*Image above of the one and only Christy Turlington. I’ll have what she’s having.
I learned a new word the other day: eunoia. Eunoia is Greek for — well, there is no precise translation in English, but it refers to the sense of friendship and goodwill between a speaker and an audience. The claim of this new word shuttled me into a couple of different orbits of thought. First, I mused: eunoia: a word for the aspiration that underpins the writing of this blog. I tapped over to a mission statement I’ve been editing for going on a decade now and added it to the mix. Y’all have goodwill in spades, and I am determined to return the favor. Second, I thought: I’d like to adapt this concept to the realm of literary criticism. There are books that feel gracious to their readers and books that feel downright cruel to them, whether stemming from mechanical decisions (i.e., abrupt and confusing shifts in narration) or subject matter (I am still not over the emotional melee that this unbearably difficult book elicited). Of course, sad, hard, truthful stories need to be told. But sometimes, we move from “sad and hard” to grief-peddling and emotionally exploitative. And sometimes we are forced into nonlinear narratives for no ostensible reason save for ornamentation. At any rate, the degree to which eunoia is established between a book and its audience will remain in my mind as a useful barometer for measuring the pleasantness of reading a given work. Patchett’s novels, I think, rank highly on the eunoia spectrum. Patchett is good to me, her writing balm and breeze. Is it melodramatic to say that I have needed her voice this past year? Have in fact leaned on the grace and sprawl of her prose? There is something about reading her books that feels similar to watching ants thread through a patch of soil by my bare feet, or rain drip from the shocking green of a post-rain tree: a quiet, connected-to-the-world kind of release. It is no understatement to say that reading The Dutch House was a high point of 2020.
Finally, as I was searching for approximate translations of the word in English, I came across this happy little site dedicated to “words that don’t translate.” Oo, what a treasure for us word-hoarders. A few favorites I had to jot down from this site and a few similar ones I came across:
Abditory: A place into which you can disappear; a hiding place
Sturmfrei: Having the house or flat to oneself
Yuputka: A word made for walking in the woods at night, it’s the phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin
Taraadin: A happy solution for everyone
Sobremesa: The moment after eating a meal when the food is gone but the conversation is still flowing at the table
However, this word can go ahead and stay in untranslated German forever: Rabenmutter: A bad mom. (!) I mean, really!
+Guys. I had been eyeing this pretty Sir dress and then I found this incredibly similar style for $20 and jumped on it. It’s on its way to me now! What is going on with H&M right now?! SUCH GOOD FINDS.
+I had to order this smocked dinosaur backpack for micro. Meep. He won’t be starting his twos program until January, but I had to jump on it.
+Oo! This navy eyelet reminds me of SEA!
+PSA: super cute and reasonably-priced swimwear from Charlie Holiday.
+Men’s swim trunks in great colors at a reasonable price. Like the shorter length.
+Minnow’s latest swimwear pattern is SO cute!
+OK, this fitness skirt is amazing.
+A fantastic headband for a bride to be to wear to a wedding-related event.
+More of my favorite headbands here.
+This is just the best cocktail ever — probably best-suited for warm weather, but we have been drinking them all pandemic long.
+If you’re new here, come introduce yourself!
+Take your loved ones out for a picnic on one of these gorgeous quilts!