By Paul Ford
Chat with dad.
My father told me about his career. A few nights back I called him and nearly broke down crying, needing to talk. That conversation
drifted off into silence--I clammed up. But the next night he called me back and said that he'd pay the first quarter fee
for the Writer's Center at Astor Place if I wanted to go. It's a quiet place to write, a cubby-hole open 24 hours a day, coffee
and tea and a coat room, $195 every 3 months.
Then he described his success in the 1970's. I didn't know how real it had all been. He had plays--truly experimental stuff,
Jesus in a Hawaiian shirt and non-linear dialogue--at theaters I know, places I pass going to work. He had plays produced
in Minneapolis, Pennsylvania. Joseph Papp kept one of his plays in hand for a year, and Papp's wife called many times to say,
we're looking for a way to put it on, until the plan collapsed. Grove Press published him. At the beginning of his career,
he had Somerset Maugham's agent.
I think it will come back, he said. There'll be some recognition for my older self, just as there was success when I was young,
and then when I was in my 30's and 40's.
I never knew any of this. Knowing it changes things, makes them less temporal, gives me a way to understand him, to witness
a section of my own past.
Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some
There is a Facebook group.
You will regret following me on Twitter here.
About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit
things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.
If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at email@example.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am
glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.
: RSS1.0, RSS2.0
© 1974-2011 Paul Ford
Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose.
As a hobby I write.
Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out.
Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley.
Welcome to the Company.
“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”.
Forgot to tell you about this.
“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”.
An essay for TheMorningNews.org.
People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately.
Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford.
Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford.
Nanolaw with Daughter.
Why privacy mattered.
0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford.
It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so
that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So:
Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand
below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every
Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came
unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...)
That Shaggy Feeling.
Antilunchism, by Paul Ford.
Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford.
I'll have no one to blame but future me.
Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford.
(1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and
the historical fallacy.
The Moral Superiority of the Streetcar.
(1) Long-form journalism fixes everything. (2) The moral superiority of the streetcar. (3) I like big bus and I cannot lie.