Tag Archives: Social responsibility
To myself, regarding death:
You are going to die. You may not like to think about it, but it’s going to happen. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe in 50 years. Who can say? That’s the bit you can’t know (thankfully). But you do know where you’re going to end up sooner or later. You do realize how short 100 years are, don’t you? You do realize how many people don’t even make it that far.
You are going to die. Everything you loved and feared, all your petty remonstrances and trivial irritations will be dust. Time will bury everything, wonderful and hateful, lies and truth. And in a few short years after your death, it will be as though you never existed. This alone should make you cling to every passing moment—no matter how monotonous or unpleasant—but you’re as dumb as a post, forgetful, myopic. You don’t understand a thing.
You are going to die. Yet you waste your days worrying about the opinions of others. After you die, people will actively try to forget you—and will largely succeed—because you will remind them of their own mortality. Even now while you are still alive, the only time people want to consider you or something connected to you is when it somehow makes them feel better about themselves. How different will it be when you’re nothing but rotting meat? At best, the thought of you will inspire grief and a sense of loss—at worst, revulsion, resentment, aversion. No one will want to care. Eventually people won’t take the time to speak your name—the word which used to stand for you but which now stands for nothing.
You are going to die. Still, you waste time planning and striving as if worry and toil could add days to your life. There is no life but the one you are living. You don’t get more days. You only get fewer. And every moment spent enslaved to a meaningless job, a tyrant, an empty social obligation, an imaginary god, vain status seeking, or the quest for symbols of wealth / worth is an act of fraud against yourself. The great herd trots into the slaughterhouse, worrying about tomorrow’s breakfast—never thinking that it will, in fact, be them.
You are going to die. And until you realize it in your heart of hearts—until you embrace the specter of death and kiss its grinning skull and know and accept and understand that your time is painfully, stupidly short—you will not have begun to live. Time will destroy everything but death. There is no morality. There are no obligations. There are no commandments or requirements beyond this one realization.
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I write fiction and nonfiction for magazines, work as a freelance writer / editor / journalist, and teach composition and fiction writing.
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“Jeffrey Epstein and the Usual Media Hate Porn” – Splice Today – August 2019 (https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/jeffrey-epstein-and-the-usual-media-hate-porn)
“Mob Justice for Jeffrey Epstein” – Splice Today – July 2019 (https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/mob-justice-for-jeffrey-epstein)
“Testify” – West Trade Review – Spring 2019 (http://www.westtradereview.com)
“Preponderance of the Small” – DecomP Magazine – July 2019 (http://www.decompmagazine.com/preponderanceofthesmall.htm)
“Letting Go of Game of Thrones” – Splice Today – June 2019 (https://www.splicetoday.com/writing/letting-go-of-game-of-thrones)
“William Barr and the Subversion of Justice” – Splice Today – April 2019 (https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/william-barr-and-the-subversion-of-justice)
“Into the Badlands Loses Its Way” – Splice Today – March 2019 (https://www.splicetoday.com/moving-pictures/into-the-badlands-loses-its-way)
“Trump is Interesting Again” – Splice Today – January 2019 (https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/trump-is-interesting-again)
“Outrage is Over” – Splice Today – December 2018 (https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/outrage-is-over)
“Fulfillment” – Terror House Magazine – December 2018 (https://terrorhousemag.com/fulfillment/)
“Attacked on the Street” – Splice Today – August 2018 (https://www.splicetoday.com/writing/attacked-on-the-street)
“You Are Somewhere Else” – Visitant – July 2018 (https://visitantlit.com/)
“More Than Just a Familiar Formula” – Splice Today – February 2018 (https://www.splicetoday.com/moving-pictures/more-than-just-a-familiar-formula)
“STEM, Scientism, and the Decline of the Humanities” – Splice Today – February 2018 (https://www.splicetoday.com/on-campus/stem-scientism-and-the-decline-of-the-humanities)
“The NRA Isn’t the Problem” – Splice Today – February 2018 (https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/the-nra-isn-t-the-problem)
“Altered Carbon’s Love Affair with Central Casting” – Splice Today – February 2018 (https://www.splicetoday.com/moving-pictures/altered-carbon-s-love-affair-with-central-casting)
“Cui Bono: the Latest Conspiracy Theory in the Ongoing Disintegration of the GOP” – Splice Today – January 2018 (https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/cui-bono-the-latest-conspiracy-theory-in-the-ongoing-disintegration-of-the-gop)
Cruel Stars – Thrown Free Books 2017.
“You Can Do Magic, Honey” – Splice Today – December 2017 (https://www.splicetoday.com/moving-pictures/you-can-do-magic-honey)
“As the Leopard, So the Coliseum” – Splice Today – November 2017 (https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/as-the-leopard-so-the-coliseum)
“One of the functions of art is to give people the words to know their own experience. There are always areas of vast silence in any culture, and part of an artist’s job is to go into those areas and come back from the silence with something to say. It’s one reason why we read poetry, because poets can give us the words we need. When we read good poetry, we often say, ‘Yeah, that’s it. That’s how I feel.’” — Ursula K. Le Guin
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“If I were talking to a young writer, I would recommend the cultivation of extreme indifference to both praise and blame because praise will lead you to vanity, and blame will lead you to self-pity, and both are bad for writers.”
— John Berryman, The Art of Poetry No. 16, The Paris Review
- The follow-up on Jeffery Epstein that I didn’t want to write . . . August 12, 2019
- Impressions of Wales August 2, 2019
- Maybe being a success-bot isn’t the way after all? July 22, 2019
- The Peanut Gallery: Purveyors of Fine Hatred Since 1880 July 19, 2019
- Re-Imagining Bangkok July 18, 2019
“Truffaut died, and we all felt awful about it, and there were the appropriate eulogies, and his wonderful films live on. But it’s not much help to Truffaut. So you think to yourself, My work will live on. As I’ve said many times, rather than live on in the hearts and minds of my fellow man, I would rather live on in my apartment.” — Woody Allen
“I make the road. I draw the map. Nothing just happens to me…I’m the one happening.”
—Denis Johnson, Already Dead
- RT @EminaMelonic: @mark_bauerlein And your statement was obviously so awful. Building individual character? Building community? Recognizing… 2 hours ago
- RT @SubBeck: I think they're doing this to keep their employees happy, but the results will be awful. twitter.com/ByronYork/stat… 2 hours ago
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- Why "white privilege" has become such a flashpoint in American race relations ino.to/lmQq6uL 2 hours ago
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“At the age of 25 most people were finished. A whole god-damned nation of assholes driving automobiles, eating, having babies, doing everything in the worst way possible, like voting for the presidential candidate who reminded them most of themselves. I had no interests. I had no interest in anything. I had no idea how I was going to escape. At least the others had some taste for life. They seemed to understand something that I didn’t understand. Maybe I was lacking. It was possible. I often felt inferior. I just wanted to get away from them. But there was no place to go.” — Charles Bukowski
“You could lose it, your right big toe, leave it here, in this mud, your foot, your leg, and you wonder, how many pieces of yourself can you leave behind and still be called yourself?”
— Melanie Rae Thon, First, Body
“After you finish a book, you know, you’re dead. But no one knows you’re dead. All they see is the irresponsibility that comes in after the terrible responsibility of writing.” — Ernest Hemingway
“When one is too old for love, one finds great comfort in good dinners.” — Zora Neale Hurston