1) One thing my friends know about me is that I’m a stickler for language. In particular: for clear language. Fuzzy language leads to fuzzy thinking (she said authoritatively), which is at best an obstacle to effective action – and at worst, downright dangerous. I put down some of my thoughts about this in my blog post this month. Warning*Warning*Warning: Contains politics.
2) Speaking of language: if you love words and you love beautiful illustrations, you will adore Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World, by writer/illustrator Ella Frances Sanders. It’s a thoroughly delightful compendium of words in different languages that express concepts we simply don’t have a word for in English. But as soon as you see them in this book, you will wonder why we don’t, and wish we did. Just gorgeous.
3) I’ve been a big fan of David Byrne since his days as frontman for the Talking Heads. He’s a wonderful singer and musician, of course – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. From what I can tell, he’s someone who thinks about and tries his hand at everything – from music to theatre to neuroscience to architecture to the environment to … well, everything. The breadth of his interests is mind-boggling, as you can see from his website. I particularly recommend his online magazine, Reasons To Be Cheerful, which focuses on “smart, proven, replicable solutions to the world’s most pressing problems” (sorry, no cute kitties) and reminds us that there is reason to hope after all.
4) Have you noticed that there is a lot of talk recently about increasing productivity by asking people to work less? As in: fewer days per week with no increase in hours per day and no decrease in pay? As someone who is a big fan of working less (I mean it, people: we have a serious workaholism problem in North America), I was delighted to read that a 6-month trial run by this company reported greater well-being among its employees, improved staff retention, and an actual rise in company revenue! And other companies have reported similar results. Time to make this a global movement, methinks…
5) I generally have a love/hate relationship with technology, finding most to be a mixed bag of convenience and frustration. But this spring I discovered one that I flat-out love: the AirTag! My AirTag now lives permanently in my suitcase, and it is such a relief to check it on arrival and see that my bags have arrived with me, even before they show up on the carousel. And if they haven’t arrived, it will tell me where they are! Of course, then you have to actually get the airline to follow up, which can be … interesting (looking at you, Air Canada). But that’s another, less delightful, story. The downside: AirTags are only compatible with Apple devices. But surely Android has an equivalent…?
6) Baraye is not a song that sparks delight – on the contrary, it’s heartbreaking – but it is riveting, beautiful, and tragically necessary. Our choir, Rhythm ‘N’ Roots, will be singing this song in our season-end concert as a tribute to the Iranian people in their heroic quest for freedom. Listen, and dream with me of a day when songs like this will not be needed anymore.
7) Quote of the month: “Keep the company of those who seek the truth – run from those who have found it.” – Vaclav Havel
8) It’s spring! At least here in the northern hemisphere. Here is a playlist to celebrate my favourite season.
9) And finally, this month’s photo, also celebrating spring:
so much fun to read
very special song for the courageous women of Iran,
Thank you so much, Mary! I’m so glad you’re enjoying my newsletter. And yes, that is a very special and beautiful song. I hope we do it justice when we sing it at our choir concert next week.