Wyatt Mason/Tom Waits (2017)“We also touched upon Leonard Cohen, who once said, ‘If I knew where the good songs came from I’d go there more often.’ (‘For the rest of us,' Waits said, ‘it appears, not only did he go there often, he got a room in the tower, and he paid in advance for a whole month.')”

Richard Brody on the vocational awakening found in a children’s book:

”I learned, through Anatole’s cheese reviews, that, by expressing one’s pleasures and displeasures, one could make a positive contribution to the world, and that the expression of one’s very personal sense of taste, if done the right way, could itself be a creative act.”

Olivia Reingold on the surprising power of the cold contact:

“These days, everyone says networking is the route to success. But I’ve always been a strong believer that any door can open if you score the right invitation. My advice? Don’t ever ask to “pick” someone’s brain. The trick is to get inside their brain. Start by googling them, or rereading or relistening to their work. Why do you like it? Tell them that. Make them know they matter. A good cold email is not unlike a good love letter. It should make you feel vulnerable. Cathartic.”

Periodic Re-Read: The marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake 📚

🎵 If you are a pop music fan who might describe their relationship to the most important songs in their life as “spiritual”, I have a newsletter for you.

Arthur C. Brooks in The Atlantic:

“A good deal of social and political activism is zero-sum, and admits only two possible outcomes: winning or losing. When these causes become an uphill battle, as commonly happens, losing is likely. Then the disappointment can be crushing.

None of this is to say that activism is a mistake; that is for each person to decide. But much of the data present a challenge for people who want to stay engaged without sacrificing their mental health—as well as for people in positions of political leadership and in academia, who often encourage young people to be involved in important causes.

A compromise might be available through minimizing activism’s most psychologically harmful elements: hatred and defeat. A shift in perspective—from winning to helping—can address both problems. This could mean a switch from protesting homelessness to providing services for people experiencing homelessness—for instance, by volunteering at a shelter or soup kitchen—or from marching against the president to giving people a ride to the polling station. Focus on what you can do to ameliorate a situation rather than simply demonstrating your opposition to it.”

Brooks here taps into various wisdom traditions to make an important point:

When faced with enormous and seemingly intractable problems, the best and most sustainable approach to activism is to “do small things with great love.”

I would wear the hell out of this boygenius t-shirt.

🎵Now Listening — Memento Mori by Depeche Mode on Apple Music 

This is, without doubt, the most exciting music they’ve released since Ultra. Excellent album.

Just your semi-periodic reminder that this oft-slept-upon gem is one of the best records of the 90’s… and of U2’s career.

The heavens meet the earth at East Sands.