January 24, 2024 - Something that grabs you hard by the chest


It’s evening; it’s been a combination of busy and relaxed today. Leila hung out with a friend and went to a beginner’s badminton class, but I got a call to pick her up when things went pear-shaped with said friend. Work was non-existent, but I was busy working on my submission for NYC Midnight. Dinner was easy (pizza), and we watched a few episodes of Alchemy of Souls, which is just as good the second time around.

Also — Dan Wang’s 2023 letter came out. I started reading them only last year, when he talked a great deal about Yunnan, which I found really interesting. I liked what he had to say about how he composes his letters:

Every year, a few weeks after I’ve published a letter, I would open up a new notepad for the following year’s. That’s where I put in data, observations, and book recommendations that should go into the next year’s letter. These notes are not organized. In the last two weeks of the year, I sort through everything, try to coax out a structure, and then write the damn thing. I’ve complained about how much work it demands, but I also want to say that it has been great fun. I don’t understand why more people aren’t writing them. It’s not just about sharing your thoughts and recommendations with the rest of the world. Having this vessel that you’re motivated to fill encourages being more observant and analytical in daily life too.

I really, really like this. It makes me wonder if I have any more space for doing something like a Dan Wang letter. Of course I’m not a technology researcher (though that sounds interesting) but getting out and talking to people, or just learning about things and writing about them is interesting.

I’ve recently started, and put down again, a few books that I’ve only seen people raving about. I’m just not in the mood for slow starts…maybe my brain is still in summer mode. I just want something that grabs me hard by the chest and doesn’t let go…