I found inspiration in a sweet note my son found hidden in the park

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Shout out to my manicure and whoever hid this in Prospect Park. My kid and I found it today in a teepee. 🙏

Yesterday, in an IG comment, my friend Anna tagged me on an Ina Garten post. Ina, that better-than-therapy cook, the fairy godmother of goodness, announced she would be doing Thanksgiving sides, live on the Food Network, Sunday at 12 p.m.

I’ve you’ve read me recently, you know Anna. (If you haven’t, you can get a sense of the love I have for my friend, with whom I am bonded through a shared experience of early death, but many other things too.) I haven’t seen Anna since Easter, and this is a heart breaker, because we barely saw each other then. …

Plus: 10 of my favorite Medium writers right now

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Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

It would be a lie to say I read for a living, but it’s fair to say I make a living because I love to read and am good at it.

Why do you read? When you ask people this, a lot of them say they read to consume information or to escape. …

A gentle reminder that your teachers wear weird clothes

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Still waiting for someone to help me pic stock images. Photo by Walter “CheToba” De Boever on Unsplash

Once upon a time, I had a teacher who gave a talk about the opportunities for insight that hide in our daily observations. He focused his talk on our observation of others, and the stories we tell ourselves about what comes up. He said that when you pay attention, a mirror pulls up. This is a mirror of what’s happening inside, I think was the gist.

Do you see beautiful things in other people? This may be a reflection of an available beauty within you (this is lovely). Do you see ill intent everywhere? You might explore what’s going on with your own intentions (this is hard). If the world is a mirror, then maybe what you observe is a reflection of what’s happening inside you. …

Profound lessons about freedom and boundaries from bumps, hugs, and beyond

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Still working on this image selection quandary, but this is cool? Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

Boundaries established, boundaries pushed, a chat, questions, shouting, more questions, negotiating, more shouting, another chat, hugs, more negotiating, touching each others’ noses, more hugs, verbal expressions of love, rest. Can I touch your nose?

If you have ever known a toddler, you know the dance. My son is that joyful, exhausting dance partner, the last guy on the floor at 3 a.m., the sleepover friend who wants to talk all night. He is the orb that lights up the place. And he hugs strangers. (He is not unlike his mother in this regard.)

When you walk around with him, strangers will be shocked by the hugs. You will mumble things, because my God, we are in a fucking pandemic, don’t touch that/him/her/them/it. Thank God he has learned how to bump fists, and that is thanks to Raf. But bottom line, he mostly runs in for the tackle-hug, and humans do not know what to do with these unbridled expressions of love from a relative stranger. You do not want to undo this kind of thing, necessarily, because he is 3, and this is a sweet instinct. But you also need to teach him about Covid-19, about people needing space, about asking before you touch (like we do with our noses at bedtime). Also, about his Whiteness and his maleness. For these and other reasons, you will be stressed even as you feel proud of his generous spirit. …

I started doing this when I needed it, and now I use it all the time

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Photo: arianka ibarra/Unsplash

My friend Anna once joked that before we both got married (not to each other), we dated each other for years (open relationship, technically speaking). We would do lovely dinners at spots we’d added to our mental lists, saving them for each other. We’d day-drink Sancerre on weekends and then take long, chilly walks through lower Manhattan, telling each other everything. We went to Miami once and shared a bed. Our early thirties were super fun! And also hard.

At our dinners, we sometimes played a game we called Five Nice Things. It is what it sounds like: You take turns naming things that are nice. Five is the number. It can be a thing that makes you happy, a compliment for the other person, a win at work, “This broccoli is tasty,” whatever. It’s a bit sappy, but it’s not the sappiest, and the rules were: Don’t overthink it, and be specific. We’d roll it out in other settings: group hangs, work, whatnot. It was, generally speaking, a hit. Even Eeyores can get into it if you bring to the game your Tigger energy. …

On learning how to read

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This is pretty, but it is not how you shelve books. Image by Ria Puskas for Unsplash

Before she got her Master’s in children’s literature, my mother was a reference librarian at a public library in Montreal where her job was to be the internet before the internet. …

Now is not the time for silence.

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Photo by KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images

We at Medium want to acknowledge the pain and trauma that people across the United States are feeling right now due to acts of racist violence that have unfolded recently in Georgia, in Minneapolis, in Louisville, in New York City, and beyond. What follows are the major events that precipitated the current outrage and unrest.

Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was jogging this February in a Georgia neighborhood where he was hunted down and killed by a father and son, who are White. …

My brother died eight years ago. Here is an audit of his digital footprint.

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The author and her brother, from high school in the 90s

Every so often, I log into an old email account. It’s a Yahoo, and I created it in 2001. I became a late-adopter Gmail person in 2009, but kept the other one because when the grief washes over you, it can be nice to read old emails.

Over the course of a decade, my big brother and I traded astonishingly boring notes. Most were very short, tapped into our Blackberries, because this was when people wrote emails, not texts, to stay connected. There are emails scheduling phone calls or planning visits. …

What we’re doing in editorial and beyond

This is a very challenging time for the world, and access to accurate, credible information is more important than ever. Medium is both an open platform, where anyone can write, and a publisher, with an in-house team of journalists who work on the nine publications within the Medium Editorial Group. Given the moment we find ourselves in, with a novel coronavirus spreading around the globe, we’ve created a new resource for credible information—the Medium Coronavirus Blog—and added more safeguards against the distribution of potentially harmful misinformation.

We recently added a team of health and science editors to work with our human curators on coronavirus-related stories with the goal of limiting the spread of bad or wrong information. The Medium Coronavirus Blog—which contains only credible, expert-backed stories published on Medium and from around the web—is run by our in-house health and science teams, who take very seriously the task of sharing reliable information every day, and especially now. …

An utterly cheesy, totally true essay about wireless earphones

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Photo: Photographer and videographer/Getty Images

The first time I saw a pair of AirPods in a pair of ears, I thought they were a joke. They were so absurd looking as to be hilarious, and my best guess was that my friend, a tech journalist who’d gotten his hands on a loaner set well before launch, had for some reason snipped his buds from their tangled wires and put them in his ears to amuse me. We sat across from each other in the TIME newsroom, where we worked back then; he’s a bit of a joker, and I’m an easy laugh.

After he explained that he was testing what would become, for me later, a life-changing piece of technology, I snapped a pic and posted it to my IG with the caption: “This is the only person in the world who will ever make AirPods look cool.” (He is handsome, and also French.) …


Siobhan O'Connor

VP, Editorial @Medium. I write and edit, usually in that order.

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