The Year is One

Charles ist unser ganz persönlicher USA-Korrespondent Kumpel. Und das seit einem Jahr! Grund genug für ihn, ein erstes Fazit zu ziehen.

Und von meiner Seite aus: Thanks very much, Charles, for all the time and the wise words. If you come over soon, prepare for some heavy drinking podcasting!

The Year is One

News reporting has no memory. What was said yesterday is over and forgotten. If they screwed up, too bad; caveat lector. The kidnapping that wasn“™t. The nuclear threat that wasn“™t. The mad bomber who wasn“™t. Would it kill them to re-read their own copy once in a while? Actually, for some news outfits it might.

So after a year of writing for Spreeblick, I thought it might be interesting to look back at the Hudsonblick columns so far and offer comments, corrections, and updates. It“™s also a lot easier than writing a whole new column. Let the slack begin:

Cities in Dust — In my first article, I made a big deal about how cool it was that New Orleans was perpetually on the brink of catastrophe. Turns out to be not so cool. The flood water has receded now, and there are signs that the city is beginning to return to normal. Well, normal for New Orleans.

Lose this Skin — I still spend too much time thinking about drinking and exercise. Constant change, not so constant.

Fahrvergnügen — Finally got a speeding ticket last week, going way over the limit. That“™s gonna sting.

The Tech Horde and the Last Mile and Waves of Terror (and Porn!)MaxDelivery is still in business, but hasn“™t recaptured the cult status of Kozmo.com (which made more than one c|net list). I“™m still rooting for Chris, and for the urban biking culture that made Kozmo so much fun.

Now is the Moment of My Death — Now the Schiavo case has passed into history and most of the political players are busy trying to play down their involvement. I wonder if Senator Frist will ever get called on for another tele-diagnosis?

Parting the Veil in Philadelphia — Went to see Billy Idol next. Walked out.

Hi, Mom! — As a Mother“™s Day stunt, I thought it would be funny to surprise my mom with an online article dedicated to her. Joke“™s on me: she became an avid Hudsonblick reader. That really does make me feel like I“™m being watched.

When I lived on 14th Street, there was a little Polish restaurant that my mom made me go to every time she visited. I got kind of sick of it, but she made me go anyway. Until I lied and said that it’d burned down. Last week I told her that I“™d stopped writing.

Not a Don King Production — What to say? The heavyweight division is still a mess. So are my prospects. Also, regarding the bonus link, why are the pretty ones always crazy?

I Have Seen the Future — That fucking sonofabitch Bush. Apparently, someone has pointed out to him that if we become a nation of science-hating bible-thumpers it might be bad for business. So now he wants to go buy himself some science. It“™ll be a long walk to Damascus for this guy.

Guns of New York — Since this article, I“™ve bought a 9mm and a .45, and started going to the range regularly. The shooting is great but the shooters are sometimes a little kooky.

Cybernetics and Plan B — This was an artifact of my grad school work in CS. Now that that“™s finished, my lizard brain is determined to murder the new, ivy-league brain cells. It“™s not a fair fight.

The Life Within — Little Vincenzo is happy and healthy. Ten fingers, two hooves. It also turns out that the bedbug war I mentioned was just the opening salvo of a campaign for global bedbug domination. For more cutting-edge vermin infestation news, stay tuned to Hudsonblick.

There are at least two good reasons why everyone should try writing: First, putting your opinions and ideas in writing forces you to explore them. Writing is a process that makes the conscientious author dig for exactly what he“™s trying to say. Or disguise what he“™s trying to say with dry, superfluous caveats.

The other reason is that eventually you“™ll discover that your best ideas and stories fill just a handful of pages. You“™ll find out that you“™re really a very shallow and repetitive person who probably sounds like a broken record at parties. You“™ll face undeniable proof that you“™ve been intellectually and emotionally stagnant for years. And then, you can try to write your way out of it.

Thanks again, Johnny. Here“™s to Year One!

7 Kommentare

  1. 01

    You rendered it easier by far to rush through every single goddamn article in one huge link-orgy ? If that is your concept of „easy“ then i don’t even have the slightest grasp of doing things the easy way (yeah, i read the content of almot every link, it’s not like drunkards are busy people.. or picky).

    The bit about you buying yourself a gun reminded me of a bit by Dane Cook in which he finally answered the one big question: what do men think is better than heaving sex ? Taking part in a heist, period (as i wrote this a shy ‚plop‘ sound notified me that 1gb worth of porn finally arrived).

    So much for the (albeit incoherent) content, now for the nerdy part of your article: you’re quite the hard- mouthed, slightly cynical writer most people fail to be, seemingly honest in your views (well, we all tend to lie about the splendor of our lives..) and critical of your own qualities (yes, i am sort of sucking up to you).

    There does remain one question i’d like to see being answered:
    why the fuck did you start writing in the first place ?

    I have way too much coffee in my system..

  2. 02

    Word of the day: link-orgy.


    Thank you for your disjointed, caffeine-induced comments. I’m glad that you could take time from your chronic masturbation to write them. At least, I hope you did.

    I think I started writing because it looked easy, and being a writer seemed like a cool, intellectual thing. It turns out to be hard and mostly thankless, even self-destructive for some people. It is rewarding though, and if it weren’t for Spreeblick I wouldn’t be doing as much of it.

    Speaking of writing and porn, this is a good article about both:

    „My dialogue was stilted and forced, and none of it was as funny as I’d once envisioned. I tried to tell myself that I’d intended it this way. It was all part of my plan to create the perfect porn parody. But deep down, I knew that I hadn’t been quite so cunning. “

  3. 03

    Talk about being sleep-deprived, buddy.
    Why, sure, I only whack off to the tiles in my bathroom, I need both hands when writing something.

    I myself started writing 4 years ago as a means of keeping me from killing someone, intellect is something I try to avoid, causes too much trouble and won’t get you laid in a decent way (heck, you don’t want her babbling about how cool a writer you are while she’s giving.. kind of spoils the whole thing).

    There are about 40 people currently reading the stuff I write (since my team lacks something they call „a good hook“.. I think that they are full of shit) and I think that I can live with that (at least they read it and get lost again.. I just hate it when someone tells me ‚good story‘ and whatnot).
    I reckon (reckon, a word I’ve never used before) that after attracting enough readers you start to write for them and not for yourself (aren’t we just a whiny bunch ? „Blow me but don’t look at me while doing it“), which sort of fucks you up in a not-so-good way; as someone once told me, if you want someone to cease doing something he or she likes doing, pay her. Her motivation will soon drop to zero and the infamous ‚whore mode‘ kicks in.

    The article was a good read, thanks for the link.
    Looking forward to reading more spunk of yours.

  4. 04

    Hey Charles,

    I see I have made a cameo appearance! Yes, NO is returning back to normal.

    A few of my thoughts on writing:

    Writing has a time component. For those who don’t write, or are learning to write (me), write when the idea or emotion is first present. Why? Because writing is not solely an iterative process.

    What does that mean? When I have an idea or a brainstorm or an emotional recollection, the common notion is that writing the thought down is iterative. You take the thing from your brain and put it on paper. A one-off iteration. True perhaps. Writing however is so much more. It just happened to me now: an instance of the generative nature of writing.

    What does that mean? It means that when you are iterating the thoughts and notions that first inspired you to write (ie, taking the thing from your brain and putting it on paper), new thoughts and notions are generated. What was my generative event? That iterating from a mental image or emotion to a crafted sentence is clearly and necessarily a never-perfect recordation of the original. Why? We think in pictures, we are moved by emotions; these are not natively textual events, simply to be recorded. They must be interpreted by our „semantics machine“ before some semblance of the event can be captured in words. It is in this „semantics machine“ that new thoughts are generated.

    In addition to the iterative and generative components to writing, there is a third which is perhaps more time-sensitive than the other two: the cathartic nature of writing. I don’t believe I have read a „success“ author that did not include writing things down (goals, self-perceptions, mission statements, etc.). What happens when you write down a goal? You cease being the goal. What happens when you write an „anger letter“? You cease being the anger. If all of your goals, prejudices, ideas, are swirling around in your brain, where does your „self“ end and those „things“ begin? It is hard to find the boundary. Place those „things“ outside of your „self“ and you can begin to see what you are not, and who you are.

    So why „write on time“? When you find yourself in that „inspired“ moment to capture an idea in words, you are also primed to have unique generative and cathartic writing events. As you depart from the „inspired“ moment without writing, the generative and cathartic gems depart with it. Here’s the kicker: you can (and quite frankly should) go back and attempt to recreate the „inspired“ moment, but you will never, ever know what you truly lost.

    Keep writing, Charles!


  5. 05

    Hey Ken,
    Definitely words to the wise. Thanks for posting!