- billcommented6 months ago
Rock and roll. This is right up my alley. I almost bought a Hemingwrite a few years ago and went with an AlphaSmart instead, which I love. A few of the keys are sticky now which drives me nuts, but it’s still a cozy machine for toying around and getting creative. Now I mostly write on paper. Non-fiction goes in journals and my novel is coming along on yellow legal pads.
At the end of the day, discipline is what matters. Everything else is (ironically) noise.
Holy SHIT. The sequel to one of my all-time favorite books, A Visit from the Goon Squad, is apparently coming soon and this clearly is an excerpt. (Rolph’s back! I want more Rolph!)
Long before Readup existed, the short story Safari (itself an excerpt from Goon Squad, also published in The New Yorker before the book was released) completely changed the way I think about reading, writing and life.
I can’t get enough Jennifer Egan, and reading her this morning is a revelation. Her stories and characters have been living all around my consciousness for the last decade, and wandering around with them - and some new characters too! - feels like some kind of homecoming or long-overdue reunion. Or just a super-fat bong hit.
The elements of sci-fi and time travel are daring, wonderful, exciting. I’m more than a little bit on edge about that. But what’s really pressing against my temples right now is the thought of these square dudes wandering around the redwoods, stoned, thinking, is this real? and how much that echoes my own life, which started in “the ‘burbs” and progressed through some of the exact same mind-expanding hippie scenes in the magical, fairy-filled woods of Northern California.
Life is good. Even though we’re all riddled with anxiety and depression and fear and failure, we have writers like Jennifer Egan who can put us deep into the brains and experiences of other semi-screwed-up people. That’s the revelation: when we’re actually in the moment — here, now — its all good. Even when it isn’t, it is.
We’re all just trying to look normal when we’re handed a weird instrument and told to play. It’s a metaphor for life. Lose the shoes, skinny dip, and for fuck’s sake start strumming and singing before it’s too late, even though it’s already kinda too late, but also there’s no such thing as too late.
Gahhh, I’m obviously so stoked right now and can’t hold it in. What a great way to feel and what a crazy (magical!) thing that good literature can do that to us.
Wow. Intense, emotional, & raw. I want to read more stuff by this author.
😳 I wanna read Drew’s version!
Ok. Wow. Interesting. I read Heather’s piece first, yesterday, and I too thought it was unnecessarily cruel.
But something about this one is also all wrong. Marriage itself is bullshit The whole thing is bullshit. The author is dead wrong to dismiss “The Institution of Marriage” from this conversation. This WHOLE conversation is about the institution, and the institution sucks.
Having said that, super-long-term loving partnerships that last until someone dies are incomprehensibly, other-worldly beautiful. Cosmic, meaning-of-life stuff. “Until death do us part,” (or some variation) can be hot/awesome/amazing, especially when whispered into your lover’s ear during an intimate moment, when you really mean it. Hearing someone say it to you- what a thrill! On the flip side, it feels borderline depraved to have that kind of thing written down as a legal commitment on a ledger in some random government building somewhere.
Love is magic. When two people are attracted to each other so much that they bash their entire lives together and stay that way forever - boom! - it is just so, fucking, incredible. That’s not what marriage is! Marriage isn’t a contract between two people, it’s a contract between two people and the state. Marriage ensures state control (previously it was a religious thing, but religious control and state control have everything in common) over every aspect of your existence. We regularly conflate these two things (loving, long-term relationships & marriages) and the result is a bunch of unhappy people in unhappy arrangements.
I don’t judge people who get married, but I do get frustrated when people don’t call it what it is. As with so many contracts, money is the key part. We get married because we want the advantages and we want to work less. We want to “lock it in” so we can relax. Again: I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with “settling” with a partner, but we might as well admit it is what it is: the easy way.
When you get married, you’re saying that (1) you want the financial benefits, and (2) you want Uncle Sam to play a role in keeping you and your lover together for as long as possible.
I don’t mind living in a world with marriage, but I think I would LOVE to live in a world without it. Either way, there’s plenty of love to go around (plus we magical humans can make love! How fucking cool!) so let’s all just do more of that and stop worrying so much about good marriages and bad marriages. In the grand scheme of things love is a very very real thing and marriage is a very very fake thing.
Ok now I’m going to hit “submit” before I proofread any of this nonsense 😝
I usually prefer “story” articles versus “information” articles. I want a beginning and an end, and some tension in between. Unfortunately, there’s no story in this one, but it’s still a really great read with lots of fascinating information about what it means to be a human. Smells rule.