Five things in September

Welcome to October! Ooh spooky, haha. We don’t really do Halloween in New Zealand (although that statement gets a little less true every year!) and October here is the middle of spring – it’s really not dark and spooky at all. Just terrifying in its own way because every year the trip from October to December is like speeding down the side of a very high and intimidating rollercoaster. It goes fast and it leaves me feeling a bit sick and confused, every time.

September had some cool moments and I found many things I loved. Read on for some recommendations and reminders of the good things in life!

1. The wrapped Arc de Triomphe

Christo and Jeanne-Claude
L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, Paris, 1961-2021

Wolfgang Volz
2021 Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation

I loved this. I thought everyone would have to love this – it’s amazing! But the comments on the first article I read about it are really quite something; super-curmudgeonly, in the way that only NY Times commenters can be. I enjoyed both the spectacle of the wrapped Arc de Triomphe and the comments, but if you’re only able to appreciate one, I hope it’s the Arc! I would have absolutely loved to have seen it in person (although I do acknowledge it could well be one of those things, like fireworks, that is not as impressive in person as one was hoping). It was only around for a couple of weeks, so I was never going to make it, but I’m very glad it happened.

2. Under the Influence

I totally binged this podcast! It’s mainly about mummy influencers, but it’s also a really interesting look at the influencing industry more generally. I found it fascinating, as someone who follows quite a few bloggers/influencers, is, I would say, definitely rather influenceable, and because I kind of play in that space myself? Question mark because that’s definitely a kind of; I blog, sure, but it’s for me, not money or recognition (thankfully, haha). And I would not call myself an influencer by any measurement. Anyway, the podcast host, Jo Piazza, goes through the same ups, downs and emotions as I think we all do when looking at Instagram influencers and thinking about their work and their effect on us as a society (that sounds like it’ll be kind of blame-y, but it’s not at all, I promise!) It’s a really good listen, and I’m excited that they’re working on Season 2 now!

3. Good Girls

We are working our way through Season 4 of Good Girls currently. I love this show, and I swear it goes from strength to strength (although apparently this is the final season!). Even though the behaviour of the protagonists seems absolutely, well, out of control and difficult to contend with, the characters are so well developed and the plot unfolds so seamlessly that their motivations seem completely reasonable – and I guess that’s the point, that in highly capitalist societies like America that have little to no safety net, it’s so easy to slide from one side of the law to the other, and far too much is put on the individual (especially the mothers). It has a serious through line but it’s also extraordinarily funny. Which I love – after all, life is never all one or the other.

4. Meg Mason

Upon Cup of Jo’s recommendation I devoured Sorrow and Bliss, by Meg Mason, earlier this year, and I just went back and finished her first novel, You Be Mother, which I loved just as much. Meg Mason is an amazing writer – her stories seem to hang in the air even after they’re finished, and they’re crafted so sparingly but are so incredibly full at the same time. Somehow, she takes people and situations that are, from all outside perspectives, so completely hopeless, and crafts a story around them that gives the reader the most deliciously suspenseful sense of hope on every page, against all the odds and without ever being unrealistic or stepping into the type of wish-fulfilment fantasy that would be so easy. Meg Mason’s novels are beautiful and dark and funny and I love them.

5. Special spring moments

Like many people we are laying fairly low at the moment, playing it safe and enjoying the little things. For me, the markers of spring that lie in small-scale events like the first fish and chips of the season at the beach may be small but they’re 100% worth celebrating! We’ve also been loving our time spending evenings outside as the days get longer and the weather warms up, spontaneously heading to the beach as a family, and I’ve definitely cut out of work and taken Amelie out of preschool early to go get ice-cream at least once. 😉

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