They make no sense, deserts. They are an affront to comprehension. I’ve never been anywhere so empty than these alien landscapes, scarred and parched, impossible for me to comprehend. And then you have the preposterous oasis, the cities carved out of rubble, the green valleys hidden between folds in the mountains. They are inventions. Deserts make no sense, unless you are a snake or tumbleweed or a cactus. We escaped for a change of scenery, […]
Silence, as usual, means a heavy workload. Closing an upcoming issue of the magazine, pushing along another large project with lots of moving parts, and helping corral our election coverage has been intense—that’s on top of the day to day business. Next up the election, which I suppose is my third or fourth time around, depending on how you count it. We moved to America shortly before the 2008 Obama victory, which I think skewed […]
I have nothing more to say.
SIX MONTHS OF LOCKDOWN. We passed the milestone without even realizing, it just kind of came and went. (It was the same when we hit 100 days back in week 26.) Of course, “lockdown” is not exactly lockdown. Sometimes when the word crosses my lips, I feel like a character from this McSweeney’s jab: “Another dull quarantine weekend at home, Target, Chipotle, Home Depot, and our niece’s graduation party.” Your lockdown might not look the […]
TOUGH WEEK. Almost six months into lockdown, the wildfires encircle San Francisco and fill the skies with smoke. Suddenly even the limited ways we are able to go out into the world have become a bad idea. Some days are better than others, but the mornings are nearly always the worst; the smell of smoke invades everything, a blanket of smog sits in the sky and my chest stretches to grasp at the air. Combine […]
A WEEK OF SMALL VICTORIES, none of which I can really talk about yet—but some projects pushed forward and some assignments came together that I’m excited about. There were some frustrations, too, mainly about trusting my instincts. On a personal front, things have gone very quiet: we’re holding it together, just about, but the summers in San Francisco are the greyest time of the year. In the meantime, reading list ticked up another two. Finished […]
THIS LAST MONTH feels like things have been closing in. The limits haven’t changed, just my ambition to challenge them. Not leaving the house isn’t a temporary situation any more; it’s now the normal state—things could be happening a block or two away without me ever realizing. (In fact, they are happening without me realizing: I hit up the local news websites to discover that a new bar is opening on Haight, just a stone’s […]
GROWING THINGS HAS NEVER been my forte. I’m great at starting out, and get very excited about beginnings. I can even handle endings pretty well, although that’s more from experience than desire. But I am somewhat less good at maintenance—the fuzzy middle of projects and ideas. But this weekend, as I picked my way through our lemon tree and grabbed another haul (our third or fourth this year) I realized that maybe I was looking […]
JUST BOOKS THIS WEEK, otherwise I was offline more or less, no work. Two more Maigrets—The Carter of La Providence and The Hanged Man of St Pholien—along with A Burning by Megha Majumdar and Patrick Radden Keefe’s Chatter, his 2006 book on the NSA and Echelon. A lot’s changed in the years since that one came out, I can tell you.
BLESSED RELIEF came as I prepared to take a week offline to get my head back But coming on the back of two short weeks, it was a headache to get everything done that I could—so that week is this week, if you follow. Still, I managed to finish a short novel: based on John Lanchester’s recent praise of the entirety of Georges Simenon’s Maigret series, I started at the beginning to see what he […]