Splice Today

If you haven’t bookmarked the site, Splice Today (www.splicetoday.com), I highly suggest you do.

Russ Smith, the creator/publisher/editor of Splice Today has been kind enough to polish and post my writing. Splice Today is one of the few sites that is committed to paying writers real American money, which means I can rationalize devoting the time I do to writing. Regardless of these facts, Splice Today is worth checking out for other reasons. One reason: they post all kinds of interesting writing, sometimes funny, sometimes strange, and almost always idiosyncratic. Another reason: the site is easy to navigate and the pieces are usually engaging and highly readable.

My writing on Splice Today:

Pop Culture-Lists- Observations

“Mostly Factual Predictions for 2014”

1. The word “unseasonably” will be used far too often to describe the increasingly dramatic weather fluctuations. It’ll be removed from the dictionary by 2034.

2. People will continue to read, but the amount of time they read in one sitting will keep dwindling.

3. First they stopped writing letters to each other. Then they stopped calling each other on their phones. Then they stopped emailing. But they will never stop texting each other. Especially while driving.

To continue, click here.

***

“Strange and Wonderful Things About Flying Around the World”

1. Flying over the North Pole.

2. Landing in Reykjavik, Iceland. I kept thinking, “These could be the great-great-great-great-great grandsons and granddaughters of Vikings!”

3. Being swallowed by the automatic doors of the Paris Metro is embarrassing.

4. Seeing a boy, maybe eight, on the Paris Metro. Natasha says, “That’s what ours might look like.” And he’s beautiful. His mom stands next to him. She is mixed, part Algerian maybe. He has high cheekbones, lush blondish brown waves of hair, and wide dark brown eyes.

5. Learning to say thank you in every language is one way to understand gratitude.

To continue, click here.

***

“Civic Purgatory”

First you get the notice. Back in October or November, informing you of the call to duty. The call of duty. You don’t play video games, so this is your only call of duty. You postpone. You are allowed one postponement. You do so, as you need the money that the current job is providing. And in January, you will not have this current job. You choose a date at the end of January, because you’ll be going away for a week in the middle of January. A return to the frozen Northeast, in order to remind yourself of one of the reasons you have moved out to California, and San Francisco, with its Hall of Justice.

To continue, click here.

***

“Litter Lessons”

A neighborhood might be defined in part by the litter you find on its sidewalks. I pick up trash and throw it away, in all neighborhoods. I pick it up in my neighborhood, in the Outer Richmond district on the edge of San Francisco, to the one where I work, in Bayshore, Daly City. I do this for two reasons: 1) to keep my environment free of trash; and 2) because it was such a big deal to my mother.

On a Wednesday morning last week, I picked up a small cardboard container that once held a pregnancy test.

To continue, click here.

***

Teaching

“Demanding and Intimate Work”  

I made a 71-year-old woman named Maria cry today. Maria, who’s from El Salvador, is my student. I’m her 33-year-old English teacher. My classroom is an old Boys and Girls Club multi-purpose room attached to a child and infant daycare center. The room is big and open with high ceilings and blinds on the windows that I pull up every morning. Maria’s been in the classroom a lot longer than me, probably eight or nine years. The multi-level ESL class is located in a neighborhood most Bay Area residents have never heard of: Bayshore, located just over the San Francisco city line in Daly City.

To continue, click here.

***

“The Curse of the College Essay”

In every American town, anxious 18 year-olds are sitting down and typing up college application essays. They’re desperately trying to figure out how to craft their ideas of themselves into something noteworthy and deserving and indicative. There are the generic questions, from the common application, which ask students to explain how they have overcome obstacles. Questions about identity.

To continue, click here.

***

Personal Essays connected to Sports

“I Was a Teenage Athlete”

The invisible bullying, hazing and machismo that envelops so many sports teams’ locker rooms are a virus. It’s not just Richie Incognito. Every American male who has spent time as a teenager on a sports team knows something of the toxic atmosphere that has been made temporarily visible by the situation Jonathan Martin faced for the last two years. Some locker rooms are exceptional and are safe spaces for their inhabitants, a temporary refuge from a difficult family life, or a place of bonding in an otherwise isolated existence. So many, however, are places of insecurity, constant harassment, minimizing of individuality and insane emphasis on conformity and hetero-normative attitudes on gender. A boy is supposed to “man up,” instead of mature. Pain is secondary. Emotional pain? What’s that? Recovering from an injury? Your body is healed and that’s all that matters.

To continue, click here.

***

“Celebrate: A Winter Evening in Boston, 2011”

On the heels of a treacherous drive south through slush-covered vision and slippery wheels. On the heels of a flight to catch, an early morning wake-up call. On the heels of a sleepless night, on the heels of something close to a perfect day. Which starts with a Celebration.

Celebrating sleeping in, celebrating getting coffee, celebrating the crunch of a freshly toasted bagel. Celebrating spontaneous birthday shopping, celebrating the birthday song, a slowed-down and sexy-silly version, and cupcakes.

To continue, click here.

***

Film-History

“Experiencing Brutal Truths”

Hollywood is adept at providing escape when we’re exhausted or bored with reality, offering movies so we can laugh and fall in love. So we can go on road trips or war, save the world and destroy it all at the same time. Hollywood makes us horny, terrified and warms our hearts with sentiment, though usually uses history for its own purposes. When historians discuss film, they are almost always incredulous, skeptical, or flat-out upset with the way facts have been manipulated. And yet, how we learn about the past often comes from motion pictures. Almost all of the time, Hollywood gives us what we think we want and covers up what they aren’t sure we can handle, especially in historical terms—Amistad and Schindler’s List are exceptions.

Fox Searchlight, which has built up an impressive resume of experimental and risky films over the last several years, recently released a film by British director Steve McQueen based on Solomon Northrup’s book 12 Years A Slave, published in 1853.

To continue, click here.

One thought on “Splice Today

  1. hello world says:

    Howdy! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to
    give a quick shout out and tell you I really enjoy reading through your articles.

    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics?
    Thanks a ton!

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