Joan felt herself descending into that breed of loneliness particular to Southern California freeways. She thought of eye contact with fellow humans and instead found anonymous headlights gazing past each other, unblinking, fixated on a set destination in this breathless, lethargic sprawl. She had a pronounced yearning for something that was itself decidedly unpronounced. Left only with this undirected desire in lanes of strictly directed, uniform traffic and indistinguishable exit signs, how was a young woman who had recently learned that she was a poet and a bohemian supposed to find what she sought, or even be sure of what it was she ought to be seeking?
To refresh: we hid from our dates while Brendan fell in love with his, you got called a fruit by a Pi Chi, I got called a fuck face.
James reminding me about the time we got invited to Delta Date Night
Valentine’s Day consisted of breaking into buildings to try to gain rooftop access, walking by some people smoking either crack or meth (which it was is still up for debate), yelling at an asshole jogger, drinking two bottles of wine in bed, and watching cops fuck with a cab driver outside my bedroom window. It was nice to spend it with someone as entirely insane as I am.
John Heart Jackie covering Damien Jurado. Beautiful.
Tahoe is where I was the first time I took shrooms. It was beautiful, and this is beautiful.
A favorite professor of mine in college once claimed that careful reading, with the attentiveness and engagement it demands, is becoming increasingly counter-cultural. Rather than bemoaning the fact that serious readers are becoming an even rarer species, she celebrated the notion that choosing to spend time with a novel is, on some small scale, an act of resisting the pace and superficiality of our society.
Today I was sick and used it as an excuse to spend an entire day on the Internet for the first time in quite a while. When I finally closed my laptop and turned to the book I’ve been reading, it was difficult to go from the realm of passive clicking through reliably anticlimactic links and unremarkable, skim-worthy content to something that required my participation and reflection.
Of course the Internet is useful and has paved the way for all sorts of previously unimaginable events, interactions, and ways of framing/talking about our world. But in a society in which ‘reading’ texts, Facebook statuses, and brief, forgettable news blurbs with minimal complexity and nuance takes up a significant portion of daily life, slow reading and literature become even more powerful and relevant. It’s similar to how being tweeted can never compare to being kissed—unless you’re doing the kissing wrong. The rewards that a great novel offers if we participate in it attentively (‘read it like you would a love letter,’ as another professor often said) cannot be replaced by the media and technology that tend to occupy our time as vapid distractions to the same extent that they function in useful and revolutionary ways. As our conception of time and space struggles to stay in stride with a plugged-in world, the alternate sort of time we are afforded when we put all else aside to really read (and not just go through a paragraph before checking our inbox) becomes even more profound by juxtaposition.
This sounded much better in my head before I started actually posting it, but a day where nothing besides cold meds has entered my body doesn’t make for my best writing. You get the point though.
…I have always resisted the power of time out of some internal compulsion which I myself have never understood, keeping myself apart from so-called current events in the hope, as I now think, that time will not pass away, has not passed away, that I can turn back and go behind it, and there I shall find everything as it once was, or more precisely I shall find that all moments of time have co-existed simultaneously, in which case none of what history tells us would be true, past events have not yet occurred but are waiting to do so at the moment when we think of them, although that, of course, opens up the bleak prospect of everlasting misery and neverending anguish.
Austerlitz, WG Sebald
Sometimes I think Nick and I should have just taken Starr and Sara to Winnemucca with us when we had the chance. Maybe we would have woken up in that godforsaken motel with a rash the color of a Nevada sunrise, but we would have been miners and we’d have been in good company anyhow.