"This happens to me sometimes. A curtain falling in the middle of the act, leaving minutes and sometimes hours in the dark. But anyone watching me wouldn’t notice. They’d simply see a woman on her way to somewhere else, with no idea her memory just snapped in half." One of my favorite essayists on her drinking years.
"Isn’t that the way all love affairs run—from dream and cloud-journey to earth-firmness?"
Everything is yours, everything is not yours.
"After a few months off lithium, I felt energetic, engaged, even electric. It’s hard to know if that feeling was just a ramping up toward mania again or if it was the lifting of a lithium fog. But this is what ended up happening: I turned down jobs and burned all professional bridges with sharp and illogical emails, many of them referring to Eminem; I kept a stash of homemade granola in my pocket to hand out to anyone who would accept a stranger’s dirty pocket granola; I developed an alter ego, a rapper named Jamya; I painted my face with spectacular green-and-gold eye shadow; I was kicked out of a bar without even drinking; I stood on my head every morning; my apartment burned down; I served as the sole witness to a stranger’s wedding on top of the World Trade Center; I wore 800 necklaces and spoke in a slow growl or sometimes a high-pitched squeal; I saved a corgi from being hit by a cab on Central Park West (on which occasion Ben Vereen stopped to call a dog ambulance); I spoke to strangers with the intensity of a car salesman stuck in a Mamet monologue; I preached about Jesus wherever I went, which for a Jew is unusual; I spent almost $700 on butternut squash and assorted seasonal gourds. My clothes smelled of fire, from the burned-out apartment. I scared the scary people on the subway. All that took place over two weeks, maybe three, as I made my way back and forth between Los Angeles and New York."
A son of football calls his mother.
"'How many people do this hike?' I ask the bartender, after I’ve come out of my reverie. 'None,' she says."
Peter Eastman's studio / The small, happy life / Trail type / Groundhog Day and making art / The last true hermit / Shots from a 1978 Stones concert / Inside Clickhole / The image search for Lofoten / Sweet dog mug / Matisse bag / Was this my baby? Who was he? / Advanced style / Addendum to the Proust questionnaire.
"I have this wretched vision of myself as others must currently see me—as the nucleus of all sorrow, the person to whom Bad Things happen. My body the site of the catastrophe. It’s mostly imagined, this vision, but for some it’s true. Some people edge politely away from my grief; they don’t talk about it because they don’t know how to, or they don’t want to. Or they think that by talking about it, they’ll remind me it exists." Dispatches from Trauma Island.
"If there were a Mount Rushmore for writers, he'd be there already." Remembering James Salter.
"A person is not supposed to be in both Asia and Africa in the same week on a regular basis; the world should not be traversed at that speed. It was scrambling, discombobulating; worse, it was damaging – some central element of my subjective self was being ebbed away." Hotel Melancholia.
Questions from my mixed-race son.
"What happened in a Charleston church on Wednesday night is a lot of things, but one thing it's not is 'unspeakable.' We should speak of it often. We should speak of it loudly. We should speak of it as terrorism, which is what it was. We should speak of it as racial violence, which is what it was."
And: "We created the day. We bear the judgment. May God have mercy on the poor South that has so been led."
Grieving a brother. It comes as no surprise that this made me cry.
"Describing a life doesn’t actually tell a story. And we’re actually not usually given to know our place inside of our lives in quite the same way we do with our characters. So writing autobiographical fiction is in some ways much harder than writing fiction. You know less about what is happening." Alexander Chee gives great interviews. His book Edinburgh was the best I read this month.
The Instagrams of Hallie Bateman and Kara Haupt.
What Sally Mann would have the President read: "Books that will send him down on his knees in a loamy forest to observe the bijoux details of this sweet, complex life."
How Reddit works as an incubator of hate.
"Sometimes, I’ve noticed with horror that the memories I have of things like my daughter’s birthday parties or the trips we’ve taken together are actually memories of the photographs I took, not of the events themselves, and together, the two somehow become ever more worn and overwrought, like lines gone over too many times in a drawing."
"Baltimore woman asked to tone down 'relentlessly gay' yard will instead make it even more relentless and more gay."
And once again I begin to feel my finite remaining hours on this earth slipping inexorably away while my daughter sits next to me, mesmerized. Which is what parenting is sometimes: the pouring of one’s ever-diminishing stock of time into this other being, her own supply seeming, for now, inexhaustible. The scourge of terrible children's books by Gabriel Roth, whose novel The Unknowns is so great.
"I have lived thirty years in these thirty days. I am thirty years sadder. I feel like I am thirty years wiser."
Ten years at the Post: "Life doesn't usually conform to narrative, or, at least, a single narrative. Rigorous reporting can reveal arcs and themes and twists and denouements and literary-like symbolism, but in the end life is mostly open-ended, unsatisfying and incomplete. Honor that incompleteness. Respect it."