Uncle Tom was to walk at the head of the procession blowing his squealing horn, while Tuck came just back of the trumpet blower dragging the remains with a borrowed plow line. Next in line was Dan, crying like a woman on her 30th birthday, but keeping an ear cocked for the fine things we were all saying about what a great dog that Drum had been. Prof. Sam Jared, being better educated than the rest of us, walked at his side and gave both moral and physical support while the less talented of our members straggled along behind with handfuls of wild honey suckle that Joe Rollins had gathered as he came over Pilot Knob that morning. We were disputing among ourselves as to the advisability of letting Bro. Jeff Wall sing, but finally agreed that Drum had suffered sufficiently already and might not be dead enough to stand the strain, so we dropped him into a sink hole on Capshaw’s branch without further ado. — In the 1940s, my great-great-uncle Bob Lee Maddux wrote a series of letters to The Hunter’s Horn magazine about fox hunting and hunting dogs in and around Cookeville, Tenn., where he lived and where my dad’s whole family is from; in 1951 the magazine printed a collection of his columns and now I am reading them for the first time and they are beyond fantastic. This is a description of a “fancy funeral” held for one man’s dog who was shot by another hunter for running a sheep on his farm. It took me too long to read these things in the first place and now I might not ever get through the rest because I am just re-reading this perfect paragraph over and over and over.
OLD AS BALLS
“We will be moving momentarily.”
I’ve had really smart agents and unnervingly good editors, but I don’t need THEM to lead me astray; I will happily do that to myself. I write about culture, and sometimes I’m soaking in that shit so much that I don’t notice how flaccid and limp my prose has become, how bland and dumb I’m getting, how little faith I suddenly have in my voice. I start thinking I should write shit that I hate, in a tone that I cannot fucking get behind, because maybe that will make my financial picture a little less stressful.
That’s when I call my friends and talk their sad ears off, and mewl and moan and piss myself until they have to pretend their cell phone connections cut out just to get off the fucking phone with me.
You know what I need to do though? Put the phone down and ask myself who in the whole wide world is supposed to take responsibility for what I write if I won’t do it myself. —
The Awl | Ask Polly: Jesus, My Struggling Writer Friends Never Shut Up!
The above, by Heather Havrilesky, contains some of the best writing advice (or, maybe more specifically, living/working advice for people who write) that I’ve read in a very long time. Lately I’ve found that the more questions I’m asking, the more I’m throwing my messes at other people in hopes that they will be able to name and untangle them for me, the more it’s time for me to shut up and just do the work my own damn self. See also: Renata Adler, “Writers rant. Writers phone…” I tend not to phone—it’s more frantic, long-winded emails—but the work-averse impulse is the same. Having good, solid friends and mentors and various other types of ears you can put bugs into at all hours of the day and night is hugely valuable, of course. But undersold, I think—to young writers at least—is the importance of being able to call your own self on your own self’s probably very real and abundant bullshit.
You don’t really think about it, but our brains are really just above our noses all of the time,” says Barrow Neurological Institute neurosurgeon Peter Nakaji. “This is one of the more common conditions to be missed for a long time… because so many people have runny noses. — MyFoxPhoenix.com | Man’s chronic runny nose was actually brain fluid leaking (via @sarahspy)
Last week I spent a few days bumming around small towns in middle Georgia on a meandering reporting trip where one of the only must-do’s was visiting both of the Yesterday Cafes that claim to have the best buttermilk pie in the state. This one was superior. But the other one looked just like it.
This is gorgeous: 205 illustrators each contribute one panel to Infinite Corpse, an “exquisite corpse”-style comic about… well, a really exquisite corpse. It took me a minute to orient myself because I thought I needed to find the first strip, but apparently “it has no beginning and it has no end,” so you can just jump in anywhere. Super beautiful (and creepy and sad and funny…. AND INFINITE; I think I lost a not-insignificant part of the past hour to it). (via @colinmeloy)
A couple of chips and salsa at the beginning of my shift for quality control purposes. Work exploded into rollicking margarita-fueled bedlam and I was running around like a crazy person. I had to pee for five hours. At one point my hands started quivering weirdly and I wondered if the pee had gone back up inside my body and was poisoning my blood. I had a couple tacos before the kitchen closed, at 9:30, ribeye with cilantro and onion and salsa verde. Some pals of mine had come to eat at my restaurant for a birthday celebration, one of them was Sam, one of them was Teri, I gave them a free dessert, a cajeta crème brulee thing. I had a couple of bites of it once the rest of the customers were gone. I accidentally opened up a bottle of Dos Equis Amber for no reason so once the restaurant was closed I drank it. I deserved it. I got home at 1:25 AM and ate a Golden Delicious apple. —
Strawberry Fields Whatever: The Strawberry Fields Whatever Diet: Everything We Ate For An Entire Week (Spring Edition!)
My new favorite thing on the internet/in the world, thank you Lindsey.