Bullshit hiding in plain sight

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I talk about the bullshit in what we read all the time. I’m so deep into it that I’m inured to the whole concept. But I had an experience yesterday that helped me recognize just how pervasive the problem of bullshit is. Here’s the scene. I’m running a plain writing workshop for a group of … Continued

Harlan Ellison was a God damned pain in the ass. I’ll miss him.

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The writer Harlan Ellison died yesterday. He was a brilliant, irritating, iconoclastic, inflexible force of nature. I cannot imagine him being 84 years old, and death is exactly the sort of inconvenience he’d never put up with. Harlan (everyone just called him “Harlan”) began his writing career by joining a street gang, undercover, and then … Continued

America first?

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While traveling in Europe, I’ve read the news of the implosion of the G-7 summit. Donald Trump refuses to accede to the conventional international modes of interaction. Here’s why that bothers me. When I travel with family, I stay in Airbnb’s or similar accommodations. (I’m about to stay on a boat in Amsterdam.) I can’t … Continued

The power of doubt

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When you’re making your decisions on a day-to-day basis, how often do you: Know you are right . . . . vs. wonder if you are wrong. See from your own perspective . . . vs. see from someone else’s. Feel certain you can make a deadline . . . vs. doubt if you can … Continued

The letdown

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I’m turning in a very big project in a couple of days. I know what to expect. Sadness. It’s not regret. The book is great. The prose lives. Sure, it has warts, but it’s a major piece of work. I feel pride. I feel accomplishment. But also, sadness. When you’ve wrestled with a project this … Continued

I paid no federal income tax for last year. Is that fair?

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I had a great year in 2017. I’ve been pleased to be able to basically replicate the income I had as a very senior analyst working for a research company, but to control my own destiny and work hours, and work only on projects that I like. But one thing is different. My income tax … Continued

The greatest party and why it was so great

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My friend, who used to be a startup CEO, gave a party at her apartment. The party was for her husband and his new book. I don’t know him well, but I do know books, which is one reason I was invited. I have to admit, I have no idea what people mean when they … Continued