A ribald obit, quirky art, and an homage to tackiness
Well hello! I’m so glad you’re here. If you’re a new subscriber to It’s Not Just You, welcome to the clan. I’m happy to have you. (More info here.) And welcome back 🧡 to the thousands of kind and brilliant readers who’ve come with me from my old home at TIME magazine where I was a columnist and editor.
This is a round-up of a few delights I stumbled upon this week. Subscribers will also receive the Sunday Essay. And if you love It’s Not Just You, consider supporting it with a paid subscription or just share it with a friend! Yours, Susanna
I came across this digital marketplace where artists, photographers, and graphic designers post their work. (You can buy prints or other incarnations of these pieces.)
A Delightful Obit
In case you haven’t seen this gloriously ribald (and tender) obituary of Renay Mandel Corren, a “plus-sized Jewish lady redneck" from El Paso, here you go. The piece went viral and cable news is already planning to cover her memorial service in a Fayetteville, NC bowling alley this Spring. (Children of mine: I expect no less from you when I go.). Corren'sCorren's son Andy writes:
“Hers was a bawdy, rowdy life lived large, broke and loud. We thought Renay could not be killed. God knows, people tried. A lot. Renay has been toying with death for a decades, but always beating it and running off in her silver Chevy Nova. “
“With a few strokes of charcoal a deer could appear running across a cave wall. It was like a light turning on in the human mind.”
On the Birth of the Art Instinct: John-Paul Stonard finds recurring themes in the first cave drawings in his book: Creation: Art Since the Beginning. Noting that human-made art began to appear on different continents simultaneously, Stonard explores whether this development had a common evolutionary trigger.
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I fell for this collection of funny essays about lowbrow pleasures adored without irony. Rax King pays homage to American shopping mall culture, the musician Meat Loaf, and The Cheesecake Factory of the early 2000s, among other delights. (It seemed like appropriate reading for this season of families and buying stuff.) “Entering a shopping mall was like walking onto the stage of a great opera,” writes King of her adolescent prowlings. “We played out the great love stories of the world in cruel, petty simulacra.”
And a piece about her intense devotion to that tackiest of reality shows, Jersey Shore, ends up a tender essay about her ailing father and fellow trash TV fa:
“He was just some guy. But he had, pound for pound, more intersocial gravitational pull than anybody else I’ve ever known.”
I Can’t Dance! Or Can I? From The Happiness Lab with Yale’s Dr. Laurie Santos: If we decide that we can't get better at things or that our ideas and personality traits are fixed, we hinder our ability to change. But by challenging ourselves to be more hopeful about our prospects for improvement, we can see profound changes. In this episode of her podcast, David Yeager, a psychology professor at UT-Austin, explains how we fall into limiting fixed mindsets and how to change those patterns.
Something to Know
The New York Times asked 1,320 mental health professionals how their patients are coping as we enter the third year of pandemic living. Not surprisingly, more people are desperate for counseling, and waitlists are long. So if you’re struggling with the ongoing uncertainty, it’s not just you.
“I believe I will be helping
people navigate the
effects of the pandemic
for the rest of my career.”
Leah Seeger, marriage and family therapist, Minneapolis
Shared on Instagram by @eleanorfordfood who writes: “The Finns take gingerbread seriously. That's a mini reindeer pelt at the door.”
One More Thing: Thank you! 🧡
Thank you for visiting this page, for reading, for your kind notes and support for this endeavor. Setting out for the newsletter frontier from my perch as a TIME magazine columnist felt like a wildly irresponsible leap. But your words and your subscriptions, whether paid, free, or founding, sure have sustained me and helped me feel at home here. I’m grateful to know you’re all out there.
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It’s Not Just You by Susanna Schrobsdorff is essays, recommendations, advice, weekly delights, and, most importantly, a community of thousands of readers around the globe. And it’s supported by thousands of readers like you.