Every so often (okay, pretty often) my brain is too scattered to produce a unified blog post, but I can still manage to make a list of disunified things I’m thinking about. Here is one such list: Things I Dig Right at This Moment.
- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I showed this to my children’s lit students this morning, and I was reminded once again of how much sense this makes. (Maslow’s basic argument is that the bottom levels of the hierarchy are necessary in order to achieve the higher levels.) It applies to so many situations: the difficulty abused and neglected kids have in school, the poor work output of people who aren’t getting enough sleep, the writer’s block I get when I’m worried about other things (hey, didn’t I just mention that?). It even explains the phenomenon of being hangry. Sure, there are amazing stories about people who aren’t getting their foundational needs fulfilled (such as concentration camp victims) who nevertheless achieve the highest level of the pyramid by creating beautiful works of art or performing heroic acts of self-sacrifice, but what makes those stories so amazing is their rarity. They are the exception that proves the rule.
- The emoji with no mouth. You’ve seen it: It’s a smiley face, minus the smile. And yet it’s so eloquent. I use it to mean “There are no words”–a phrase which, like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, applies to so many situations.
- To Kill a Mockingbird. I finished rereading this classic yesterday, and I was confirmed in my opinion that Scout Finch is one of the greatest narrators, and Atticus one of the greatest dads, of all time. Very few books juxtapose humor and danger (recall that Scout is wearing a ham costume throughout the climactic scene), wisdom and innocence (Atticus’s words interpreted through the child Scout’s limited understanding and recalled from the adult Scout’s perspective) in such an effective way. And the evocative descriptions—the humid warmth of a summer evening, the cracks in a sidewalk that has a tree root pushing through it—take me back to my own childhood, even though mine wasn’t spent in Alabama.
- The Grey Havens. My friend told me about this band Saturday morning, I impulse-bought their album Ghost of a King for $10 on iTunes without sampling it first, and I ended up listening to it over and over while driving that day. Although their style is a little inconsistent (fluctuating from the folksy and dramatic sound of Mumford and Sons to a poppier but still substantial sound that reminds me of Imagine Dragons), I don’t mind that because I like both kinds of music, and their themes are consistent. This is Christian music that doesn’t advertise itself as such. On Ghost of a King, without using the names “God” or “Jesus,” they pretty much outline the whole history of the Bible, hitting the major points of creation, fall, and redemption. My favorite song on that album is “Diamonds and Gold,” definitely on the pop/electronic end and very fun to dance to in the car (and probably out of the car, too).
- using flavored cream cheese as a dip for pretzels. Last night I used the Philadelphia brand roasted vegetable cream cheese as a comparatively “healthy” Super Bowl “dip.” (Oh, my gosh. Philadelphia. I just made the connection. I am the reason they won.) Today, I polished off the rest of a tub of honey pecan cream cheese (also Philadelphia) as a lunch snack at work. Seriously, this is good. You should try it.
What are you digging right now? Let me know in the comments.