“October, baptize me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse me with split pea soup. October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins. O autumn! O teakettle! O grace!”

–Rainbow Rowell, Attachments

It is autumn on the west coast. When I wake at seven to feed my cat, there is condensation on the windows. Dewdrops glisten on the red-yellow-orange leaves littering my balcony. The mornings are not yet crisp with frost—they are still soft, the world in mid-thaw by the time I rise. There is magic at this hour. I cross the floating bridge, suspended in fog, on my way to work. Then, by afternoon, the sun is warm and the grass is dry, and I can walk up the steep hill to the park.

What can I say aboutVEDS 2020? We had a great season. Congratulations to all my fellow VEDSies, and thank you to the folks who watched, commented, or emailed me about my videos.

This year felt slightly less frantic—I had a theme (kind of) and at least one day of the week I knew what I would be talking about (shout-out Sundays). Plus, I knew I could do it since I'd done it before. Last year, Day 30 felt like goodbye; this year, it felt like "see you later." I know that I'll be seeing Tessa and Caleb online outside September.

I recently recorded a commentary with some film folks for The Prince of Egypt. Abbie called me in as the resident musical theatre expert from the forum. Art and Esther, whom I was meeting for the first time, were just as smart and fun to talk to ask I would have expected. A big chunk of our discussion was the two of illuminating what makes The Prince of Egypt such a great Jewish movie. I was seeped in Christianity during my childhood—neither of my parents are religious, really, but my grandmother is. So it was Sunday school and childrens' bibles for me and my sister. I'm agnostic, fascinated by religion, and particularly interested in Judaism the more I learn about it. There is so much about it that just makes sense to me.

Anyway, we had a great time recording the commentary. The four of us love the film, and you'll hear that, but I hope we made it clear why we love the film so much. The music, the mature storytelling, and the visual style together create a powerful viewing experience. You can listen to our commentary here.)

happy spooktober everyone,

ali ♆

postscript: why do I call these updates "dispatches"? I'm thinking of the word in the journalistic sense—a report sent to you from a specific place. Only, the specific place is inside my mind. My use of the word, therefore, is mostly inspired by Jennifer Egan's Twitter fiction "Black Box" and the "mental dispatches" that each tweet was meant to represent. (For more on "Black Box," see it's listing on my e-lit page.)