60 Watt Aura
Her light was a kind of aquatic phosphorescence, invisible in the daytime, detectable only by creatures of rare beauty. And the IRS.
Get Up and Put On A New Paradigm
All I wanted to do was listen to the nothingness. But then the nothingness started to skip.
After years of research, I have concluded that there is such a thing as “too busy.”
The mailbox is lit with streaks of filtered sunlight from the overarching canopy of street trees. The letter hops inside, relishing the moisture of the air, the playful currents of wind. For now, it undertakes a 7-day voyage of darkness, wherein it is buffeted by impersonal machinery, groped by sweaty-fingered, low-paid shuffle artists, and finally deposited into an airless metal tray. At long...
I used to take the forces of darkness personally until I realized that, much like mattress tags, they’re just a part of life.
My personal marketing strategy thus far has been to softly knock once on a door, and if nobody answers, run away relieved.
It is as if all the elements that make for a truly effective journalist—i.e., skepticism, depth of reportage, humor/style—have been divided up and segregated by publication. You can funny, you can be serious, you can be deep—but you can no longer be all three. So dies journalism.
Increasingly, I think that my entire existence on Earth is a mid-80s mix-up slapstick comedy poorly dubbed in Spanglish. Que terrible!
Walls > Stumbling Blocks > Pebbles in the Stream “The Achievement Sequence”
Social media rules: don’t email when drunk, Facebook when heartbroken, or Tweet when hungover.
Put the welding goggles on, the earplugs in. Step outside. Mingle.
Whether he was merely being rude or punishingly clever, the net effect was the same: I forever left behind servitude.
LIFE CHAPTERS Age 0-10: Whuh? Huh! Age 11-20: Insouciant Bookworm Age 21-30: Dangerous Liasons Age 30+: I Have Seen This Before
He remembered Janet’s marriage to Hollis, in which drinking, unauthorized sleepovers and garden-variety mental cruelty had made their divorce proceedings read like a blog on “How to Lose Your Enthusiasm for Intimacy.”
Nebulas, the dust slashes of cosmic time.
Recognition is not awarded to those who climb a particular peak, but rather those who crowdsurf in perpetuity.
A Picnic With Lawyers: my regrettable Sunday afternoon experience. A man relates his harrowing escape from an apartment fire to a crowd of people whose first question is, “Can you sue your neighbor?”
I have an excellent work ethic. It’s my bullshit ethic that gives me trouble.
There is the oft-cited story of the Hollywood B-movie starlet who, having happened upon her lonely 80s, died in front of her computer and was not discovered for over a year. But go back far enough and you discover that hermits have been dying alone in rural cabins for centuries without the use of “socially-isolating” status updates or tweets.
Those who marry for love or legitimacy are fools; but they know how to party.
Whenever someone asks me to take sides, I choose the z axis.
If Twitter is the AP news wire of the information age, then Tumblr is the funky communal dryer where everybody’s rainbow toe socks get mixed up together.
A feeling beyond exhaustion, lined by dull terror and cored by an idealistic puppy energy.
Sometimes, you have to walk through the door marked “sardines” to get to the sweets.
And then eventually I stopped liking things altogether, which was when I started liking Reggie. He foamed out of the earth and into the leather swivel seat next to me. It was March; the bar was grotesque with paper shamrocks and green streamers.
Cosmically, he was the equivalent of a makeshift stopper under an unbalanced table—great in action, useless out of context.
I’m disciplined, I’m reliable, I’m genuine. In short, I’m doomed.
Once you duck under the whispered rubber chorus of the overpass, you get into the street noises: little streamlets, from the drains, carrying away laminated postcards and bottle caps and things that look interesting when crushed.
After an extended sojourn in the working world, I wish there had been a college seminar entitled “Clusterfucking.”
Oversharing on social media: the smoking cigarettes of 2020.
The 20th century’s most unusual historical fact: manual labor paid well.
Naturally, by writing ponderous fire hazards that pose as literature, novelists are losing their market share to art forms that combine visual poetry with wounded Teddy-Bear introspection. It’s fashionable to say that we have outgrown history, but I believe that we are living in the Era of Atomization. Overarching concepts Occupy us daily; we crave heart-warming minutiae.
We pass through zones of understanding, little cul-de-sacs of empathy. And much like seasoned politicians, we tend to emotionally gerrymander as we age.
The sad truth is that the vast majority of those who find “someone” frequently have not bothered to find themselves first.
We make emotional connections with people because we feel something. We use social media with the same reluctant frenzy that gerbils use wire wheels. Someone, somewhere, is getting a kick out of watching us use it, but it’s doubtful that it’s either strengthening or weakening our actual emotional bonds.
It is not difficult to imagine the ending of civilizations; what is difficult is imagining their beginning. How do people agree to believe in progress again? How do we collectively shake off the baggage of the past few thousand years and start again?
Perhaps a life can be lived as a rotating series of addictions/delusions.
You must necessarily exit the culture of youth; however, you can remain in a culture of quality indefinitely. Don’t worry: there is frequently an overlap.
Writers want to be stationed just outside of the crowd, or at least at the very edge of the room. If you’re right up front or wedged into a booth, you’re going to miss half of what’s going on and probably get drunk or flirt or cause the chair to break from your accumulated pomposity. No, it’s best to hover by the exit sign.
“My theory is we don’t really go that far into other people, even when we think we do. We hardly ever go in and bring them out. We just stand at the jaws of the cave, and strike a match, and ask quickly if anybody’s there.” - Martin Amis, Money.
By using history as a structural template, the stories themselves are little more than pale webbing between well-researched spokes. Literature is supposed to explore the human condition, not the archival stacks.
Experimental radio project of mine from 2009:...
In the culture of business, customers are always perceived as belonging to the “other.” Pretty much everyone on the business side of the counter, whether that counter is a pitted sneeze-guard or a mahogany desk, feels that they are fighting the good fight, and that customers are whiny, ignorant and abusive. The only difference is that instead of a small hot dog stand where a 17-year old mocks his...
If I could carry a sword to work, I think it would clarify what it is that I do there. -From Criminals & Zealots
Don’t look for the hidden agenda if you want to be happy. But don’t expect to be happy for long if you ignore the hidden agenda. -From Criminals & Zealots
While privacy has become the 8-track of the 21st century, it still seems like it’s worthwhile to note how Google’s “Project Glass” augmented reality glasses could be used for unpleasant ends, much as Einstein’s well-intentioned discovery eventually helped to burn shadows into stone. The problem with a device that essentially sees the world through your eyes and communicates this detail...
No amount of Instagramming can prevent the next Power Hungry Dickhead. Despite the online proliferation of Kermit-like good will, there is a whole raft of folks—like the 2011 London rioters—who are not enjoying themselves in a world where friend is a verb. We need to stop worrying about maximizing our page load times and start worrying about creating a sustainable standard of living for those who...
Those who see human nature clearly are doomed to one of three fates: alcoholism, comedy, or the winning combo, business. -From Lingua Franca
Perhaps all it takes is more Neil Young.
There is the clanking of cutlery and glassware, a round of condescending praise for our assorted absent lieutenants, a new coarse joke, a thorough appraisal of the female waitstaff, the presentation of the sundials, and finally—finally!—the cigars. I find myself seated with Benningfield in the library. A roly-poly dog licks the stopper of an empty brandy bottle, the enthusiastic motion of his...