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I’ve never been good at closing sentences, last paragraphs, or finishing things perfectly. I find conclusions hard to draw because they’re so subjective. Is it really my place to tell you what you got out of my words? What if, god forbid, I draw a different conclusion than you and it jolts you out of the reverie that both of our brains work the same way?
I know, meta meta meta. These are the kinds of thoughts it’s crucial to extract from my head so I can start to see them objectively — and also why I like texting friends all the time. I find it extremely helpful to take notes on my thought patterns in whatever text box, notebook, or messaging app is closest. Texting is particularly great because it’s continuous, ever-evolving, and the exact opposite of an essay ending. Each concise little text bubble is an opportunity to shift, interrupt, and recalibrate how meta my thinking is, given a little help from people who love me.
Despite feeling uncertain about the value of my voice, I still love to document the human experience in my own words — chasing a certain mental and emotional granularity that I find great satisfaction pinning down. Patricia Lockwood: “Being a writer meant my voice was in a different place. There was no rhyme or reason as to why I could make this sound and not the other. Always I felt that I was writing to the tune of some music that I learned very early and did not quite remember.”
The downside of doing a lot of this first-person narration is that it gave me a false sense that there’s shame in changing — that I’d be breaking a promise to people who think highly of me under specific conditions and in certain contexts. The clearest sign that I had fallen into the trap of thinking of myself as a brand was how concerned I had become about even slightly shifting my ambitions/interests/personality. Joan Didion: “To assign unanswered letters their proper weight, to free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves—there lies the great, the singular power of self-respect. Without it, one eventually discovers the final turn of the screw: one runs away to find oneself, and finds no one at home.”
A note: I’ve started a podcast called Moth Minds. The premise is “interviews with high agency humans” — consider it a show-not-tell demonstration of my taste in people. My first interview is with Daniel Gross. Listen on Spotify, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Overcast.
Upcoming interviews include guests such as: Josh Miller of Browser, Claire Hughes Johnson of Stripe, Akshay Kothari of Notion, and Joseph Cohen of Universe. Subscribe to hear the latest :)
How to Grow (Up) in 5 Years by Michael Dempsey (essay)
"You learn that growth comes from outliers and happens in step functions.”
The Class Politics of Instagram Face by Grazie Sophia Christie (essay)
Also worth reading The Age of Average for a purview into this broader trend.
Little Liliths by Marilyn Simon (essay)
Great encapsulation of femininity in its many forms.
Life with Picasso by Françoise Gilot (book)
A fiercely honest portrait of the dark triad personality type in practice.
That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis (book)
Made me cry — a classic on sacredness.
Gravity and Grace by Simone Weil (book)
This book was a recent addition to my top 10 list (between this and Waiting for God, which is also excellent). Her prose is easy to read and beautiful, like velvet.
Begin, be bold, and venture to be wise (essay)
An excerpt from Moth Fund’s Q1 23 LP update letter.
The Social Radars with Jessica Livingston and Carolynn Levy (podcast)
This content was Made for Me (PG’s interview was unsurprisingly the standout).
Crazy Little Thing Called Trust by East Rock Capital (research)
One of the more fascinating determiners of world-class performance.
The Nomad Partnership Letters (archives)
A rare glimpse behind the scenes of a prolific firm (abbreviated thread here). As they say: “Investing is, at its heart, a very simple discipline. Simple, perhaps, but not easy. And judging by my efforts, certainly hard to communicate. The truth is that there is not that much to say, at least, not much that hasn’t been said before.”
Vinod Khosla at Stanford (talk)
Canonical motivation that packs a punch.
The History of the Future by Blake Harris (book)
Palmer Luckey biography — one of the best business books I’ve read in a while.
SKY SKY 1.3 by Flume (music)
Cathartic and great for running.
I’m recreating Tumblr on Twitter: it’s a running feed of words and images I like.
At the centre of the human heart is the longing for an absolute good, a longing which is always there and is never appeased by any object in this world.
— Statement of Human Obligation by Simone Weil