South Boulder

Posted on 2 min read

I woke up staring at the ceiling. There were stains in the panels. Not terribly noticeable, but small light pools where water had gathered at one point. Another part of the ceiling sagged noticeably. They were all things that I should have noticed before, and yet they had attracted my attention for the first time. And in that I felt sadness, because I was only noticing these things now, after so many years here, and when I was so close to leaving. I’ve never struggled to say goodbye to a home before. I’m usually ready to move on by then. But thats not the case this time. I know it’s …

Decades

Posted on 1 min read

One of the crueler aspects about getting older is that a decade becomes a very real concept. A decade ago I was in my early twenties. I’ve changed since then, but I don’t feel all that different. I’m a more and less recognizable version of the same self. And yet, when I was twenty-two, a decade earlier would have made me twelve. There was nothing to connect those parts of my life. We used to talk in months and years. But now I tell people about things, and it’s a decade apart. I talk about Japan, and Prague, and Chicago. And I’m right there with myself in those moments. But …

Sundance 2017

Posted on 2 min read

I’m at Sundance again this year. The annual tradition that is as close to a college reunion as I’ve ever had in my life. I could write pages on the effect that the gathering has on my psyche: the calming, medicative jealousy of a life not lived. The problem is that the movies I’ve chosen this time have brought me a costly type of introspection. Whether fictional or biopic, I’ve found myself resonating with the most depressing characters. So many drunk reclusive writers! It’s like a genre unto itself. Seeing everyone’s mental turmoil makes mine seem much more manageable, maybe even normal. But does everyone have to be so defective? …

New Old Memories

Posted on 2 min read

I’ve started digging out my old ALA posts from years ago. I had started to republish them earlier, and then became distracted in completing line edits for a novel. The years through 2010 should be easy, they were already on the old site. What surprised me in reading this small stretch of time between leaving Prague and getting settled in Chicago (approx June 2008 through August 2008) is how restrained the posts are. I was clearly going through a quarter life crisis and frantically grabbing at anything that could keep me afloat, and yet in the writing I come off as (somewhat) under control. Specifically, the part about the cruise …

Memory

Posted on 1 min read

I think only time, and begrudging acceptance (and hopefully eventual appreciation) will be the way that I can accept my relationship with memory. Even now, the anxiety I felt over my lack of control of my own memory has started to subside. It’s obvious to me now that you can’t call on it when you need it. It will return to me of a volition that is out of my control, and the context that it returns under will be fragmented, at best: scattered memories, without a before or after, just moments existing outside of time. In some ways that’s beautiful. It is still maddeningly frustrating. But I’m beginning to …

Raged Harder

Posted on 1 min read

I’m in my hometown again to visit my grandmother. She continues to have slipped further away every time that I return. Her pride has remained though; she fought and raged against this world harder than anyone I have ever met, and that continues even now. I admire, empathize, and am repelled by the way she approached this life. Ninety-six years, however you get there, is an accomplishment. Most of this last year with her has been in the rest home. Even here her pride refuses to let her eat with the other residents, and yet she remains cheerful and funny with the nurses. She swings wildly between an uncompromised attitude …

ROA

When I was 15 I saw the movie The Rules of Attraction. Incomplete and meandering, it’s an easy movie to hate. And yet it held me like no other movie before. It was for me, the most revolutionary thing I had ever seen, and so in that sense it accomplished everything that it set out to do. Where other movies were escapism from reality, this was a promise of a future to come. I still vividly remember the basement I sat in when I watched the movie, and the looks of revolt on my friends’ faces at the debasing crisscrossing storylines. I once heard the director say it ‘was a …

The Blue Line

Posted on 2 min read

As I’m watching the de-icing of jets on the Frankfurt airport tarmac, wrapped in a music playlist I put together a lifetime ago in Madrid, a strange realization comes over me: I don’t have a desire to live in Chicago again. I love that city so much. But in this moment, my time there feels complete. The soft spot will remain, but I’ve carried around the regret of not choosing to move back there when returning to the US for years, possibly for as long as I’ve lived in Colorado. The beauty and grime that mix in the most uncontrived way possible has always captivated me. The other great American …

Technology is not Culture

In the airline seat I grow restless. I watch as the teenager next to me purchases wifi to rip through Instagram, and then Snapchat. He moves faster than I could ever consume the information. When I was younger, and people would talk about their disgust for technology, it always revolved around the speed of things: shortening attention spans, more information, less human interaction. That’s how the fear of technology was explained to me. I always thought I would be fine, that the fear wouldn’t find me, because even if I couldn’t keep up to date, I believed that I could empathize with the desire to move faster. But as I …

Closing Doors

It’s raining, but pulsating with light, when I wake up. I walk towards the glow of the window, and look out across the patio, and into a courtyard that seems slapdash and tight. The buildings surrounding me are all about the same height, and all I can see rising above the skyline are the cranes of new construction. As I wake, I realize I’ve never seen San Francisco in the daytime. I’m embarrassed of the fact, given the industry I’m in, and my love of film noir. I need to find a map to get my bearings, as the hills and the flat height of the construction, make it impossible …