The Hughsletter #110 – Swimming Pools and Olive Gardens

Good Morning!

The weather is beginning to change, finally. The mornings are crisp and cool, even if it will be near 80 before sundown, and the transition is notable in the way we interact with it – for instance, this is the time of year I am constantly leaving my coat at the office.

I do sit on the porch more these days, and watch the transitions happen around me. I am reading more these days, too, which I take as a good sign. When I was in the depths of my depression back in the summer, I barely read anything at all, perhaps the thing that scared me the most.

But I am on the mend, and slowly getting back in the groove. I am having coffee dates with friends, I am creating new things, and am feeling better than I have in ages.

I really hope things are going well for you, too.

Here are five things I thought were beautiful:

I love the writing of John McFee, both his books as well as his pieces for the New Yorker. He recently put out his book Draft No. 4: On the writing process, and I drank it like Kool-Aid. Here is a great profile of him that was similarly delicious.

This short hand-drawn animation is amazing. It is only 1 minute, but there is so much going on that it must have taken the creator years.

Like all coral reefs, these off the coast of Cuba are both beautiful and in danger.

Maria Svarbona did a photographic series on swimming pools in Slovakia. Before your eyes begin to glaze over, check it out. Her use of color and composition is amazing. I don’t know nearly enough to understand how she does it, but the effect is surreal.

The University of Aberdeen in Scotland has put a high-resolution scan of the Aberdeen Bestiary – an illuminated manuscript from the Middle Ages that details the creation of the animals – online for all of us to oooh and ahhh over.

Worth Reading:

I loved this long-form article about the chain restaurant experience, called Christ in the Garden of Endless Breadsticks, far more than I expected to, especially since I seldom eat in Olive Gardens or, in fact, in chain restaurants. I do think the author’s points about the sameness of it all, and how that is a good thing, is similar to what I was getting at in my piece called The Church of the Diner.


I haven’t written much, or at least published much, in the last week because I have been fighting a horrible cold and just wanted to drink hot tea and sit on the couch and read, but I am back in the saddle, so things should begin to show up on the blog again. Also, Patrons should expect some exclusive writing sent their way by the end of the week. (If you would like to be a Patron and help support my work while getting unpublished work every month, you can find out more about that here.)

Well, that is it for this week. I hope you have a great week, and that your life is filled with beautiful things. If you see something special, I hope you will let me know about it, and if one of my five I shared today struck you in a special way, I hope you will let me know about that, too.

Please feel free to forward this email to your friends – it is the only method of promotion I have ever used for this project. And if someone did forward this to you, you can get your own subscription here.

Take care of yourself, and each other.

Hugh Hollowell
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