Discover more from The Clearing by Katherine May
For your stray attention this weekend…
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I hope you’re having a restful weekend.
Maybe it’s because school is back, but I went down a time-related internet rabbithole this week. It began with Chinese incense clocks, which burned in intricate pathways to mark the hours, sometimes even adding scent markers at particular times. That led me to Linnaeus’s ‘Horologium Florae’, or flower clock, a probably-impossible planting scheme whose flowers would open across the course of the day.
Thanks to a very kind gift subscription, I’ve been happily rootling through the archives of Mike Sowdon’s Everything Is Amazing, a truly excellent newsletter that will appeal to anyone who clicked on the links about unusual clocks. You know who you are. It delves deep into topics that inspire wonder and curiosity - and this season, it’s focusing on colour.
I loved this interview with Lemn Sissay, who grew up in care. ‘Part of the beauty of family is its dysfunction,’ he says. ‘I promise you, when you don’t have a family, you actually crave that dysfunction. I would give away everything I own or have achieved to have had a dysfunctional family who knew me as a child.’ Read more here (paywall with free sign-in option).
This short film about face-blindness hit me hard. I’m not sure my own prosopagnosia is as extensive as Paul’s, but I fully relate to the shame and the workarounds that you develop to tell the difference between seemingly identical people. I was struck most of all by Paul’s profound desire for connection, and the way it transcends simple recognition. Watch here (paywall with free sign-in option).
I’m so glad to see this podcast back after a long break - Diane Laidlaw’s The Black Spectrum features gentle, inquisitive conversations about the experience of neurodivergence, and I find it unusually honest and incredibly listenable. Meanwhile, Lauren Ober is about to launch a major new podcast series about her experiences as a late-diagnosed autistic woman - listen to the trailer of The Loudest Girl in the World. The series launches next week.
I continue to be Enjoying TikTok Despite Myself™, and I was interested to read about the trend for videos of grave cleaning. I’m currently loving @naomi.nambo’s dance moves and @ycsilicone’s videos of silicone going through a roller. It’s as good as it sounds, folks! (I’m posting a few videos here.)
Finally, I’ve been reading lots of gorgeous books, including Jay Griffiths’ Nemesis, My Friend (a wonderfully diversionary, deeply-read meditation on these strange times) and Kit de Waal’s Without Warning and Only Sometimes (a sharp, elegant memoir of growing up poor, Black and Jehovah’s Witness in 1960s Birmingham). I was also lucky to get my hands on a proof of Joe Tracini’s 10 Things I Hate About Me, a funny, brutally honest and massively insightful exploration of his Borderline Personality Disorder, aka Mick. Well worth your time.
Oh, and Bert is really, really into Brooklyn 99 right now, and so my crush on Captain Holt is renewed. Just call me Amy Santiago. I’m off to tidy my stationery drawer.
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