Sunday Sessions




It’s Saturday night and the sidewalks are crowded with people milling between shops—going to a late dinner, joining friends at a bar, rushing the kids home for bedtime. SHE and HE inspect the neon lights of every storefront and restaurant, gauging whether their popularity is a indicator of quality or just availability. With their desire to take in every sight, they could be tourists, but they are indeed locals. They balance cold ice cream cones in one hand. They clasp hands with the other.

Why do you build me up (build me up) buttercup, baby
Just to let me down (let me down) and mess me around?
And then worst of all (worst of all) you never call, baby
When you say you will (say you will)
But I love you still.
I need you!
I need you!
More than anyone, darlin’
You know that I have from the start
So build me up (build me up) buttercup, don’t break my heart!


To Read

“Technology, in fact, has made us less than oppositional: where beauty is concerned, we have deployed technology not only to meet the demands of the system but to actually expand these demands. The realm of what is possible for women has been exponentially expanding in all beauty-related capacities – think of the extended Kardashian experiments in body modification, or the young models whose plastic surgeons have given them entirely new faces – and remained stagnant in many other ways. We have not “optimized” our wages, our childcare system, our political representation; we still hardly even think of parity as realistic in those arenas, let alone anything approaching perfection. We have maximized our capacity as market assets. That’s all.”

Athleisure, barre and kale: the tyranny of the ideal woman

The Inman 300: They tout it as the world’s first urban thru-hiking trail, linking more than 340 public staircases over some 220 miles in Los Angeles. They found that hiking in the city had many of the same appeals as trekking the backcountry, including physical exertion and elevation gain, wildlife sightings, navigational challenges, even solitude.

Why You Should Thru-Hike Your City

To Watch

Every few months I go down The Nerdwriter rabbit hole on YouTube. I’ve seen all of the Harry Potter movies dozens of times—I often put it on in the background while I’m working—and for reasons I’m not sure I’ve understood myself, I also agree that Prisoner of Azkaban in the best of all the films.

Queer Eye is somewhere up there with the Great British Bake-off in its ability to make you feel good about humans. Looking forward to checking out this Ursula K. Le Guin series on PBS. If you need something totally mindless, Derry Girls (on Netflix) is cute.

To Eat

I thought I’d make French macarons for a co-worker’s birthday. A friend had declared them “so easy.” Rest assured: they were not. I threw away nearly a dozen eggs before realizing I would be buying macarons for my co-worker. In the end, I did finish one complete batch—but not enough to celebrate a birthday properly.

In between waits for my eggs to reach room temperature, I made this classic plum tort again. Delightful with coffee. Delightful as dessert.

Not every one is a hit, but I like seeing what’s happening in Eric Kim’s Table for One series.

A Poem

On a Saturday

When you write something
you want it to live—
you have that obligation, to give it
a start in life.
Virginia Woolf, pockets full of stones,
sinks into the sad river
that surrounds us daily. Everything
about London amazed her, the shapes
and sight, the conversations on a bus.
At the end of her life, she said
London is my patriotism.
I feel that about New York.
Would Frank O’Hara say Virginia Woolf,
get up? No, but images from her novels
stay in my head—the old poet
(Swinburne, I suppose) sits on the lawn
of the country house, mumbling
into the sun. Pleased with the images,
I won’t let the chaos of my life
overwhelm me. There is the City,
and the sun blazes on Central Park
in September. These people on a Sunday
are beautiful, various. And the poor
among them make me think
the experience I knew will be relived again,
so that my sentences will keep hold
of reality, for a while at least.

Harvey Shapiro