Letter 18

July 18, 2019

Notes from Summer: It’s my second week of work as an editorial assistant! It’s cool! I have a job! I moved into a new apartment! I got a library card! Life is looking up.

Notes from Jillian: Hi, it’s me. Can anyone even hear me under all of the side projects I’m currently drowning in? Nope, I didn’t think so. But actually: things are going well, I’m working on a lot of things, I’m very excited about it.

We recommend…

🔗 Jourdain Searles

Jourdain is my favorite film critic! It’s her birthday this week, so I thought I would make sure you’re all reading her. I first found her work on BitchMedia, specifically a piece on Tessa Thompson’s character in Sorry to Bother You. It was an incredible, insightful criticism of the failure of the film to transform her from symbol to person. What struck me was how kind it was—maybe more than was deserved? She also hosts a podcast with Bronwyn Isaac called Bad Romance, dissecting my favorite genre: shitty romance movies! Jourdan is brilliant and hilarious. Follow her on Twitter to see more of her work!


🎶 Carly Rae Jepsen

I went to a Carly Rae Jepsen show last night and am still trying to find the words to describe how great it was. I’ve loved CRJ’s music since E•MO•TION, and getting the chance to dance and scream and sing along to some of my favorites from that album (+ Side B! + Dedicated, which is equally perfect!) was magical. If you are ever able to see CRJ live, make it happen.


🍽 Reem’s Muhammara Recipe

There is nothing that connects me to my Palestinian identity more than food. I am fluent in Kitchen Arabic, every poem I write has a scene of food being eaten, I am never more righteously angry than when someone calls hummus “Israeli.” In college, I was separated from my main source of that identity: my family, specifically my mom’s cooking. Going to Reem’s, a Palestinian-Syrian restaurant in Oakland, helped make me feel home more than anything else in the bay. Every bite is a poem. If you visit me, I will take you there and pay for our meal, as a good Arab does. One of my favorite things there is the muhammara. It’s not something my mom ever really made since it’s more Syrian, so my devotion is born solely out of that first bite I had at Reem’s; honestly, truly, religious. My mode of prayer is dipping bread into olive oil, hummus, muhammara—anything delicious and like home. Check out the recipe here.


🧠 Bontemps Pu’erh tea

Every morning when I get to work, the first thing I do is heat up some water for tea. The second thing I do is sit down at my desk for 45 minutes and completely forget about the tea. (Who can relate?) My morning beverage of choice for the past few months has been this very delicious Pu’erh tea with oat milk. Some cool things about Bontemps tea: it’s organic, 100% pesticide-free, and the company uses some of the profits to invest in creative women and nonbinary folks. Sounds good to me!