Let’s get the serious stuff out of the way first.
One night in early May I was driving home from work, listening to Fresh Air – a show I enjoy greatly but rarely get to hear because it airs locally at 7 p.m., and we’re usually at dinner (no phones, no TV, no talk radio during dinner). This particular night, though, I happened to be in the car at the right time, and Terry Gross was talking to Suzanne Dubus, who runs a domestic violence crisis center, and Rachel Louise Snyder about Snyder’s new (then) book, No Visible Bruises.
When I got home, I downloaded the book (something I do only when impatience gets the best of me, because I prefer real, actual, paper books), and started reading. The book moves quickly, the writing style easy and accessible, so I was half-way through it by the time I went to bed. What I didn’t know (couldn’t have known) was that our clinical director was listening to the same show while she was driving home. She, too, downloaded the book right away and started reading. She’s a faster reader than I, so she finished it in one night.
The next morning Catherine (clinical director) and I met in the hallway as she was coming to my office and I was heading to her office, each to tell the other about this new book. We ordered copies for our entire clinical team and board of directors – a luxury purchase for a small nonprofit, but one we decided was worth the price.
Here’s the thing for you to know: if you are at all interested in understanding domestic violence – why women don’t “just leave,” for example – then this is the book to read. (And if you just want to read a couple of book reviews, check here: this one in the NYT and this one in The Atlantic.
If you do read the book, which I hope you will, then you will begin to understand the work-work that I do, that we do, at Kindred Place, where our clinical programs help victims of abuse, perpetrators of abuse, and children who witness abuse in their homes – all with the singular goal of ending the cycle of family violence.
Why write this now, at the end of July? Well, yesterday I received an email from a colleague recommending this great new book she discovered (yes, the same book). And I was thinking that for a book like this one – a nonfiction book about a tough subject – to be still making the rounds, three months after its initial launch and publicity, is a sign worth noting. Because parallel to this book’s expanding group of readers is an expanding audience for Big Little Lies. And if you think that’s just a made up story, not based on any reality, you are wrong. (Side note: the therapists I work with say the portrayal of those counseling sessions are the most realistic ones they’ve ever seen on TV or in the movies.)
So, in summary: Read the book, No Visible Bruises. Watch the show, Big Little Lies. And consider that maybe this is an issue worth caring about and trying to help solve. (Because, Courtney Irby. And also: the guns; the fucking guns.)
Now on to other, more cheerful things….
How do I know? Well, I saw them on an Instagram ad and almost – ALMOST – bought some. But I’m skeptical, so I changed my mind. And then I was at The Art of Simple, the delightful apothecary in the Seaside town square, and there were all the things: Swedish dishcloths that I could touch and ask about and add to my cart, in real life. So I bought some.
And I love them.
They more than live up to the hype. They DO NOT SMELL. And unlike the ScrubDaddy, which was ruined (RUINED, I say) by its Shark Tank investor, these cloths are not the sole product of only one manufacturer. There are many makers, many designs, all the same basic idea. You’ll love them. And they help the planet, where we live, where resources are running thin, and there is a frightening trend toward ignoring climate science….
I haven’t done much recently, have you? Let’s try and do better. Both of us. Next month.
I haven’t cooked much because, as I mentioned, my children were away for the entire month of July. But I have been reading.
Good summer books:
The work-work book I loved: Dare to Lead (I think I’m going to do the training. I love that Brené Brown.)
Beth Ann Fennelly on the beauty of a front porch (no, you don’t have to be a Southerner to get this)
CJ Hauser’s The Crane Wife (just read it; it’s beautiful)
Ode to the Cookout Watermelon Milkshake (my son is astounded I am endorsing Cookout…)
Where are all the Bob Ross paintings? (You know you want to know. You do.)
How to build a Restoration Hardware sectional for your back yard. (You know you want to. You do.)
And last, because you really need it (and really, you do): the Dutch art of Niksen (doing nothing).
P.S. Knee is better; not having surgery.
P.P.S. Water therapy (physical therapy in the water) is awesome.