10. What to do with enthusiasm
June 7th, 2020

Hi. How are you out there? Right, same.

Almost everybody I follow on social media has been galvanised by the events of the past fortnight. My Instagram feed is barrage of solidarity: people educating themselves, sharing resources, amplifying voices, screenshotting their donation receipts. Then, every so often, a picture of a sunset or a new baby. The dissonance feels as awkward and as tangible as driving over a speed bump. Sometimes it seems aggressively blinkered—how could anyone not be wholly consumed by what we’re seeing?

This week I wondered what the purpose of this newsletter is right now. I believe it occupies a non-finite space, but is using that space to tell you about a good song really necessary? Or is it just another picture of a sunset? Since March, many of you have said that this email has become a dependable bright spot in your week. I have my own bright spots: I go running, I play games, I call the people I love. If there’s a reason I stay remotely buoyant these days, it’s thanks to these things—but they can’t become distractions, or a reason to neglect our responsibility to the pursuit of racial equality. Watching the sun set is fine as long as we don’t forget to continue dismantling white supremacist trash when the sun rises again.

All of which is to say: This email will continue to show up in your inbox every weekend. It will not be written ignorant of the climate it is being shared into. It will do a much better of job of sharing the work of BIPOC creators. It will remain enthusiastic as long as you do, and it will resume properly next week. In the meantime, you might consider donating to the National Bail Fund, the Black Visions Collective, or by supporting one of these black-owned independent bookstores.

Dept. of Enthusiasm is a weekly email from me, Jez Burrows. You can read some past issues, or sign up below.