Robin Rendle
• San Francisco, California

Ugh

Lately I’m feeling rather ugh. I know why; reading has lost its luster. I find myself uninterested in almost every book, every essay, every tweet. One morning I’ll get all excited and pick up a book that someone recommends and then—bah!—the text is joyless. It doesn’t have that peculiar kick of newness to it and at that very moment my RSS wellspring runs dry, too.

Without a dazzling book the world suddenly feels quiet, empty. Lonely, even. And ugh I feel like I need high quality hypertext to simply be a functional person.

I require that text do this unspoken playful, hopscotch thing and when I can’t find anything quite like what I’m looking for then I get all mopey. I mope to the coffee shop, I mope to the corner store, I mope around Target as we get small things for our apartment. Friends lose their razzle dazzle, too. What good am I to my friends without a !!!!-have-you-seen-this-book-yet kind of text message? No good to anyone.

I picked up The Revenge of Geography yonks ago from a tiny library in Noe, which might I add—wow!—what a name for a book. I had missed the blurb at the bottom from Henry Kissinger though and just before I openes the book I saw his repulsive quote. What view of geography does this book have if Kissinger’s the main guy, the blurbist of honor? With absolutely no due respect whatsoever: fuck Henry Kissinger and everyone remotely close to him.

Ahem.

Next I picked up a book about Atari and the death of the video game industry but I felt like the guy was too rambly, too impressed by himself for me to enjoy any of it. (This reminds me that there’s a kind of charm when the writer is enjoying their own company, but it’s a very difficult thing to pull off without sounding like you’re smoking your own supply.)

After that I picked up The Smallest Lights in the Universe by Sara Seager and I hoped it would snap me out of this boring malaise. I hoped it would be a memoir of sorts, like H is for Hawk but switching out the hawk for Jupiter. But after half a dozen pages I find, again, this sort of self-impressed style of writing. It becomes cludgy and soup-thick, stew-like, even. I can’t describe it but when people talk about romantic relationships and subsequently describe themselves as a catch without a hint of irony then ughhhhh I am bored of you.

All these ugh feelings likely have nothing to do with the books and everything to do with me. I’m not looking for a book when I pick these things up, I’m looking for An Event. I want to feel like I have to keep up with them as they drag me into the future. I want an entirely different vantage point from a tip of the world I’ve never seen before.

I suppose then that I’m not looking for good books, I’m perhaps looking for new friends.

Or something, I don’t know man. I just work here.