Land—by the Oceans passed.
Peace—by its battles told—
Love, by memorial mold—
Birds, by the snow."
Oxford/NYU student + English major. This space is for book quotes, rants, Gilmore Girls/Harry Potter/Prep appreciation, general rambling.
This is so natural. Almost couldn’t recognize Marina.
The author on the power of charm bracelets
(dear mom, is your love for me worth 15,000 pounds)
(don’t worry about converting that to dollars)
Jo is just amazing and her message is important, so read it. She is my number one hero and always will be.
I find it interesting that the meanest life, the poorest existence, is attributed to God’s will, but as human beings become more affluent, as their living standard and style begin to ascend the material scale, God descends the scale of responsibility at commensurate speed.
I sometimes resent how big Buzzfeed has gotten, how much I depend on listicles to entertain and inform. I dislike how quickly I give up on longreads, how often I do a preliminary scan to gauge how much I’ll enjoy. I’ve developed a sensitivity for knowing how “worth it” something is. I could say it’s part of the 21st century need to save time, but it’s not. Because I’ll spend that time on actual, mindless drivel elsewhere. (Told a friend today that I’ve picked up his use of “drivel”; he uses his high vocabulary in daily conversation, to my amusement.)
Perhaps in response to Buzzfeed, Longreads have an entire site now. The Atlantic hashtags #longreads. This is an invite as well as a warning. HANG ON! the hashtag says. You are about to dive into a pool, though you came on the Internet to wade. You should probably run back and get some floaties. You’ll be here for a while.
I want to challenge the impulse I have to stop reading something because it’s preventing me from moving on to the next. But I rarely find that final “thing”; I rarely settle. I want to resist the easy urge to email a link to a friend as soon as I’ve seen it. And sometimes things I’ve never fully read! I assume just from the title that “___ will like this.” I’ve tweeted articles I’ve never read. I’m sure lots of people have, even if they won’t admit it. I think it would be so funny if an article became really popular and it turned out that NO ONE had read it, but that everyone intended to.
(I mean, how many of my Tumblr followers stopped reading this small post after a paragraph, or looked to the end to see if it interested them? Or clicked “like” to indicate general approval of something they can imagine they’d actually like [no quotation marks] if they read it in full?)
Which is not to say I’m not reading. This fall I’ve digested “Thanksgiving in Mongolia,” several Judd Apatow interviews, Emerson essays. Etc. But just as frequently I’ve bookmarked “The Secret Life of Grief" in The Atlantic, Meghan Daum’s "My Misspent Youth.’ I almost bookmarked a Nelson Mandela speech last night and watched it instead. I listened to Maya Angelou’s four-minute reading of “His Day Is Done” after first considering finding the most illuminating stanzas online. But with her, everything is illuminating. (Wait, ha, just wrote that without thinking of Jonathan [Safran Foer] in connection.)
But why? Why should I read longer pieces? And I think the answer is that nothing beautiful comes from convenience. We find the best writing in the most random sentences, couched in less-than-illuminating paragraphs. We read novels because the climax wouldn’t be the same without the build-up. We read listicles because eating a sandwich takes only five minutes, and then it’s back to work. (Which, in the New York white collar job scene, often means browsing the Internet while appearing to do actual work. And when you’re avoiding your job, longreads seem like betrayal, because they, like your job, require effort). The idea of pausing in the middle of something seems dumb. I don’t begin movies during study breaks because I wouldn’t have time to finish them. I don’t want to be left with expectations. I want a clean break. I want 23 minutes of 30 Rock.
I need to resist the compulsion to bookmark something because “I don’t have time now.” I need to carve out that space. I need to be more accountable to myself for skipping articles and - at the same time - more forgiving of myself for missing other people’s photos, their posts. People don’t want five seconds of everyone’s time; they want a few hours from those willing to give all of their attention.
Ironically, I’ll tag this post “lr,” for “longreads,” because that’s how I distinguish text posts. Originally, the choice of “lr” seemed natural, and then silly, and now hilariously apt. Anything more than a sentence on Tumblr really does count as a “longread.”
This morning there’s snow everywhere. We remark on it.
You tell me you didn’t sleep well. I say
I didn’t either. You had a terrible night. “Me too.”
We’re extraordinarily calm and tender with each other
as if sensing the other’s rickety state of mind.
As if we knew what the other was feeling. We don’t,
of course. We never do. No matter.
It’s the tenderness I care about. That’s the gift
this morning that moves and holds me.
Same as every morning.
"The Gift" by Raymond Carver (via flaowww)