the impulse to copy out all Mary Ruefle essays, m-stop by m-stop, and carry them around like a many-paged love letter, being the kind of person to carry such letters around and not put them in a drawer.
"We are all one question, and the best answer seems to be love—a connection between things….That is why I read: I want everything to be okay. That’s why I read when I was a lonely kid and that’s why I read now that I’m a scared adult. It’s a sincere desire, but a sincere desire always complicates things—the universe has a peculiar reaction to our sincere desires. Still, I believe the planet on the table, even when wounded and imperfect, fragmented and deprived, is worthy of being called whole. Our minds and the universe—what else is there?
…In our marginal existence, what else is there but this voice within us, this great weirdness we are always leaning forward to listen to?”
—from “Someone Reading a Book,” Mary Ruefle
The Maltese Falcon, Steve Nash, and the Great Computer Backup of 2014
As part of what I’m calling the Great Computer Backup Project 2014, I undertook a subproject last night, called, figuring out what the hell is on my desktop. A place that I’ve kept, well, inclusive.
You know, a little of this, a little of that.
There was the normal stuff: double-downloaded pdfs, timesheets, Joe Biden pics, screen captures that prove I applied for an NEA and filed my taxes. But there were also weirder chunks of text and pixel, many unattributed, such as this conversation:
You mean the Maltese Falcon?
It’s an eagle.
Okay, well, I call it a falcon.
It’s an eagle. It’s just like the one Lynn gave us.
And this brief character study, embedded in a text file called “taxday”:
bartender called harmless
worked with him at place called smiling moose
did not steal my computer
Maybe, I thought, this is what pinterest is like, only in reverse.
"Taxday," otherwise undated, also suggests I must have briefly waded into internet dating territory that year, based on a cut-and-paste times new roman note from one Bradley, who goes to great length to describe his reaction to Ira Glass’s reaction at the end of a certain This American Life episode, and then closes by saying he’s "always up for tea."
The file contains no evidence of a reply.
I found some other things I forgot or maybe blocked, including proof I wrote poetry as late as 2011, and, apparently, an Open Letter to Steve Nash.doc.
Also found: Kaiser Family Foundation fact sheet on Medicaid and the uninsured, a draft of a white paper on Heparin I worked on, and a series of haiku I wrote on a choir bus somewhere between the Quad Cities and Minneapolis, fueled by red vines and existential fatigue.
And this screen capture, which I named “JonStewartcrushphoto.”
Because it is poetry month and I’m feeling reckless/optimistic and I miss singing, or the slushy no-man’s-land between winter and spring, or something, I give to you part of that poem, now properly filed away in its “poetry of yore” file, the equivalent of the free/donate box that hangs out in the garage, because you can’t even recycle this stuff, they won’t take it, and which I will doubtless delete delete delete in the coming days, when I remember I don’t know how to break lines.
Also there is a car wash and falafel and a condiment mezzanine.
As of today, there’s a parrot in my novel.
Apologies to Flaubert.
'The associative loopiness of a person who's gone too long without meeting one of their basic needs!
Great review; I’m in.
Been thinking about
- air hockey and how many places actually had tables when air hockey was in its ascendancy
- if I would be good at pool or skiing at this point in my life
- peanut butter pretzels
- what percussion instrument rain sounds like on a certain vintage of wood
- why I never want to cook the kale I bought
- coordinate planes
- how many times I’ve been seen wearing this sweater in the last month
- having a favorite sweater, which I’ve never had before
- how many square feet I inhabit, on a given day
- why I no longer like pink lady apples
- How to write this letter
- How many of these library books I’ll get to before they’re due back
- What the marine layer is
- What I refuse to google, and where I draw the line.
Also, I’ve been reading Robert Boswell’s craft book THE HALF-KNOWN WORLD, Jenny Offill’s DEPT. OF SPECULATION, Jim Gavin’s MIDDLE MEN, Mavis Gallant’s THE COST OF LIVING and VARIETIES OF EXILE and her collected, and Mary Ruefle’s MADNESS, RACK and HONEY again, which I always have the urge to copy down word for word into my notebook but end up compromising and only copying some.
OH, and Jack Pendarvis’ “blog,” which I will not be bossy and tell you to read, because bossiness is my Number One Complaint about the internet right now, or maybe Number Two, after the group decision to stop fact-checking and just keep linking to stuff that may or may not be true, because fact-checking doesn’t show up in metrics.
Also, this is a thing I saw on twitter yesterday which made me really really sad, via the transitive property: K = L = P, where Kindness = Lifelong customer = Profit.