That time I found a four-leaf clover in Winnemac Park.
That time I found a four-leaf clover in Winnemac Park.
1 This is the first intimacy: for a while you allow yourself to be completely enamored with and consumed by the other. You hang onto their words and gestures, how they pull in their lips or scratch their ankle or button their shirt. You don’t know much about what they’ll do when they’re surprised or disappointed or angry or sad, but you know what they’ll do when they think no one is looking, because they have ceased to be themselves just as you’ve ceased to be you. While they’re falling in love with the way you brush your hair out of your face or cover your mouth while you laugh or wrinkle your nose, you’re falling in love with the way they tap their foot or laugh before they’ve gotten to the end of the joke. It’s the beginning and it is comfort, even when you don’t notice it anymore.
2 There is no such thing as two equals in love. There is no such thing as equal sacrifice, if you cook I’ll do the dishes if you get the floor dirty you clean it up. Instead, each person secretly believes that they’re giving more, giving everything, giving all the time. This is a small, selfish pleasure, because if you always believe you are giving more, and often, and without complaint, you believe the other is indebted to you. If the other is indebted — without knowing — you will always have leverage, you will always have a way to shame them with your love. See, see this? This is what I have done for you. But equal to this small, selfish pleasure is the big, self-rending choice to keep quiet about it. It is knowing exactly how you might break the other and knowing you will never do it. This is also intimacy, but it is as much intimacy with yourself — with who you are, and what you believe about love and generosity and goodness — as it is with the other person.
What promises can you keep?
3 Lovers meet again and again over the course of time. As strangers and pilgrims and veterans. Here I am, they say. If no one stays the same forever, how can you promise always to love in the same way? You can only promise presence. Here, you say, take my hand as I stretch it across the table. You are well-met. You are new and wholly frightening and wholly wonderful…
…this is the first intimacy.
Edited by the gifted novelist (âThe Art of Fieldingâ) and n + 1 editor Chad Harbach, âMFA vs NYCâ asks whether fiction writing can, or should, be taught.
I haven’t read this (yet), but nobody seems willing to answer my most pressing question: what about writers who neither plan on getting a masters of fine arts degree nor want to live in New York City? Are they allowed to be writers? Or are they then sucked into the wormhole of “uninteresting” that the rest of the country/world represents, as far as the arts & culture world is concerned? Do I have to work a million hours a week to afford rent in an exhausting city just so I can call myself a writer? Do I have to re-enter academia, which I distrust because of its insularity, to be respected for my work?
I loved Emily Gould’s recent essay about her money woes but I also really wanted to scream during the entire thing: “YOU KNOW YOU CAN WRITE AND HAVE A DAY JOB, RIGHT?”
The answer, when it comes to creating something, is never “how” or “where” but just “create”, no matter what the obstacles, which is what I’m content to keep doing. I will not be discredited! We live in cities you’ll never see on-screen! Or in literary magazines, for that matter.
In honor of Wes Anderson’s upcoming film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Chicago’s Music Box Theatre is hosting a marathon of all his films next week. I can’t think of a better way to soothe my winter blues than to immerse myself completely in that magical 1960s summer…
Matt Steel, "Why I Left Facebook”
I left Facebook four years ago and didn’t look back, but I am beginning a longer, slower process of quitting or seriously scaling back on other social media. I want to create. Steel’s argument is the only one I’ve heard that really gets to the heart of the issue, and it’s one that I’ve been hearing like a drumbeat in my head for the past few weeks. There’s so little time. What are you going to make of it?
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
doesn’t make any sense.
Number of states in which I have taken the written driver’s test: 2
Number of times I have taken the written driver’s test: 3
Number of times I will have taken it before I get my license: 4
Number of times I have failed the written test: 0
Number of dollars I have forked over to take the written test so far: 90
Number of cars I have practiced in: 3
Number of years that have elapsed since I first took the test: 7
Number of times I have gone to the DMV without the proper paperwork: 1
Number of hours I have waited at the DMV: 2
Number of years that will melt off my life when I drive on a freeway for the first time: roughly 10
Number of playlists I’ve made for my driving practices: 1
Number of miles I’ve driven in my life: roughly 20
Number of defunct learners permits I have in my wallet: 2
Number of times I went to the DMV and was interrupted in my quest for adulthood because the computer system failed: 1
Number of times I’ve said, “This is the year”: 8
Number of times I’ve been unable to help drive on a road trip: 4
Number of years I could have been driving, legally: 10
Number of days until I attempt it all over again: 7
A non-comprehensive list of embarrassing facts:
When I buy a frozen pizza, I promise myself I’ll only eat half of it, and then eat the whole thing anyway.
Every time I listen to Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto 1 in B Flat-Minor, I play air-piano and cry at the same time.
I also cry when I listen to “Un Bel Di Vedremo” from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.
I’m not sure if I’m more embarrassed that I wrote fan-fiction based on the plots of wildly popular Japanese manga in high school or that I occasionally listen to Turkish pop music and pretend to belly-dance.
In addition to not having my driver’s license, I also don’t know how to ski or rollerblade. I never played sports growing up. I don’t play an instrument and I only applied to one college. I have consistently played the mother figure in theatrical productions — never the love interest, never the witty aunt.
On a junior high school trip to Barcelona, the teachers rented out a small discotheque as a surprise and my entire class spent the evening drinking Cokes out of glass bottles and dancing to Benassi Bros.’ greatest hits. I sat against the wall and watched the mirrors fog up and hoped that no one would ask me to dance.
In the early 00’s, one of my best friends and I co-wrote a series of young adult fantasy novels inspired by our obsessive love of Lord of the Rings except featuring a strong female protagonist who happened to be an excellent archer. Um, yeah, way ahead of you, Hunger Games.
My first CD was Celine Dion, and for about three years I only listened to her. I’m virtually clueless when it comes to most popular culture, especially music.
I wore jeans with a hole in the crotch for almost an entire semester in college.
I wore nylons in high school because I didn’t like the way my bare legs looked. Let me repeat that: I wore nylons in high school because I didn’t like the way my bare legs looked.
I’m really glad I didn’t peak in high school. Or college.
Once I convinced a friend and her family that they should vacation in Marseille and they had a horrible time (“It was so dirty!”) and their video camera got stolen because they left it on the seat in their car.
I’ve gone hiking in ballet flats. In other words, I was invited to go on a hike, and I showed up in ballet flats.
I don’t think I told my first boyfriend how I really felt about anything, ever. And this was after I wrote about the strong female protagonist/excellent archer who was going to inherit the throne of a magical country in another world without the help of any man!
I couldn’t get a job at Anthropologie so I sold suits at Ann Taylor.
I’m listening to Miley Cyrus’ Party in the USA right now and earlier today, I didn’t recognize Bruce Springsteen when he came on the radio.