Are all first person narrators inherently unreliable? I can’t help but think that they are. I do have a soft spot for blatantly or surprisingly unreliably narrated fiction, however. For me, narrators as characters are less believable and less relatable when they are made as reliable as an omniscient narrator. It may be that I can’t trust anyone whose grip on fact, on reality, on memory or on life itself is too much more reliable than my own. Try on some crazy for yourself!
I have been trying years now to figure out why I hate Facebook so much. I mean, the truly informative bits I get from friends far away are nice reasons to linger on, but for the most part, I would love to ditch the whole thing in favor of a bit of Twitter, email and my blog. Still, I’d not been able to come up with an appropriate metaphor until I saw this halloween costume idea… Now I am even more certain that I will be spending less time as part of the cycle of ingest-and-pass-along. I have things I want to do with my life, and while the cuteness is occasionally a balm, and the calls to action are often heed-worthy, most of the time, I could obtain the same cuteness from my own dogs and birds, and the socio-political news directly from the sources I have deemed trustworthy. I am weak, and the moment I open the ‘book, I end up drowning in the mire, allowing myself to be churned to dizzy hopelessness at the base of the Facebook Wall Falls. I don’t think it helps my sanity. Anyway, I am not gone yet, but I have unsewn my lips. It’s a start.
Names, to me, are magical. I know I’ve talked about this before: about how a person’s name becomes so much more than a simple noun to signify their existence. It summons and signifies, cures and curses. I was stymied at first when I realized that, despite their magic, given names are used less the more we come to love or hate a person. It seemed counter-intuitive, initially. When you love a song, for example, you search for it on the radio. When you love a food, you learn how to quickly make or buy it. However, the more intimate you are with a person — either positively or negatively — the less you use their given name, or even primary, well-known nicknames. Barring the times we are engaged in conversation with or around mere acquaintances, strangers, or people to whom our relationships are irrelevant or even potentially problematic, we rarely call parents, children, spouses or lovers by anything more than a nickname. We point with pronouns. Our existence has become context to our loved ones, and ours to them: each beloved person is something understood without words, and something that wordlessly defines the boundaries of those who love them. It is no wonder, then, that names are so powerful, for they summon That Which Cannot Be Contained In A Name.
Richard wrote a story. Richard has written many stories, but this story is a contender in the most recent Three-Minute Fiction contest from NPR’s All Things Considered. The story is called Laces, written to meet their presidential guidelines. Read it and tell me what you think!
The middle song in this clip — the one with the violin
The video on this page
ひねりなさい！ ひねりなさい！ ひねりなさい！
If there were a FaceBook “do not like” button, I would use it on all publishers and, by extension, retailers, who block sales by country. It is bad enough that a forest of marketing-licensing-political cack has, for example, kept P.G. Wodehouse: A Life In Letters from making its original US sale date in mid-2012 (when it has been available in the UK since November 2011), but to be blocked from purchasing it new via Amazon.co.uk and other outlets because of my location is insulting. Why should the consumer be punished because corporations are incapable of holding hands and skipping. I will not be giving my money, in this case, to either The Random House Group or W. W. Norton & Company (the former for agreeing to retail barriers as part of some deal with the latter, who are no doubt either stalling for more money or editing the thing out of the misconceived belief that Americans — even those who want to read about Wodehouse! — are incapable of understanding English English). Amazon.com, for their complicity in this farce, can also take a miss on my $$. Instead, I shall buy it used via the less mule-headed abebooks.com, tip the author directly, and advise as many other people as I can to do the same from now on. This use of copyright to further corporate financial gain and control is getting ridiculous. I thought copyright existed to benefit and protect authors. Silly me.
…so if you (anyone) read this, I’m sorry. If I keep writing, some of the rust might fall off, and then there will be entries worthy of your reading effort.
tho not broken
but open and leaking
bleeding without weeping
the casualty of
a serendipitous collision
without reason or rhyme
just a case of right time
facing each other at midnight
meeting in a kiss
All I can say to this is yes. Yes. Yes and thank you, Pearl, and @kateordeath for passing it along (the article, not the depression). Yes. Exactly. And I am sorry. And thank you everyone and I am sorry.
Depression is humiliating. It turns intelligent, kind people into zombies who can’t wash a dish or change their socks. It affects the ability to think clearly, to feel anything, to ascribe value to your children, your lifelong passions, your relative good fortune. It scoops out your normal healthy ability to cope with bad days and bad news, and replaces it with an unrecognizable sludge that finds no pleasure, no delight, no point in anything outside of bed. You alienate your friends because you can’t comport yourself socially, you risk your job because you can’t concentrate, you live in moderate squalor because you have no energy to stand up, let alone take out the garbage. You become pathetic and you know it. And you have no capacity to stop the downward plunge. You have no perspective, no emotional reserves, no faith that it will get better. So you feel guilty and ashamed of your inability to deal with life like a regular human, which exacerbates the depression and the isolation.Depression is humiliating.If you’ve never been depressed, thank your lucky stars and back off the folks who take a pill so they can make eye contact with the grocery store cashier. No one on earth would choose the nightmare of depression over an averagely turbulent normal life.It’s not an incapacity to cope with day to day living in the modern world. It’s an incapacity to function. At all. If you and your loved ones have been spared, every blessing to you. If depression has taken root in you or your loved ones, every blessing to you, too.Depression is humiliating.No one chooses it. No one deserves it. It runs in families, it ruins families. You cannot imagine what it takes to feign normalcy, to show up to work, to make a dentist appointment, to pay bills, to walk your dog, to return library books on time, to keep enough toilet paper on hand, when you are exerting most of your capacity on trying not to kill yourself. Depression is real. Just because you’ve never had it doesn’t make it imaginary. Compassion is also real. And a depressed person may cling desperately to it until they are out of the woods and they may remember your compassion for the rest of their lives as a force greater than their depression. Have a heart. Judge not lest ye be judged.
I have begun using MindManager for mapping out new websites and mobile apps. It is a robust tool, tho not alone at its feature level. Before any of you even think of downloading it for a trial run, you may want to come up with an alter ego. Here is the feedback I left in their satisfaction survey:
All the staff with whom I either spoke or exchanged email were polite and business-like. However, all in all, my experience was less than fabulous.
Please understand that, from my perspective, I simply wanted to purchase a piece of software. The only potentially difficult thing involved in my purchase was the necessity of my providing your sales folk proof of my status as a non-profit user.
Instead, however, of my being able to upload a scan of the necessary document as part of an online order which could have included the option to purchase the extension of licensing/upgrade pre-purchase/whatever you want to call that package you offer (and which I was agressively up-sold even though I’d have purchased it anyway), I was forced to field multiple phone calls organizing all this, even after the phone calls and follow-up meeting invites I rec’d — without having opted in for them at ALL at the time of download — for simply testing the software! I would be hard-pressed to come up with any cohort of mine who *wants* that much interaction when trying to buy something they already know they want.
Can’t talking to sales people be an option for people with questions that is avoidable for the rest of us? Furthermore, when a sales person mistakenly sends one (ME!) licenses for the wrong OS, is it truly necessary to re-charge the credit card for something that was the same price either way? And to require the buyer fill out a form promising “destruction” of the old licenses before I can get the right license?
If it hadn’t been more hassle that it’d have been worth to cancel the whole thing and go with another, equally useful system, I would have. I certainly hope that the programmers and developers at MindJet keep the MindManager tool honed to bleeding edge to make up for the sales infrastructure’s methods used in marketing it.
Naturally, I selected “no” in response to “May we contact you about your answers.”
J = (CK)/B where:
J is the joy found in completing a long and harrowing task,
C is the celebration one gets to partake in upon completion of the task,
K is the knowledge acquired while successfully completing the task, and
B is the bullshit one is required to wade through to complete the task.
[Addendum: Thanks to JMalk for the math correction]