I’ve been on vacation the past few weeks, playing under the sun on the beaches of Hawaii. But that didn’t stop me from keeping up with the latest posts in the Reader. (Yes, I was the gal lying on the sand, absorbed in a good read on her iPad, in between snorkeling dips in the sea.) I enjoyed sifting through Freshly Pressed as a leisurely reader for a change, and from this perspective it’s clear — WordPressers publish great content.
This week’s standouts are examples of solid writing, but we also noticed each post below comments on larger, relevant discussions on life in our digital age: how we navigate and interact in today’s world, and how we’re changing. The editors here at WordPress.com are continually intrigued and inspired by your ideas, and are proud to share these pieces with the rest of the community.
Love is love, but it’s not about love. It is about so much more than love. It’s about humanity. I don’t need to know anything about you–least of all the gender of the person you’ve decided to spend your life with–in order to know that I have respect for the divinely human spirit that dwells within you.
We were touched by Ashley’s timely, heartfelt post on marriage equality at Zebra Garden. The issue is about love, yes — but it’s about more than that: “it’s about our willingness,” Ashley writes, “to deny a sense of humanity to anyone we perceive as different, other.”
Ashley encourages others to change their Facebook default photos to the symbol on the left to show their support, even though she admits she has her doubts about this kind of digital activism for “things for which a Facebook photo cannot make one damn bit of difference.” Still, she urges us to participate in this way. “Because that’s all it is” — an uncomplicated gesture to stand up for people.
I am in love with the idea of eschewing purpose, first in any location, as it matters not where you look but how, but with even more gusto in some place new and fantastic. Not that I have any problem with having guiding purpose in your day or life, as you would be idle to be without it. But so often, our purpose lends us spectacular clarity upon our destination and utter blindness to anything that might be even a degree off-course.
Alex at mantisandme muses on the art of flânerie — the act of strolling and doing nothing, of having no objective or destination — and the life, then, of a flâneur: a literary type from 19th-century France, one who strolled the streets in search of the quintessential urban, cultural experience.
Alex, who has begun a semester studying abroad, writes about the importance of doing nothing — to just be — and goes further to mention the cyberflâneur, a term Evgeny Morozov wrote about in the New York Times last year. Alex wonders: do social media and the available apps out there hurt our discovery of interesting things — and prevent moments of serendipity?
But maybe the saving grace of the whole situation, and the reason it damages him so, is that Nasreen offered him a convoluted way of suffering for art. This is an extraordinary book, but one that came at a very high price.
We appreciate the different ways writers approach reviews and critiques of books they’ve read, and we were drawn to the intelligent, eloquent discussion of James Lasdun’s Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked by Victoria at Tales From the Reading Room. The piece itself is a great example of storytelling, building up the plot of Lasdun’s book while weaving her own commentary.
We especially like her insights on how Lasdun digs deeper to understand the nature of his troubled relationship with a student, whom he calls “Nasreen”: “Some of these long digressions offer incredibly potent glimpses into the sorts of darkness and pain we are manufacturing in our modern technological age, due in part to our mindless reliance on the internet.” In short, we love how her dissection of the book leaves us wanting more — it’s not quite a “book review” but rather a discussion that makes us think about contemporary relationships and communication.
Did you read something in the Reader that you think is Freshly Pressed material? Feel free to leave us a link, or tweet us @freshly_pressed.
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