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.

Lately I have been thinking about nonviolence; I have also been thinking about: evolution and how it determines social behavior; the human need for sex; the purposes of therapy; the rhetorical tropes and structures (esp. the enthymeme); algorithmic sound composition in CSound; the means by with Ftrain can be usefully destroyed and replaced with something better; the motives of the main character of a science fiction novel; database structures and Web technologies; artifical life; how to spend more time with my friends; the actual communication value of money; the appropriate places for the word "catamite"; the emotional need for religion; the means for grieving for an athiest; my relationship with my father; the renewal of a prior relationship; online publishing solutions; whether it's worth our time to make the rich richer; the values of education; the essays of Montaigne; the pleasures of oral sex; the book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds; the changes set upon the arts by digital technologies; the use of PDA's like the Palm Pilot; whether "the Hunk that Sunk" in reference to the recent tragedy is funny or just wrong; whether I want to spend the time to get the Amiga emulator running; whether the film Run Lola Run had any redeeming values in spite of its neglect of any real characterization; the social structure of business; the music of Jeff Buckley, Miles Davis, Pink Floyd, and Photek, not to mention Alanis, Michelle Shocked, and Meat Beat Manifesto; a branding campaign for an Internet search engine; a branding campaign for an Internet fashion retailer; the branding campaign for an Internet music company; the business plan for a wireless communications company; going freelance; the emotional dynamics in the office; the value of a relationship to me; the way my blood purrs when she when she breaks down my thoughts into component parts; jealousy green and vile; anger in appropriate quantities; the way my voice seems lower than it was a year ago, but not on the phone; the pressure in my arms; the fact that I can go longer now that I've lost weight; the word yes when spoken by a man, me; forgiving when she is not in need of my forgiveness, but doing it anyway; nonviolence, which was my guiding belief when I was an adolescent, and which resulted in me being left on the ground getting my head kicked by drunks in college, sort of; blood pressure; releasing old angers through waving breaths that course through my frame; realizing that without this one thing, this one person, I am entirely and thoroughly incomplete; that sometimes loving another human being is a painful brutal motherfucker of a thing to do; that lying gets you nowhere; that you come here for entertainment; that to those of you who've sent me packages and treats I am grateful, especially to anonymous reader X, who sent the Bukowski book, the great comic zine, and the box of Pretz; that you'll love the new Ftrain when it's all put together, because it won't just be me, and it will actually be consistent and good, with the advice of real designers weighing in; that none of you have read this far, that the typographic constraints keep you from doing so, that this paragraph on a screen is visually impossible to read, and that I can start to speak as I please here; that the ideas I've been representing online are incomplete; my thoughts unfinished; that I want to branch out and get things done; that when I normally would hide and crawl under the bed I am still completing things; that I am learning how to channel this heat; a story about a man who goes to try to convert a liberal philanthropist to conservative religion, but is changed himself, told from his point of view looking back; a story about a kid who goes to a religious commune and who he meets there; a story about a man living in Florida who loves a woman, who he then splits from, who sleeps with other men, who then returns to him, and how he deals with the jealousy and hurt of that and how when he enters her it is with a bizarre power from forgiving, that somehow this is the anchor to their love; the book Darwin Among the Machines, by George Dyson; "The Mental Traveler," a poem by William Blake; how to market Web sites on no money; ways of overcoming distrust and fear and learning to care about other human beings; the Dalai Lama's conference on the Kalachakra upcoming in August, which my friend alone is permitted to videotape; the value of celebrity; the ways to be happy; the sacrifices which much be made to keep moving; the importance of reinventing myself consistently; the fact that it will take me at least 10 years to develop the kind of powerful narrative voice which explodes off the written page, and until then it's all just practice; and that I want to believe I could do it tomorrow, and I can probably do something tomorrow, but not much; that it just will take work and connections and belief and hands-pressing, and constant, persistent sacrifice, as I give up things which matter in order to make more time for writing, until finally writing folds over and is my life, that I might not have enough talent for all of it, even though folks have been kind and encouraging, but that telling a good story takes something deeper than what I feel right now; that in any case I can always write advertising; the history of Roman Britain; the violence inside of me; the phone call my mother made last night; the way I yearn for approval; that the grief process is evil lying bullshit; the definition of: syllogism, enthymeme, and "Argumentum ad Crumenam"; writing a series of poems about imaginary, scary animals, like the Ohio Monkey-badger, or the Long-beaked Phosphorescent Nutgripper; some girl I knew in college; made-up dirty compound words, like shitblister, bitchlipping, and goatwad; describing the fear I feel meeting new people as a "shyquake"; whether she's home and I can call now; when I will see you again; whether it's fucked up to put something this long and useless online, especially knowing that no-one--not a single one of you--is likely (nor should you be) to read it in its entirety, and somehow, that's the point, and what that means; and how, in the future, I might do less work and more thinking.




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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