January 28, 2011

You Should Date an Illiterate Girl

by Charles Warnke (Jan. 19, 2011) Date a girl who doesn’t read. Find her in the weary squalor of a Midwestern bar. Find her in the smoke, drunken sweat, and varicolored light of an upscale nightclub. Wherever you find her, find her smiling. Make sure that it lingers when the people that are talking to her look away. Engage her with unsentimental trivialities. Use pick-up lines and laugh inwardly. Take her outside when the night overstays its welcome. Ignore the palpable weight of fatigue. Kiss her in the rain under the weak glow of a streetlamp because you’ve seen it […]
December 2, 2010
Backpacking with a Book

Charles Simic: Evening Talk

Everything you didn’t understand Made you what you are. Strangers Whose eye you caught on the street Studying you. Perhaps they were the all-seeing Illuminati? They knew what you didn’t, And left you troubled like a strange dream. Not even the light stayed the same. Where did all that hard glare come from? And the scent, as if mythical beings Were being groomed and fed stalks of hay On these roofs drifting among the evening clouds. You didn’t understand a thing! You loved the crowds at the end of the day That brought you many mysteries. There was always someone […]
November 30, 2010
Backpacking with a Book

Of Urgent Truths and Firsts

“What rot, I didn’t mean it, did you mean it?” (“No, of course not, of course I didn’t mean it.”) They laughed in recognition of their extremity, just as they might have laughed at another time, in the middle of quite different, astoundingly tender declarations. They trembled with murderous pleasure, with the excitement of saying what could never be retracted, they exulted in wounds inflicted but also in wounds received, and one of the other said at some point, “This is the first time we’ve spoken the truth since we’ve known each other!” For even things that came to them […]
November 17, 2010
Backpacking with a Book

Jonathan Safran Foer: On Distance and Silence

Tragedy primes one for humor. And humor primes one for tragedy. They amplify each other. As a writer, I am trying to express those things that are most scary to me, because I am alone with them. Why do I write? It’s not that I want people to think I am smart, or even that I am a good writer. I write because I want to end my loneliness. Books make people less alone. That, before and after everything else, is what books do. They show us that conversations are possible across distances. I spent the morning reading  a six-page […]