These days it seems like the whole world is a highway lined with tourist traps: word got out that we’re all yokels on a long and confusing journey, ready to jump at the chance to purchase anything that reminds us why we’re so far away from home.
When I say: “I refuse to chase after clicks,”
I mean: “I’m tired of making Mark Zuckerberg rich by chasing constant validation.”
LONG LIVE THE OPEN WEB!
Every week or so, I take all the little scribbles I accumulate in various apps and on strange, half-forgotten scraps of paper and I file them in their proper place in my system; a process I call my notebook démêler (h/t to the Cajuns of my wife’s homeland for the term, which is a fantastic way of saying “de-messification”). Today I was doing all this de-messificaiton and I noticed my list of books to read was kind of outdated (new books to add, books I’ve read to remove). Anyway, my point is that in the ten minutes it took me to update the list, I somehow managed to buy yet another book of poetry. Typical.
Also: to all the publishers who are thoughtful enough to include a page that helps you set the text size correctly on your e-reader so the poem line breaks are shown correctly, thank you, thank you, thank you. And thank you for publishing poets.
Long day today. Did that on purpose: woke up with a tired brain and my body was jealous I guess so I probably ended up walking for over three hours, roaming Alkmaar and taking pictures, enjoying the bracing, cool weather and the way the streets and buildings here are becoming familiar.
On a whim, I opened Twitter for the first time in months and the first thing I saw was a link to an interview with Kate Zambreno with the excerpt “I can’t speak for other writers, but you can’t let not knowing what you are doing stop you” which is exactly what I needed to be reminded of at that moment. The interview was great, and I got back to work feeling refreshed. Thanks, internet: that’s a rare win.
I’m not writing much these days. Or am I? It’s hard to say, because the words are everywhere: they wind up in little scribbles on receipts, in autocorrect-encrypted phrases on my phone, in no order whatsoever in one of three cool looking paper notebooks, as well as scattered among work in progress – a novella, a mutant short story, and half a dozen poems exhibiting every symptom of delusional thinking. But I guess that’s writing, right? Well then, I’ve been writing a good bit these days.
Back in New Orleans for a while, where all the little questions of daily life are easier to answer: it’s no big deal to blunder through the day, I know just the cheap little place to grab lunch, and I never have to look at a map. Coming home is like going on vacation.
I know I spent ten years of my life designing bridges, and that as a result I probably understand the principles behind their operation better than the vast majority of people out there, but I just saw a picture of the stunning Bixby Bridge carrying Highway 1 in Big Sur, California and was struck for the first time by the horrifying hubris of building bridges. The gall to think the ground is not good enough, that a road should vault through the air, on as little substance as possible, and remain aloft, because it takes too long to go around! Who do we think we are to build such monstrous babels?
I’ve just finished reading Mauro Javier Cardenas’s “The Revolutionaries Try Again.” It is easily the best book I’ve read this year: incredible language, beautiful structure, and completely, totally heartbreaking. Read it.
It occurs to me that I’d rather know a few people well than a lot of people poorly.