This weekend I flew to Chicago with only one small carry-on bag. Like a hobo! I was practicing for my month in Paris this summer, for which I intend to pack three dresses, two pairs of shoes, mascara, lip balm, my laptop, iPad, camera, and 30 pairs of underwear. I wonder how the French feel about panties in the trash. Or are panties considered recyclable items? The sort of query le googleh was invented for.
It went okay (Chicago). I didn't lose anything valuable because I didn't take anything valuable (ho ho ho, APART FROM MY PERSON), and Chips picked me up via the cell phone lot system just like she promised. It's exceptionally clever, this system. I would like to recommend it to my parents the next time I go to Wisconsin, but since they own only one cell phone and every time it's needed it is either A) at home, B) in the other car, C) turned off, or D) not charged, this seems like a plan that's destined to backfire. And considering my mom took three wrong turns within the first 20 minutes of picking me up at Easter, I hesitate to add another line item to that brain tax.
I'm practicing eliminating unnecessary words from my posts this week. Whittle to essentials = carry-on. (This might work like Braille for you the reader.)
Now let's try the next paragraph with no punctuation and see where we come out Chips and Salsa and I ate lunch at RJ Grunt's in Lincoln Park which is just down the bike path from where I used to live in Lakeview and while we were standing outside in the sunny but cold breeze waiting for a table she got a phone call with sad news and I'm starting to doubt people will invite me to things anymore because every time I go away for the weekend it seems to end in somebody dying somewhere which is also HUBRIS and please see "topper" below.
On the plane I read the latest issue of The Paris Review, which is the purest plane reading because it's both compact and dense with content and makes you look super smart to strangers (ho ho ho, LIKE MY PERSON). One of the interviews was with nonfiction writer John McPhee (who prefers the term "factual writing" to "creative nonfiction") and the other was with Ray Bradbury, and they are shall we say antipodean on whether or not writing can be taught. McPhee says "writing teaches writing," which is the kind of thing you'll hear from a man who teaches writing at Princeton, as McPhee does, but that "it seems like a pointless exercise if you're trying to teach somebody to write the way you do." (He also has lovely things to say about Peter Benchley and former New Yorker editors William Shawn and Robert Bingham.) Bradbury says college is "a very bad place for writers because the teachers always think they know more than you do—and they don't. They have prejudices." It's not clear how he knows this, since he didn't go to college, but somebody on the inside must've talked. Whereas libraries, he says, have no biases: "I discovered that the library is the real school." They both have a lot to say about libraries.
I loved this from Bradbury: