Cerebral and emotional

Hi readers,

Welcome to the Ally Brennan newsletter—a weekly email containing books, movies, creative inspiration, and things I’m learning + exploring.


Reading: I just finished reading The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis. I love this book so much that I’ve read it three times in three years. Beth Harmon, the main character, is super relatable to me because she’s often alone. She doesn’t have a “squad” and she mostly learns things by herself, tucked away in her own mind. It’s really nice to relate so much to a character like this. Even though I like being alone, it’s nice to not feel alone in the world.

At one point in the book, Beth is talking to a random guy at a party. She asks him if he plays chess at all, and he says, no it’s “too cerebral.” This kind of happened with my boyfriend and me. I brought a chessboard to his house, thinking that chess would be something we could get into together. He played a halfhearted game with me, but wasn’t really into it. Which is completely okay. We don’t need to have all the same interests, and I really appreciate that he’s less “cerebral” than me and much more grounded.

I’m often trying to give my brain more to do, and on that note, I’ve recently started learning how to solve a Rubik’s cube (this is the best tutorial video I’ve found). I decided to claim the one that my brother Zach had, gathering dust in his closet, and have that be another little connection between us. It’s really cool to slowly learn how to solve something that has been a mystery to me my entire life.

Watching: I went to go see Titanic in theaters yesterday for the 25th anniversary re-release. It was a 10:20 AM showing. There’s something so classy about going to a matinee all by yourself. (It’s even sweeter when it’s on a Sunday morning and you’re ex-Christian hehe.) I was alone in the theater except for an older couple, so I was able to sob freely during the movie.


I really love the story they tell through Rose, how she feels trapped in her life, how she feels that even if she escaped, she didn’t possess the right skills or smarts to survive. It led her to feel dangerously suffocated by her life, on the edge, but too afraid to leave it because she didn’t trust herself, and therefore quickly became co-dependent on Jack. She’s another female character I relate to, wanting to be free but not feeling capable enough. Obvi I h8 that they killed off Jack, but from a storytelling angle, it was really important for Rose’s development that it happened. You can see her progression by the end, how peaceful and happy she is in her old age, and all the photos of her displayed on the dresser, her flying a plane and riding a horse, and a mention earlier in the movie that she’d been an actress. She had to learn that she had the ability to save herself, and that ability bloomed beyond pure survival later in her life and made it beautiful.

Listening: I’m kind of a sheeple for this, but I watched part of the Super Bowl and I have a favorite commercial from it. But it’s okay because now I have a favorite commercial of all time, so I can check that life quest off the list. It’s a commercial for Bud Light, a couple dancing in their apartment to customer service hold music. I love it because it feels very real. It just feels like sweet simple love. As a plus, the couple in the commercial are actually married IRL (the actor Miles Teller and his wife Keleigh). I can’t stop watching it. I love love like this. It’s what I wanted and what I have with my boyfriend. <3

But anyway, I’m obsessed with the on-hold music from the commercial. It’s called “Opus No. 1” and it was made in 1989 by a 16 year old named Tim Carleton (he gave it free of charge to Cisco as their hold music, and thus, a legacy was created). I honestly didn’t recognize the song when I heard it, which I guess just means that I’ve been fortunate enough to not have spent very much of my life on hold. I’m gonna add it to the Spotify queue at my climbing gym though, because I want to see how people react to it haha.


Thanks for reading! ☻

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