Your Weekly Dose of EEE #11: What’s Your Beef?
Also, join me tomorrow for Independent Bookstore Day
So great to see you here. In case you missed it, I wrote about the meaning of life on Wednesday. OK, not quite, but people seemed to enjoy it and I voiced it over and didn’t stumble too much. Definitely check it out if you haven’t yet!
There are a billion and one things going on right now, but most of them are boring behind-the-scenes things. I have been taking lots of photos, because spring is the best for photos, but otherwise I’ve mostly been head down and working on one thing or another.
What’s Exciting Me?
Two exciting opportunities have come my way:
Independent Bookstore Day is tomorrow, and I’ll be hanging at All She Wrote Books in Somerville, MA, to meet some readers, sell/sign copies of my book, When We Were Mothers, and have a grand ol’ time. You knew about this one already, but I thought I’d repeat it because (a) it’s super exciting and (b) if you’re local, YOU SHOULD COME! If you’re not local, set aside some time to visit and support your local independent book shop!
I have the opportunity to enter into the Online Journalism Awards for my news publication, and I’m gonna do it! I’m really proud of what I’ve done with this publication in the last year, and this is exciting!
What’s Entertaining Me?
📺 Have you seen Beef yet? If not, just stop what you’re doing and watch it. I’m serious. Right now. It’s only about 5 1/2 hours, and I’ll be here when you get back.
*Goes down rabbit hole of boring, behind-the-scene things*
HOLY SHIT WASN’T THAT WILD?!
Beef is a Netflix series about two people who escalate a simple careless act—someone backing out of a parking spot without looking—into something far bigger, intertwining their lives in the process. The two leads, Amy and Danny, are played by Ali Wong and Steven Yeun (I will never forgive The Walking Dead for what they did to his character, Glenn), but they are far from the only talented cast members. The acting in this show was incredible.
Here are the great things about Beef:
It demonstrates the ripple effect our actions have in our own lives and those of others.
It takes a look at the lives and experience of people and families from various different Asian cultures and backgrounds without being stereotypey.
In fact, just about every single cast member is Asian. But the show is not about being Asian or its consequences. It is a human story given more depth because of the experiences of its Asian characters.
The only thing I’m mad about is that, like Succession and White Lotus, this is yet another show whose characters are more or less unsympathetic assholes with very few redeemable qualities. And, while it seems like they tried to make the characters more three-dimensional, Amy’s backstory seemed to come too late—and it got a little weird.
Favorite character: Paul
Least favorite character (this took some thought, because it was like a 5-way tie): Jordan
🎶 Something happened with my car and my list of “favorite” radio stations got erased. I don’t really care, because I rarely listen to the radio and when I do it’s to 3 adjacent stations, but I decided to do some flipping this week and found a college station that was playing a song by The Revivalists. That song made me think of another of theirs, “Wish I Knew You”, which is a whole mood and time period in my life—right when I started writing, back in 2018, when I would tap away at my phone on the train during my 1.5h (each way) commute to work.
Plug in your earbuds, start a station on your favorite music app based on “Wish I Knew You,” and see what comes up.
📖 I’m still working through City of Day by October Santerelli, which sounds much more laborious than it is. It’s a good book! I just fall asleep reading every night I’m going to start having Siri read it to me so I can stay in the story, then when I’m finished with it I’m going to move to Brave New World—a book I should have read already given the genre in which I write, but which, embarrassingly, I haven’t yet. Will remedy shortly and let you know how it goes.
What’s Enlightening Me?
Happiness is a choice. It’s not a permanent state, and it’s not mutually exclusive with all the other things we’re feeling in a given moment. I think it’s this way with a lot of things: We see one drop of bad as a cancellation of all the good. But what if we let them coexist? I’m anxious and dissatisfied a lot of the time. But I can hold happiness with those feelings. And I need to recognize that more, even when my baby stops reminding me.
Speaking of letting a drop of negative cancel out the positive, and tying the whole thing back to my ruminations from last week, I think this happens a lot with political or social ideology, too. We’re so bought into the idea of polarization that we assume one area of disagreement signals complete incompatibility. We see two separate circles instead of what is likely a large area of intersection on the Venn diagram of beliefs and values. That’s not to say we need to befriend true extremists. Those people are dangerous, and talking to them (which inevitably turns into arguing with them) never turns out well. But the thing is—not everyone is an extremist. And dismissing someone as one based on a single piece of information is so harmful to productive discourse in our world.
So. In summary. Allow yourself to be happy and talk to people. Maybe one will lead to the other and you’ll get caught up in a virtuous circle that improves things—not only for you, but for everyone around you.
See you next week, friends.
I haven't watched Beef yet, but it makes me think of how the characters are depicted in Yellowstone. They're three-dimensional, but a lot of them are unlikeable, so it's hard to watch it for too long, as I would prefer to relate to someone. Maybe the point is for us to reflect on our fallacies or to inspire us to not do what these characters do. Excellent post!