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Open Thread Highlights: The Stories That Moved You Most

We asked, you shared. Here are 8 of your favorite stories and writers from across the Mediumverse.

A few weeks ago, we asked you to drop a link to a great story (or writer) you’ve discovered on Medium lately. The goal? To help us to explore beyond our comfort zones (or at least beyond the writers and publications who populate our homepages). It was an opportunity to celebrate great writing hiding beneath the surface of Medium.

Thirty-something responses later, we have a lot of bookmarked tabs and some excellent new writers on our “following” lists. You plugged everyone from poets to illustrators to music bloggers. Here are a few highlights:

A million shades of happiness

Melissa Toldy recommended Matthew Perpetua, music critic and creator of Fluxblog (the original MP3 blog). Here’s Perpetua explaining why Lorde’s latest banger, “Solar Power,” is so great:

“Solar Power” is a song of low-key joy in which Lorde casually sidesteps the widespread expectation that she continue to play the part of the “sad girl” rather than explore less fraught elements of human existence. There’s a weird impulse for many to assume that singing about pleasure and fun and shirking responsibilities is vapid, but I think that comes from people not believing happiness can be as nuanced and deeply felt as a million shades of misery.

On survival and strength

Vidhipssa Mohan sharedEverything You Lose Is Not a Loss,” a reflection on resilience by Elisabeth Ovesen (it’s relevant to all of us, especially after last year):

When we’re young, it feels as if the world will end every time we lose a friend, break up with someone, fail a class, or are denied access to something we really want. It feels as if we’ll never recover because we haven’t yet built our emotional muscle memory at that age. We haven’t hurt and recovered enough times to know we will always recover after every hurt. One of the many beautiful things about getting older is recognizing our resilience and strength and giving ourselves credit for surviving one-hundred percent of our worst days.

Our couches, ourselves

Niru connected withYou Are More Than the Living Room Furniture” by Christie Megill, an essay about motherhood and ambition and growing up:

I often think about the film American Beauty. I distinctly remember how Annette Bening hassled Kevin Spacey over the care of their expensive new couch. My husband and I also bought a couch recently; we are making the grownup purchases for our home that I always imagined would be a significant preoccupation once I reached a certain age.

There’s a part of me that wonders if I should obsess over this couch, if I’m meant to get stressed whenever I see a stray crayon coming too close to the crisp white fabric or a plastic bowl of crackers placed precariously on someone’s lap as they read.

Maybe I should care more about it. But I’m busy. I’m in the middle of writing a novel, re-entering the workforce, spending time with my family and my community, as well as trying out different hobbies and intellectual pursuits. These activities keep me busy and fulfilled.

Don’t believe everything you read on the internet

Writer thinkeuse re-upped a fascinating longread from OneZero — the saga of a GoFundMe scam netting over $100,000 in donations from unsuspecting friends and family:

I had been a periodic user of Facebook for years — occasionally spying on old boyfriends, joining but rarely participating in professional development groups, and counting how many people wished me happy birthday. But when Cindy got sick, I found myself glued to the platform. Every morning in late 2014 and early 2015, I made myself coffee and looked for news about her condition. Cindy was so sick that she was in total seclusion, so the only way to check in on her was to log on. Because of that, a growing online community flourished…

Avenue of escape

Wolfie Bain suggestedPressing ‘esc,’ Followed by Waves,” a lyrical essay by Jee Young Park with original illustrations:

Illustration by Jee Young Park

While I’m ruminating over the grueling nothingness that is work, I’m stopped by an unruly heap of lemons. The bright yellow and glistening lumpy skin somehow reminds me of the sharpness of happiness. I know exactly what people are looking for when they purchase something. They are looking for lemons. Tart, unmistakable happiness…

The bots are not alright

Factory of Mirrors highlighted sci-fi novelist Tom B. Night’s thought experiment about natural selection and the future of A.I. Night asks: Will A.I. one day become “intelligent” enough to self-destruct?

All life on Earth is the result of evolution by natural selection, and a good bet for identifying alien life on other worlds is that it followed some analogous process and adapted to its environment over time. But what about life that didn’t come about by such a process, which may be the case with digital artificial intelligence? Would its default state be that it wants to exist?

Skull and bones

Fox Kerry encouraged everyone to follow Roy, Medium’s resident cartoon skeleton. These original 3D renderings of a sunglasses-wearing ghoul are unlike anything on Medium (or the entire internet):

Illustration by Roy

A very personal palm reading

And Samantha Lazar spotlighted Melissa Coffey’s poetic personal essay, “Motherlines: A Memoir on Lineage, Loss and Secrets”:

People had often been startled by the insides of my hands, at the depth and profusion of lines, etched tracings of a life I could not have possibly lived yet. Old-soul hands.

“There are many stories here”, a palm-reader had once said to me, “Many stories”.

If my hands held the imprints of many stories, then so also did my mother’s. I had always been proud of the fact that I was my mother’s confidante. Ever since I was five, it had felt like she shared everything with me; that between my mother and myself, there was no such thing as a story untold.

“You’ll get all of my rings when I die,” she’d said that day on the beach as she turned her face towards mine. As if the similarity of our hands had decided it for her, rather than the fact that I was her first-born, and only, daughter. Reflected in her sunglasses, I could see two tiny replicas of me…

Found a writer who deserves a wider audience? Add your recommendation to the responses here, and check Creators Hub for more open threads.

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