Tuesday, January 29, 2008
By Paul Ford
I am proud to send you, in galley, THE VEILS FLEW AWAY LIKE KITES, the first novel by major new talent Isolde Mabuq.
Open it. Sniff it—redolent of mountain snow. The crack of the spine brings to mind the sound of Soviet rifles firing—the first sounds
the protagonist Fatima is able to recall.
Has there ever before been a fictional character like Fatima? At the age of 12 she flies a kite, reads Pnin, menstruates, and bears witness to the murder of her parents by the Taliban. Soon after she is sent to live with American
Christians, and spends a fragile adolescence acclimatizing to the poisonous indifference and callousness of the West before
attending an Ivy-league college where she majors in economics and sleeps with a professor (an adjunct but still). We thrill
as she casts off her grim past to join a Wall Street investment firm, finds love, and indulges in fine sweaters.
It is a tale of triumph told with first-hand knowledge hard-earned by novelist Mabuq, who like the fictional Fatima was born
in Afghanistan, molested in Mississippi, educated at Princeton, and is now 27. Believe me that words do this remarkable new
author little justice, but here are some that try: green-eyed, horsewoman, Dior, NYTBR, endcap. A glossy photo is attached.
The Arcade Fire wrote the foreword.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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© 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.