Scribbling Cynic

Rambling thoughts, sudden inspirations, general wittiness

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I may have looked a little hurt, because she said, “Hey, but don’t feel bad. I really do like you. I don’t want you to feel rejected. That’s not what this is.”
Really? It wasn’t? Well, yes and no. She didn’t want me to feel rejected but she did want to reject me. Still, Lily’s reasoning was very sensible, and she was right that I was bored, I am often bored, and I felt a strange relief and, behind the relief, a faint sadness. It was sadness about a lot of things, but perhaps, most simply stated, it was regret that we had grown self-knowing enough to avoid our mistakes.
"Wagner in the Desert" by Greg Jackson, The New Yorker, June 21, 2014

Filed under Wagner in the Desert Greg Jackson The New Yorker rejection self-knowledge mistakes

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I grew up hearing over and over, to the point of tedium, that “hard work” was the secret of success: “Work hard and you’ll get ahead” or “It’s hard work that got us where we are.” No one ever said that you could work hard—harder even than you ever thought possible—and still find yourself sinking ever deeper into poverty and debt.

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara Ehrenreich started this project to try to survive on minimum wage 16 years ago, but not much has changed since. Minimum wage has barely budged in most states, and just last year Walmart (one of Ehrenreich’s employers in the book) was criticized for putting out a donation box for their own employees rather than paying them a living wage. This is a very important, and disheartening, book.

Filed under nickel and dimed barbara ehrenreich hard work poverty minimum wage walmart

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No one tells you how gone gone really is, or how long it lasts.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (from the uncorrected advance reading copy)

This book blew me away. So beautiful, so gripping. I keep trying to describe it to people and utterly failing at doing it justice.

Read this book.

Filed under I'll Give You the Sun Jandy Nelson loss gone death

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Sure, some news is bigger than other news. War is bigger news than a girl having mixed feelings about the way some guy fucked her and didn’t call. But I don’t believe in a finite economy of empathy; I happen to think that paying attention yields as much as it taxes. You learn to start seeing.
"Grand Unified Theory of Female Pain," The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison

Filed under grand unified theory of female pain the empathy exams leslie jamison news war women empathy

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"And you only have this once, you know," she continued.
“What once?”
“This. We get to be this happy now, don’t you see? Before the awful things happen.”
“Yes.”
“And if they don’t happen, well, that’s almost worse. Then we’ll just be old. Skulking about, eating too much, complaining about… I don’t know. Babies? Work? I mean, look at the Eat, Pray, Love ladies. You’ve seen them, right?”
I knew exactly what she was talking about. They were all over. Forty and up, solo, filmy dresses, clutching guidebooks, nursing glasses of wine alone in public cafes waiting for their Italian lothario to materialize.
“It’s pathetic. Life is going to get so horrible someday. For all of us. But it doesn’t have to be dreary now. We’re in a magical place, don’t you see? I want you to enjoy it. Because someday you may very well be miserable, or sick, or chained to a desk and living with a cat.”
…She left soon after with a bag full of my clothes, but her words lingered, leaving me dizzy.
…I … looked at myself.
We get to be this happy now.
Was it a promise, I wondered? Or a threat?
Abroad by Katie Crouch

Filed under Abroad Katie Crouch happiness