This weekend's thoughts...

Mirror image

Is it possible that everyone in your life can remind you of someone else in your life? This guy I work with reminds me of my friend Angela's husband. They even write the same way. I only realized recently that my friend Valerie reminds me of a girl named Valerie in college, who also had red hair and a similar personality. It's weird.


On Tuesday I went to a comic bookish reading and then stopped at a bar with fellow reading attendees Ned Vizzini, Todd S., and [Censored] (inside joke). The three of them talked about Iraq for a half hour, then used comic book metaphors to explain their arguments. I was lost on both counts, but was impressed on their worldly knowledge. I should start following the ins and outs of the war again instead of being such an ignoramus. I used to be such a policy wonk toward the end of my college career, when Clinton had just taken office. Maybe I should write about that some day.

Straw men

If you want to buffer your political argument, sometimes you create a "straw man" to represent the other side, and then argue against that exaggerated, invisible man. Like, "A lot of Republicans hate poor people, but I don't," that kind of thing. Sometimes, though, you don't need a straw man. I was on a date two years ago when a guy said he's against big government because he doesn't like his money going to "Welfare mothers with 13 kids." I was incensed that someone who seemed intelligent would use such a lazy, uninformed, and cliched argument. I didn't know where to begin to argue about that. But anyone who argues something like that ought to actually have at least MET a Welfare mother with several kids, to prove they exist -- and he had not. So he certainly hadn't talked to one to find out what her life was really like.

Similarly, last week, someone made a comment to me that giving to the homeless is bad because a lot of them are "con artists." Since a person standing on the street asking for money in New York all day is unlikely to get rich, I said I doubted they were just pretending to be homeless. His reply that most of them are going to use the money for an addiction and not food. Okay, but that's not a con. They're still hungry, even if their shi**y life means they use drugs as well.

Check, mate

Thursday I got a check in the mail that gave me a great deal of satisfaction. I wasn't sure why. It was a check for a short story that I'm going to have in an anthology. I've gotten much larger checks for my writing, so why did this one make me happy? Of course, to make any money off of fiction writing is an exciting thing -- and even though I got rejected for ten years before I finally sold fiction, people can write for years and get rejected for years more and still not get published, and I never forget that. But that still didn't explain why this particular check made me so happy.

I realized today that maybe it was because it was sort of like the old days, when a young writer would send off a story to, say, Harper's or some literary magazine and then barely hear anything until he/she got a check in a small envelope. Then that person would run to the bank to cash it. It just felt very writerly, getting that check. I liked that.

Your taxes are due

So stop reading this.

That's all for tonight. I'm caught up now. Remember to do your homework in the dark and eat your cereal with a fork.

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