end 2022 on a good note?
There's no 5QT next week as I'll be offline enjoying the holiday weekend and the start of Christmastide with my family! If you're a Commonplace subscriber, look early next week for a little gift in your inbox... Otherwise, I'll see you in two weeks before we bid adieu to 2022. As always, I'm so grateful you're reading this letter — have a very Merry Christmas! 🎁
p.s. Their response is a delight.
The unicorn letters made my day!
“I actively avoid this song.” 😂 I am so with you on this one! Merry Christmas!