The Hughsletter #82 – Kid’s Pictures, Sky Cities, and Circles

Good morning!

The last week has been a week of work. I got the website for The Hughsletter up and running, and have begun to import the archives (which takes forever!). I think the site is, if not beautiful, at least functional and clean.

Websites and new email programs and all of that costs money – money that came from our Sustaining Members. Thank you to the 21 people who have signed up already. If you would like to know more about how that works, you can learn more here.

Yesterday was The Super Bowl, which I know nothing about at all. Instead, I spent the afternoon pulling weeds and transplanting yarrow. Longtime readers know that I am never as happy as when I am in my yard, soaking up sunshine.

What did you do this weekend to take care of yourself? You can reply to this email, or post it on the comments on the archive page.

Here are five things I thought were beautiful:

  1. Russian photographer Dmitry Chistoprudov (Instagram) camped out on top of a television tower in the cold of winter to grab these shots of Moscow above the clouds.
  2. When Kyo Maclear’s father was in the hospital, her life felt like it was falling apart. And then she discovered the birds, which she talks about in this interview. Her book – Birds Art Life – is about how birding and beauty saved her.
  3. The folks at National Geographic had a photography contest for kids – all participants were under the age of 14. Some of these are amazing, no matter what age the photographer.
  4. The thing I loved about Sesame Street in its heyday was its refusal to dumb things down for kids. Like this piece on The Geometry of Circles, scored by none other than Phillip Glass. This is mesmerizing.
  5. I have struggled with depression my whole life, so I was captivated by photographer Gabriel Isak’s (Instagram) series he calls The Blue Journey. It is a poetic attempt to explain depression, and it is just everything.


I love biography, and the bigger, the better. Edmund Morris’ three volumes on Theodore Roosevelt. Douglass Freeman’s four volumes on Robert E. Lee. And perhaps the best political biography ever written, The Years of Lyndon Johnson. It is so far at four volumes, with the fifth (and supposedly final) volume being written now.

I have only read the first three so far – and the third, Master of the Senate, is the most beautiful biography I have ever read in terms of language and skill. I think Caro is a genius with language, and his dedication to research is something like awe-inspiring. If you want to understand political power and how it works, read that book.

So when I came across this old interview the Paris Review did with Robert Caro, I nerded out a little bit. It’s a great introduction to his work, and makes me jealous of the pains the man takes to get it right.


Since I have closed my personal profile on Facebook, some people have said my stuff no longer shows in their feed. Here is how you can fix that.

Since I am now archiving all the posts on the snazzy new website, every edition now has comments. You can leave a comment on this edition, for example, at the bottom of the page here.

And as always, if you like this, forward it to a friend, either by email or the website archive (part of the reason for making the archives web-based was to make them easier to share.) If someone forwarded this to you, you can get your own subscription here

Take care of yourselves, and each other.

Hugh Hollowell
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