Illustration by Anya Baker.

Hi, Rookies!

Happy summer! June’s theme is “Social Studies.” Lately our themes have focused on either The Self or Society but not really the in-between: relationships. Friendships. Best friendships. Friends in groups of three! Friends in groups of four. Friends in groups of five, where maybe sometimes four of them pair off in two’s and then one person’s left like, “Haha! Yeah that’s cool, no worries, I’ll just talk to…Gerald! Yeah, Gerald,” and Gerald, a crossing guard, is like, “Stop standing there; you’re in the middle of the street.” Then there are people like Gerald, who you don’t choose as friends but still end up seeing all the time because of school/work/camp. There are people you click with in just one hyper-specific way but don’t actually like, yet you end up bound for life because the one kind of click is so strong, and really I’m just describing the members of the Eagles and the part in their three hour-long documentary where the band’s most competitive personalities are basically like, “What kept us together, besides our hopelessly entwined bank accounts? Those group harmonies.” They were enemies, but they were soulmates!!!

We’ll also spend this month celebrating those rare encounters that make a feeling of genuineness possible in such a way that it almost feels like a miracle, as in these remembrances of the late Jean Stein, particularly Hilton Als’:

“She really was a teenager in spirit. She never became jaded and never forgot the feeling of what it is like to feel like to be new in a place. […] She also had a gift for intimacy in society. In other words, she was able to make social life have a core of intimacy that is generally doesn’t have. A person that can warm up society. That’s a great power.”

What a lovely quality to strive for. No wonder her talent resided in oral histories and interviews, composing portraits through conversation.

If you have thoughts on any of the above dynamics and wish to express them in writing, illustration, photography, collage, et cetera, please head over to our Submit page to learn how to send them in to us. Internet friendship is a valid form of connection, too!