Love lost, boring goals.

When you hear the beep, turn the page. Beep.

Whose were these?

Hidden around the apartment are many photographs. Women stretched in the snow, men dressed in costumes, self portraits at arm's length. Missing people, addresses and addressbooks gone for years.

The above is a recent addition to a collection, envelopes from 1-hour photo shops, left in drawers and under the bed. Taken with my small silverish Yashica.

What gets at me, looking at this pair of feet, is that I have gleefully, pridefully denied the body, my body, anyone's body, and I miss these feet, any feet. I have said "I do not need touch, love, or affection," to everyone I know, insisting that I, alone among my peers, am no lonely savage, rather a mind floating in the body's frame. I desire nothing, need nothing, feel nothing. Hypocrite; it's in the blood.

Today and yesterday: a lecture from an acquaintance, a friend's family collapsing, a phone call to my father, a call from my mother. I wished to be taken home, to discard my independence and income and live in some back room with an old typewriter and my angst, like the boy in Everything That Rises Must Converge. Also: meetings with the rich, the confident and island-dwelling wealthy, to talk about how they might make even more money. I get so confused.

Simultaneously I want to write and think more about writing, to get my grip around the Aristotelian enthymeme, the transforming idea. Someone already registered enthymeme.com, probably a grad student in Rhetoric at CMU. This inquiry results in terrific guilt--I'm wasting my time, reading The Rhetoric of Fiction and books about Theory with a capital "T." I'm wasting my time because the world is business, and it's right to be in business, it's what is correct. Business does not heal, though. It offers a small and soft kind of growth. It does not provide new skin or blood; it lacks love.

That's a word I miss, a word to send me skimpering off into psychic bushes. Get me close to it--typical male--and I jump back like I touched a live cord, denying everything the next day. I miss instead of love; it is easier to miss. You can be a hypocrite, insisting you don't want a kind touch or someone to listen, while missing. It's the feeling of the tattoo being pressed on, the grinding into skin.

Would it be better to be 19 again, playing grown-up, licking stomachs and sleeping on hilltops, than a self-made hypocrite, a hypocrite by choice? But 5 years are past, and the memories are false anyway; I was dreadfully unhappy all through college. I will need to continue inventing and building my life out of what I have here in the apartment, the objects present and scattered, rather than out of the past, because the past is a shaky foundation, a ghost of stone.




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


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

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)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

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)

That Shaggy Feeling. Soon, orphans. (May 12)

Antilunchism, by Paul Ford. Snack trams. (May 11)

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)

Bantha Tracks. (May 5)

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