Off I go, for another retreat – this time though, I’m serving not sitting. There’s a few hours of meditation each day in group sits, where everyone sits together in the meditation hall, so I’ll get in at least 3 hours a day, maybe more, but most of my time will be spent making meals and cleaning up. KP duty.
In my prior meme post, I purposefully littered my post (so to speak) with cat meme references, including a cat meme image and a cat meme video. I wanted to test a theory. I recently read a blog post by a blogger/writer who said that posting cat memes and videos was essential for pulling in blog traffic, regardless of the nature of your blog. She monitored her blog traffic closely and found a significant spike in hits for each blog post that included a cat-themed meme. Her advice: stick cat memes in your blog posts, regardless of whether it ties in with anything. The results for my blog post? No significant spike in traffic. Maybe the algorithms are already aware of the gimmick.
I recently finished Every Loves Story is A Ghost Story, a biography of David Foster Wallace. It was one of the best biographies I’ve read in quite a while, which is perhaps a bit surprising when you think about it, because a writer’s life doesn’t really tend to be the stuff of compelling story telling. Wallace himself joked about this. The writer’s life is not necessarily the stuff that makes for a tense, action-packed thriller. Even so, I was hooked. Maybe it’s just that I’m a writer and reading about the neurotic life of another writer is appealing, therapeutic even, but I think D. T. Max in truth just knocked it out of the park. It was easy to empathize with Wallace, in his struggle to write something in a form that both resonated with and challenged his contemporaries, all the while dealing with very intense periods of depression and self-doubt.
I recently went under the knife, so to speak, for a vasectomy, rendering myself sterile, incapable of reproducing offspring. I bucked my biological drive to procreate, I resisted my natural evolutionary drive to replicate my genes. Or did I? A part of me would like to think that I resisted millions of years of evolutionary biology. In itself, that would be quite the accomplishment in life, at least as far as I’m concerned, but I know better. For all of my adult life, I’ve had a general sense that I wanted to leave behind something else, and frankly having kids would get in the way of such schemes. It’s an instinct that many writers, artists, thinkers, and other outliers have in common, and there’s a good reason for this. The reason is not in the genes, it’s in the memes.
I made a rare appearance at the theater last night, and rarer still, I purchased my favorite salty-sweet combination — popcorn and Sprite — my craving setting me back nearly fifteen bucks. (Such a purchase generally requires something along the lines of a leap of faith, i.e., that I step up to the concession and order without first checking to see what it will cost.) It was all to see Black Panther, in Columbus, Ohio, with my sister and brother-in-law. I was truly spellbound by the film, riveted by the cool inversion of the generally accepted norm that white Western capitalist culture is the superior standard and the rightful model for modernity and beyond. There’s something innovative and new here, with this film, something that is refreshing. As director Ryan Cooglar put it, “The concept of an African story, with actors of African descent at the forefront, combined with the scale of modern franchise filmmaking, is something that hasn’t really been seen before. You feel like you’re getting the opportunity of seeing something fresh, being …
There is a fine article in the The Atlantic. It’s a very fine article in the very fine magazine The Atlantic. This article, How to Talk Trump: A short guide to speaking the president’s dialect, is — look, it’s a very fine article, and truly they do very fine, really good work at The Atlantic, so if you want to speak big league, like Donald Trump, who is, frankly, the President of the United States, I might add, then you will absolutely read this article.
I finished the first installment of David Sedaris’ diaries a few months back. I would only recommend it to the most rabid of Sedaris fanatics. After all, they are, in fact, the Sedaris diaries. They are not categorized by subject or topic — there’s no attempt to add a coherent theme or an organizing principle of any sort. It’s just the Sedaris diaries, which for most would be uninteresting, perhaps a form of torture, even; but if you want to know the life of Sedaris and get an even better sense of his writing process, then it’s worthwhile. I had a good deal of fun with it, listening to Sedaris himself narrate the audiobook. I also stumbled across a short six-minute video, linked below, of Sedaris discussing the diaries. In the vid he tosses out a few bits of writerly wisdom.