farahmoans
Growing up, I didn’t read novels by women. It’s not that I didn’t want to. It’s almost like I didn’t think that I needed to or, I guess, I didn’t know that I needed to. I was perfectly happy in a world contained by men. I adopted the posture of the brooding male as my own. I was Salinger, I was Kerouac, I was any male protagonist in a novel that one of my boyfriends recommended. I didn’t know that there was a specific female sadness so I was content with relating to a generalized one. And in a way, reading these novels was less of a way to relate and more of a way to learn how to be the type of girl that these male novelists liked. One of my first ambitions wasn’t to be a writer – it was to be a writer’s muse.
Gabby Bess, in Dazed

Crafting a stream of thought feels so much safer in your own mind than in a room full of strangers. It’s not that the reception in your mind is nicer—it’s just less unpredictable/distracting/destabilizing.

every time someone asks me what I want to do with a humanities degree

I tell them that the following scenario is my most up-to-date ultimate writing goal:

An outdoor press conference. I stand at the podium. An eager important award-winning investigative journalist pushes to the front of the massive crowd to cry out:

"—but how on earth did you manage to write something SO SELF-AWARE?!?!"

I pause and pull off my cool shades. The side of my mouth curls into a coy yet genuine half-smile. I lean into the microphone. I look down at the podium for a half-second to gather my thoughts, and then peer up at the sky with my eye glimmering:

"I diary."

The women all swoon. The dudes all pop massive boners. The babies squeal with glee and the dogs leap maniacally into the air. Felix, my dog, comes gliding through the sky in a magical Christmas sleigh. Glitter trails behind him. He swoops down onto the stage and I hop in. He pulls a golden harp out of the trunk and starts playing it as the carriage sweeps off the stage and carries us away into the clouds.

The flowers look up and smile as we ride over them. The sun takes its shades off too, just to wink at us. Felix tells me he loves me. He can finally speak. I hug him and our bodies fuse into one. We land on a fluffy cloud. We sprawl out and pull out our diary. We write about what just happened.

You know like bad guys in the movies? You know what they do? They stay in a castle and they use crystal balls and long fingernails to make shit happen. That’s writing. That’s what that is. The good guys are out there, ripped, slaying demons with their actual swords and making out with chicks. They go places. And the bad guy is like: “I’m angry at myself and no one likes me, so I’m gonna have advocacy. I’m gonna write Cheers! I want to touch people, but if I touch them in real life they’ll slap me.” That’s what writing is. It’s a gross person getting a hug.
Dan Harmon
academic dreams

Wittgenstein's ideas are so sought-after that many of his students' lecture notes have been published.

I like to imagine that one day, one of my Philosophy of Language professors will become so famous that some group of academics request my notes but upon reviewing them are so disgusted with the joke ideas I’ve written in all the margins that they revoke my degree.

Why bother?

The best prospect would be a circle of friend-followers who entertain my web pursuits. I might get a few likes, and maybe a reblog. An acquaintance at the local bar would randomly remark how she loves my posts. One day a coworker could laugh about how he always shows his wife my jokes. Slowly, I might realize I wasn’t trying to reach the world. I was trying to reach people.

Michael Dowe

(Anytime that anyone reads anything you’ve written = both a small victory for you & a gift from them.)

HOPEFULLY THE ONLY TIME I WILL EVER COME THIS CLOSE TO A TRAVEL BLOG UGH

Right now I’m drinking diet coke alone in a hotel diner at 11 pm on a Sunday because it’s the only place with free caffeine refills + a desk-like surface.

I say that like it’s a last resort, but this spot is perfect. I woke up from a night nap & was itching to do something (ie. to feel like I was ‘doing work’). Thankfully I remembered that I’m staying at a business-ey hotel & anyone will hopefully assume the best of me (ie. business-ey work obligations) if they spot me furiously typing on a tablet late at night. (A high hope considering that I’m sitting cross-legged in a booth sucking soda like it’s crack.)

The fact of the matter is: I just want to do work.

My boss asked me a couple days ago, at our end-of-the-internship lunch, how I felt about leaving New York. “You’re ready to get out, aren’t you?”

And, jeez, I had complained so much while I was there. But I blanked whenever I tried to think about leaving.

Complaining, for me, is inevitable. I’m kind of a whiny little bitch. And really, everything I whined about in New York was true. I was completely overwhelmed by how completely overwhelming everything was. I did feel like I couldn’t breathe for the entire time I was there / I couldn’t really sleep much at all / I was really terrified by how constantly ‘needing to do something’ I felt. I was itchy, all the time (though that was partially due to all the nightmarish cockroaches I’d seen).

I really wanted to be okay just BEING / NOT DOING STUFF. That’s a meditative tenement that (I believe) is vitally important to acceptance&calm&existing peacefully. So it sort of freaked me the fuck out that I was getting so far from it. [And, god, maybe in a month I’ll have a meltdown and we’ll all be like "whoop, look at that, crazy bitch should have listened to herself a month ago when she started to notice that she needed to chill the fuck out."] But…I might want to try this doing lots of shit constantly thing for a while now.

Now I feel unhappy unless I’m typing or planning or coordinating something. It’s a scary mode of constantly feeling busy.

I told my boss something like "I get what they say now, about how New Yorkers don’t know that any place exists outside of New York."

I was so itchy that I knew I wanted to leave (so I could stop itching) but I also lost the ability to imagine being anywhere else. Maybe a city so crowded&oppressive&filled with constant opportunity makes you addicted to productive discomfort.

I don’t know what it is. And I’m gonna stop myself before I add too much more to the pile of meaningless crap poetic writing that tries to make sense of New York.

I will say, however: what it felt like to me was riding in a car with the windows down (like a dog) while making yourself keep your eyes open.

And now, the thank-you message that I wrote while buzzing off caffeine during one of my last mornings in the city, posted reluctantly because I hate my own sentimentality but it’s cute enough & I owe these people a thank-you:

To the people of my New York:

I’ve had a wonderful time with all of you this summer. Lots of you are people I met through my production internship with a canary torsi—amazing artists who I got to watch at the Invisible Dog, creating 4 hours of organic, layered art before my eyes on a nightly basis. Some of you are international neighborhood bartenders and baristas who let me linger at your Williamsburg bars to hear you recount fantasy-esque tales of Australian coasts and Turkish mosques. Some of you are young professionals who I randomly met on the streets—bachelor parties in the East Village who took me out for beer to chat about our undergraduate philosophy departments, grad student outings in the Theatre district who tricked their fellow real estate students into believing that I was a member of their class and a trapeze artist, and music producers in the Metropolitan Ave subway station who graciously and immediately offered lighting and filming assistance for my show—and followed through with their offer, too.

ALL of you made my first time living in the city far more liveable, comforting, and interesting than it ever could have been without your friendliness.

image

(Really though, fuck travel blogs.)

on thinking vs. doing

There’s a big push in the writing + comedy (and probably other arts) communities to CREATE.


CREATE, keep CREATING, never stop, keep churning out material, don’t become a fanboy, don’t become a teacher, or just a scholar, don’t become someone who just LOOKS at other people’s art, keep making your OWN art, etc.

I don’t think i’m just imagining this sentiment—we’ve all heard the saying ‘those who can’t do teach’. There’s this pervasive idea that the mode of studying a form threatens the mode of creating in that form.

And maybe I’m just saying this because I’m pissy (and consequently indignant) about prioritizing college over comedy and internships over mic time—maybe I just feel guilty for not ‘CREATING’ more—but I don’t think it’s bad to occasionally stop and think about the massive amount of shit that’s already out there before blindly adding your own shit to the pile.

John Green, ‘Make gifts for people

how to pretend that your decision to take a math course wasn’t a huge fucking mistake

 

Use your quantitative skill set to belittle the humanities:

 

FORMAL LOGIC SYMBOLS:

∀x∃y( { Ux & Dy & Exy } → ∃z( Wxz & Vzy & Izx & { Pz → B[ x, Az ] } ) )

 

LEXICON:

U[α] : α is an undergraduate student

D[α] : α is dialogue

E[α,β] : α engages β

W[α,β] : α writes β

V[α,β] : α is vaguely related to β

I[α,β] : α indulges β

P[α] : α is pretentious

B[α,β] : α believes that β

A[α] : α is admirable

 

ENGLISH TRANSLATION:

For all things ‘x’, there exists some thing ‘y’ such that ( { if x is an undergrad and y is dialogue and x engages y, } then there will exist some thing ‘z’ such that ( x writes z and z is vaguely related to y and z indulges x and { if z is pretentious, then x will believe that z is admirable } ) ).


NORMAL ENGLISH TRANSLATION:

If an undergrad engages in a dialogue, then she’ll just end up writing some vaguely related,  self-indulgent crap. But she’ll believe her crappy writing is admirable if it’s pretentious.

 


Good luck with finals / exams / making puzzles out of your academic disillusionment.