“Years ago, after we’d done the interview, Papa invited me down again to visit him in Cuba.” (In the fifties, George had interviewed Hemingway for the magazine on the Art of Fiction, and now he always referred to him as Papa, as Hemingway encouraged his young friends to do.)...
A cow took its final steps up a curvy ramp, designed by the animal scientist Temple Grandin to ease their stress by allowing them to see a couple of body-lengths ahead but restricting their view of distractions.
Films and novels usually portray alien invasions, not simply as instances of tribal aggression on the part of such phrenological curiosities as the Klingons in Star Trek or the Sith Lords in Star Wars, but as evacuations from dying planets.
A flock of starlings in flight is called a “murmuration,” one of the most pleasing collective nouns. It’s also one of nature’s most pleasing sights, an undulating mass of thousands of black dots that coalesce into hypnotic shapes, like an airborne Rorschach test or a lava lamp.
It’s easiest to start from the impulse to problematize the position of the flâneur. The ugly word privilege hovers around it, and we turn to questions that we know the answer to, “Who, exactly, is allowed to wander, like so?”
What do you think Ishmael’s life is like after the last page of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick? What ultimately happens to that survivor of the ill-fated Pequod? Where does he go, what does he do, how does he end his days? The “scandal of fiction” is that although these questions...
A good diarist, like the diaries they write, is always greater than the sum of their parts. That is to say, the dissection of a life day-to-day, looked at randomly, can seem uninteresting, lifeless, not worthwhile.
I navigate an illness that makes me a protagonist of clichés. Sometimes, the thought of release is a dream of falling through clouds. My friend excitedly speaks about watching the northern lights from the cockpit of a plane — the whole kaleidoscopic spectacle, every inch of that cursive diffusion.
This afternoon I’m nested in a striped comforter, looking out the window at four snowy oaks. In the foreground, the shrivelled leaves of the hydrangea, mostly buried in drifts. The television screen is static, paused on a scene in the game I honor before every other, Metroid.
In a 60-page essay I wrote on the nature of a “morbid curiosity,” I struggled not only with the ethics of viewing actualities of death found on shock sites—usually, the premature deaths of non-white victims of car crashes, industrial accidents, drug cartel violence.
Today because I am sufficiently connected here in my book-glutted home in Boston I have decided to make my little room an everywhere. As it so happens, I am hovering now above an area of greater London known as Mitcham that four-hundred years ago was an outlying village backwater away from the teeming intrigue and bustle of King James’ city and his court.