A pink sunset seen in an alley in Chicago in June 2020.

Hi Observers,

Can I call you that? I know it’s very cute. But all my favorite newsletters call their subscribers something cute and club-like. And Observers sounds like a positive thing to be. That’s why we’re all here (on this list), right? To observe stuff and share it?!

Well, I’ll let you decide. If you’re completely offended by the title, I won’t use it, and I’ll go back to the Midwestern-polite sounding “friends,” which I sincerely mean, even if we don’t all know each other.

Here’s the July edition of Observations. As always, if you’d rather read the unedited blog, you can find it here.

Oh, also: I’m in the very early stages of putting together the next volume of the Observations paperback books: Year Two. I’ll be working with designer Lauren Gallagher again on the cover and illustrations but I think this time I’m going to amp up the quality with real offset printing. I’m also thinking of ways to supplement the main content, like I did with the little theme pages at the back of Year One, but more substantially this time. Maybe by including essays from observe-y friends of mine. We’ll see, but I just wanted to make an early mention that it’s in the works.

Thank you. I hope you’re safe and well.

  • Watching Raising Arizona with Mom, Dad, Casey, Sammy, and Basil — a movie with a police chase in it — when a real-life police chase passed through our neighborhood. We paused the movie and watched the rest of the chase on TV, scared for everyone. [6-3]
  • Attending a march led by inspiring, kind members of the Blck Rising collective. [6-21]
    • The older, white, gray-pony-tailed fellow marcher wearing a plain yellow t-shirt, yellow striped pants, and carrying what I think was a flute.
  • The plastic toy police badge shining in the grass outside the elementary school playground. [6-25]
  • Packing Tweedy Show t-shirts with Mom, discovering that the paper packages fart when you squeeze them a certain way. [6-5]
  • Mom sobbing while watching the livestreamed graduation ceremonies of Sammy’s and my former schools. [6-8]
  • Cornel West on one of the major news network shows, talking about Black Americans “dishing out love warriors” in the face of injustice, how beautiful and generous — to themselves, to everyone — that is. [6-9]
  • The rain falling straight down, perpendicular to the sidewalk. [6-22]
  • Riding bikes on rural roads with Dad. [6-13]
    • The tabby farm cat in the middle of the road.
  • The sound of a friend’s neighbor’s electric bug trap zapping bugs every few minutes, never failing to make my head turn. :( [6-19]
  • The couple having a wine night behind the cracked curtain of a very well-lit salon, takeout food on the waiting area coffee table, reality show on the TV. [6-27]
  • The pile of empty Gatorade bottles beneath the asphalt paving machine’s driver seat. [6-27]
  • The Chicagoan wearing an American flag mask and an American flag tank top, who happened to be Black. [6-20]
  • The Chicago Police officer standing on the sidewalk, reading a “Demands of Black Lives Matter Chicago” flyer I had taped to a lamppost. [6-15]
  • The real estate listing written by an auto repairman in which he spells, accidentally, “lunch breaks” as “lunch brakes.” [6-28]
  • “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” playing on the neighborhood church bells, making the already beautiful song even more so. [6-27]
  • Biking at night in hot summer Chicago air with Casey. [6-19]

Thank you again,