This common yellowthroat—two shots of one bird, even though it looks demure above and jaunty below—is profiting from a dumped-out heap of scooped-from-the-water algae.
I think this is a downy woodpecker mostly because it was not very large. I was only a few feet away and it was completely oblivious to me.
I wrote a short story about what it feels like to have once been able to fly, which The Altantic has published online; the title is “Trajectory.” As a sidebar, the magazine has also posted a short interview with me about the story. I feel like it’s a good story; I hope you’ll check it out. It happens to be the most recent piece of fiction I’ve written—from just slightly before we entered the end-times. (The photos and air quality numbers coming out of California the last couple of days are kind of freaking me out.)
I also wrote an essay for the website Public Books about a best-selling comic novel from 1919 about social climbing, written when its author was nine years old. This one I wrote way before the end-times—almost a year ago—so it’s almost unbearably lighthearted, sorry. Here’s the original dust jacket of the comic novel, somewhat artificially freshened up by photo editing software:
In other news . . .
I dreamed recently that Keanu put on a sky blue textured rubber body suit that blocked out local noise and allowed him to hear the distant signal and learn that Trump had sold us to aliens for meat and they are coming for their harvest.
“He was a guy who talked with commas, like a heavy novel.” —Raymond Chandler, The Long Good-Bye
Write through the disenchantment, reads advice to myself that I have not been able to follow. More useful, in the same notebook: It’s hard to mourn while one is still being traumatized.
“Watch yourself. Every first-rate journalist has just one ambition—to become a second-rate author.” —Egon Kisch, quoted in Antonín Liehm’s Politics of Culture
There’s a new evolution in podcasting that I like: Two of my friends were recently interviewed in depth about their lives: poet and doctor Laura Kolbe, interviewed by Jordan Kisner in Thresholds, and teacher, activist, and birder David Robinson, interviewed by Sam Sebastian in How Are You Doing, Really?
“Writers need to hide in bourgeois life like ticks need to hide in an animal’s fur: the deeper they’re buried the better.” —Rachel Cusk, Outline
It’s fall migration season here in Brooklyn, and I’ve posted photos of Northern parulas, red-eyed and warbling vireos, and American redstarts on my blog. Also, on a hike upstate last weekend, I got a photo of a great blue heron shaking itself dry like a dog.
“To forget the past so easily seems scarcely loyal to oneself.” —W. N. P. Barbellion, Journal of a Disappointed Man
Here’s a photograph that I seem to take at the end of every summer:
I wrote for Public Books about Daisy Ashford’s The Young Visiters, a best-selling comic novel from 1919, written when its author was nine. The novel is about social climbing, and my essay is about knowing and not knowing.
The Atlantic has just published a short story of mine about what it’s like to have once been able to fly. Please consider giving it a read, and transmitting news of it along whatever rhizomes you’re in touch with!
The magazine has also posted a short interview with me by Amy Weiss-Meyer about the writing of the story.
Many thanks to Thomas Gebremedhin, Amy Weiss-Meyer, and Oliver Munday at The Atlantic!