Letters to Summer

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Letter 72

Letters to Summer is a newsletter written by two best friends living on opposite sides of the country. Every other Friday, we share the things we're reading, watching, listening to, and enjoying. We hope you like it.

On painting

I have a hard time doing hobbies just for me, just for fun, without the expectation of improving or showing anyone or doing anything with it. It’s something I’m trying to work on. At the beginning of the year, I decided I wanted to get into watercolor painting—I bought supplies, I was looking for online courses to take and YouTube tutorials to learn from, and I had ambitions to make little paintings I could mail to my friends across the country and hang up in my apartment. I didn’t end up taking any courses, and I have yet to paint anything for a friend, but I do still get out my watercolor set every once in a while and paint something simple, no direction or goals in mind. Sometimes it turns out well and I hang the painting up above my desk. Sometimes I’m less happy with the outcome and I stash it away somewhere and forget about it. Either way, the time I spend painting makes me feel good. Part of me still wants to learn and improve, but part of me is content with being sort of mediocre and enjoying myself anyway. I think—hear me out—it’s good to not always be good at stuff. It’s enough to just do it.


During Pandemic Part I (pre-vaccine era), my friend Ben started posting these really gorgeous watercolors she was making. Like Jill, she was following YouTube tutorials to churn out just, the loveliest paintings I had seen someone who was just painting casually do. I asked her for advice on materials and she sent me a palette and brushes and paper in the mail! I started sitting outside and painting in the sun, encouraging myself to get 40 minutes of Vitamin D a day while doing an activity that didn’t involve screens. I had my DeviantArt phase in middle school and was really into drawing and digital art but never really had the patience to let myself improve; it’s been so nice to just enjoy painting, with no expectation for myself on how it needs to turn out, only showing what I do to my friends. I like to paint Pokemon and food and keep everything in a little box.


We recommend

🎮 Hoa

I’m normally not a fan of platformers since I feel like video games have Advanced Past That (don’t bully me) but when I saw the trailer for this game, I instantly fell in love with the music and character design. I’m not super far through yet, but every time I’ve played I’ve felt sooooo serene. You can buy it on Steam or the Nintendo eShop for Switch.


🎶 star-crossed

I’ve been waiting for Kacey Musgraves’ divorce album to come out for so long and now it’s here and it’s wonderful and I love it. It’s gonna be on repeat for the rest of the year, I can tell. My favorite song is cherry blossom, but there are really no skips for me.



The long-anticipated Lil Nas X album is here and I have listened to it every day, multiple times, since it dropped. It’s truly incredible. The features are so good and it has such a cohesive, narrative feel to it, I love to have fun and cry a little bit too.


📽️ Promare

This movie was recently rereleased in theaters, which means I just watched it three times in one weekend (twice in a theater, and once really tiny on my phone in a tent while camping). I will probably never get tired of watching it—it just gets better and more fun every time. Watch it for: colors! shapes! music! firefighters! himbo energy! and just a generally very good time.