Glimmers of Light and Joy

So U.S. President Donald Trump just tested positive for the coronavirus, are we about to get into the season finale of 2020? That’s the question that’s all over my socials, but let’s leave that for a moment – and see if bleach and UV light will do the trick. What’s on my mind at the beginning of this new month is that we are now into the fourth quarter of 2020. It’s been an incredibly difficult year for us all, and the very fact that we’ve made it this far is something worth celebrating. Despite all the personal and universal losses we’ve had to face this year, you are here!

We’ve been busy at Baraza, having hosted a webinar last week, a special guest recording YouTube content on location, and a podcast giveaway. What gives me life in this moment is that people are still creating, still dreaming, still taking risks. The demand for great content will never go away – humans are a storytelling species, after all – and even more so during these socially-distanced times.  To paraphrase David Oyuke, we must never lose sight of our humanity, even when our technology seems to be setting the pace – or even exceeding – whatever it means to be human in the 21st century.

So in my attempt to grasp at whatever glimmers of light and joy that this moment has to offer us, I’m ending this section with a new section of three bullet points: What We’re Reading, What We’re Watching and What We’re Listening To. Send your recommendations my way on Twitter (you’ll find me @chris_mungai) and I can include them here in future newsletters. 

  • What We’re ReadingHow America Taught The World To Write Small: an intriguing (maybe even provocative) longread that examines the legacy of the hugely influential writing program at the University of Iowa, which exported a literature of individualism and domesticity, not one of solidarity and big ideas. Perhaps this is why American (and American-taught) writers “still render the bedroom or kitchen more deftly than the zeitgeist or the world situation.”
  • What We’re WatchingThe Story of ‘It Wasn’t Me’ by Shaggy, a very delightful documentary by Vice on that hit song that you think you know so well. The song was initially dropped by Shaggy’s record label, “..but a series of happy accidents, some illegal downloading, and sheer determination, propelled ‘It Wasn’t Me’ to become one of the first viral  crossover hits.” I love a good explainer.
  • What We’re Listening ToInto the Zone podcast by Pushkin Industries, hosted by fiction novelist Hari Kunzru. It’s the best kind of narrative podcast that uncovers unlikely connections, and the pilot episode explores the connection Indian Independence movement and what we have come to know as New Age spirituality, through the story of Hari’s own family in India.

Yours in solidarity,

Christine Mungai

Curator | Baraza Media Lab


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