Welcome to Crème de la Crème, a title I can never say out loud without laughing. The idea for this newsletter had been floating in the back of mind for years and I finally got serious about it earlier this year but I couldn’t decide on a name. It came to me at the very last minute. It’s a French term and as a native speaker I am deeply amused by the American pronunciation so of course it was the perfect name.
This is an attempt to create a boundary away from social media. It’s barely been a day but wow! What a relief. My crops are watered, my skin is clear, my serotonin is boosted, I am unburdened and unbothered! I am of course kidding and as the kids say, still “going through it” but this feels good.
I am excited for another reason: I have been craving a sense of structure and discipline both for my work and for my creative practice. I am hoping that sitting down every week to write this will help with that. I feel paralyzed by my own inadequacy in a lot of ways. In my work life, this manifests itself as an inability to share anything before I think it’s ready to share. What does “ready to share” look like? I’m glad you asked because I have no idea. My internal barometer for this is very inconsistent. I am laughing as I write this because the Ghosts of many Writing Projects Past are flashing in front of my very eyes. Writing a book with a very patient and kind co-author helped me understand that “it’s not in good shape yet,” my go-to, standard excuse is not a good excuse and that actually, maybe that is the point of the editing process. I am making peace with the simple truth that “it’s not in good shape yet,” is something I will feel about everything I ever make and that’s perfectly OK. The work never ends.
I’m Thinking about
Back in June, the NYT reported that Barack Obama was feeling a little competitive about the success of Michelle’s book and a wee bit touchy about being constantly asked the question every author hates, “when is the book coming out?” He was quoted as shadily telling a friend “She had a ghostwriter. I am writing every word myself, and that’s why it’s taking longer.” THE AUDACITY OF THIS HUSBAND! Well the book is finally out. It’s 700 pages, has list price of $45 before tax and weighs the same as a small European car. It has amused me to no end that even a former President has to go on book tour to sell his book. He’s saying a lot of juicy things on the interview circuit. For reasons I articulated earlier, I gasped when I read this revelation
I do not have time to do this. I feel you Mr. Obama. Side note: he is Mr. Obama but she is Michelle to me.
Another revelation but this time from the book itself
Tag yourself! I am the smooth-skinned sociology major who won't give men a second look. So many things to unpack here but the gist is that the first Black President of These United States of America just told the whole world he’s a simp who read Foucault and Fanon to impress women in college. You’re telling me that we got obamacare instead of medicare for all because a beautiful bisexual marxist friendzoned a pretend socialist boy in college? I cannot handle this.
I am slowly making my way through the book and I am sure I will have more to say in a few weeks.
The most delicious thing in my life right now is Zuzu, a sparkling cocktail made with fizzy water, agave spirit and fresh citrus juice. It’s low-ABV so ZERO HANGOVER. It’s basically white claw for people who respect themselves and made by two rad women. It’s unfortunately only available in NY right now but coming to more markets soon.
I also like this product because it prompted me to look up something I had always been curious about but too lazy to investigate: if tequila is made from agave what exactly is “agave spirit?” Well it turns out there’s nerdy regulatory reason for this. Tequila has a recognized Appellation of Origin (AOC) meaning that in order to call something tequila it has to be made from blue agave in a specific region of Mexico. Also, I found out that there is a Tequila Regulatory Council and I spent way too many hours reading about it. What can I say? I love regulatory shit.
This Steve Monite song transports me back to my childhood living room in Lagos and I can picture my dad bopping along. I am longing to be in West Africa and this is helping a little bit.
Hang in there
Some days the pandemic feels almost fine. For a few hours I just forget it’s happening. Other days and truthfully most days, it’s brutal. The tedium and endlessness of it is really getting to me. At my lowest, I’ve been meditating on this bit of correspondence from June Jordan to Audre Lorde in 1973 and it’s reduced me to tears quite a few times. I hope it speaks to you and gives you the encouragement you need to face the rotten winter ahead.
Keep the poem alive and drop me a note in the comments. I want to hear what you’re looking forward to when the Dolly Parton vaccine is finally available. I am dreaming of getting on a plane to anywhere in Africa or maybe Japan.
See you here again, so soon.