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A Tent in the Arctic

The story of my life, in dribs and drabs.

For years, I've had a fantasy of that tent, of sitting alone in a field of open white, buried in snow, with canvas walls and thermal underwear, invisible to airlines, surviving on beef jerky and reading books. Of all the images in my mind, this one resonates most strongly - the aloneness of the solo traveler, the person forgotten by the world, safe and free.

I was born August 11, 1974 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, in the morning. I remember little of the event. My father was a playwrite and my mother was a puppeteer; both wrote poetry. You know how that goes.

1
Faced with the possibility of violence
The train rattled gently. Once more his fists tensed.
Monday, January 29, 2001
2
10 Jul 98
Holiday in the Arctic (finished)
Friday, July 10, 1998
3
Early On
When the author was a pup.
Friday, September 28, 2001
4 sections.
4
Middle Youth
What happened when little was happening.
Thursday, December 28, 2000
5
College Years
A gloomy gus amidst the upstate snow.
Thursday, December 28, 2000
6
Then to New York
Coming to the city, and what I found there.
Thursday, December 28, 2000
57 sections.
7
Reticulation
Why the desire to network? Why the desire to shake hands and make connections?
Friday, April 9, 1999
8
Notice
Celebrity! Who cares about it?
Monday, April 5, 1999
9
Big Day
A new job, with attendant hopes and feelings (I quit 6 months later). Rock, Paper, Scissors is a made-up name, by the way.
Sunday, January 31, 1999
10
Morning
Trying to get your life together when your life is not together
Saturday, January 16, 1999
11
I Fucked Everything Up and Now I Must Die
I'm bored as hell, and I can't take it anymore!
Sunday, February 28, 1999
12
Late Night, 5th Ave
An attempt at an elegaic tone, trapped at work at night feeling worn and bored
Monday, March 8, 1999
13
Clement Park
Hours after Columbine, I wrote this
Saturday, March 20, 1999
14
Still in Clement Park
The day after the Columbine murders
Sunday, March 21, 1999
15
01 Aug 98
Tolerance
Saturday, August 1, 1998
16
02 Aug 98
Shoes
Sunday, August 2, 1998
17
03 Aug 98
Meditation
Monday, August 3, 1998
18
09 Aug 98
River I
Sunday, August 9, 1998
19
13 Aug 98
Zoom
Thursday, August 13, 1998
20
Death Trip
The funeral of my grandfather.
Thursday, February 4, 1999
21
Basic Elegy
An urgent memorial.
Saturday, January 1, 2000
22
28 Jun 98
Dear Reader
Sunday, June 28, 1998
23
29 Jun 98
A Love Letter to Consumer Society
Monday, June 29, 1998
24
80
An old man, some music, and lots of e-mo-tion.
Saturday, March 27, 1999
25
Reunion
Death in the family (again)
Monday, April 19, 1999
26
Mr. Social's Night on the Town: Prelude
Going out and coming unglued.
Friday, April 23, 1999
27
Mr. Social's Night on the Town: A Burnt-Out Case
Going out and burning out.
Friday, April 23, 1999
28
In the Ancient Bottle
A few thoughts on alcohol, the ambrosia of the terrified romantic
Friday, April 23, 1999
29
Outbound
Going on the road.
Friday, April 23, 1999
30
Tights
Monday, April 26, 1999
31
Blanket
Love lost, boring goals.
Monday, May 3, 1999
32
Speaking
Chat with dad.
Friday, May 7, 1999
33
Peak of the Cycle
Feeling all nervous like, trying to calm down, chest and heart and so on.
Sunday, May 16, 1999
34
Discussion
The crank from Queens grabbed me on the train. Here's what he said.
Thursday, May 20, 1999
35
Weekend: Avenue A
I got drunk and went into a park.
Thursday, May 27, 1999
36
Weekend: Avenue B
Meeting a woman and talking about getting taken from behind, and so on.
Thursday, May 27, 1999
37
Undisaster
Drug abuse and how it screws up your writing style.
Tuesday, June 1, 1999
38
Stopwatch
I can drink beer quickly.
Saturday, June 12, 1999
39
Considerations
If Molly Bloom was I, and I was Molly Bloom, and we were trying to write for the Web, maybe this would be what we'd write. Maybe not.
Monday, June 21, 1999
40
2nd Avenue
A half-antidote to spiritual failure.Muddle of desires.
Wednesday, January 5, 2000
41
Paul Ford Re-enters Outside World
Here I come!
Monday, March 13, 2000
42
b i k e !
I've got a bike. You can ride it if you like.
Monday, April 10, 2000
43
Fred, a Cat
A nice cat, gone.
Sunday, April 16, 2000
44
Puppet Show, early afternoon in a warm October in West Chester, Pennsylvania, 1988
People find it curious that I grew up doing puppetry, but I swear to God it was a pretty normal childhood.
Wednesday, April 12, 2000
45
Another Puppet Show
Performing “the Gingerbread Man”
Thursday, April 15, 2004
46
Transit
The end is near.
Wednesday, May 3, 2000
47
Microcelebrity
I ain't famous, but won't you think I am?
Sunday, February 20, 2000
48
Truly a Cloud
Each time I check the Web, I expect bombing.
Monday, September 11, 2000
49
Piano
A plain recollection
Sunday, January 7, 2001
50
Movie Star
In the morning, I brush with Fame.
Tuesday, January 16, 2001
51
Amiable Chat Down 9th St.
Focusing the narrative on its geographical heart.
Friday, May 5, 2000
52
Contagious!
Going to the doctor for the first time in 5 years.
Tuesday, December 19, 2000
53
Professional Driver, Closed Course
Sorting through the sounds of words.
Tuesday, December 12, 2000
54
The boxes reach to the ceiling.
A half-essay about dust and a small room.
Saturday, January 20, 2001
55
Biography of a Full-bore Jackass
Short bio of the author of Ftrain.com, written by OCTAVE9, a computerized expert system
Thursday, May 4, 2000
56
Update, before another leap
I suck so bad.
Thursday, May 24, 2001
57
Rebel Quietly in the Mornings
Don't sit too close, I've got kulchur
Monday, June 4, 2001
58
Bridge and River Consecration
...the voices of the builders....
Saturday, June 16, 2001
59
East River Unconsecration
I take my heart back from the East River.
Monday, September 30, 2002
60
Park in Brooklyn Heights
A quick moment
Tuesday, June 19, 2001
61
Valuable Information
Advice for young fellows who play with fire.
Wednesday, June 20, 2001
62
Again, sick, argh
The author is in good spirits but is also a frog.
Monday, June 25, 2001
63
We Live Like Kings
Come on, face it.
Wednesday, July 4, 2001
64
Clown/Fountain
Two photos from a long walk.
Friday, July 6, 2001
65
Police Boat/Red Boat/C Train
Thursday, July 12, 2001
66
Imaginary Dog
What he would be like, if I could have him
Thursday, July 19, 2001
67
London Temporary Shelter Request
American seeks floor and roof.
Thursday, July 26, 2001
68
I must not think bad thoughts
Politics keeps me up at night.
Friday, July 27, 2001
69
Brief Corrective
Responding to responses.
Tuesday, July 31, 2001
70
Ben Gurion!
Zoom, zing, zip.
Wednesday, August 8, 2001
71
Big Boy Now
The wooden sheep is a red herring.
Friday, August 10, 2001
3 sections.
72
September 11, 2001
I am so sorry.
Wednesday, September 12, 2001
73
Over and Out
There's still you.
Tuesday, September 18, 2001
74
Not Much at Ground Zero
A walk to downtown Brooklyn, then over to downtown Manhattan.
Saturday, September 22, 2001
75
The Phone
It was vermin.
Saturday, September 29, 2001
76
Sticker
Found on a Brooklyn phone pole.
Saturday, October 27, 2001
77
Best Of
An amateur's chrestomathy.
Monday, October 29, 2001
78
Neighborhood Gallery
Wednesday, October 24, 2001
79
Singer
A photo of a singer.
Thursday, November 8, 2001
80
Thanksgiving Composition
A declarative story about my Thanksgiving holiday.
Monday, November 26, 2001
81
Squirrels, in Union Square Park
A man in the park said, “squirrels find only 10 percent of what they bury.”
Tuesday, December 4, 2001
82
Letters
Investigating the epistolary impulse.
Tuesday, October 2, 2001
4 sections.
83
Collected Dialogues
Pieces of the aural environment from Dec 30 to Dec 31, 2001
Tuesday, January 1, 2002
84
Prolog(ue)
Scott and I head over to Boyd's and see his 3-D theramin.
Friday, January 4, 2002
85
As if it mattered
The puzzle piece with the frayed edges is the last one you need.
Thursday, May 2, 2002


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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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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford

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