Friday Inspiration 419

I don’t want to spoil this, but you really do have to watch until the end. But once you get to about 9:55, you’ll definitely watch until the end. But you also can’t fast-forward to 9:55 or you won’t get it. (video)

thumbnail from Sisyphus and the Impossible Dream


Whenever you get down about the world and all the bad things we experience or read about on a daily basis, remember that every once in a while, someone goes out of their way to write an article about how to dress like five of our more famous fictional rats.

I’ve been teaching writing workshops with the Freeflow Institute since 2019, and every year, Chandra and I have kind of floated the idea of doing a Freeflow trip in the Grand Canyon, but haven’t been able to pull it off. Well, 2025 is the year, and we’re headed to the Grand Canyon next April. The first half of the trip, April 8-16, will be hosted by Craig Childs and Rebecca Solnit, and the second half, April 15-25, will be hosted by myself and Dr. Len Necefer. Applications are due by March 2, and I believe some spots have already filled. More info here, and Chandra can answer any questions via email at

I love Jono Hey’s work because it’s fun and whimsical, the drawings are accessible, and I learn something every time I read one his Sketchplanations. His book comes out April 9th and it’s available for pre-order here. Jono asked me to write a blurb for the book, and I said yes, but then I saw that BILL GATES had written one saying, “This is such a cool book. The range of Jono’s knowledge is astounding, and so is his ability to digest complex ideas into deceptively simple drawings. You’ll learn something on every page—and be entertained too.” I went ahead and wrote a blurb anyway. I imagine they’ll find a space for it somewhere. Below Bill Gates’s blurb.

First of all, I want to know how LeVar Burton is 66 years old but looks 20 years younger, because he was a full-grown adult when I watched him on Reading Rainbow when I was a kid, and I now he looks younger than me. But also, Banned Book Rainbow is a pretty great concept.

It’s one thing to go in and photograph abandoned shopping malls, but adding Matthew Christopher’s writing about the collapse of America’s malls made this piece, at least for me, a pretty powerful mix of nostalgia and wistfulness for the 1980s and early 1990s.

I love many things about Anne Kadet’s Substack piece about how she finally learned to love Dunkin’ (or maybe more accurately, stop hating Dunkin’), among them, her research finding that Dunkin’ coffee is actually MORE EXPENSIVE per ounce than Starbucks coffee at several NYC locations, the fact that she made a chart to illustrate these calculations, and this paragraph: “I had a strange insight: my anti-Dunkin’ stance hurt no one but me. In fact, there have been several instances in recent years in which, faced with the choice of Dunkin’ coffee or nothin’, I opted for nothin’. And this was extremely painful, considering how addicted I am to coffee. Wouldn’t life be easier if I could learn to love Dunkin’?”

Here is a great paragraph of writing from Nicholas Triolo’s profile of celebrity chef and trail runner Gregory Gourdet in Outside Run: “I had imagined someone like Gourdet being the kind of guy to close his eyes and savor every bite, chewing slowly and mouth-hugging the divinity of it all. But no, he ate like a normal person. Kind of like he runs. He remains humble. Nothing performative. Just a man who knows what he likes and is voracious along the trail to getting there. He’s generous in his praise of others, too, like a sculptor visiting studios for inspiration and celebration. But you know the neat thing about these sculptures? We can eat these sculptures.”

Also: I published my list of book recommendations from 2023 on my Patreon—it’s here if you’d like to check it out.