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Vonnegut and Wallace: Reading obsessions

Let me tell you about going through phases. Just a couple of weeks ago, I spoke in some detail about obsessions that descended on me over the years. Hobbies, some might call them, intrigue me, consume me, and, finally, leave me, often just as quickly as they ramped up. I…


Innocence and frivolity

All the fun and games started at 43rd and Warwick. The two-bedroom apartment housed three of us—me, a college friend of mine, and former submariner and hopeful radio personality who was into vitamin supplements and Scientology. My roommates took the bedrooms and I made a room of the solarium—a windowed…

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Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, a market

Udo was not an icebreaker. He also wasn’t one to put his foot down. I recognized the tendency as fear. I possessed plenty of it. When I didn’t want to make a decision, I left it to the group or whoever I happened to be with. “What would you want?”…

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The luckiest person I know

Silence filled the house. Down in the basement apartment, where Nick, Virginia, and I were staying, the roots of a grapevine adorned with colored glass drops floated in a corner. Markus’ paintings of hairy-footed horses—like Clydesdales—hung on the walls. The horses all seemed to be in motion, running, something that…

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Jack of all, master of some

Things—actions, interests, motivations—come to me in phases. I get into a new thing and exhaust it, wear it to death. I think what happens is that I figure whatever I’m doing out and move on to the next challenge. I will become the master of almost nothing. I don’t have…

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