A few days ago, I headed to the Riviera Theater to see Patti Smith play her debut album "Horses" all the way through on her 70th birthday and from the minute she began with her opening song, singing "G-L-O-R-I-A," I knew it would be a poignant end to the year. A fan cried out at one point asking if Patti would be attending the Women's March in Washington D.C. and Patti answered, "It doesn't matter about me. I'm one person. What we need is f****** numbers!" And then she kept on playing on her guitar, the weapon of her generation, and continued to restore all hope lost in 2016.
I'm still reflecting on the past year, hoping to formulate my thoughts on paper soon but in the meantime, I wanted to round up my favorite pieces of writing that I stumbled upon last year. I mentioned some of these before but I think they deserve to be mentioned again. Here's to hoping you find some gems in the mix.
Best of 2016: The difference between teaching in Nepal and South Central L.A. / How to write like a man / The heartbreaking story of Sandra Bland and racism's slow defeat / Oh, the personal essay / Notes on — and against — ambition / The woman you want to be is rich / Sensible advice: here, here and here / "The Perilous Lure of the Underground Railround" and how we are it, if we choose. / Rule #1: Believe the autocrat! / Superpowers we wish we had / "Assault is not an accident." / And lastly, but mostly: Choosing a School for my Daughter in a Segregated City
Not the lightest of topics but important ones, nonetheless. As for favorite books I read this year, I highly recommend Maggie Nelson's "The Argonauts" and Justin Torres' "We the Animals." They are both short and superb.
If nothing else, it was a great year for reading but then again, most years are.
What about you? Any recommendations?