GET /freshly-pressed/

List Freshly Pressed Posts

Resource URL

Type URL and Format
GET https://public-api.wordpress.com/rest/v1/freshly-pressed/

Query Parameters

Parameter Type Description
http_envelope (bool)
false:
(default)
true:
Some environments (like in-browser Javascript or Flash) block or divert responses with a non-200 HTTP status code. Setting this parameter will force the HTTP status code to always be 200. The JSON response is wrapped in an "envelope" containing the "real" HTTP status code and headers.
pretty (bool)
false:
(default)
true:
Output pretty JSON
meta (string) Optional. Loads data from the endpoints found in the 'meta' part of the response. Comma separated list. Example: meta=site,likes
fields (string) Optional. Returns specified fields only. Comma separated list. Example: fields=ID,title
callback (string) An optional JSONP callback function.
number (int) The number of posts to return. Default: 10. Limit: 40. Default: 10.
after (iso 8601 datetime) Return posts picked on or after the specified datetime.
before (iso 8601 datetime) Return posts picked on or before the specified datetime.
content_width (int) When in context=display, images/embeds in post content will be set to the desired maximum width. Default: 480.
thumb_width (int) Desired width of thumbnail images, in pixels. Default: 252.
thumb_height (int) Desired height of thumbnail images, in pixels. Default: 160.

Response Parameters

Parameter Type Description
ID (int) The post ID.
site_ID (int) The site ID.
author (object) The author of the post.
date (iso 8601 datetime) The post's creation time.
modified (iso 8601 datetime) The post's most recent update time.
title (html) context dependent.
URL (url) The full permalink URL to the post.
short_URL (url) The wp.me short URL.
content (html) context dependent.
excerpt (html) context dependent.
slug (string) The name (slug) for the post, used in URLs.
guid (string) The GUID for the post.
status (string)
publish:
The post is published.
draft:
The post is saved as a draft.
pending:
The post is pending editorial approval.
future:
The post is scheduled for future publishing.
trash:
The post is in the trash.
sticky (bool) Is the post sticky?
password (string) The plaintext password protecting the post, or, more likely, the empty string if the post is not password protected.
parent (object|false) A reference to the post's parent, if it has one.
type (string) The post's post_type. Post types besides post, page and revision need to be whitelisted using the rest_api_allowed_post_types filter.
comments_open (bool) Is the post open for comments?
pings_open (bool) Is the post open for pingbacks, trackbacks?
likes_enabled (bool) Is the post open to likes?
sharing_enabled (bool) Should sharing buttons show on this post?
gplusauthorship_enabled (bool) Should a Google+ account be associated with this post?
comment_count (int) The number of comments for this post.
like_count (int) The number of likes for this post.
i_like (bool) Does the current user like this post?
is_reblogged (bool) Did the current user reblog this post?
is_following (bool) Is the current user following this blog?
global_ID (string) A unique WordPress.com-wide representation of a post.
featured_image (url) The URL to the featured image for this post if it has one.
post_thumbnail (object) The attachment object for the featured image if it has one.
format (string)
standard:
Standard
aside:
Aside
chat:
Chat
gallery:
Gallery
link:
Link
image:
Image
quote:
Quote
status:
Status
video:
Video
audio:
Audio
geo (object|false)
publicize_URLs (array) Array of Twitter and Facebook URLs published by this post.
tags (object) Hash of tags (keyed by tag name) applied to the post.
categories (object) Hash of categories (keyed by category name) applied to the post.
attachments (object) Hash of post attachments (keyed by attachment ID).
metadata (array) Array of post metadata keys and values. All unprotected meta keys are available by default for read requests. Both unprotected and protected meta keys are available for authenticated requests with access. Protected meta keys can be made available with the rest_api_allowed_public_metadata filter.
meta (object) API result meta data
date_range (object) date range covered by current results.
number (int) The number of posts brought back by current query.
posts (array) An array of post objects, with added Freshly Pressed info, in the editorial property for each post.

Example

cURL

curl 'https://public-api.wordpress.com/rest/v1/freshly-pressed/?pretty=1'

PHP

<?php

$options  = array (
  'http' => 
  array (
    'ignore_errors' => true,
  ),
);

$context  = stream_context_create( $options );
$response = file_get_contents(
  'https://public-api.wordpress.com/rest/v1/freshly-pressed/?pretty=1',
  false,
  $context
);
$response = json_decode( $response );

?>

Response Body

{
    "date_range": {
        "newest": "2014-07-29T21:00:24+00:00",
        "oldest": "2014-07-28T18:02:02+00:00"
    },
    "number": 10,
    "posts": [
        {
            "ID": 742,
            "site_ID": 28510121,
            "author": {
                "ID": 28048383,
                "login": "matsutas",
                "email": false,
                "name": "Mats Utas",
                "nice_name": "matsutas",
                "URL": "http:\/\/matsutas.wordpress.com",
                "avatar_URL": "https:\/\/1.gravatar.com\/avatar\/75e93c94dcdde0f667df3cd6ba2c0bd1?s=96&d=identicon&r=G",
                "profile_URL": "http:\/\/en.gravatar.com\/matsutas",
                "site_ID": 28510121
            },
            "date": "2014-07-21T15:24:25+00:00",
            "modified": "2014-07-21T15:24:25+00:00",
            "title": "The Ebola virus and the vampire state, by Susan Shepler",
            "URL": "http:\/\/matsutas.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/21\/the-ebola-virus-and-the-vampire-state-by-susan-shepler\/",
            "short_URL": "http:\/\/wp.me\/p1VCMF-bY",
            "content": "<p>Coming back to Sierra Leone at the end of June and traveling on to Liberia in July, I\u2019ve seen a big change.\u00a0 There have been hundreds of deaths, and people are definitely taking the issue more seriously now.<\/p>\n<p>The virus is primarily spread by contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, so one of the precautions advised is to not shake hands with people. But I\u2019m finding that very hard in Sierra Leone and Liberia.\u00a0 We shake hands with everyone we meet.\u00a0 A driver told me, \u201cI carry all kinds of people in my car.\u00a0 My children are playing with all kinds of children and then we all sit together at home.\u00a0 What can I do?\u201d\u00a0 I was sitting in a crowded public transport vehicle in the Red Light neighborhood, just outside Monrovia the other day, waiting for the vehicle to fill with passengers so we could leave.\u00a0 A vendor came by, hawking green garden gloves, boasting that they could be used to prevent Ebola. People around me laughed.<\/p>\n<p>It\u2019s only in the last few days that I now see hand-washing stations outside government ministries and some NGOs (though not all).\u00a0 It seems a little futile when the same people go out to eat in the same cook shops with the same shared utensils.<\/p>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<div id=\"attachment_739\" style=\"width: 235px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><a href=\"https:\/\/matsutas.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/hand-washing.jpg\"><img class=\"size-medium wp-image-739\" src=\"https:\/\/matsutas.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/hand-washing.jpg?w=225&#038;h=300\" alt=\"Outside the Ministry of Education in Monrovia\" width=\"225\" height=\"300\" \/><\/a><p class=\"wp-caption-text\">Outside the Ministry of Education in Monrovia<\/p><\/div>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p>Education about the virus and how it spreads is now seen as the main public health task.\u00a0 In <a href=\"http:\/\/allafrica.com\/stories\/201407120034.html\">&#8220;West Africa:\u00a0 Misconceptions Fuel Ebola Outbreak&#8221;<\/a>A UNICEF spokesman explains, &#8220;Some people still deny that the disease is real. Others believe that it doesn&#8217;t have to be treated.&#8221; The article goes on to explain that, \u201cWidespread misconception, resistance, denial and occasional hostility in some communities are considerably complicating the humanitarian response to contain the outbreak.\u201d\u00a0 I\u2019m reminded of what I heard in West Africa in the nineties, that AIDS stands for \u201cAmerican Invention to Destroy Sex.\u201d\u00a0 There is a long history of lament that Africans don\u2019t believe what we\u2019re telling them about their own health crises, cries of we need more education! Ignorance is the biggest enemy!<\/p>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<div id=\"attachment_740\" style=\"width: 310px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><a href=\"https:\/\/matsutas.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/monrovia-posters.jpg\"><img class=\"size-medium wp-image-740\" src=\"https:\/\/matsutas.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/monrovia-posters.jpg?w=300&#038;h=225\" alt=\"On a teacher\u2019s door in Monrovia\" width=\"300\" height=\"225\" \/><\/a><p class=\"wp-caption-text\">On a teacher\u2019s door in Monrovia<\/p><\/div>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<div id=\"attachment_741\" style=\"width: 310px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><a href=\"http:\/\/matsutas.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/freetown-posters.jpg\"><img class=\"size-medium wp-image-741\" src=\"https:\/\/matsutas.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/freetown-posters.jpg?w=300&#038;h=225\" alt=\"On the wall of a bank in Freetown\" width=\"300\" height=\"225\" \/><\/a><p class=\"wp-caption-text\">On the wall of a bank in Freetown<\/p><\/div>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p>In Monrovia, I was told that there have been real impacts on the health system.\u00a0 People are afraid to go to the hospital and health workers are refusing to treat people.\u00a0 So, I was told, even a small sickness can kill you because there is no one to treat you.\u00a0 (See <a href=\"http:\/\/reliefweb.int\/report\/liberia\/fighting-ebola-grace-god\">\u201cFighting Ebola \u2018by the Grace of God\u2019\u201d<\/a> detailing panicked health workers in Liberia abandoning their work stations.)<\/p>\n<p>The coverage I\u2019ve heard on the BBC and elsewhere focuses on how dangerous it is for people not to comply, and experts decry the ignorance of people who don\u2019t understand that these actions are for the health of the population as a whole.\u00a0 Sierra Leonean firebrand, and special assistant to the President, Sylvia Blyden, makes the point that it is not only uneducated rural people who are acting this way.\u00a0 Even people in the more cosmopolitan capital are fighting against the public health restrictions. She recently posted on Facebook:<\/p>\n<p>Esteemed members of SIERRA LEONE ISSUES, well the &#8220;gullible&#8221; people are not only in Kissi Teng, Kailahun. Tonight, credible reports are that a suspected Ebola patient has escaped from Isolation at PCMH Cottage [Hospital], Fourah Bay Rd. in Freetown with help of her friends and family. She was reportedly admitted in isolation whilst waiting for her test results from Ebola lab in Kenema. Well, to cut a long story short, she was forcibly removed from the Isolation room and then, was put onboard an okada motorbike and whisked off to her residence somewhere in Freetown. One of the nurses on duty was seriously SLAPPED for attempting to stop the escape.<\/p>\n<p>Enti na Kissi Teng, Kailahun, some bin day cuss &#8220;munku&#8221; and &#8220;gullible&#8221;? [In English:\u00a0 Isn\u2019t it true that in Kissi Teng, Kailahun, some people were cursing people for their lack of exposure and gullibility?]<\/p>\n<p>I feel like a lot of the coverage of the Ebola crisis has been about the heroic health workers and the ignorant locals.\u00a0 I don\u2019t dispute the heroism of the health workers, but I do want to dispute the ignorance of the locals.\u00a0 People on radio call in shows have asked: Why can\u2019t they understand what needs to be done?\u00a0 Why they need to submit themselves and their loved ones to quarantine?\u00a0 When someone has the symptoms\u2014fever, vomiting, diarrhea\u2014they are supposed to report to the health center, where they will be taken away from family, and if they die, be buried by men in protective gear with no family present.\u00a0 You can see why people might be loath to turn over their loved ones. Really who among us would want to turn a sick loved one over to a hospital staffed with foreigners, knowing we might never see them again?\u00a0 And hospitals in this part of the world have notoriously poor service.\u00a0 Families routinely have to prepare meals and bring them to patients.\u00a0 Families have to go to local pharmacies to buy drugs and even gloves or needles from India or Nigeria because hospital storerooms are routinely not stocked. People\u2019s apprehensions about the failings of the healthcare system come from experience, not from ignorance.<\/p>\n<p>At least some commentators have pointed out that this crisis really reveals people\u2019s mistrust of the state, that\u2019s why they don\u2019t do what they\u2019re told. One expert on a BBC call-in program explained this was understandable in the aftermath of war.\u00a0 I would argue that it\u2019s far deeper than that.\u00a0 It\u2019s not just the war that caused this mistrust.\u00a0 The mistrust existed long before.\u00a0 Furthermore, the issue is more than people ignoring public health warnings from the state. People believe that the state is actually out to get them; more precisely, that \u201cbig men\u201d are using the apparatus to of the state to enrich themselves at the expense of ordinary people, sometimes at the expense of their lives.<\/p>\n<p>Some folks standing outside JFK Hospital in Monrovia told me that there is a spray, a chemical spray, that if they say you have Ebola, they spray it on you and that\u2019s what actually kills you.\u00a0 They explained that the health ministry is using it so they can report more deaths from Ebola and get more money.\u00a0 They said the government already got $1.8 million in March so they know there is money in it.<\/p>\n<p>A friend recounted a story that in one of the poor neighborhoods some group was giving vaccinations against Ebola (\u201cBut there is no vaccine,\u201d I protest.\u00a0 \u201cDoesn\u2019t matter.\u00a0 People don\u2019t know that,\u201d he replies.)\u00a0 He says two babies died almost immediately after receiving the shots, and the medical team vanished afterwards, now no one knows who gave the shots.\u00a0 \u201cSomeone must have been poisoning the children to make it look like more Ebola deaths!\u201d \u00a0This is an unsubstantiated rumor, but the important thing is how the rumor was spread by average, even well educated, people like my friend.\u00a0 He said that people think it is someone in or near the government who is getting rich off of the money that is coming into the country to battle the epidemic, and wants the situation to continue to look dire.\u00a0 When I sounded doubtful, my friend gave further evidence.\u00a0 He told me that the Chief Accountant at the Ministry of Health was preparing to make a report to the donors of how all the Ebola response money given to the government had been spent so far.\u00a0 The evening before the presentation he was badly beaten by thugs, and they took all the paperwork away from him and nothing else.\u00a0 Clearly, my friend argued, someone has something to hide!<\/p>\n<p>So, is this a case of ignorance? \u00a0Or do these beliefs tell us something more? I think the rumors reveal something about the nature of the state here and people\u2019s so-called contract with it.\u00a0 The state has acted in just such a vampiric fashion in the past, feeding off of the misery of its citizens, and likely will continue to do so. They are not responding out of ignorance, but again I would argue, out of long experience.<\/p>\n<p><em>Susan Shepler is Associate Professor of International Peace and Conflict Resolution in the School of International Service at American University in Washington DC.\u00a0 She is currently conducting Spencer Foundation funded research in Liberia and Sierra Leone on connections between Western education, the state, and armed conflict.<\/em><\/p>\n",
            "excerpt": "<p>Coming back to Sierra Leone at the end of June and traveling on to Liberia in July, I\u2019ve seen a big change.\u00a0 There have been hundreds of deaths, and people are definitely taking the issue more seriously now. The virus &hellip; <a href=\"http:\/\/matsutas.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/21\/the-ebola-virus-and-the-vampire-state-by-susan-shepler\/\">Continue reading <span class=\"meta-nav\">&rarr;<\/span><\/a><\/p>\n",
            "slug": "the-ebola-virus-and-the-vampire-state-by-susan-shepler",
            "guid": "http:\/\/matsutas.wordpress.com\/?p=742",
            "status": "publish",
            "sticky": false,
            "password": "",
            "parent": false,
            "type": "post",
            "comments_open": true,
            "pings_open": true,
            "likes_enabled": true,
            "sharing_enabled": true,
            "gplusauthorship_enabled": false,
            "comment_count": 7,
            "like_count": 53,
            "i_like": 0,
            "is_reblogged": 0,
            "is_following": 0,
            "global_ID": "8445c52d9d8ead961f415155138bee9a",
            "featured_image": "",
            "post_thumbnail": null,
            "format": "standard",
            "geo": false,
            "publicize_URLs": [

            ],
            "tags": {

            },
            "categories": {
                "Uncategorized": {
                    "ID": 1,
                    "name": "Uncategorized",
                    "slug": "uncategorized",
                    "description": "",
                    "post_count": 101,
                    "parent": 0,
                    "meta": {
                        "links": {
                            "self": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/28510121\/categories\/slug:uncategorized",
                            "help": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/28510121\/categories\/slug:uncategorized\/help",
                            "site": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/28510121"
                        }
                    }
                }
            },
            "attachments": {

            },
            "metadata": [
                {
                    "id": "1449",
                    "key": "_wpas_skip_facebook",
                    "value": "1"
                },
                {
                    "id": "1450",
                    "key": "_wpas_skip_google_plus",
                    "value": "1"
                },
                {
                    "id": "1452",
                    "key": "_wpas_skip_linkedin",
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                    "id": "1453",
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                    "id": "1451",
                    "key": "_wpas_skip_twitter",
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            ],
            "meta": {
                "links": {
                    "self": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/28510121\/posts\/742",
                    "help": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/28510121\/posts\/742\/help",
                    "site": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/28510121",
                    "replies": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/28510121\/posts\/742\/replies\/",
                    "likes": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/28510121\/posts\/742\/likes\/"
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            },
            "featured_media": {

            },
            "pseudo_ID": "8445c52d9d8ead961f415155138bee9a",
            "is_external": false,
            "site_name": "Mats Utas",
            "site_URL": "http:\/\/matsutas.wordpress.com",
            "site_is_private": false,
            "editorial": {
                "blog_id": "28510121",
                "post_id": "742",
                "image": "https:\/\/s2.wp.com\/imgpress?crop=0px%2C0px%2C252px%2C160px&url=https%3A%2F%2Fs2.wp.com%2Fimgpress%3Fw%3D252%26url%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fmatsutas.files.wordpress.com%252F2014%252F07%252Fmonrovia-posters.jpg&unsharpmask=80,0.5,3",
                "custom_headline": "The Ebola Virus and the Vampire State",
                "custom_blog_title": "",
                "displayed_on": "2014-07-29T21:00:24+00:00",
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                "highlight_topic_title": "Ebola",
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        },
        {
            "ID": 2524,
            "site_ID": 46177660,
            "author": {
                "ID": 15318164,
                "login": "kristaquinby",
                "email": false,
                "name": "M.I.L.K.",
                "nice_name": "kristaquinby",
                "URL": "http:\/\/www.milkandwhiskey.com",
                "avatar_URL": "https:\/\/1.gravatar.com\/avatar\/dd42bd312bba8d4c7a60700072df5e47?s=96&d=retro&r=G",
                "profile_URL": "http:\/\/en.gravatar.com\/kristaquinby",
                "site_ID": 46177660
            },
            "date": "2014-07-28T07:39:26-07:00",
            "modified": "2014-07-29T16:58:57-07:00",
            "title": "Lies my Mother Tells",
            "URL": "http:\/\/milkandwhiskey.com\/2014\/07\/28\/lies-my-mother-tells\/",
            "short_URL": "http:\/\/wp.me\/p37KUY-EI",
            "content": "<p>We may have touched on <a title=\"That Time I Broke my Mom\u2019s Wrist\" href=\"http:\/\/milkandwhiskey.com\/2014\/01\/13\/that-time-i-broke-my-moms-wrist\/\">this<\/a> a time or two, but my mom is a goddamned liar. I mean that in the nicest way possible, but that lady can tell a whopper before she even realizes she&#8217;s talking.<\/p>\n<p>My husband knows this better than most.<\/p>\n<p>I will accost him with some new and interesting piece of information like, &#8220;Hey, Did you know that pine nuts actually come from inside pine cones? That pine tree in our backyard\u00a0is lousy with pine nuts. I can make pesto! From our TREE!&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>To which my husband will reply, &#8220;Did your mother tell you that? Because you know she lies.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>Every. Single. Time.\u00a0And he&#8217;s right, gallingly enough (though not about the tree. I got that shit from a book).<\/p>\n<p>When mom\u00a0was in school, she told a handful of people that her sister had a metal plate in her head. There had been a terrible accident involving an innocent enough argument that ended in tragedy when my aunt apparently fell prey to her own impressive height and tipped over the porch railing to land smack on her perfectly coiffed head. She was never the same after that, but fortunately had no recollection of the accident or the petty argument that preceded it. Still, mother would say with a knowing smile, best not to get too close her head with magnets.<\/p>\n<p>Imagine the other teenagers&#8217; disappointment when magnets didn&#8217;t stick to the peppy\u00a0cheerleader&#8217;s\u00a0bouffant.<\/p>\n<p>Lest you think this habit was simply the stuff of childish fancy, she also told my husband (then fiancee) that she had been to Cuba. She told him many, many fascinating things about her trip to Cuba, based almost entirely on films from the 40&#8217;s. The beaches\u00a0there are amazing, and the ladies with hats made entirely out of fruit are a sight to behold. He hasn&#8217;t believed a word out of her mouth since.<\/p>\n<p>But mom&#8217;s\u00a0lies are never\u00a0premeditated. They are off the cuff remarks that gain too much immediate interest. They are typically so insane to begin with, that the belief of her listener catches her off guard and, faced with the fascinated stares of friends and strangers, she&#8217;s forced to continue. What else could she do? Admit that she was lying? That would make her seem like a <em>crazy person<\/em>. And so, a simple bluff\u00a0snowballs into a massive, highly detailed work of fiction that really ought to be recorded. For posterity.<\/p>\n<p>There was <a title=\"It\u2019s all Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Goosed in the Nuts\" href=\"http:\/\/milkandwhiskey.com\/2014\/01\/27\/its-all-fun-and-games-until-someone-gets-goosed-in-the-nuts\/\">the goose<\/a>, of course. The little brother who never existed but still met a terrible fate. The quicksand that was everywhere and would surely kill us all. The spaghetti trees. Having children gives any hobby\u00a0liar an ideal captive audience and my brother and I spouted much insane nonsense as truth for years. It&#8217;s remarkable how few people will call you out on your bullshit.<\/p>\n<p>Unless you have my kids. My kids don&#8217;t believe anything. It&#8217;s like their father already took them aside and whispered in their ears, &#8220;don&#8217;t believe anything your mother says. She lies, you know.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>And he&#8217;s right. Again. (If you tell him that, I&#8217;ll deny it)<\/p>\n<p>The other day I was in <a href=\"http:\/\/wickedcellars.com\">Wicked<\/a> participating in what passes for a date these days (wine tasting while the kids play on the iPad). There was some sort of bridal shower or bachelorette party or first moon celebration going on (a lot of women in too short skirts, too pink lips, and too floofy bags of gifts) so I had to squeeze my way to the counter through the sea of boobs. Yeah, I said sea of boobs; it&#8217;s SO fun to be a short flats-wearing girl\u00a0in a high-heel world. The young pourer guy was showing the ladies a bottle of\u00a0Muscadet S\u00e8vre et Maine, the pronunciation of which he sweetly\u00a0butchered. The ladies were fascinated, he was momentarily flummoxed, and so I announced to no one in particular, &#8220;Interestingly enough, that literally translates to fruit of the severed hand.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>All attention swiveled to me. &#8220;REALLY?&#8221; someone said, &#8220;that&#8217;s so <em>interesting<\/em>.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>Oh dear God, I thought, I&#8217;m turning into my mother.<\/p>\n<p>Then I remembered that time I convinced my classmates that I&#8217;d been born without a nose and I realized, really, I&#8217;d been my mother all along.<\/p>\n<p>I&#8217;m a goddamn liar.<\/p>\n<p>You&#8217;ve been warned.<\/p>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n",
            "excerpt": "<p>We may have touched on this a time or two, but my mom is a goddamned liar. I mean that in the nicest way possible, but that lady can tell a whopper before she even realizes she&#8217;s talking. My husband &hellip; <a href=\"http:\/\/milkandwhiskey.com\/2014\/07\/28\/lies-my-mother-tells\/\">Continue reading <span class=\"meta-nav\">&rarr;<\/span><\/a><\/p>\n",
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The great fear that we, not them might be the next victims was to nip at the heels of Americans through the coming decades,<\/p>\n<p>Along with her china pattern, revere ware and sterling, she wondered if she should\u00a0 register for a Geiger Counter too.<\/p>\n<p>A recent issue of<span style=\"text-decoration:underline;\"> Life<\/span> magazine carried an article entitled \u201cHow you can prepare for Atomic war\u201d that sent a chill through her\u2026 \u201cthe blunt truth at this moment\u201d, the article stated much too bluntly for her tastes, \u201cis that not one American city has so far made even a fair start toward minimum preparedness,\u201d the alarmed editors claimed. \u00a0Their urban civil defense plan suggested that circular highways and Quonset hut hospitals would at least alleviate public panic after the attack.<\/p>\n<p>Even with the new efficient defense plans being set up by the government, Betty worried what the radioactive fallout would do to her wedding plans\u2026.would she lose her hair and have to wear a wig?<\/p>\n<h2><b>Atomic Jitters<\/b><\/h2>\n<div id=\"attachment_4936\" style=\"width: 720px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><a href=\"http:\/\/envisioningtheamericandream.files.wordpress.com\/2013\/04\/civil-defense-fallout-fairy-godmother.jpg\"><img class=\"size-full wp-image-4936\" title=\"Make a Wish\" src=\"https:\/\/envisioningtheamericandream.files.wordpress.com\/2013\/04\/civil-defense-fallout-fairy-godmother.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"Civil Defense Fallout poster 1950s  Fairy Godmother illustration\"   \/><\/a><p class=\"wp-caption-text\">(L) Vintage Civil Defense Poster 1950s (R) Fairy Godmother from Cinderella Vintage illustration Walt Disneys &#8220;Cinderella&#8221; Random House 1974<\/p><\/div>\n<p>To alleviate her panic, Marvin tried reassuring her, calmly pointing to another article, this one in the <span style=\"text-decoration:underline;\">Saturday Evening Post<\/span> that was much more upbeat.<\/p>\n<p>Entitled: \u201c<i>How You Can Survive an Atomic Bomb Blast<\/i>\u201d it was written by Richard Gerstell.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cThis fellow\u201d, Marvin pointed out, \u201cwas a bone-fide expert on Atomic war and now was the advisor to the Secretary of Defense. He had been aboard a ship watching as the bomb exploded over Bikini Atoll. So he ought a know a thing or two about the Bomb.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>\u201cAlthough repeatedly subjected to radiation on the Bikini ships,\u201d the article stated, \u201cGerstell had suffered no physical damage, not even losing a hair.\u201d Mr. Gerstell advised readers that after the blast, a careful citizen would do well to keep his eyes closed, lest \u201cfive minutes or so of blindness\u2026.result from looking into the explosion\u2019s dazzling burst of light.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>Cotton clothing in light colors, Marvin added would help shield against the heat. Betty felt a little more relieved, \u201cGood thing I\u2019ll be wearing white!\u201d<\/p>\n<h2><b>And They Lived Happily Ever After<\/b><\/h2>\n<p>Uncle Sam offered his own reassuring words.<\/p>\n<p>Besides Betty Crocker\u2019s <span style=\"text-decoration:underline;\">Picture Cookbook<\/span>, the recently published \u201cSurvival Under Atomic Attack\u201d put out by the US Government was the must have shower present for any future bride. The booklet offered helpful household hints for any homemaker starting her own home.<\/p>\n<p>Explaining how to protect oneself, ones food and water supply and ones home in case of an Atomic Attack, it reassured the reader: \u201cYour chances, our government reassured us, of making a complete recovery from an Atomic attack \u00a0are much the same as for everyday accidents.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>Later that evening, a buoyed Betty cheerfully sang \u201cI\u2019m gonna wash that bomb right outtta my hair,\u201d as she lathered up with new Dial soap that promised to keep you fallout fresh.<\/p>\n<p>It would be a perfect fairy tale ending. Betty couldn&#8217;t wait to begin her own nuclear family!<\/p>\n<div id=\"attachment_4920\" style=\"width: 720px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><a href=\"http:\/\/envisioningtheamericandream.files.wordpress.com\/2013\/04\/nuclear-attack-home.jpg\"><img class=\"size-full wp-image-4920\" title=\"Home Sweet Home With the Nuclear Family\" src=\"https:\/\/envisioningtheamericandream.files.wordpress.com\/2013\/04\/nuclear-attack-home.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"Nuclear Attack Home vintage childrens book illustration 1950s family\"   \/><\/a><p class=\"wp-caption-text\">At Home with the Nuclear Family (L) A series of images that ran in Life Magazine are from a government film as part of an Atomic Bomb test taken of a house closest to the detonation of the 3\/53 Operation Doorstep (R) Vintage children&#8217;s schoolbook illustration 1950s &#8220;Stories About Linda and Lee&#8221;<\/p><\/div>\n<h6 class=\"zemanta-related-title\" style=\"font-size:1em;\"><strong>Copyright (\u00a9) 2014 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved<\/strong><\/h6>\n<h2>You Might Also Enjoy<\/h2>\n<p><a title=\"Nuclear Jitters\" href=\"http:\/\/envisioningtheamericandream.com\/2013\/04\/09\/nuclear-jitters\/\">Nuclear Jitters<\/a><\/p>\n",
            "excerpt": "<p>&nbsp; 1950 was Cinderella\u2019s year. My mother Betty knew it was an omen. After 6 long years of waiting, Disney\u2019s much anticipated movie, Cinderella was finally opening and now Betty Joseph\u2019s days of waiting were over too- she was getting &hellip; <a href=\"http:\/\/envisioningtheamericandream.com\/2014\/07\/21\/an-atomic-fairy-tale-2\/\">Continue reading <span class=\"meta-nav\">&rarr;<\/span><\/a><\/p>\n",
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            "date": "2014-07-27T13:50:29-07:00",
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            "title": "What a Maroon.",
            "URL": "http:\/\/annamalhouse.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/27\/what-a-maroon\/",
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            "content": "<div id=\"attachment_456\" style=\"width: 490px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><a href=\"https:\/\/annamalhouse.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/rosenwald-hall-szmurlo.jpg\"><img class=\"wp-image-456 size-large\" src=\"https:\/\/annamalhouse.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/rosenwald-hall-szmurlo.jpg?w=480&#038;h=321\" alt=\"Rosenwald-Hall-Szmurlo\"   \/><\/a><p class=\"wp-caption-text\">Actually, the plant life was the best part.<\/p><\/div>\n<p>I&#8217;ve never felt so courted as I did when colleges started sending me and my sister letters and brochures during our senior year of high school. At one point, mid-fall, I hauled a stack of mailers that was nearly three feet tall out to the recycling bin. Whereas I imagine previous generations of women agonized over the finding the perfect husband at 18, my classmates and I agonized over finding the perfect college. For those of us on the honors\/AP\/IB fast track of elite education in Atlanta, it was a kind of holy grail we chased after, plowing through chemistry homework while our classmates smoked joints at Lake Burton.<\/p>\n<p>I went into college sincerely believing it was going to be the absolute best four years of my life: a distillation of the most engaging and empowering moments from high school, minus all the stuff I didn&#8217;t like. We would have profound philosophical discussions under trees. I would discover my passions. I would meet my soulmate, and my best friends for life. I would study abroad and speak perfect French. It would always be autumn. I would emerge from UChicago like a maroon and gold butterfly: complete. Ready. Automatically ushered into a high-paying job that I found satisfying and enjoyable.<\/p>\n<p>I wonder if it was dumb to have such astronomical expectations. But then I think back to that huge stack of mailers: all the artfully designed brochures, created to sell the most glorious possible image of each school. (It finally dawned on me that they only interview you for the brochure if you had a super great time at your school, and you like to talk about it.) And I remember the frenetic enthusiasm of all the adults in my life who had gone to college, and how much <em>fun<\/em> they had. I don&#8217;t believe they were being disingenuous with us. Trying to encourage and motivate us, they chose the rosiest of their memories to talk about.<\/p>\n<p>For a long time, I felt terror at the idea of expressing any shred of dissatisfaction with UChicago. I had worked my ass off to get in (f*ck you, AP Chemistry). It cost a fortune; it was my big, expensive decision. I needed to defend my choice of schools: my special, fancy-pants school in the North. And the bus ride back to campus from Midway airport, through some of the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago, underscored what an absurd privilege it was to be there in the first place. To have any complaint whatsoever seemed heretical, disgustingly entitled: like sending a lobster tail back to the kitchen at a five-star restaurant because it had a spot on it. And I realize that this entire post may come off that way: the complaints of a girl who can&#8217;t see just how good she has it.<\/p>\n<p>But what if in spite of this real privilege, my classmates and I also experienced something truly negative? I wonder how much of my anxiety, fear, and self-doubt is unique to me, is a gender issue, and is the result of an environment like UChicago. It would be a cop-out to blame all of my insecurities on the school. But what if our lobster tail has actually given us food poisoning, and we have been retching up the results of our college experience ever since? Just how much of the culture at UChicago is genuinely toxic, but escapes scrutiny because enough students assume their bad experiences are &#8220;just them?&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>I assumed my bad experiences were a character flaw: maybe I didn&#8217;t have the guts for the school I chose. Maybe if I&#8217;d been a little smarter, I could have sorted myself out. After all, the unofficial motto was &#8220;where fun goes to die.&#8221; But I expected that I&#8217;d actually have a great deal of fun not worrying about mere &#8220;fun.&#8221; No sorority frivolities or sports-related debauchery for me. Oh no. I was at school to <em>learn<\/em>. I was there for my kind of fun: feeling <em>important<\/em>. Never mind the fact that genuine fun, things done purely for their own sake, are actually a hugely important part of life. Maybe I should have done the Scav Hunt after all, if I hadn&#8217;t been so tunnel-vision focused on grades. (And that brings me into a fairly common complaint about difficult schools: we might have really enjoyed learning if we weren&#8217;t so busy studying.)<\/p>\n<p>I suspect I chose UChicago precisely because of my anxiety. I didn&#8217;t consider myself Ivy material, mostly because I developed a distaste for math. But I craved, more than anything, to feel smart. And when I got the &#8220;thick envelope&#8221; in the mail that fine spring afternoon senior year, I felt like I had gotten an official seal of approval from the universe. If I could get approval from a high enough source, I would be forever safe. Golden. Congratulations. You are <em>good<\/em>.<\/p>\n<p>When I arrived in the fall of 2007, I beheld the strangest collections of characters I&#8217;d ever met in my life. I saw students who were supposedly brilliant, but were completely miserable. By the time I left in 2011, I couldn&#8217;t shake the feeling that if we were really, truly, intelligent, we would have figured out a way to make ourselves happier. In fact, I realized how incredibly easy it is to be unhappy: to be surrounded by resources and opportunities, and miss out on them all together, pooh-poohing things in order to feel important.<\/p>\n<p>I divided up my classmates into five distinct groups:<\/p>\n<p>I. Those poor kids. The ones who were obviously suffering, who were obviously miserable. Stressed out, lonely, unhealthy, homesick, painfully awkward. They moved about the campus like wraiths. Like unkempt children in need of a sandwich and a hug.<\/p>\n<p>II. Insufferable hipsters.<\/p>\n<p>III. Econ majors.<\/p>\n<p>IV. The eternally busy. Emotionally attached to their workload, their all nighters, their piles of Red Bull cans and 5-Hour energy bottles. It gave them a sense of purpose, belonging, something to talk about. Perhaps the hamster wheel brought them such satisfaction because it staved off painful questions about why they were working so hard in the first place. These were the ones who wore the t-shirts with slogans like &#8220;where fun goes to die,&#8221; &#8220;where the only thing that goes down on you is your GPA,&#8221; and, perhaps the obvious warning I should have heeded: &#8220;you will be unhappy here.&#8221; (But, you know, in a way that actually makes you kind of happy.)<\/p>\n<p>V. The all-inclusive UChicago experience. The kids for whom it was always autumn. Or perhaps more accurately, always Scav Hunt. College life was one nerdy adventure after another. I felt jealousy toward these kids, for two reasons: they were enjoying themselves, and presumably, they felt smart.<\/p>\n<p>God. All I wanted was to feel smart.<\/p>\n<p>In some ways, that&#8217;s really all I want right now. To feel accomplished, like I achieved something worthwhile, especially in the eyes of the baby boomers who may be writing my paychecks again in the near future.<\/p>\n<p><em>Please. Please look at my resume and validate my existence. Sense that I have done the work, that I have jumped through the hoops of fire, that I deserve something beyond an unpaid internship.\u00a0<\/em><\/p>\n<p>But even more than that: <em>tell me how smart I am.\u00a0<\/em><\/p>\n<p>I expected that I would graduate feeling, at very least, confident, and with some idea of what I was Going to Do With My Life. I didn&#8217;t expect to have the same experience that my parents did at the University of Georgia in the 70s; I had chosen to eschew typical college &#8220;fun,&#8221; but I thought that I would feel better because of it, more focused, driven, and capable. I don&#8217;t think that&#8217;s asking for a ton, especially not after all the time and money invested. But I shook Zimmer&#8217;s hand with a feeling of abject dread and utter incompetence.<\/p>\n<p>I believed that if I just had good enough grades, the job offers would roll in the same way the college mailers did. Never mind seeking experience, building skills, or even better, building a community. The numbers were what mattered. (Why get an internship, or volunteer, or get to know people when I could memorize these Russian verbs? Russian verbs I have since forgotten?) On the one hand, that seems ludicrous. On the other hand, that&#8217;s the game I sincerely thought I was playing: you get the brand name degree, and then you <em>coast<\/em>. You do all the work at once, and then, you are forever rewarded with lucrative work.<\/p>\n<p>Such was not the case. Cue collective panic and feelings of failure from much of the class of 2011 (and 2009, and 2010, and I suspect, a good deal of &#8217;12 and &#8217;13, if I&#8217;m not overstepping my bounds). So I received a very pretty piece of paper with a red faux-leather cover and a gold phoenix on it. And an overwhelming need for validation.<\/p>\n<p>There&#8217;s no doubt that I had anxious tendencies before I ever set foot on campus. But they reached previously unknown heights during the four years I spent on it. I attribute this to several distinct experiences of loss.<\/p>\n<p>The first was a loss of community, and that meant an overall loss of perspective on what was healthy, normal, and typical. We were in an environment saturated with &#8220;smart&#8221; people, but many of them were used to being the only &#8220;smart&#8221; person in their home community, and coming to campus created a serious identity threat. I suspect a great deal of hostility cropped up between classmates because of this. UChicago students are notorious for their antisocial tendencies; we had little sense of what was really going on with each other. We heard each other&#8217;s pithy remarks in class. We didn&#8217;t see the quantity of tears spilled into boxes of Hutch sushi, sandwiches eaten alone in the A-level. Hours and hours spent scrolling through Facebook and wanting to drown in Botany Pond. I have heard it said that we run into trouble when we compare our raw footage to other people&#8217;s highlight reels. U of C kids are very adept in the cutting room.<\/p>\n<p>In place of a community of friends, I resigned myself to one toxic partner for three years; someone whose feelings of jealousy and insecurity tormented him, and eventually tormented me as well. Over time, I did make friends who supported me. But I suspect this process took a while because most of the time, we were just too tired, too busy, too apathetic, too competitive, too bitter to really take the emotional risk of making friends.<\/p>\n<p>The next loss I felt was that of my spiritual life. The &#8220;life of the mind&#8221; seemed to have very little patience for matters of the spirit. Granted, my Christian faith had been heavily tinted by feelings of uncertainty and judgment beforehand. But it was still a source of identity, structure, comfort, and meaning. Over time, however, I came to regard my spirituality as something degenerate and shameful, a kind of superstitious crutch that exposed me as incapable of rational thought. I began to disregard my direct experience, gut feelings, and warning signs from dreams. In general, I trusted myself less. I took my opinions less and less seriously, doubting my ability to form them in the first place.\u00a0When a recent acquaintance described me as &#8220;analytical,&#8221; I just about laughed in his face. At school, I had felt about as &#8220;analytical&#8221; as a hippie woman shaking a tambourine.<\/p>\n<p>I started to buy heavily into the mythos of objectivity, of rationality, of the materialism that I have since seen brilliantly and gracefully debunked by scientists and spiritual teachers alike. The result at the time, though, was to cut me off from what was actually a profound source of information and power, albeit one that went discredited and unrecognized. Religion in particular could be approached in three ways: as a historical artifact, a body of literature, as an ethnographic eccentricity. But to embrace it as a way of experiencing and interacting with the world seemed pathetic, absurd. I realize now that it took a great deal of guts for my classmates who, sincerely and unironically, observed Shabbat, Ramadan, Lent, Imbolc. Later on, I realized that quite a few of my classmates clung to their belief in their own rationality with more dogmatism and fervor than some of the most ardent Born-Again Christians I have encountered. To this day, I am stunned at how easily some people believe they are not influenced by their own feelings.<\/p>\n<p>(Veganism did a surprisingly good job of replacing the identity and structure I&#8217;d felt I&#8217;d lost. But I still had a strong feeling of emptiness and disconnection. Eventually, I did take advantage of meditation workshops offered by the school, and that helped initiate a slow return to meaningful spiritual practice.)<\/p>\n<p>Finally, I lost my love and excitement for art. As a child, my notebooks were full of magical creatures and an endless rotating cast of characters. I loved drawing, designing things, inventing whole worlds. Drawing gave me a symbolic language I could use to process grief and loss, it gave me a chance to stretch my creative muscles when I felt bored at school. It was a way to get to know and explore myself, and a way to know other people, across time and cultures, on a non-verbal, holistic level. As a kid, I didn&#8217;t know precisely why art mattered to me in the way that it did. That occurred to me later, when I realized once again how severed I felt from something that used to be a source of power and support.<\/p>\n<p>I did the coursework for a minor in visual art, but never followed through on getting department approval, because by that point, I had given up all together. The need to look and sound smart, to have something intellectual to say about everything, to analyze a piece of work to death&#8211;had completely supplanted the moments of genuine fascination. In the fall of 2007, when I saw Hamza Walker&#8217;s curated exhibition <a href=\"http:\/\/arttattler.com\/commentarybaghdad.html\" target=\"_blank\"><em>Meanwhile in Baghdad<\/em><\/a> at the Renaissance Society, it made my blood run cold, in the best possible way; the commentary he gave my class made my head spin. But by the time <a href=\"http:\/\/www.chicagoweekly.org\/2008\/03\/12\/trisha-donnellys-white-slabs-exploring-art-at-the-renaissance-societys-newest-exhibit\/\" target=\"_blank\">Trisha Donnelly<\/a> put up four measly drawings in the same space in the spring, I had lost the confidence to say that I thought it was <em>the dumbest shit I had ever seen<\/em>. In some ways, I&#8217;m impressed with the job I did convincing myself that I cared about art that meant nothing to me at all. While Mucha, Miyazaki, and Moebius whispered to me tantalizingly from a distance, I dared not touch, almost as if the staff of <em>October<\/em> would personally show up at my dorm room, and spit on me if I did. Needless to say, the stream of sketches that used to flow freely onto all paper within my reach dried up completely, and has just recently started to return.<\/p>\n<p>With these three major supportive factors gone, my self-esteem dwindled to the point where by the winter of my &#8220;fourth&#8221; or senior year, I began to feel afraid to leave my apartment.<\/p>\n<p>I suspect that at some point when I was a kid, I began to shift away from the things that piqued my curiosity, and toward what would bring me the most praise from adults. I have come to crave praise, to thrive on it. What confuses me the most is why I seem to have lost the ability to declare myself good enough for myself. There are certain things I miss about being a kid (Pokemon, Halloween, making s&#8217;mores in Girl Scouts), but what I miss the most is assuming that I will be able to do things, and eventually, be good at them. Perhaps UChicago was the last stop on a train line I&#8217;d been on for quite some time. And perhaps I have become the ideal employee after all: capable, but unconvinced; willing to go to great lengths, for low pay, to prove myself.<\/p>\n<p>I resent that the first thing I feel when I think of college is a sense of embarrassment and loss, and not my appreciation for the buffet of ideas and brilliant minds I had access to. Part of what is so distressing about this process is not that I didn&#8217;t gain any skills or abilities&#8211; in fact, as I&#8217;m writing this, I&#8217;m remembering more and more of what I learned and gained. The kicker is that I seem to have lost the ability to activate and make use of it. I&#8217;m like a robot without batteries, or an unplugged computer: the risk of failure keeps me from switching myself on. \u00a0I was shocked to realize that in the jobs I worked after graduating, I gravitated toward the easiest tasks, the ones with the least risk of failure. I felt lost without any more feedback than &#8220;well, they didn&#8217;t fire me this week, so I guess I&#8217;m doing ok?&#8221; I&#8217;m not sure which is more threatening: to actually be a profoundly capable person, who doesn&#8217;t realize it and feels timid and paralyzed; or to have never had any real ability, to have been shepherded along by money in a system that gives every kid a trophy.<\/p>\n<p>To feel this way is like being stuck on an island because my custom-built yacht went down in a storm. Or like having a special kind of hangover one only gets from drinking the rarest and finest of wines. Again, it&#8217;s the food-poisoning from the lobster tail: a special type of insecurity that comes from having been heavily invested in, and feeling terrified of not being able to make good on that investment. It&#8217;s also, fundamentally, a feeling of great entitlement. &#8220;So you feel like a failure because you didn&#8217;t have fun at your notoriously not-fun college, and you didn&#8217;t get your super perfect dream job at 22?&#8221; Well, yes, actually, because <em>I really thought I would.\u00a0<\/em><\/p>\n<p>It&#8217;s possible, and highly likely, that my education heaps status and privilege upon me&#8211;and I just don&#8217;t see it yet. I admit potential myopia here. At this point, it&#8217;s too early to tell whether my time at UChicago was worth it, and I would be lying if I claimed to have gotten nothing out of it. But it was also not remotely the experience I expected, the one I bought into. It was a rich experience, to be sure. It was absolutely not a palatable one.<\/p>\n<p>Ironically, it may propel me to greater success precisely because of how unbelievably bad it felt. The biggest conclusion I take away from it is that without the health of the body, the strength of the soul, and lightness of the heart, the &#8220;life of the mind&#8221; is frankly, one big intellectual masturbation session, hollow and useless; it preserves the feeling of elitism that rakes in cash for the university (I am never going to buy those stupid f*cking Kant socks. I will not be donating money this year, don&#8217;t give me that &#8220;Honor Roll&#8221; bull crap). If anything, it is a screaming reminder of how badly I need my &#8220;power sources&#8221; in order to engage all the intellectual material I&#8217;ve been exposed to. Raw information and ideas are not enough; I need my community of friends, my spirituality, my creative outlets, my direct personal experience. And those things, taken together, have been doing a remarkable job over the past year of reviving the parts of me that felt deadened and numb. 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            "title": "Why you don\u2019t need to be rich to be a cultural tourist, and why it\u2019s probably better not to be (really!)",
            "URL": "http:\/\/picnicatthecathedral.com\/2014\/05\/13\/why-you-dont-need-to-be-rich-to-be-a-cultural-tourist-and-why-its-probably-better-not-to-be-really\/",
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            "content": "<p>I remember the exact moment: after a morning of winding our way uphill through the medieval Albayz\u00edn neighborhood of Granada in Southern Spain, we reached the San Nicholas Viewpoint. We picnicked while taking in the enchanting view of the Alhambra and surrounding mountains and I mentioned to HOB that, according to our guide book, this view is Bill Clinton&#8217;s favorite sight in Europe. And somehow our idle chit-chat crystallized it for me&#8211;<em>I have everything I want. I spent the entire day yesterday exploring the Alhambra. There&#8217;s nothing about this experience that would be better if I were rich, famous or a former American president.\u00a0 <\/em><\/p>\n<p>Ever since having this rather obvious, but nonetheless life-changing illumination, I&#8217;ve become convinced that not only are we not missing out by traveling on a modest budget, but we are far better off.\u00a0\u00a0A great example is the last day from our trip this spring to Sicily:<\/p>\n<p>Our 8 1\/2 hour train ride from Siracuse to Naples cost \u20ac9 each.\u00a0\u00a0 We left our seaside hotel in Syracuse in a sleepy morning light with a few other passengers.\u00a0\u00a0 The dramatic landscape of sea and orange rocks and wildflowers out our window was spectacular and with each stop the train was becoming more and more full.\u00a0 We had assigned seats at table and soon a young couple sat across from us.\u00a0 It was a tight fit and we had to constantly maneuver to keep our knees from rubbing up against our companions.\u00a0 The couple didn&#8217;t seem to mind, since they were occupied with making out, in my\u00a0estimate, \u00a0for about seven hours straight.\u00a0 (And by making out, I mean they were really going at it&#8230;.further details omitted in the interest of discretion).\u00a0The passing landscape grew even more fabulous until, OMG, there was\u00a0<a href=\"http:\/\/en.wikipedia.org\/wiki\/Mount_Etna\">Mt. Etna<\/a> belching cold smoke on our left! \u00a0 By the time we left Sicily through <a href=\"http:\/\/picnicatthecathedral.com\/2014\/02\/25\/straight-of-messina\/\">Straight of Messina<\/a>, every seat was full (we counted 80 people in our car, plus a beagle and a surprisingly mellow calico cat.)\u00a0 As if choreographed, \u00a0the passengers simultaneously pulled out foil-wrapped ham sandwiches and, after finishing them, went to sleep.\u00a0\u00a0(As soon as the entire car was asleep, we realized our grave error of packing canned tuna fish for lunch&#8211;we couldn&#8217;t have eaten at our seats in that stuffy car without sinking up the place something fierce.\u00a0\u00a0So, stealthily, we took turns <span class=\"userContent\">devouring our tuna hidden at the end\u00a0 of the car behind the bathroom. Picnic level: Ninja.)<\/span>\u00a0 We arrived in the ever-crazy Naples train station and walked a few blocks to our \u20ac50 a night b&amp;b where we\u00a0were greeted like old friends by the innkeeper\u00a0Eugenio.\u00a0 Eugenio teased HOB, made fun of my Italian, entertained us with hair-raising stories of commuting with his wife and three children all on one motorcycle,\u00a0and earnestly consulted with us on\u00a0where to go for pizza.\u00a0\u00a0We ended the day devouring the\u00a0most perfect\u00a0pizza of our lives (\u20ac3 ) while reviewing all the marvelous art and architecture we&#8217;d visited in the past 11 days, the tasty street food we&#8217;d sampled and the\u00a0interesting people we&#8217;d met.<\/p>\n<p>We left Sicily and Naples not only with our eyeballs jammed full of UNESCO World Heritage sights, but a feeling of endearment for the friendliness and patience of the Sicilian people, and appreciation of the dichotomy that is Naples (wild outside, personable and winning inside).\u00a0\u00a0 An 8 1\/2 train ride in cheap seats is not exactly comfortable, Eugenio&#8217;s bed was not the very best we&#8217;ve ever slept in, but we were safe, we were fine, we were right in the middle of things soaking up the culture, just where we wanted to be.\u00a0\u00a0 Rich tourists do everything to avoid being in the middle of things: they travel in a bubble called &#8220;luxury&#8221; that isolates them from local culture with it&#8217;s exclusive access, first class and five star everything and the inevitable, endless sycophancy that accompanies the &#8220;luxury&#8221;\u00a0infrastructure.\u00a0\u00a0 To me, this is missing the point.\u00a0 Why travel to isolate yourself from the culture of the place you&#8217;ve come so far to visit?<\/p>\n<p>I am not here to romanticize poverty.\u00a0 Poverty sucks.\u00a0 And don&#8217;t worry, I&#8217;m not going to foist some Marxist travel theory on you.\u00a0 My point is that there&#8217;s a sweet spot in between minimum wage-earning hell and gratuitous wealth, and if you&#8217;re in that sweet spot, revel\u00a0in it. Don&#8217;t live beyond your means or be envious of rich travelers. Realize you are better off in a cheap b&amp;b with the advice of a gregarious innkeeper than you are in a five star hotel. (We once spent the night in a five star hotel, courtesy of British Airways and our missed flight in London. The hotel had a\u00a0stellar view, a huge staff we were probably supposed to tip, cool mini-toiletries, lots and lots of throw pillows. Otherwise, it was just a hotel. And I&#8217;ve always hated throw pillows anyway).<\/p>\n<p>Strike up conversation with a stranger on public transportation. \u00a0Ask a museum security guard where he likes to buy cheese. Watch an opera in standing room. Be curious about how the locals live.\u00a0 And of course, when you&#8217;re visiting\u00a0a breathtaking sight,\u00a0take your time looking, eat your picnic with a view, and feel grateful: not even Bill Clinton can do better.<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"http:\/\/picnicatthecathedral.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/05\/pizzemenu.jpg\"><img class=\"alignnone size-full wp-image-2464\" src=\"https:\/\/picnicatthecathedral.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/05\/pizzemenu.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"pizzemenu\"   \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p>Best margherita pizza in Naples: <span class=\"st\"> \u20ac <\/span>3<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"http:\/\/picnicatthecathedral.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/05\/wobchow.jpg\"><img class=\"alignnone size-full wp-image-2465\" src=\"https:\/\/picnicatthecathedral.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/05\/wobchow.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"WOBchow\"   \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p><a href=\"http:\/\/picnicatthecathedral.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/05\/wobview.jpg\"><img class=\"alignnone size-full wp-image-2371\" src=\"https:\/\/picnicatthecathedral.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/05\/wobview.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"WOBview\"   \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p>Me and Bill Clinton dig this view.<\/p>\n",
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            "content": "<p><a href=\"https:\/\/greekmythcomix.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/liad-infographis-lej-1.png\"><img class=\"alignleft size-large wp-image-563\" src=\"https:\/\/greekmythcomix.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/liad-infographis-lej-1.png?w=480&#038;h=215\" alt=\"greekmythcomix.wordpress.com\"   \/><\/a> <a href=\"https:\/\/greekmythcomix.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/liad-infographis-lej-2.png\"><img class=\"alignleft size-large wp-image-562\" src=\"https:\/\/greekmythcomix.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/liad-infographis-lej-2.png?w=480&#038;h=202\" alt=\"greekmythcomix.wordpress.com\"   \/><\/a> <a href=\"https:\/\/greekmythcomix.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/liad-infographis-lej-3.png\"><img class=\"alignleft size-large wp-image-561\" src=\"https:\/\/greekmythcomix.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/liad-infographis-lej-3.png?w=480&#038;h=261\" alt=\"greekmythcomix.wordpress.com\"   \/><\/a> <a href=\"https:\/\/greekmythcomix.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/liad-infographis-lej-4.png\"><img class=\"alignleft size-large wp-image-560\" src=\"https:\/\/greekmythcomix.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/liad-infographis-lej-4.png?w=480&#038;h=218\" alt=\"greekmythcomix.wordpress.com\"   \/><\/a> <a href=\"https:\/\/greekmythcomix.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/liad-infographis-lej-5.png\"><img class=\"alignleft size-large wp-image-559\" src=\"https:\/\/greekmythcomix.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/liad-infographis-lej-5.png?w=480&#038;h=254\" alt=\"greekmythcomix.wordpress.com\"   \/><\/a> <a href=\"https:\/\/greekmythcomix.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/liad-infographis-lej-6.png\"><img class=\"alignleft size-large wp-image-558\" src=\"https:\/\/greekmythcomix.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/liad-infographis-lej-6.png?w=480&#038;h=225\" alt=\"greekmythcomix.wordpress.com\"   \/><\/a> <a href=\"https:\/\/greekmythcomix.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/liad-infographis-lej-7.png\"><img class=\"alignleft size-large wp-image-557\" src=\"https:\/\/greekmythcomix.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/liad-infographis-lej-7.png?w=480&#038;h=248\" alt=\"greekmythcomix.wordpress.com\"   \/><\/a><br \/>\n<b> <\/b><\/p>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p><i>NOTE: this got viewed about 250,000 times before anyone noticed that, on the first graph, I&#8217;d accidentally put Hektor&#8217;s book 22 death (the only one) in the book 21 column. Good spot! I&#8217;ll edit soon.<\/i><\/p>\n<p><i>Also, there should also be one more &#8216;death in the dark&#8217; attributed to Diomedes as Rhesus is indeed additional to the other twelve Thracians, not included as in Johnston&#8217;s list and in my own reading when I checked it.\u00a0<\/i><\/p>\n<hr \/>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p><b>Here&#8217;s a <\/b><a href=\"https:\/\/records.viu.ca\/~johnstoi\/homer\/iliad_title.htm\" target=\"_blank\"><b>clickable link to Ian Johnston&#8217;s work on the Iliad<\/b>:<\/a> a lovely translation that&#8217;s perfect for first-time readers, a list of the speeches (invaluable to students), and of course the list of deaths which formed the basis of this Infographic along with my own research.<\/p>\n<p><b>You can buy his Iliad translation<\/b>, as paperback or Ebook. It&#8217;s available on Amazon but I know he&#8217;ll get an actually-decent cut of the cost if you buy it direct from Lulu: <a href=\"http:\/\/www.lulu.com\/gb\/en\/shop\/homer\/the-iliad-translated-by-ian-johnston\/paperback\/product-2351622.html\" target=\"_blank\">http:\/\/www.lulu.com\/gb\/en\/shop\/homer\/the-iliad-translated-by-ian-johnston\/paperback\/product-2351622.html<\/a><br \/>\n(He&#8217;s done the Odyssey too!)<\/p>\n<p><b>My illustrated Odyssey<\/b>, books 5,6,7,9,10 and 12 (UK GCSE set books) is available to buy and download instantly at <a href=\"https:\/\/gumroad.com\/l\/rxrdj\" target=\"_blank\">https:\/\/gumroad.com\/l\/rxrdj<\/a> or you can licence a class set and get discounts and free posters <a href=\"http:\/\/greekmythcomix.wordpress.com\/greek-myth-comix-for-education\/\" target=\"_blank\">here!\u00a0<\/a><\/p>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n",
            "excerpt": "<p>&nbsp; NOTE: this got viewed about 250,000 times before anyone noticed that, on the first graph, I&#8217;d accidentally put Hektor&#8217;s book 22 death (the only one) in the book 21 column. Good spot! I&#8217;ll edit soon. Also, there should also &hellip; <a href=\"http:\/\/greekmythcomix.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/20\/deaths-in-the-iliad-a-classics-infographic\/\">Continue reading <span class=\"meta-nav\">&rarr;<\/span><\/a><\/p>\n",
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            "title": "\u2018Boyhood\u2019 and Nonfiction Across Time",
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            "content": "<div id=\"attachment_1877\" style=\"width: 510px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><a href=\"https:\/\/monkeymoonmachine.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/notebooks-26.jpg\"><img class=\"size-full wp-image-1877\" src=\"https:\/\/monkeymoonmachine.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/notebooks-26.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"My notebooks: 20-plus years of texts writing in the present\"   \/><\/a><p class=\"wp-caption-text\">My notebooks: 20-plus years of texts written in the present<\/p><\/div>\n<p>Last night on &#8220;The Daily Show,&#8221; <a href=\"http:\/\/thedailyshow.cc.com\/guests\/richard-linklater\/hsyqlt\/richard-linklater\" target=\"_blank\">Jon Stewart interviewed Richard Linklater<\/a> about his new movie &#8220;<a href=\"http:\/\/en.wikipedia.org\/wiki\/Boyhood_%28film%29\" target=\"_blank\">Boyhood<\/a>,&#8221; which was shot over a period of 12 years. Thus, the three-hour film contains footage of all the actors at yearly intervals.<\/p>\n<p>In the interview, this passage caught my attention:<\/p>\n<p><strong>Jon Stewart:<\/strong> &#8220;Philosophically, did the act of being observed, for the younger actors, change their behavior? Were they conscious &#8230;&#8221;<\/p>\n<p><strong>Richard Linklater:<\/strong> &#8220;I don&#8217;t think so &#8230;[but] I guess it [the film] was pretty mind-blowing to them [the younger actors] when they finally saw it.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p><strong>JS:<\/strong> &#8220;What did they, what was their reaction?&#8221;<\/p>\n<p><strong>RL:<\/strong> &#8220;I gave a DVD to [actor] <a href=\"http:\/\/en.wikipedia.org\/wiki\/Ellar_Coltrane\" target=\"_blank\">Ellar<\/a> and I said, I suggest you watch this alone. Um, you know, build up some kind of relation with this crazy thing. And I didn&#8217;t hear from him for a while , so I was worried, but, ah, yeah, I think they&#8217;re still processing.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p><strong>JS:<\/strong> &#8220;Right. It&#8217;s an awful lot to take in.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p><strong>RL:<\/strong> &#8220;Yeah, yeah.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p><strong>JS:<\/strong> &#8220;What&#8217;s very interesting is, it&#8217;s hard not to watch it and process your <em>own life<\/em> within it, which is how art works that way.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p><strong>RL:<\/strong> &#8220;Yeah, you have to.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>Some of the movie&#8217;s reviewers have also responded to the images-through-time\/time compression aspects of this movie. <a href=\"http:\/\/time.com\/3005745\/boyhood-patricia-arquette-ethan-hawk\/\" target=\"_blank\">This article at Time<\/a> concludes with:<\/p>\n<blockquote><p>We now know that cinema can depict the passage of time convincingly in a way we never thought possible before. Here time is real. We watch it accumulate on the actors\u2019 faces and understand the toll it takes on adults and on mothers specifically.<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<p>Of course, this movie is <a href=\"http:\/\/physics.about.com\/od\/timetravel\/f\/doestimeexist.htm\" target=\"_blank\">not trying to prove that time is real<\/a>; what this writer intends, I think, is that watching this movie prompts viewers to think about their own relationships to time.<\/p>\n<p>I have yet to see &#8220;Boyhood,&#8221; but the method of filming a movie across so much time highlights some aspects of artistic creation that are otherwise easy to overlook. For example, <a href=\"http:\/\/www.newyorker.com\/magazine\/2014\/07\/21\/balancing-acts\" target=\"_blank\">Anthony Lane<\/a> makes a point about how a plot-driven work can obscure character, which is revealed in<\/p>\n<blockquote><p>those episodes which seem dim and dull at the time, and only later shine in memory\u2019s cave. A haircut, in short, matters more than a Quidditch match. We happen upon ourselves when nothing much happens to us, and we are transformed in the process<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<p>Lane generalizes from the movie&#8217;s structure to claim that the meanings we find in our own lives &#8212; the stories we tell about what has mattered to us, what has shaped us &#8212; depend on &#8220;memory&#8217;s cave.&#8221; Lane also writes, &#8220;that twin sense of continuity and interruption\u2014of life itself as tracking shot and jump cut\u2014applies to everyone,&#8221; which editing metaphor also implies that our memories may themselves be artistic products.<\/p>\n<p>An individual&#8217;s memories, along with most of our culture&#8217;s stories (both fictional and non-), are structured as events from the past that are recounted in the (storyteller&#8217;s) present. We can&#8217;t tell a story &#8212; in fact, we may not even have a complete, satisfying story &#8212; if we don&#8217;t know how it turns out. Even if a writer starts off telling a story that she doesn&#8217;t know how to end, it will end before she finishes the book, and she would be able, before publishing the book, to go back and revise the early parts of the story to better fit the ending, once she knows the ending. (Stephen King writes &#8212; if my memory is accurate here &#8212;\u00a0 in &#8220;On Writing&#8221; that it&#8217;s after the later drafts of his novels that he plays up the symbols that appear almost unintentionally in the first draft.)<\/p>\n<p>But, of course, Linklater could not have gone back after Year 12 of shooting to film something from Year 2. He could re-edit what he had, yes, but he could not have gone back with the same actors. Even if, say, Linklater could have fabricated &#8212; because it IS fiction, and there are options such as stand-ins and CGI &#8212; a new Year 2 scene in Year 12, Linklater would himself be a different artist than he was earlier. As<a href=\"http:\/\/www.avclub.com\/review\/astonishing-boyhood-breaks-new-ground-coming-age-m-206701\" target=\"_blank\"> a review in The A.V. Club<\/a> states it,<\/p>\n<blockquote><p>Because of how it was filmed, in piecemeal from 2002 until 2013, <i>Boyhood<\/i> exists in a constant present tense, providing a snapshot of recent history as it unfolds. Conversations about Obama and Bush were written and delivered without the hindsight the audience now possesses, as was an unexpectedly funny moment of Mason and his father discussing the possibility of more <i>Star War<\/i>s sequels. (Ah, the innocence of 2008.) The movie also functions as a chronicle of its creator\u2019s artistic evolution: The filmmaking becomes more confident and relaxed as Mason gets older, Linklater increasingly letting go of his plot aspirations in favor of a loose, conversational hang-out vibe. He, too, seems to blossom before our eyes, gestating incrementally into the director he is today.<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<p>What intrigues me about &#8220;Boyhood&#8221; is that its &#8220;constant present tense&#8221; describes how most of my nonfiction writing is done. Rather than telling memoir-type stories about my long-ago experiences, I mostly write journals about previous-day events and present-day impressions, and I write down my real-life observations and my thoughts within moments of having them in mind.<\/p>\n<p>I don&#8217;t often tell stories about my past, but I do tell some, and I&#8217;ve become skeptical of telling these stories because the versions of these stories that exists in my memory doesn&#8217;t always match the versions that I wrote on paper soon after the event. For a few years, I warned my high school senior students not to drink when they go to college because I remembered seeing a person have his stomach pumped outside my dorm on the first Friday night of my freshman year of college. Not too long ago, I found the journal entry where I&#8217;d written about this, and it happened on the fourth, not the first, weekend of that year. This new setting doesn&#8217;t invalidate the story as an anti-example, but it bothered me that I&#8217;d remembered it wrong (and in a way that heightened the student&#8217;s foolishness, and thus, the anti-example lesson). It made me less confident in trusting my memory, particularly when I have these texts written more closely in time to the actual experiences.<\/p>\n<p>In fact, I&#8217;ve also noticed that some of the things I remember from college didn&#8217;t get written down in my journals, and that what&#8217;s in the journals, I don&#8217;t always remember having lived through. It&#8217;s actually sorta disturbing to feel this disconnect between what I wrote (which reflected who I was) in the past, and how I now remember these things (as the person I am now). Maybe this disconnect is part of what Stewart and Linklater were referring to when they said that watching &#8220;Boyhood&#8221; required the actors to process their experience.<\/p>\n<p>I value having my writings going back 20-plus years now, and I&#8217;m not so interested in present-day telling of stories of my past. I mean, sure, I can go back now and re-interpret my remembered experiences of years past, and this can be a diverting pastime, but it doesn&#8217;t draw my attention to the current moment, and how to live in the current moment, which seems to me to be the most interesting part of my writing.<\/p>\n<p>I don&#8217;t want to overly define myself and my writing, but it&#8217;s valuable for me to understand who I am and what I do, and I think that what motivates most of my writing is a drive to understand &#8212; to form concepts of who I am, what I should do, how I should act toward others, why others do what they do, how I should think about my job, my writing, etc. These concepts, of course, I am willing to revise over time, which thinking and revising feel like the most interesting, even necessary (in the way that I get out-of-sorts when I don&#8217;t have enough time to write) processes of my being alive. Others may have a need to run marathons (maybe they do &#8212; it&#8217;s hard to understand others except by analogizing their needs to my own) while I feel I need to write, and specifically, to write about myself and my experiences.<\/p>\n<p>So I&#8217;ve got these 20 years of texts, mostly journals and notes, and I used to wonder how I&#8217;d make these interesting to other readers. I felt that I needed to do that, if I were ever to become a Famous Author, and yet, I didn&#8217;t find myself naturally writing things that would appeal to others. What I had were my journal writings, and I thought for a long time about how these writings could be made interesting to others. I still don&#8217;t have a final answer, and now I don&#8217;t expect to find one, but I have come to think that there&#8217;s value in the texts written as they were at the times they were written.<\/p>\n<p>Like Linklater&#8217;s movie, these texts present the problem of time: when I wrote about my college years, I was in college. I could write now about about my college times, but that&#8217;s 18 years after the events. So at the time of the journal-writing, I had lots of particulars but no distant perspective; now I have perspective, but that it&#8217;s the perspective of a 40-year-old.<\/p>\n<p>And this is kind of a basic problem with writing (and it&#8217;s the basic problems that interest me the most): Everything one writes must be written from a perspective; writing is a product of a consciousness, and every consciousness is always already situated in time. I&#8217;m a better writer now than I was at age 20, but I&#8217;m no longer the person I was at age 20. I can see the changes when I read &#8220;between the lines,&#8221; as it were, in my texts written when I was different ages. I&#8217;m a different person. Yet, I&#8217;m not an entirely different person, which may be the point Lane was making in his quote above.<\/p>\n<p>So if I want to be honest to the perspective I have now, I could write only about now, with the knowledge that whatever I say now will be superseded by what I write later. Or, maybe not &#8212; maybe one&#8217;s later nonfiction writings don&#8217;t supersede one&#8217;s past writings; maybe they&#8217;re just completely different and shouldn&#8217;t be compared?<\/p>\n<p>That Linklater&#8217;s film was filmed over 12 years interests the commenters above because it uses real actors. If the film were made of, say, animated characters rather than human actors, the movie could&#8217;ve been made over 12 years without the characters&#8217; appearances changing, as &#8220;The Simpsons&#8221; characters haven&#8217;t changed much over 25 years of TV episodes. (Although the characters were drawn differently in their f<a href=\"http:\/\/en.wikipedia.org\/wiki\/The_Simpsons_shorts\" target=\"_blank\">irst appearances on &#8220;The Tracy Ullman Show<\/a>&#8220;.) Of course, what Linklater did is maybe not all that different from looking at how the actors of<a href=\"http:\/\/en.wikipedia.org\/wiki\/M*A*S*H_%28TV_series%29\" target=\"_blank\"> M*A*S*H <\/a>change over 11 years of the show (which was weird, too, as the show was set during <a href=\"http:\/\/en.wikipedia.org\/wiki\/M*A*S*H_%28TV_series%29\" target=\"_blank\">a war that took only 3 years<\/a>).<\/p>\n<p>And I suppose I could put together a document that contained my writings across the years, like an overview anthology of any author&#8217;s work, but then the main impact of such a document might be to show the change in the author&#8217;s voice over the years (which might overshadow any thematic concerns of the particular works anthologized). Linklater&#8217;s film may show the cinematic equivalent of that, but it also coheres as a single story. I&#8217;m still not sure how this would work with nonfiction.<\/p>\n<p>But perhaps this problem requires a format of writing and\/or of publishing that&#8217;s broader than any one book or other single-themed work.<\/p>\n<p>P.S.: See related thoughts on writing in\/through time <a href=\"http:\/\/monkeymoonmachine.com\/2012\/08\/28\/nonfic-writing-in-the-present-versus-writing-about-the-past\/\" target=\"_blank\">here<\/a>.<\/p>\n",
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            "date": "2014-07-24T08:25:17-06:30",
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            "title": "Riding in lifeboats with ghosts.",
            "URL": "http:\/\/hannahbrencher.com\/2014\/07\/24\/riding-in-lifeboats-with-ghosts\/",
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            "content": "<p class=\"p1\" style=\"text-align:center;\"><a href=\"http:\/\/www.pinterest.com\/pin\/552465079260856962\/\"><img class=\"alignnone  wp-image-5859\" src=\"https:\/\/itsassimpleasthat.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/2706756c533cb442f486976e619a4345.jpg?w=500&#038;h=751\" alt=\"2706756c533cb442f486976e619a4345\" width=\"500\" height=\"751\" \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\" style=\"text-align:center;\"><strong>With permission, I have posted the email below.<\/strong><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\" style=\"text-align:left;\"><em><span class=\"s1\">Afternoon Hannah,<\/span><\/em><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\" style=\"text-align:left;\"><em><span class=\"s1\">I&#8217;m moving to Athens, GA in three weeks. I know absolutely no one. I&#8217;m taking out a loan to start graduate school after I worked so hard to pay my way through undergrad to be debt free. And I&#8217;m going into a field I&#8217;m not 100% sold out on. And when I leave this Texas town that I&#8217;ve called home for the past four years I&#8217;m leaving behind my best friend. Only, he doesn&#8217;t realize it. He ended our relationship right after graduation in May because he doesn&#8217;t have his life figured out and cannot ask me to wait around. We were friends before we ever dated and have remained friends even after. But for whatever reason, the guy who shared my common desire to talk deep things and look beyond the surface level, he isn&#8217;t that person anymore&#8230;not with me anyways.<\/span><\/em><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\" style=\"text-align:left;\"><em><span class=\"s1\">And that&#8217;s the thing. I woke up one morning in June and realized that I&#8217;m going to be okay. I&#8217;m ready to move on and let go. And I&#8217;m so excited to venture into the unknown. But like how a ticking clock &#8216;s tick becomes louder when you start to listen, this nagging in the back of my mind still remains. He was my friend&#8230;and still should be. The world awaits for me and I see him settling for mediocrity. Staying where it&#8217;s comfortable. And I&#8217;m torn. What if I&#8217;m the one person who can speak into him? Should I? People are happy that I&#8217;m ready to move on. Heck I feel pretty good about myself too. But I can&#8217;t watch him sink in the clear water of conventionalism while muddy challenges are meant to be seized. What do I do with someone who always asked me to hold them accountable, talks of appreciating those who are willing to say the hard things? Am I crossing the line? I&#8217;m supposed to be &#8220;letting go&#8221;. I don&#8217;t know if this is the right thing to do and I don&#8217;t know if anyone else would do it. I don&#8217;t even know if he would receive it.<\/span><\/em><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\" style=\"text-align:left;\"><em><span class=\"s1\">But I have two-ish more weeks. I&#8217;ll see him at church and when we go visit the old lady we&#8217;ve been seeing every Friday night for the past two years. And then August 4th will come and he won&#8217;t see me again. And he doesn&#8217;t even realize what he&#8217;s losing (at least it appears that way).<\/span><\/em><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\" style=\"text-align:left;\"><em><span class=\"s1\">Any words?<\/span><\/em><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\" style=\"text-align:left;\"><em><span class=\"s1\">Future Georgia Newbie<\/span><\/em><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\" style=\"text-align:left;\">\n<hr \/>\n<h2 class=\"p2\">Dearest J&#8211;<\/h2>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">I have this friend from Atlanta who thinks we all have ghosts. That is exactly how he said it to me one night as we were driving through the mountains of north Georgia: \u201cWe all have ghosts.\u201d<\/span><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">\u201cMine has green eyes,\u201d I told him. I didn\u2019t even flinch. I knew exactly what he meant. I knew I was guilty of my own ghost hosting\u2014 <em>keeping someone around to haunt my memory. Finding threads of him in love songs. Dwelling on the \u201cwhat if.\u201d Letting the \u201cwhat might have been\u201d rock me to sleep at night.\u00a0<\/em><\/span><\/p>\n<p class=\"p2\">People notice when you have a ghost. Not always but usually.\u00a0Some people see it quicker because they have their own ghosts.<\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\"><strong>And while I\u2019m not an expert or a ghost buster, I think a ghost gets born out of a constant wish that maybe you and another person might have more to say to each other.<\/strong> Like maybe you never reached the point of finally saying everything. And maybe, just maybe, if you can manage to keep a person in your orbit or your memory a little while longer then you\u2019ll never have to face the real truth: you can\u2019t fix everything. You are a human. Not a fixer. Not a maker. Not a lifeboat with enough seats to save a slew of green-eyed boys if you needed to.\u00a0<\/span><\/p>\n<h2 class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">I\u2019ll write that again: You\u2019re aren\u2019t a lifeboat. <\/span><\/h2>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">There is a savior mentality stitched into most of us. We want to save. We want to fix. Because thinking we can be saviors and lifeboats is so much easier than letting go of someone we learned how to love with our whole body.<\/span><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">And this guy probably doesn\u2019t need saving. I could be wrong but I think I might be right. You just want different things and that\u2019s hard to swallow. Maybe you two are the pretty,\u00a0yellow parallel lines in the middle of the roadway\u2014 you\u2019re both going somewhere but you might not touch again.\u00a0<\/span><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">And I only say all of this because I used to think I was a lifeboat and I used to (wrongly) think the whole world\u2014 my family, my town, my friends\u2014 were for my saving purposes. There was a harsh little wakeup call waiting for me around the corner of that prideful purpose I\u2019d given myself: <em>Not everyone wants what you want. And not everyone wants to save the world. Some people want air. Some people want a family. Some people want dreams they can\u2019t even touch. Calling is different for everyone but the mistake is made when we start thinking the way we measure our own success defines what other people\u2019s mediocrity looks like.\u00a0<\/em><\/span><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\"><strong>You want something different for that guy of yours<\/strong>. You might be willing to fight for it, struggle for it, and claw for it. But, sadly, that doesn\u2019t mean you\u2019ll win out for him in the end. He has to want to win himself. And we don\u2019t get to put our own definitions of \u201cwinning\u201d onto someone else.\u00a0<\/span><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">It took me a long time to stand in this space of believing all of this for myself. I wasted a lot of time telling a love story that always ended the same\u2014 <em>that green-eyed boy never went back to who he used to be.<\/em> I really should correct that for all my years I said it wrong. While it\u2019s true he never went back to who he used to be, I really should have been saying something different all those years, <strong>\u201cHe never became who I wanted him to be. And that\u2019s the expectation I should have never put on him, this expectation that he was supposed to please me with his becoming.\u201d<\/strong><\/span><\/p>\n<h2 class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">One random Saturday night in college I met a boy at a party. <\/span><\/h2>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">I was two years into having a ghost with green eyes.\u00a0<\/span>This guy was tall. He was Irish. I think for five minutes I thought about how Irish our babies would be. I was just happy he wanted to talk to me. You know that feeling, it\u2019s just really nice to feel like the center of someone\u2019s universe within a sea of red solo cups. I liked the way he leaned his head against the door frame and watched me talk. We left the party holding hands. I remember there was this strange fog that seemed to sit in the air that night, as if there was some sort of shelf we couldn\u2019t see holding that fog at eye level. We got to the spot where our paths split and he kissed me at the bus station. I wasn\u2019t really used to kissing strangers but I liked the way his eyes looked when they were on me.<\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">And then he pulled back and stared at me.<\/span><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\"><em>\u201cSomeone hurt you really badly in the past,\u201d<\/em> he said. <em>\u201cI can see it in your eyes. I\u2019m sorry.\u201d<\/em> <\/span><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">He released me from his grip. <em>\u201cI don\u2019t want to be that guy to you but, if we keep this going, I will be.\u201d\u00a0<\/em><\/span><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">At that exact moment, Joey Potter and Dawson jumped out from the bushes and screamed, \u201cYOU\u2019VE BEEN PUNK\u2019D!!!!!!\u201d\u00a0<\/span><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">No, that didn\u2019t really happen. Not the Dawson and Joey part. But yes, he said those words. And yes, you are right, I think he was probably hiding the fact from me that he wrote the scripts to Emmy award-winning dramas when not in biology class. I mean, those are Dawson\u2019s Creek words.\u00a0<\/span><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><strong><span class=\"s1\">I winced when he said that because I already knew the ghost standing in my own eyes. And I wanted so badly for the ghost to release me.\u00a0<\/span><\/strong><\/p>\n<p class=\"p2\">I turned to walk away from him. I trudged up the hill to my apartment with tears in my eyes. I pulled my laptop out off of my desk when I got back to my room and I started to type a letter to him\u2014 the ghost. I wish I could remember all the words but I know somewhere in there I said what needed to be said for the last few years: <em>I had expectations for you. And you didn\u2019t meet them.<\/em><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">It had always been his fault to me until, in that moment, it wasn\u2019t any longer. It was no one\u2019s fault: We loved one another once. And then life brought us in different directions. And we would both be okay. <strong>He just wasn\u2019t mine. I just wasn\u2019t his.<\/strong> And maybe a ghost gets born on the day you can\u2019t accept the hardest fact: <em>someone else will love them, someone else will love them in a way you know you can\u2019t.\u00a0<\/em><\/span><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">And then it was over, J. Like that. It was over when I finally found the final words. I still thought of him, yes. I still found him in random songs, yes. But I let go when the truth tumbled out of me: you can&#8217;t always love someone how you hoped to after they choose to become someone other than who you thought they&#8217;d always be.<\/span><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">Some people call that forgiveness. Other people call that closure. Sometimes it\u2019s just letting go. Letting someone off the hook you built for them. Final words shift the atmosphere though.\u00a0<\/span><\/p>\n<h2 class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">If it\u2019s going to kill you to not say something to him then say it. <\/span><\/h2>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">Maybe write a letter. Send it or don\u2019t send it. But try your hardest to find final words for this because your mind is already made up on certain truths that trump your hope to keep you both standing in one place: <em>you\u2019re going away. You\u2019re starting something exciting and new. It\u2019s gonna be good. You don\u2019t love him the way you used to. You both have different callings.<\/em> The past is a square tin box that looks smaller every time we go back to it. But no, it isn&#8217;t your job to try to fit yourself inside of it.<\/span><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\"><strong>And as for that boy not seeing what he is losing?<\/strong> I guess we don\u2019t know. But you should take the inventory when you walk away for good. You should know exactly what anyone in this world loses when you walk out of the room&#8211; not in a prideful way or a boastful way, just in a &#8220;you&#8217;re kind of awesome&#8221; sort-of way.<\/span><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">So here&#8217;s the inventory, the thing you get to pack when you head over to Georgia come August 4th: You&#8217;re whole. You&#8217;re doing this. You&#8217;re gonna be okay. You&#8217;re ready. That&#8217;s the big one: you&#8217;re ready. And after the &#8220;ready&#8221; comes the &#8220;set.&#8221; And after &#8220;set&#8221; comes &#8220;go.&#8221;\u00a0<\/span>So take the ready in your fists and make the set, J. And when you make the set, be sure to go. I guess that&#8217;s all that is left to say: You\u2019re ready to go&#8211; without all the lifeboats and without all the ghosts.<\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\">hb.<\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\" style=\"text-align:center;\"><strong>I would appreciate if we could keep the conversation going for J. Please post a comment of blessing, a lesson, a mini love letter. Whatever you please. She is reading and I know she would appreciate it too.<\/strong><\/p>\n",
            "excerpt": "<p>And while I\u2019m not an expert or a ghost buster, I think a ghost gets born out of a constant wish that maybe you and another person might have more to say to each other. <a href=\"http:\/\/hannahbrencher.com\/2014\/07\/24\/riding-in-lifeboats-with-ghosts\/\">Continue reading <span class=\"meta-nav\">&rarr;<\/span><\/a><\/p>\n",
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