May Notes: slow writing when time is running out, beloved board books, and responding to email like a man

May Notes by Rebecca Pitts

I'm slow-reading The Art of Slow Writing by Louise DeSalvo. The main idea? Writing is a craft and we need to "touch the work everyday." Write badly. There will be many drafts to work through. Also, this: imagining and planning for the work is an essential part of the process, worthy of our time and deliberation. Don't skip steps. Slow down. Get it right.

This is not to say that we have endless time — we don't. ("Time is running out," actually.) But we know where we waste it. It's the start of the weekend as I prepare this draft to you. Starting now, I'll break from social media for today and tomorrow, at least. The news is particularly disheartening this week. And then there are all of those clever tweets to relish on Melania's hand-holding (or lack thereof) when really, I should be slow-writing. Will you join me? In slow-doing whatever it is you do?

What I Read

Re-reading A Short Guide to Writing About Art. Would you go nonlineHow I wrote my novel in gmail. Google and the UN's Refugee agency created a primer on what's happening in Syria, based around users' search bar queriesDrag queen story hour. Knopf is set to publish a children's book by Khizr KhanAgain, sadly. NPR editors on what makes a good pitchMuslim-American kids need to see more of themselves in pop culture. Not just for children: The New York Times' special kids section and Illustoria's latest issue, Grow. Ouch: do you want to be known for your writing or your swift email responses?

What We Read

I have a baby to buy for again! (Not mine — oh goodness, no.) Finally, an excuse to scour the board-book stacks of our favorite bookstore, Bank Street on the Upper West Side, for new copies of our beloved and tattered and overused Janet Ahlberg titles. [For more ideas for baby books, peruse our family's favorite baby books here.]

What I Wrote

A compilation of resources for parents, educators, and caregivers: How to Teach Kids About Fake News. Some thoughts on networking when you'd really rather be in jammies.

What I Heard

NPR's new kids podcast, Wow in the World. The writers behind the New York Times obituaries discuss death on a deadline with Terry Gross.

What I Saw

Jill Solloway's masterful, applause-worthy, and patriarchy-toppling I Love Dick. I am still clapping. Aziz Ansari captures romanticized Italy in the Master of None (and, adorably, participates with frequent asides of the most overused word in Italian chit chat: "allora"). The British comedy Catastrophe returns with a final hurrah from Carrie Fisher.