Where I'm At

Scott Rahin writes in with an update.

I am at the most pitiful Internet cafe imaginable, in Graysville, PA. I am sorry to be so out of touch, so far off. I was back with Mike and bought a $200 car from his father, drove it out here according to Mike's directions. He grew up here, told me where to go to camp. His family owns the land, two square miles. I caught 6 brook trout with worms I bought from a vending machine. I skinned them and cooked them on an iron pan over a fire as the sun set, along with some canned string beans. It was not a bad idea.

Then I slept naked inside a sleeping bag under the stars. Didn't bother with the tent. My friend Beat (Beatrice), arrived the next day, from Philadelphia, her pickup coming up the gravel road like rain. I could hear it a mile away. She is a far more aggressive fisherman than me, a slip of paper, ponytail, and angled folds around the eyes. From Vermont, as if by law. Smarter than I, which I acknowledge.

I am feeling a diminished fury lately. Temporarily. Perhaps it's Beat putting her ear to my chest. I am for the first time interested in figuring out why I was so pissed. It was not a subtle anger, right? When I consider your drowning and of course the bat-beating of Our Banking Friend. I'm not looking at my anger in a what-my-parents-did sense, because what did they do, but just in digging it up, finding the evil corners of my mind with the goal of being good.

I get the sense from your email that you too are waking up a different person in the mornings. What a hypocrite I am to think I might interrupt my steady litany of calling you an utter cocksucker and press my head against your shoulder. I woke up this morning and thought about you. I am not constant. I am not substantive. But I - well, it's an unmasculine word, awkward, expensive. I'm always surprised to see you use it so freely. You pussy.

But love.

The truth being I've gone hippie, and am planning to build things in the woods and give backrubs to all takers. There's less reward in all the chilled bitterness. I'd say kill me but it's nice to settle down and not feel the pressure coursing through me, the itch in my lungs pushing a cry out through the larynx. My mouth is at rest. No one wants to be famous. At least in the grasping, visceral East-Village way. They want to barbecue and read books. No one here has mentioned shoes, not a word.

There are two of me, the hungry one, and the one lighting the grill. I've been thinking a lot about that poor bastard that got the concussion. I found out before I left that he and Margaret are back together, but she says he's never lifted a hand in anger since. She knows it was me. She doesn't question it. He never asked, just apologized. Perhaps I'll go to the wedding, right? He won't recognize me, though. We're talking just over a year, the last act of violence in my life.

I am looking forward to the Milt reunion with Matt and Eric and you. I will refer to this trip as Operation Steadfast Badger. I can get myself to Jersey myself, but email me the directions.




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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