Jeremy O. Harris Is Spending HBO’s Money on Producing Plays and May Be Funding the Revolution by Helen Shaw (from Vulture)

“As part of his HBO deal, Harris has secured a discretionary fund for experimental-theater production, essentially a weird-art slush fund. So he’s now a producer, first donating $80,000 from licensing his own plays toward micro-grants for artists and then throwing a little of HBO’s Peak TV money behind works by his own coterie.”

I’m Thinner. And I’m Not Happier. by Laura Fox (from Medium)

“I hardly go out. I don’t reply to messages from friends. I snap at my husband. I get impatient with my daughter. I’m tired all of the time. I’ve never been this unhappy in my life. Because thinness wasn’t the answer.

There is less of me. Less laughter. Less motivation. Less concentration. Less emotional regulation. Less intimacy. Less enjoyment. Less fulfillment. Less hope. I got what I wanted. But I have suffered great loss in the process.

The answer to my problems does not lie in the abuse of my body. It lies in connection with others. Connection to my support network. But thinness has severed these connections because they were getting in the way of the pursuit of less.”

The Pandemic Is Messing With Your Memories by Robert Roy Britt (from Medium)

“We don’t get any memory 100% right,” says Marianne Reddan, PhD, a researcher in psychology and neuroscience at Stanford University. “That’s actually a feature, not a bug.”

When a memory is recalled, it’s a bit like opening a computer file for editing. While neurons storing a particular memory are firing, the memory can be reinforced and solidified—or reimagined into something that doesn’t reflect reality. “This is a beautiful thing,” Reddan tells Elemental. “If you learned dogs were dangerous because one bit you as a kid, you can, through this process of memory reconsolidation, ‘unlearn’ your fear of dogs and begin to develop happy relationships with adorable pups.”

Memory is not designed to record every detail forever, Reddan says. “Its purpose is to help you predict (and survive) the future.” But memory’s pliability opens it up to a host of potential errors, with consequences ranging from benign to tragic, from innocent lies to dangerously inaccurate beliefs about Covid-19 or other hot-button issues.” (bold mine)

The Nuclear Family Was A Mistake by David Brooks (from The Atlantic)

“If you want to summarize the changes in family structure over the past century, the truest thing to say is this: We’ve made life freer for individuals and more unstable for families. We’ve made life better for adults but worse for children. We’ve moved from big, interconnected, and extended families, which helped protect the most vulnerable people in society from the shocks of life, to smaller, detached nuclear families (a married couple and their children), which give the most privileged people in society room to maximize their talents and expand their options. The shift from bigger and interconnected extended families to smaller and detached nuclear families ultimately led to a familial system that liberates the rich and ravages the working-class and the poor.

This article is about that process, and the devastation it has wrought—and about how Americans are now groping to build new kinds of family and find better ways to live.”

Why So Many Smart People Aren’t Happy: an interview with Raj Raghunathan by Joe Pinsker (from The Atlantic)

I think that as intelligent beings we need to recognize that some of the vestiges of our evolutionary tendencies might be holding us back. If I’m at an advertising agency, for example, or in software design, those are the kinds of fields where it is now being shown in quite a lot of studies that you actually perform better if you don’t put yourself under the scarcity mindset, if you don’t worry about the outcomes and enjoy the process of doing something, rather than the goal. […]

Ultimately, what we need in order to be happy is at some level pretty simple. It requires doing something that you find meaningful, that you can kind of get lost in on a daily basis.”

Making an Almanac by Adam Greenfield (from Playwrights Horizons)

“At some point, roundabout June, it dawned on me: this state, this not-knowing, is the state of making. It’s the space an artist must necessarily enter at some point when making something authentically new. And I opened that old lumpy file, dusted it off (for the imagery), and found this note I had jotted down: “The writer is one who, embarking upon a task, does not know what to do.” (This is Donald Barthelme, thinking beautifully.) “Writing is a process of dealing with not-knowing, a forcing of what and how. We have all heard novelists testify to the fact that, beginning a new book, they are utterly baffled as to how to proceed, what should be written and how it might be written, even though they’ve done a dozen. At best there’s a slender intuition, not much greater than an itch. The anxiety attached to this situation is not inconsiderable.”

Me: “Yes!”

What I had left out of my hyper, frantic thinking that week in Spain is a foundational truth about making theater. It’s what every artist knows: every director, stage manager, designer, teacher, and most especially every playwright. To make honest work, you have to go backwards, again and again, and try to do it for the first time, every time. You have to cultivate the state of not-knowing, make friends with it, and learn how to use it. And while I definitely didn’t need the scale of devastation, outrage and anxiety that this year has brought in order to get me there, I accept its invitation to reconsider all that I thought I knew.”

Photo by Lucas George Wendt on Unsplash