Sunday, May 20, 2007

Trapping the moment

Hey Boardmaniacs:
If there are any of you still out there, after so many disappointing weeks and months of
no-posting, I want to say that I am sorry I have not been more diligent on the blogging front. There have been some very unsettling, highly impactful things happening in my life (I'll explain later), but really there is a deeper issue: I have not believed in myself or what I have to say. I have felt like what I have to say is just not worth putting out there. I always feel like what I write or think is not original enough, funny enough, or clever enough to put out there and feel like someone else would want to read.

Maybe I am too hard on myself, but I feel a responsibility t0 make your visit to this site (and your time reading this) worth it.

I may be going too far. Ultimately you, as the reader, are the judge of what is worth it or not. If you don't like it and want to spend your time elsewhere, you can always just close the window and go do something else, and that's that.

I am going to do my best to let it go and just do my thing without worrying about your experience of it quite so much, at least the part that paralyze the creative process. You are still important to me, but it is most important right now that I just write as much as possible and put it out there. I hope you enjoy it.

Among other things, I am going to try to make these shorter and more frequent. Let's see how it works out.

So back to blogging.

I just bought another subscription to the New Yorker magazine. I have been without since my departure to SA nearly 16 months ago (can you believe it has been that long?). Somehow this more than any of the other settling, grown-up acts of establishing myself here (e.g. buying cars, getting jobs, and signing leases) the re-commitment to this grown up rag for some reason feels like the true herald of my return to sophisticated adult living.

My New Yorker subscription was among one of the more surprisingly sentimental goodbyes to my former life in Seattle. That is taking into account dozens of friends, a very comfortable salary, and a girl I (thought I) was in love with, among other things. Regardless of all of these I knew that in the midst my life of vagabond detachment and youthful freedom, embracing all the adventure and new discovery that the world had to offer me, I truly missed receiving and reading the New Yorker every week. I would think about it from time to time, that quiet yet vibrant unassuming old friend with whom I had lost touch.

This would usually happen when I didn't have anything great to read despite having loads of the free time to read that my former life did not always afford.

Funny how that works.

While in a hostel lounge in La Paz, I did come across an issue from 2002. My heart leapt, hardly believing it was true. I almost wrote a thank you note to the fellow in Oklahoma whose subscrition address was still on the cover (I regret not doing that, actually: Dear Sir- I know I am a stranger but I found your discarded New Yorker in a pile of Spanish language newspapers and VHS tapes of old soccer matches, and I want to say how much it meant to me emotionally..." or whatever).


This was to me, at the time, an intellectual oasis in the desert. I wanted to devour it it one sitting, but I knew it to be too precious for that. Through great self-control, I made it last for 2 weeks, treating myself to its delights only when I really needed the escape: surefire engaging written entertainment, those moments when I lacked the discipline to make myself read my books or write in my journal. I could always turn to that sweet, dry old copy of the NY'er to deliver me from my surroundings - no matter how bumpy, smelly, or never-ending the bus ride or how thin the walls or sunken the mattresses from which I needed to escape to a higher place.

Anyone else pick up on the subtle elitism in that last paragraph? How can one speak, or even think of the NY'er without thinking of how one actually feels like a more interesting, sophisticated, intelligent, and relevant person when one reads it?

Problem is when it gets public: You always hear it at parties- "So I was reading this article in the New Yorker..." followed by everyone around thinking "this guy is such an elitist ass" or "I read that article, but I am gonna keep my mouth shut or I'll look like an elitist ass."

For the record, I don't think I am an elitist anything, but that doesn't stop me feeling incredibly self-conscious about it. Regardless, I love the New Yorker. (A dream is to one day get something published in it. Keep your fingers crossed.) It is smart, consistent, funny, and relevant. If you judge me as harshly as I seem to judge myself, you shove it. As with most sensitive overachievers, only I get the privilege to be that judgmental on myself.

In related news:

Did you know that you can buy magazine subscriptions at huge discount on eBay? Who knew? I found my New Yorker subscription, a 3 year, 141 issue subscription for $39.99. Sure, it might be a scam, but the guy does this for a business and has loads of positive feedback. It seemed like a reasonable risk considering the potential savings. What is that, 29 cents an issue? Sure beats the cost-per-issue in a therapists office.

That joke is dumb.

So the downside is that it takes 8-12 weeks, as opposed to 4-6 weeks, to start receiving it. Humph. Thankfully I have a smart friend who is willing to help me out with recent issues until mine arrive.

One of the fun things about eBay is seeing the seller's other auctions. This one, by far, was my favorite.

If nothing else for this Headline:

"Male Mink Roam as Mating Begins"

Now if that doesn't say "intelligent relevant journalism" to you, you must not live in Rural Nevada.

I wonder if the guy who writes those articles has neurotic bouts of self-critical writer's block too. Maybe he can just cover himself in deer urine and go "trap it off" with his editor when he does. Sometimes, I wish it were so simple for me.