Someday, in the car on the way to school, your mother will mention her friend who died. She’ll laugh thinking of a joke he used to tell, or remember a cake that his mother taught her to bake. And you will know, intellectually, that she had a friend who isn’t here anymore. But you won’t grok the reality of it: That she loved him and he’s gone. That he was real to her, with a face she knew just as well as you know the Saturday morning cartoons. That he was a constant for her and that constant was removed, and now she knows what life can do. None of that is real to you; none of that can be real. She doesn’t seem sad, and so you cannot imagine that she ever was.

There is so much you can’t imagine. You can’t imagine your parents on this weekend, dancing around the kitchen to Motown as they cook a big meal, moving their butts jauntily and leading with their shoulders. Many years later, at your bat mitzvah or your cousin Stephanie’s wedding, the way they dance will make you want to kill yourself. But if you could see them over this weekend, all together, if you trained a camera on them and let them dance back and forth, you would understand: they were young once too, and this is how they learned to dance, and now every time they dance that way they feel young again, even if you’re scowling at them from across the room and wishing they would explode.

The Big Chill: These Are Your Parents - From the Current - The Criterion Collection

This whole essay is great.

"I’m angry at the people who throw these things out their car windows, but I’m just as angry at the people who walk by it every day. I say pick it up yourself. Do it enough and you might one day get a garbage truck named after you. It’s an amazing feeling," the humble do-gooder told the County Times.
Local Litter-Picker David Sedaris Finally Gets the Respect He Deserves
David Sedaris is finally getting his trashy moment. Bless.

iowawomensarchives:

Today - July 28, 2014 - is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. We’re marking the occasion by remembering Iowa women whose lives were shaped by the war.

Louise Liers, World War I nurse, by Christina Jensen

On June 28th, 1914, Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip. One month later, war broke out across Europe between two alliance systems. Britain, France, Russia, and Italy comprised the Allied powers. Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire constituted the Central powers. As war raged abroad, the U.S. wrestled with the politics of neutrality and intervention. In April of 1917, President Wilson was granted a declaration of war by Congress. The United States thus officially entered the conflict alongside Allied forces.

One such woman was Clayton-native Louise Marie Liers (1887-1983), an obstetrics nurse who enrolled in the Red Cross and served in France as an Army nurse. 

Before her deployment, however, Liers was required by the American Red Cross to submit three letters “vouching for her loyalty as an American citizen.” All nurses, regardless of nationality, were similarly required to provide three non-familial references testifying to this effect. While questions of loyalty and subversion are exacerbated in any war, America’s domestic front was rife with tension driven by geography, class, and ethnicity that raised fears and stoked national debate in the years leading up to America’s engagement in the Great War.

Arriving in 1918, Liers was stationed in the French town of Nevers where she treated wounded soldiers.  During this time Liers wrote numerous letters home to her parents and brother describing her duties and conditions of life during the war.

In a letter to her brother, featured below, Liers described her journey to France from New York City, with stops in Liverpool and Southampton.

When Liers arrived in 1918, Nevers was only a few hours away from the Allied offensive line of the Western Front.  She was assigned to a camp that served patients with serious injuries and those who required long-term care.  Liers noted in a 1970 interview that, by the end of the war, as fewer patients with battle wounds arrived, her camp began to see patients with the “Asian flu,” also known as the 1918 influenza outbreak that infected 500 million people across the world by the end of the war.

In letters home, and in interviews given later, Liers described pleasant memories from her time in service, including pooling sugar rations with fellow nurses to make fudge for patients.  Nurses could apply for passes to leave camp and Liers was thus able to visit both Paris and Cannes.  In an interview Liers recalled that, serendipitously, she had requested in advance a leave-pass to travel into town for the 11th of November, 1918. To her surprise, that date turned out to be Armistice Day, and she was able to celebrate the end of the war with the citizens of Nevers.

Along with her cheerier memories, however, Liers’s papers also describe the difficulties of caregiving during war.  She described Nevers as a town “stripped of younger people” due to the great number of deaths accrued in the four years of war.  In later interviews Liers offered many accounts of the grim surroundings medical staff worked under, from cramped and poorly equipped conditions, to unhygienic supplies, such as bandages washed by locals in nearby rivers, which she remembered as “utterly ridiculous from a sanitary standpoint…they were these awful dressings. They weren’t even sterilized, there wasn’t time.”  Due to the harsh conditions and limited resources, nurses and doctors gained practical knowledge in the field. Liers recalled frustrating battles to treat maggot-infected wounds before the nurses realized that the maggots, in fact, were sometimes the best option to keep wounds clean from infection in a field hospital.

On a grimmer note, Liers wrote to her parents the following:

As I have told you before, the boys are wonderful- very helpful. When I see their horrible wounds or worse still their mustard gas burns or the gassed patients who will never again be able to do a whole days work- I lose every spark of sympathy for the beast who devised such tortures and called it warfare- last we were in Moulins when a train of children from the devastated districts came down-burned and gassed- and that was the most pitiful sight of all.

By the time the “final drive” was in motion, Base Hospital No. 14 was filled with patients to nearly double capacity, and doctors and nurses had to work by candlelight or single light bulb. Liers’ wartime service and reflections suggest a range of emotions and experiences had by women thrust into a brutal war, remembered for its different methods of warfare, inventive machinery, and attacks on civilian populations. 

Liers worked in France until 1920, and her correspondence with friends and family marks the change in routine brought on by the end of the war.  With more freedom to travel, Liers and friends toured throughout France, and like countless visitors before and after, Liers describes how enchanted she became with the country, from the excitement of Paris to the rural beauty of Provence.

Following the war, Liers returned to private practice in Chicago, and later Elkader, where she was regarded as a local institution unto herself, attending over 7,000 births by 1949.  She was beloved by her local community, which gifted her a new car in 1950 as a sign of gratitude upon her retirement.

Louise Lier’s World War I scrapbook and other items from the University of Iowa’s World War I collections will soon be available in Iowa Digital Library.

Want more? Visit the Iowa Women’s Archives! We’re open weekly Tuesday-Friday, 10:00am to noon and 1:00pm to 5:00pm.

A list of collections related to Iowa women and war can be found here.

(via coolchicksfromhistory)

I went to Roadside America yesterday, guys.

I went to Roadside America yesterday, guys.

coverspy:

Do you love reading YA? Oh good! Us too!
Come to wordbookstores in Jersey City on August 13 for YA Show and Tell. Come tell your fellow YA lovers what should be in their to read pile, and make a shelf talker for it, Coverspy style. 
Brush up on your spying skills, and we’ll see you there! 
RSVP is strongly encouraged for this **free** event so the store knows what books to have on hand.

Come share your YA love with me at Word!

coverspy:

Do you love reading YA? Oh good! Us too!

Come to wordbookstores in Jersey City on August 13 for YA Show and Tell. Come tell your fellow YA lovers what should be in their to read pile, and make a shelf talker for it, Coverspy style. 

Brush up on your spying skills, and we’ll see you there! 

RSVP is strongly encouraged for this **free** event so the store knows what books to have on hand.

Come share your YA love with me at Word!

carpentrix:

We misbehaved in the usual ways in the summers when we were younger. From middle school through high school, my friend Lindsay every summer came and spent time with me at my grandmother’s house during our annual stint there. We snuck out at night and got unsafe rides with boys we didn’t know, zoomed off to bonfires on beaches with the misguided optimism that we’d be able to catch a lift home at some point. It’s lucky worse things didn’t happen. She arrived one year and when we got up to the attic where we slept, she unzipped her duffel and dug through clothes to reveal three loose cans of Natural Ice, supplied by her older brother. We drank them warm that night as fast as we could. We crept quietly from the attic, down the steep back stairs, and out a side screendoor without letting it slam, and out into the night. We rushed across the grass, climbed into a car and got whisked off to where there was fire on the beach.   Now, I’ve heard, the bonfires don’t happen because they draw the police; the drugs are expensive pills not older-brother-beers. And Lindsay is married and owns a house in the town where we grew up. I am making her a table as a way-belated wedding present from a board from the attic which was, for certain nights in summers half a lifetime ago, our shared room, snuck out of and back into, like youth in certain moments. I’ll round the edges of the table, eliminate sharp corners; her second kid is on the way.
[Backyard photograph by Jonah Fontela.]

carpentrix:

We misbehaved in the usual ways in the summers when we were younger. From middle school through high school, my friend Lindsay every summer came and spent time with me at my grandmother’s house during our annual stint there. We snuck out at night and got unsafe rides with boys we didn’t know, zoomed off to bonfires on beaches with the misguided optimism that we’d be able to catch a lift home at some point. It’s lucky worse things didn’t happen.

She arrived one year and when we got up to the attic where we slept, she unzipped her duffel and dug through clothes to reveal three loose cans of Natural Ice, supplied by her older brother. We drank them warm that night as fast as we could.

We crept quietly from the attic, down the steep back stairs, and out a side screendoor without letting it slam, and out into the night. We rushed across the grass, climbed into a car and got whisked off to where there was fire on the beach.  

Now, I’ve heard, the bonfires don’t happen because they draw the police; the drugs are expensive pills not older-brother-beers. And Lindsay is married and owns a house in the town where we grew up. I am making her a table as a way-belated wedding present from a board from the attic which was, for certain nights in summers half a lifetime ago, our shared room, snuck out of and back into, like youth in certain moments. I’ll round the edges of the table, eliminate sharp corners; her second kid is on the way.

[Backyard photograph by Jonah Fontela.]

The 20 Tweaks I Made in My Twenties

peterwknox:

Today’s my 30th Birthday. For the 20 days leading up to that birthday I’ve been posting a series of things I’ve learned in my Twenties on #20sTweaks, so to recap those posts:

#1 - Double Belt & Boots

#2 - Cold Brew French Press Coffee

#3 - Borrowing (Free) eBooks is Easy

#4 - Never Say ‘I’m Sorry’ Again

#5 - Take Yourself to the Movies

#6 - Brew Yourself

#7 - Plan for Productive Time

#8 - Drink Clever Coffee

#9 - Wait One Year

#10 - Plan in Pen (or So I Thought About the Army)

#11 - Make Coffee at Work in 3 Minutes

#12 - See It Live

#13 - Find Two Uses (for Your Coffee stuff at least)

#14 - Be a Regular

#15 - Bury into the Backlist; Dig Deeper

#16 - How to Propose to Your Partner

#17 - 20+ Hacks for Living in NYC in Your 20s

#18 - Support What You Love

#19 - How to Plan For Your Wedding

#20 - Roast Your Own Coffee Beans

Through the magic of the literary internet (mainly me seeing italicsmine blogging Peter’s post about going to her McNally Jackson event last week, and me being a creep, I started following Peter last week on tumblr only to find out that we have friends in common and that the world is crazy small.

Regardless of world smallness, he’s been writing up hacks for your 20s, and they’re all really good. 

Don’t think that if we’re all good girls, if we’re properly meek, if we don’t provoke our men, we’ll be safe. Good girls get hurt all the time.

We are not the problem.

I refuse to quietly accept that there is one set of rules for how men live and another set of rules for how women live. And still, at night in a dark parking lot, I will walk to my car with my keys splayed between my fingers like blades. Ain’t that some shit?

Roxane Gay is Spelled With One “N”: A Way Back From That Hurt  (via rachelfershleiser)

(via rachelfershleiser)

Curiosities of a reader, feminist, lady of publishing, coverspy agent, writer and editor for Publishing Trendsetter, and lover of the Midwest.

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