Introductions

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.

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…

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…

There are two kinds of digital communication: those that improve our lives, and those that harm. If that seems too black and white for you, consider our second-greatest resource: time. Besides love, time is perhaps the most valuable thing we have. Though everyone this side of terminal illness or calamity has time in spades, it is limited and non-renewable. You can’t buy more of it. Compare time with money, which is distributed unevenly yet virtually unlimited for those with the wherewithal to create it. By all means, be careful when spending your hard-earned cash; but spend your time with ruthless discernment. The world has great need of your best work, words and wisdom. It has no need for wasteful or addictive habits.

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.

— Rumi

I Like The Peace In The Backseat

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

I think it’s a myth that the creative inspiration is locked up inside the person and just needs a quiet space and the right “serious” (brooding) moment to get released. I think art is much more about an engagement with the world, a way of being called upon and recognizing that the world is speaking to you. Which isn’t quite solitude, even if you’re alone when it happens.
Rachel Kushner, in an interview for Guernica (via britticisms)