Pitchfork Reviews Reviews was a Tumblr that launched in 2010. It, as one might expect, reviewed Pitchfork album reviews in a piercingly strange and touching voice—flat, declarative, obsessive, a bit breathless—that made it wildly compelling. But Pitchfork Reviews Reviews was only partly about Pitchfork reviews. The true subject of the blog was the anonymous young man who wrote it—his insecurities, his fears, and his triumphs of experience and understanding as he made his way through the various milieus of New York. It was weirdly elegant, tender and funny because of the author's willingness to share uncomfortable details about his own life.
The deceptively banal confessional tone had a charm [...]
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When I was little, I had a typewriter my parents got at a garage sale for about three dollars, plus the cost in shoe leather of tracking down a place to buy those awful inky ribbon things. And, being seven or eight, I knew that there was no point in writing my own book, because it wouldn't be any good, so I instead attempted to copy out The Lord of the Rings. I never got more than a third of a chapter in, due to my belief that any typo [...]
Paul Fennel was waiting in front of the motel room door when his soul mate and I pulled up, his face flushed the color of brake-lights from forehead to chin. I watched as Paul auditioned a variety of places for his hands – in-pocket, out-of-pocket, thumbs through belt loops – before hiding his overactive digits in a tangle behind his back. Darlene, The Virtue, watched this too, and sighed.
“That’s him, huh?”
“Go to him,” I replied, sagelike. “His soul cries out to yours.”
“Barf,” she said, as she stuffed her wad of chewing gum into my car’s crowded ashtray.
Disappointed children shuffled away from the entrance to The Rudy, their fuming tourist parents trying to cheer them with brochure read taglines of lesser Times Square attractions. Above, the dormant Rudy hung empty midway through its second loop, the ride closed for garbage related damage to the tracks. Childlike wonder derailed by the stinking detritus of the adult world, it was an image that suited my mood, and it sent waves of inappropriately sadistic cheer through me, as if I was the one responsible for the roller-coaster’s breakdown.
“You’re angry,” said Paul Fennel.
In a back booth at a LES greasy-spoon renowned for the historic amount of orange Department of Health stickers scraped off its windows, I stared at Paul. He stared down at his pancakes, refusing to make eye contact, making like another motley patch on the upholstery. Yesterday morning, Paul asked me to infiltrate the Walmart of self-help to rescue his soul-mate, a girl he’d never actually seen but that’d almost literally burned her way to his heart. By nightfall, I had an unhinged marine waving my own gun in my face, conscripting me into a murder plot against the seemingly harmless [...]
Believe it or not, some percentage of the world's population likes to write novels. (I'm one of them.) Or maybe "like" isn't the best word, considering that it often feels more like a compulsion or an addiction, although there are more destructive compulsions or addictions, as we'll explore in some detail below. To put a slightly more positive spin on it, novels are the LTRs of prose writing: never easy but on balance probably worth doing. (Although just to be clear: writing a novel, like being in a relationship, doesn't make you "better" than anyone else, that's for sure.) From a mechanical perspective, novels generally range from about 60,000 [...]
I hadn't gone even a block from my office, on my way to poke around a Midtown cult in search of a love connection for my literal godsend of a client, when I made the tail. It was a pair of Cro-Magnon neophytes with the ready-to-pop glamour muscles found on any city goon squad, but the rigid spines and precise, angular haircuts that told me besides rank amateurs they were also likely Privates or Sergeants. I couldn't think of a reason that Uncle Sam would want to pick on me and I wasn't all that curious, so I scooted around the orange vests piling up decapitated Chinese dolls [...]