Steel, white bronze by Nick Van Woert at L & M Arts.
Maybe I'll just start gluing everything to the wall.
Steel, white bronze by Nick Van Woert at L & M Arts.
“This is so stupid,” you tell your best work friend over gchat. “Why does anyone read these posts? It’s just glossy pictures of icing and domesticity porn.” Your friend does not respond. “Do you want to get lunch,” you write. Still no response. Seven minutes later: “Most of her recipes are just stolen from somewhere else. They’re not even original.” Your friend’s status changes to Busy. An hour later, you will see her at the Panera Bread down the hill from your office park with two coworkers you don’t know.
9. The Memoirist Who Is Your Age And Whose Life Eerily Parallels Yours
“Nobody should write a memoir before they’re fifty,” you announce to your friends over drinks. You are not fifty. “Everyone seems to think being 27 and unhappy in love is all you need to write a book about your life. You should have to get licensed before you can write one.” You are on your fourth glass of wine. It is Tuesday. “You should have to–be Gore Vidal, or a cultural attaché, or have invented genocide or something.” You spilled a little bit of your wine during that last remark, but it has landed on your napkin and you don’t think anyone noticed.
You have never been asked to write a memoir, but you would immediately if anyone seemed interested.
8. The Literary Short Story Author Who Pretended He Had Never Met You Before Once At A Party Even Though You Absolutely Did
It didn’t sell that many copies, you heard. You don’t know who you heard it from, or how they would know, but it definitely didn’t sell that many copies. And you two had definitely met before, so you don’t know what his whole thing was about, pretending you hadn’t.
7. The Unfunny Bro With The Unfunny Gimmick Book About Punching Mustaches Or Doing Something Stupid For A Year Whose Author Picture Is Smirking At The Reader As If To Say “Can You Believe It?” Which Is Really A Level Of Self-Awareness You Have Not Earned, Pal
Something about kicking robots, or which president had the most balls, or whatever. You reflexively sneer whenever you see it in a bookstore’s window display, which is often. It’s selling really well.
6. Oh Come Right The Fuck On, Nobody Read That
It was dystopian, or something? But not YA. Nobody read it. You refuse to believe anyone actually read it. It was so weird. It was unbelievably short. “A slim novel,” the reviews said. “A slim novel of surprising”…deftness or something. Slim novels are always deft, and powerful, like Joss Whedon heroines.
5. That One Poet Who’s Kind of Making A Living. Do You Know How Many Fucking Words His Fucking Book Has? Like Thirty. He Wrote Thirty Words About A Pond And Won An Award.
“Oh,” you say vaguely when his name comes up in conversation, which is never quite as often as you hope it will. “Him. I don’t know, guys. I’ve heard some stuff about him that if you knew…I don’t think you’d be able to think of him in the same way.” When pressed, you refuse to give further details. “It’s really not my story to tell. I really can’t talk about it.” Still, you never fail to bring it up.
4. His Fucking Dad Has Written Four Bestsellers, He Was Probably Born With An Agent
No, good for him, though. Good for him. Everyone in that family has a book deal, and everyone you know hates them. “He’s actually unbelievably nice,” your one friend who works in publishing and who has actually met him tries to tell you. You have never read any of his books.
3. The Woman With The World’s Last Tumblr-To-Book-Deal
Fine, you know? No, it’s great. You could have come up with the same joke (because the entire book is one joke retold in 85 different ways, not that anyone cares, apparently, because they’re carrying it at Urban Outfitters, which by the way is not a place for books, you don’t buy shoes at Trader Joe’s and you don’t buy books at clothing stores) in, oh, ten minutes, but that’s really great that she managed to spin that thin a premise into a successful personal brand.
Actually it would be kind of amazing, if Trader Joe’s sold shoes. Like TOMS, kind of, but good. That’s a really good idea. You should tell someone that idea.
2. The Writer of the “Unflinching” Debut
400 pages about an unrelenting total fucking bummer. Oh, the drug addictions. Oh, the horrible, grinding poverty as a four-year-old child soldier of fortune/undersea mine welder/burn victim. Oh, the meaningless and tawdry and horrifying sex. No one makes eye contact. Everyone attends horrifically tense dinner parties and throw their lovers out of ninth-story walkups. You wish it would flinch, even just once.
1. Everyone, everyone
“What books do you like, then,” someone you don’t know well asks you. You laugh in a way that suggests he should consider it an embarrassingly incredibly pedestrian and naïve question. “What books do I like?” you ask, stalling for time. “That’s a good one.” You laugh again.
The post The Top Ten Writers Whose Success You’ll Resent This Year appeared first on The Toast.
I need to use up tons of fabric + giant zippers
Luckily, I'm pretty good at this.
I want a porch and I want to make these to use as plant/drink stands.
I know this is technically my neighborhood, but Spice & Rice closed! And I had to watch a 4 hour Indian musical about cricket after a year listening to it at 10 am (very early for 18 year old me) outside my window to begin to understand the game.
Eater Boston reports some guy is setting up our very first sports bar dedicated to cricket. OK, in Inman Square, but that's right across the river.
A roving UHub photographer reports he watched young dude sitting on a D trolley between Kenmore and Hynes tonight as an old guy with a cane stood and struggled to stay upright:
Unbelievable. Man was clearly having trouble maintaining his balance while the trolley moved. The man even said: "I really need to sit down."
My (totally heteronormative) marriage is more threatened by nuts for inequality who say marriages are for procreation than by homosexuality. Urf.
This is what the Supreme Court building looked like last night.
Trying to work on this!
Here’s the full text of a piece I wrote for The Magazine a few months ago. I really enjoyed writing it, and would like to thank Marco once again for publishing it there. If you haven’t checked out The Magazine yet, you should. Anyway, here’s why you’re a total snooze:
Everything was going great until you showed up. You see me across the crowded room, make your way over, and start talking at me. And you don’t stop.
You are a Democrat, an outspoken atheist, and a foodie. You like to say “Science!” in a weird, self-congratulatory way. You wear jeans during the day, and fancy jeans at night. You listen to music featuring wispy lady vocals and electronic bloop-bloops.
You really like coffee, except for Starbucks, which is the worst. No wait—Coke is the worst! Unless it’s Mexican Coke, in which case it’s the best.
Pixar. Kitty cats. Uniqlo. Bourbon. Steel-cut oats. Comic books. Obama. Fancy burgers.
You listen to the same five podcasts and read the same seven blogs as all your pals. You stay up late on Twitter making hashtagged jokes about the event that everyone has decided will be the event about which everyone jokes today. You love to send withering @ messages to people like Rush Limbaugh—of course, those notes are not meant for their ostensible recipients, but for your friends, who will chuckle and retweet your savage wit.
You are boring. So, so boring.
Don’t take it too hard. We’re all boring. At best, we’re recovering bores. Each day offers a hundred ways for us to bore the crap out of the folks with whom we live, work, and drink. And on the internet, you’re able to bore thousands of people at once.1
A few years ago, I had a job that involved listening to a ton of podcasts. It’s possible that I’ve heard more podcasts than anyone else—I listened to at least a little bit of tens of thousands of shows. Of course, the vast majority were so bad I’d often wish microphones could be sold only to licensed users. But I did learn how to tell very quickly whether someone was interesting or not.
The people who were interesting told good stories. They were also inquisitive: willing to work to expand their social and intellectual range. Most important, interesting people were also the best listeners. They knew when to ask questions. This was the set of people whose shows I would subscribe to, whose writing I would seek out, and whose friendship I would crave. In other words, those people were the opposite of boring.
Here are the three things they taught me.
I call it Amtrak Smoking Car Syndrome (because I am old, used to smoke, thought that trains were the best way to get around the country, and don’t really understand what a syndrome is). I’d be down in the smoking car, listening to two people have a conversation that went like this:
Stranger #1: Thing about my life.
Stranger #2: Thing about my life that is somewhat related to what you just said.
Stranger #1: Thing about my life that is somewhat related to what you just said.
Stranger#2: Thing about my life…
Next stop: Boringsville, Population: 2. There’s no better way to be seen as a blowhard than to constantly blow, hard. Instead, give a conversation some air. Really listen. Ask questions; the person you’re speaking with will respect your inquisitiveness and become more interested in the exchange. “Asking questions makes people feel valued,” says former Virgin America VP Porter Gale, “and they transfer that value over to liking you more.”
Watch an old episode of The Dick Cavett Show. Cavett is an engaged listener, very much part of the conversation, but he also allows his partner to talk as well. He’s not afraid to ask questions that reveal his ignorance, but it’s also clear he’s no dummy.2
Online, put this technique to use by pausing before you post. Why are you adding that link to Facebook? Will it be valuable to the many people who will see it? Or are you just flashing a Prius-shaped gang sign to your pals? If it’s the latter, keep it to yourself.
Shitty pictures of your food are all over the internet. Sites like Instagram are loaded with photo after photo of lumpy goo. What you’re trying to share is the joy you feel when the waiter delivers that beautifully plated pork chop. But your photo doesn’t tell the story of that experience. Your photo rips away the delicious smell, the beautiful room, the anticipation of eating, and the presence of people you love.
Instead, think of your photo as a story. When people tell stories, they think about how to communicate the entirety of their experience to someone else. They set the stage, introduce characters, and give us a reason to care. Of course, that’s hard to do in a single photo, but if you think in terms of story, could you find a better way to communicate your experience? How about a picture of the menu, or of your smiling dinner companions? Anything’s better than the greasy puddles you have decided any human with access to the internet should be able to see.
Several years ago, my wife and I went on a long trip. We had saved a little money, and the places we were staying were cheap, so we could afford private rooms in every city but one. Guess where we made the most friends? In Budapest, where we were jammed into a big room with a bunch of folks, we were forced into situations we never would have sought out. I wouldn’t have met Goran, the Marilyn Manson superfan who was fleeing the NATO bombing of Belgrade on a fake Portuguese visa. Or Kurt, the Dutch hippie who let us crash on his floor in Amsterdam. Stepping out of your social comfort zone can be painful, but it’s one of the most rewarding things you can do.3
As you widen your social circle, work on your intellectual one as well. Expose yourself to new writers. Hit the Random Article button on Wikipedia. Investigate the bromides your friends chuck around Twitter like frisbees.
When you expand your social and intellectual range, you become more interesting. You’re able to make connections that others don’t see. You’re like a hunter, bringing a fresh supply of ideas and stories back to share with your friends.
The Big Bore lurks inside us all. It’s dying to be set loose to lecture on Quentin Tarantino or what makes good ice cream. Fight it! Fight the urge to speak without listening, to tell a bad story, to stay inside your comfortable nest of back-patting pals. As you move away from boring, you will never be bored.
Lots of books exist because of how boring you have made the internet. Books like The Information Diet focus on the consumption side of things: how are we, your readers and friends, supposed to deal with the junk you keep sending us? Instead, I’d like to look at the supply side: if you were more interesting, then there would be less junk out there that we would have to deal with. ↩
You don’t have to go back to the ’70s to find good listeners. My friend Jesse Thorn is a great interviewer who also listens in an engaged way. Check out his show, Bullseye. Or if you’d like to shoot for something a bit more academic, BBC’s In Our Time features great conversation led by another master, Melvyn Bragg. ↩
Check these out!
The Atlantic Cities reports on the new "streets seats" going in.
A concerned citizen filed a complaint about a gaslight at Arlington and Beacon this afternoon:
Gas lantern appears to be on fire.
One can only hope he or she called 911 first.