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5 Quick Things #302 🍁
bookshops, newsletters, fences, & villages
There’s a certain fear and trembling that comes with the territory of publishing words online because of its immediacy. Back in the day of purely paper and ink, writers’ words came to us a minimum of a day later in newspapers; months or years later in books. With pixelated publishing, the culture has fully cultivated an expectation that people with thoughts will not only share said thoughts as soon as the people want them to have them, but that these thoughts will also be coherent, cogent, and “correct.” This is especially true on social media, and it’s one reason out of many why I’m largely off those platforms.
The irony in this, I think, is that writers are often slower processors. Or, at least a certain type of writers are, the ones that tend to live a bit in their heads and chew on ideas before realizing what those ideas are. This is me, anyway. And it means there’s inordinate pressure that often leads to staying silent when major events happen, leaving people to wonder if you have a thought at all. Many times this is okay because it’s often more than okay to do just that — stay silent.
Thankfully, I haven’t heard from any of my readers wondering whether I have “correct” thoughts about the recent tragedy in Israel, and I’m grateful for that, because there hasn’t been a day this week when I haven’t teared up at the horrific thought of all the babies and children and the mothers and fathers who wail for them. I’ve been to that land and I love it, and I was so delighted by the hospitality of so many who live there from all cultures and creeds. And there really isn’t anything I can say, other than Kyrie Eleison.
Kyrie Eleison, Christe Eleison, Kyrie Eleison.
“Bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure— you, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts.” - Psalm 7:9
5 Quick Things ☕️
1. 📻 New episode of A Drink With a Friend! 📻 Social media isn't great for us, neither individually nor collectively. Know what's better? Substack. Not just for writers or creators — for readers and listeners, too. That means you.and I share why we dig this bright spot on the internet and why you should, too. It's not perfect, but it’s doing a good thing.
2. If you don’t yet have a newsletter to read from an observant bookseller dictating her stream-of-consciousness about life and the strangers who wander in and out of her periphery, might I suggest this gem from? “As an American, I can get away with asking these things, like a foreigner who uses the wrong fork at dinner with the Queen. Even if my accent is repellent.”
3. As a major Chesterton fan, I loved’s unpacking of the Chesterton Fence. I refer to it more frequently than seems possible in my ordinary life, from making a case for reading old books to embracing liturgy as worship on Sundays.
4. I think about urban planning and ideal communal utopias more often than I care to admit. A few years old, I bookmarked this long essay fromabout building a small town from scratch, and I still re-read every few months or so. Indeed, how would I build a village?
5. And finally, I mentionedin the latest Drink epsiode (above), but it’s worth linking to this specifically: what a delightful autumn watercolor and history lesson on All Hallow’s Eve! (Psst… If you’re a Commonplace subscriber and downloaded the latest quarterly periodical, some of it rings a bell…)
Currently Reading, Watching, Listening 📚
Charis in the World of Wonders, by Marly Youmans
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“In these days of strain and stress, we need to conserve our energies for the really essential things, and it is well worthwhile for a mother to give earnest consideration to the question, ‘What shall I do? What leave undone that I may make my home the abode of peace and joy that it should be?’”
- The Paris Review1
What's your favorite thing about October? 🎃
There's so much to love about this month, even if those of us in certain necks of the wood don't get those storied leaf color changes until November. I'm a fan of just about everything October holds for us2, but if I had to pick, I'd go with the drop in temps. Even if it's not as low as I'd like, for those of us who endure three-digit temps through September, mid-October and on is a welcome, welcome relief.
Leaves changing colors: 52.9%
A drop in temps: 40.6%
Spring delights in the Southern Hemisphere: 2%
Find this week’s poll here.
Quick Links 🔗
Question(s) For You to Ponder… 🤔
Deep down, what is it that I really want?
Have a great weekend,
I'm even happy for your sportsball fans because it makes you happy, and because I like hearing your games play in the background as I bake pumpkin-y things.