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Best Of

An amateur's chrestomathy.

In an effort to figure out what I'd like to do next, I've been trying to decide what I like best from this site, where my skills are, and what I should do next, in life as well as with prose/hypertext. I figure that by finding those pieces which were most fun to write, I might be able to do a better job, and have more fun.

With the perpetual sniff of burning WTC in the air of downtown Brooklyn, more fun is in order. This handful are my best word-babies:

  1. My Busy Day - It would be good to be this goofy more often. Probably the only piece of work I've ever done which I wouldn't change at all. And what did I do? I stuck things into my mouth and made faces.
  2. Also, Forthcoming Science Trade Books. “Stick it in, Mr. Feynman.” General goofiness, but it gave me real pleasure. This sort of writing is like creating puzzles, nesting the jokes.
  3. That Was Some Experiment - political screed, small, uneven.
  4. The Subway Diary Guide to Self-Loathing - because you gotta have fun while you hate yourself. Drawing the razorblad was half the fun.
  5. Romance - when I was an emotional lad. Maudlin and immature, but I remember weeping when I wrote it, feeling I'd gotten something right. I'd like that feeling back.
  6. Microcelebrity - a “figuring it all out” essay with a rhythm of its own. The author and I share little, anymore; perhaps I should try to be more like him.

So...what now?


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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 time.

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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 ford@ftrain.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.

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Recent

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for TheMorningNews.org. (July 11)

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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...) (May 13)

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Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford. I'll have no one to blame but future me. (May 10)

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. (May 9)

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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. (May 4)

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