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Hello, Goodbye

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So, my phone died.  

I realize that this is something that has happened to almost everyone, but until last night, it had never happened to me.  My phones don’t die.  Instead, they just get older and slower and glitchier until I finally tuck them away in a drawer and replace them with a newer model. 

I always secretly suspected that I have some sort of iPhone charm that protects me from the minor inconveniences suffered by everyone else whose Tweets and status updates I’ve over the years seen frantically proclaiming, ‘Broken/lost phone! AAAAGGGGHHHHH!’ And I even more secretly suspected that this charm was indicative of a larger universal favor, in much the same way my cousin and I sometimes congratulate each other for being the only two members of our known family to have never required either orthodontia or corrective eyewear, as though our straight teeth and 20/20 vision are tokens of some kind of genetic superiority.  In short, I thought I was maybe a little bit magic.  

But all that came crashing down last night when my phone’s screen flickered into an impenetrable gray slab and I was forced to face the traumatizing reality that I am maybe Just Like Everyone Else.  Worse, in fact.  Because Everyone Else has an iPhone.  And I, at the moment, do not.

Though my phone has been dead less than a day, I have learned a lot about myself in that time.  Here now is just a brief list of some basic necessities of modern human life that it turns out I do not actually possess: 

  • alarm clock
  • flashlight
  • kitchen timer
  • calculator
  • sense of direction
  • short-term memory

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Everything has already been said and done. But, then, if this is so, why do we need more poems in the world? I once read a Jane Hirshfield interview where she said something quite wonderful. She essentially said we have to keep writing because it’s every generation’s job to put in the present vernacular poems that are called upon for rites of passage, such as poems read at weddings or funerals. I hadn’t thought of this before. Your ordinary citizen should be able to go to the library and find a poem written in the current vernacular, and the responsibility for every generation of writers is to make this possible. We must, then, rewrite everything that has ever been written in the current vernacular, which is really what the evolution of literature is all about. Nothing new gets said but the vernacular keeps changing.

Mary Ruefle (via austinkleon)

Beyoncé isn’t Beyoncé because she reads comments on the Internet. Beyoncé is in Ibiza, wearing a stomach necklace, walking hand in hand with her hot boyfriend. She’s going on the yacht and having a mimosa. She’s not reading shitty comments about herself on the Internet, and we shouldn’t either. I just think, Would Beyoncé be reading this? No, she would just delete it or somebody would delete it for her. What I really need to do is close the computer and then talk back to that voice and say, Fuck you. I don’t give a shit what you think. I’m Beyoncé. I’m going to Ibiza with Jay-Z now, fuck off. Being criticized is part of the job, but seeking it out isn’t. That’s our piece to let go.

Kathleen Hanna 

I endorse this philosophy.

(via jamiatt)

"Forgiveness. The ability to forgive oneself. Stop here for a few breaths and think about this, because it is the key to making art and very possibly the key to finding any semblance of happiness in life. Every time I have set out to translate the book (or story, or hopelessly long essay) that exists in such brilliant detail on the big screen of my limbic system onto a piece of paper (which, let’s face it, was once a towering tree crowned with leaves and a home to birds), I grieve for my own lack of talent and intelligence. Every. Single. Time. Were I smarter, more gifted, I could pin down a closer facsimile of the wonders I see. I believe that, more than anything else, this grief of constantly having to face down our own inadequacies is what keeps people from being writers. Forgiveness, therefore, is key. I can’t write the book I want to write, but I can and will write the book I am capable of writing. Again and again throughout the course of my life I will forgive myself."

—Ann Patchett, The Getaway Car

"Poetry is when the author expresses his or her feelings through writing that may or may not mean something to the reader. Many times the author uses a certain format, but different types of poetry use different formats."

From my sixth grade essay on poetry, entitled “Poetry”

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Finishing a book is like having a baby in that it’s messy and exhausting and there are sometimes painkillers involved.  But when you have a baby, so I hear, people gather around to hold your hand and feed you ice chips and tell you, breathe, and, push, and, you’re doing great!  And when you’re finishing a book, you just sit in a room by yourself and cringe and curse and cry.