To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
My good friend Jenny (not her real name) lives in Los Angeles. Like many, she moved there to find a job in the entertainment industry. She toiled through a string of grueling, unpaid internships on independent films and student…
Here’s the first piece I wrote for Bright Wall Dark Room!
My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips’ red; If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. I have seen roses damask’d, red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks; And in some perfumes is there more delight Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak, yet well I know That music hath a far more pleasing sound; I grant I never saw a goddess go; My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground: And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she belied with false compare.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”—
I’ve said that on the first day of the con, I felt like an outsider. Not geek enough to be there. I had no costume, very little comic book knowledge, and I didn’t collect anything. But what I didn’t realize is that that doesn’t matter. If you love something, you belong at Comic-Con.
I read Shellie’s commentary this morning while my editor at Tor was helping me fix this thing that I wrote for them over the weekend, and I was struck by how similar our conclusions ended up being, despite having been developed independently of one another. I think that explains a lot about why we’re friends.
I’ll be reading a piece of mine this Thursday for BedPost Confessions, a monthly performance series on sex and sexuality, at ND Studios. The show starts at 8PM, but come early if you want to get a seat. My piece is entitled “American Alligator,” and…I NEED TO PRACTICE IT. Ulp!
I’m still on vacation; I have one more full day in beautiful Bend, Oregon before I head back home. In the meantime, here’s an essay I wrote for The Under 35 Project on the subject of “deepening my meditation practice” (whatever that means).
I’m off to Bend, Oregon tomorrow morning to visit my cousin, Jane, so there won’t be much Tumblring for the next week or so. I can’t wait to savor the cool air, pine trees, rocky coasts, and snow-capped mountains!
Of course, the night before I leave Austin’s fabled hellsummer for the cooler climes of the Pacific Northwest, it rains like crazy.
A FOG in London daytime like the night is,
Our fellow-creatures seem like wandering ghosts,
The dull mephitic cloud will bring bronchitis;
You cannon into cabs or fall o’er posts.
The air is full of pestilential vapours,
Innumerable “blacks” come with the smoke
The thief and rough cut unmolested capers,
In truth a London Fog’s no sort of joke.
You rise by candle-light or gaslight, swearing
There never was a climate made like ours;
If rashly you go out to take an airing,
The soot-flakes come in black Plutonian show’rs.
Your carriage wildly runs into another,
No matter though you go at walking pace;
You meet your dearest friend, or else your brother,
And never know him, although face to face.
The hours run on, and night and day commingle,
Unutterable filth is in the air;
You re much depressed, e’en in the fire-side ingle,
The hag Dyspepsia seems everywhere.
Your wild disgust in vain you try to bridle,
Mad as March hare or hydrophobic dog,
You feel in fact intensely suicidal:
Such things befall us in a London Fog!
I’m currently reading (and loving the hell out of) Peter Ackroyd’s London: A Biography. I love London, but I’m really glad I was there in 2002 and not 1882, because apparently all the lyrics about London in Sweeney Todd were true. London was one nasty, stanky, dreadful place.