New York


Snapchat, the Opera

I take out my iPhone to start filming us in bed. Turned on my side, with my elbow bent to prop my head up with one of my hands, the other hand holding my phone. Through the screen I can see a close up shot of Adam’s nose and mouth. I pull back to see his entire face. I look beyond my phone to see his full body laying out in front of me. Adam starts to perform:

“Hi Lucy”

“What? [laughter] She’s not going to see this.”

“Isn’t this a Snapchat?”

“It’s not a Snapchat”

“You’ve been making Snapchats all morning and then you go and switch it up on me!”

“You can’t be so presumptuous”

“I’m hiding under here… For forever or until your battery runs out.”

“I brought my charger today”

“Ok, until your phone runs out of space.”

“My phone has unlimited space for embarrassing videos of you.”

“Oh my god… you’re adding this thing to our life. It’s like this wild animal. A barracuda.”

“I don’t understand.  The camera’s a barracuda?”


“There’s an interesting passage about cameras in this [Immortality by Milan Kundera]. There’s like this whole chapter about being watched and how when you’re filmed your self is taken away from you and put in the control of someone else.”

“You’re stealing my soul.”

“I mean, your self exists in the camera now. It’s fragmented.”

“I don’t know… I think people change when the camera comes on. You’re not the same.”

“I think so too but I think that’s part of yourself. I don’t think that change draws from something outside of yourself.”

“Yeah, but it [the camera] obfuscates it.”

“I feel like whenever I feel obligated to turn on a personality its always based on something I wish I was naturally, or how I think I need to be in the situation, and I don’t think that… I think that the fact that I’m able to draw on that personality and bring it out on command says that its always been a part of me. I’m relying on scripts and commands that I can recall for specific instances.”

“But that’s only if you’re a good actor. I feel like I just shut down. I’m not as good.”


‘The part of me that’s not as self-conscious is gone.”

“Oh here it is…

[From Immortality by Milan Kundera]

‘It was a meaningless episode: some sort of congress was taking place in the hotel and a photographer had been hired so that the scholars who had assembled from all parts of the world would be able to buy souvenir pictures of themselves. But Agnés could not beat the idea that somewhere there remained a document testifying to her acquaintance with the man she had met there; she returned to the hotel the next day, bought up all her photos (showing her at the man’s side, with one arm extended across her face), and tried to secure the negatives, too; but those had been filed away by the picture agency and were already unobtainable. Even though she wasn’t in any real danger, she could not rid herself of anxiety because one second of her life, instead of dissolving into nothingness like all the other seconds of life, would remain torn out of the course of time and some stupid coincidence could make it come back to haunt her like the badly buried dead.’

Is that how you feel about this video [laughter]?”

“I mean, I feel like its definitely ruining my life. Slowly.”

“That’s funny. I feel only positive about being recorded and documented.”

“You were like a theatre major! This is like your shit! You’ve got your reading voice on, you’re good to go.”

“Am I doing my reading voice right now?”

“No, but you were.”

“But that’s different. I was reading.”

“Remember when you turned on the camera the other day and immediately went into your recording voice?… Are you still recording?”


“Oh no…”

“I think its different though.”

“How do you mean?”

“I mean, I’m the one recording you. Not some omniscient, malevolent entity. Its an intimate moment and we have control in it.”

“But its not an intimate moment.”

“Just because the camera is there?”


August 28th, 2013 / 1:18 pm

The Time I Read a Lot of DeLillo Books and the Things that Happened

It was winter, and I took the bus home, or maybe it was the train, from Massachusetts to New York, so “home” is up for debate, and then a subway, probably, into my little apartment thing with a kitchenette and a big bathroom and no bedroom. Actually, maybe my sister drove me. It’s unimportant. I’d read Part 1 of White Noise, a copy I’d borrowed from the library over winter break. It made me feel happy, the descriptions, the opening chapter which I’d read on the internet several months earlier on a slow day at work. I already knew it was the novel I’d wanted to write the previous summer, the novel I’d abandoned at 30,000 words and character names that seemed true, but also false, and a number of edits that seemed confusing. I laid down on my bed. I think it was mid-morning, or mid-afternoon. The sun was in my window somehow, giving me natural light, but not enough to read by. I read Part 2, and it was about some sort of chemical disaster. I read it in a sitting that day, with the space heater from the bathroom on full blast. Then maybe I slept.

I’d returned from Vermont. We’d stayed at a bed and breakfast, and that week I would announce I was single and she would go to Germany, and I would be unable to read Part 3 of White Noise for several months, glancing through chapters on the subway to Bushwick, feeling drunk after zero beers. By this time, I’d returned my copy to the library and been gifted one from a friend who’d found the author underwhelming. I wondered if I should feel the same. I didn’t. I looked at the words. The sentences. The long paragraphs and the short, sparse dialogue. The radio and the television saying postmodern things. Things I’d later discuss with a friend that seemed similar to Updike’s “A&P” despite his distaste for “postmodernism.”

The semester passed. I was back in the former relationship. Vermont, but actually the next time we went to New Hampshire, stayed in a tent, drank PBR and bourbon and pickle juice. It was 90 degrees and we sweated in a pancake house. This was about two weeks after I’d finished the novel, back in Massachusetts, on a rainy afternoon, within a rainy week, the week before I would start work on a farm and listen to first Blood Meridian on my iPod, and later two other McCarthy novels.


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September 7th, 2011 / 12:38 pm