Letter 1

November 21, 2018

We are Summer and Jillian, two friends living on opposite sides of the country who like to send emails to each other. And now we’re going to send emails to you! Every pair of writerly friends hopes to one day have their correspondence immortalized; we’re just speeding up that process. ☺️

In this newsletter, you will find:

These letters will be coming at you every other Wednesday, so don’t forget to comment, like, and subscribe, fam.

We recommend…

📺 Helen Rosner’s XOXO talk

One of the best decisions I made this year was going to XOXO, a Portland conference for indie artists. The best way I can describe XOXO is that it’s like if you and and your best internet friends (and all of their best internet friends) got in a room together to play board games and swap zines and do karaoke.

Every speaker at XOXO was amazing, but Helen Rosner blew me away with her talk about online identity and what happens when you go viral. Watch it, and then repeat after me: “I am really smart, I am really good at what I do, and you should fucking listen to me.”


📖 Where the Streets Had a Name by Randa Al-Fattah

This middle grade novel is an adventure story: Hayaat (which means life in Arabic) and Samy are on a quest to retrieve soil from Hayaat’s grandmother’s native home of Jerusalem before she passes away. Living in Bethlehem, distance is not really the problem—their Palestinian, West Bank ID cards, however, definitely are. I cried on every page. This was the most brilliant execution of the mobility struggles Palestinians face under occupation I have ever read and I need everyone to read it. Understand where our hearts lie and see how painful it is when we cannot return to them.


🧠 Going to therapy

A cool thing I started doing recently is going to therapy! Cool! I’ve wanted to start seeing a therapist for a while, but something about it was really…scary. Turns out it’s kind of hard to sit down on a stranger’s couch and tell them about your feelings, especially if you aren’t used to talking about those feelings out loud.

I cried through all 45 minutes of my first session, and it was so cathartic I decided I have to go back every week. If you can, start going to therapy immediately. I’m not joking. If you’re not sure where to start, my personal hero Crissy Milazzo put together a spreadsheet to help people find affordable therapy in any state at youfindtherapy.com.


📺 Kim’s Convenience

Coming to us from Canada, Kim’s Convenience is my favorite type of sitcom: family-focused, features a central location where characters always return to, and has a healthy amount of characters of color…in fact, they are the focus! This kid of immigrants is always craving stories about immigrant families and first-gen youth. What I find particularly refreshing is the development and growth of the parent characters; they are not relegated to hard-ass Asian parents who do not let their photography student daughter never have fun, relenting only for the episode’s resolution. Their continued adjustment to the Western landscape while maintaining a healthy relationship to their culture is aspirational—there is no Korean-ness verses Canadian-ness at the moments of conflict resolution. Instead, it is an understanding between parent and child. A true reciprocal relationship—a sitcom in which the problem is not no one is talking to each other, rather, there is a lack of listening—until there isn’t. Find it on Netflix!