📚 What I finished reading in January.

The Children of Tantalus

They crave death, they crave sorrow. They fear the future, they fear the past, they fear time. A world that has already ended cannot change; a world that does not change cannot end. Their eternity is that of the flash. Statis, the instant, and eternity — they see these three as the same thing, and they see them as the ideal. Ideals. Ideas without bodies. They fear bodies and they crave living forever solely in ideas. They love ideas because they think ideas don’t change, and they fear bodies because bodies do nothing but change. The petulant glee in their actions. They are driven by a manic fear. They fear lines, they fear circles, and they especially fear spirals. To be starved for certainty but to never have it. To live with certainty always almost within reach but always just beyond your grasp.

Five Years of Micro.blog

I signed up for a Micro.blog account on 4 January 2018, a day after reading this post by @brentsimmons.

The next day, life went seriously sideways. A simmering health issue my wife had been dealing with for the previous few months flared up suddenly. We spent the better part of the next two months in rooms that looked like this…

ER triage room with lots of cables and wires, and an extremely high blood-pressure reading on the vitals display

…and hallways that looked like this:

a long, empty hospital corridor with an empty hospital bed parked in the distance

I tried to keep an eye on Micro.blog and, impressed with the tenor of the conversations I was seeing, I set up a new WordPress blog at one of my parked domains sometime in February. I posted my first message, a brief and formulaic declaration of existence: “hello world!” The post went unremarked upon, and I didn’t really have the time or attention to follow it with anything else.

By late March, my wife was convalescing well after a lengthy and harrowing surgery. As I tended to her, I finally had the emotional bandwidth to consider participating in this curious, curiously warm, and warmly civil community.

I once again announced my presence, this time with a picture. And we were off! About a year later, in early 2019, I signed up for a hosted account. So January 4th is actually only the first of, I guess three? anniversaries for me. But I think this first one is the most important, because it marks the day I began exploring this new environment.

Micro.blog was one of the very few positive things about 2018 for me and, although my engagement has waned and waxed over the subsequent years, I continue to be so grateful for the community that I have found here.

Last, next.

91: Snowy Evening (15,902)
92: Kraft (graph)

Two Field Notes memo books side by side: one used, one new

twenty-nine years

My wife and I met twenty-nine years ago today.

I was invited over to a friend’s apartment to meet her — and she ignored me the whole time. No hello, no eye contact. Absolutely nothing. She was utterly unapproachable. Instead, she spent the evening in the other room, forehead-to-forehead with her friend, discussing and analyzing a VHS tape of the modern dance concert she’d choreographed a few weeks earlier. And I could see instantly how smart, articulate, beautiful, and, most of all, strong she was.

Some stories belong to the breath, not to the pixel and keyboard. Some stories need the counterpoint of digressions and indignant amendments, of interruptions to refill the wine glass or the bread bowl, or to choose more music, album by album. They need the bustle and patience of a long evening, the wood and steel rhythms of a well-provisioned table.

So: to hear the rest of the story, you’ll need to be seated across from us, favorite beverage at your elbow, and all the time in the world. And perhaps a story or two for us in exchange.

Offline till January 2023.

Now playing:

Album cover for the Novak Quartet's recording of Bartók's six string quartets showing the overlapping shapes of two violins, a viola, and a cello, making a prismatic pattern in browns and oranges

A snowy morning, and a snowy day ahead.

predawn view of my backyard with every branch of every tree outlined in snow

Something just happened and, honestly, it’s taken me a few days for the reality of it to sink in.

Last week, I signed a contract with Unsolicited Press, which will be publishing my debut book of poetry.

More soon! For now, I’m trying to keep this announcement under 280 charac—

I spent the better part of 1992 through 1994 writing thousands of lines in iambic pentameter. Maybe it’s time again. 2023, the year of blank verse?