The Arts & Where We Go From Here

An episode on values, identity, social unrest and the new normal

And when it feels as if everything is uncertain, going for a walk with a friend can really help.

Preview: Episode 23 with Sara Abou Rashed

Friends, we are excited about Thursday’s episode—Sara is by far the youngest guest we’ve had to date. She’s a senior at Denison University in Ohio, but she’s been very active as a writer and presenter already. She has a TEDx talk, a one-woman show on identity, immigration and finding home, she’s spoken for many audiences and been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Sara, a Palestinian, was born and raised in Syria and moved to Ohio in 2013. Rosemerry met her in 2015 as part of a poetry program she teaches in Ohio, and she’s been in awe of her ever since. If you wonder who’s coming along to lead our country, you’ll be grateful to hear what Sara has to say: thoughtful, creative, respectful, strong, inspiring. She’ll be sharing poems with us for a bonus episode next week!

What We’re Reading:


· If you have lost someone dear to you recently, or are facing the loss of a loved one, I recommend For the Sake of One We Love and Are Losing by Phyllis Cole-Dai. It honors the terrible aloneness, and at the same time points us toward the gifts of loving and being alive.

·  I have been looking forward to the release of Bluebird by poet James Crews for several months, and I am so glad to report it exceeds my high expectations. These are poems of love (for the world and his husband), openheartedness, kindness, curiosity, and of honoring the beauty in the moment. Oh! It will do your heart a lot of good.

·  I have been wanting to read and share poems by Black poets, and I am grateful for this page hosted by the American Academy of Poets—a collection of 12 contemporary Black poets sharing poems by other Black poets, poems that are important to them and why. Powerful poems, moving commentaries.


·  Last week, I was interviewing an infectious disease doctor, when I confessed that I had given a friend a hug. I knew it was a dangerous thing to do during this pandemic, but at the moment, my friend’s need for a hug seemed so much more immediate than covid-19. To my surprise, the expert told me that the hug might not have been as risky as I’d thought, if we’d done it right. This New York Times story, How to Huge During a Pandemic, explains.

· My tiny, white town just held a protest. We’re not alone. Judy Muller writes about the Black Lives Matter protest in Norwood, Colorado, and why a mostly White town with population ~550 turned out to support George Floyd. Includes a few words from protest participant Craig Childs, our guest on episode 21.

Our Commitment to Black Lives Matter:

We are outraged over the murder of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Dion Johnson and so many more. We support the Black Lives Matter movement. We recognize that as White, middle-class women, we have certain privilege and we are taking time to consider the blind spots that this privilege has allowed us. Racism is a systemic problem embedded in the structure of our society, and we are reflecting on the ways that we have participated in and benefitted from this system and how we can work to enact meaningful change. We are committed to elevating diverse voices, and supporting the work of Black people and people of color more broadly.

Two Questions:

(share your answers with us here on Substack)

  1. How do you align your art with your values?

  2. What role does art have in creating “the new normal?”