A small story:

"Why read good writing?"

Because good writing, writing scrubbed of everything but the essential truth, will strengthen and improve you.

This is not to say I'm squinting at SILAS MARNER in a candlelit room while the rest of you marvel at NeNe Leakes.
Anyone who has been around Twitter at Met Gala night knows I'm a shallow little thing.

But even as I wait impatiently for Rihanna to finally FINALLY arrive, I know this is an unsustainable diet, a steady fois-gras feeding tube of words making me linguistically malnourished.
Good writing isn't the same as tricky writing; in fact, good writing is the opposite of tricky writing. Tricky writing - with its great lashing of weasel-words and logic based on the model of the double-helix - isn't meant to illuminate you. It's meant to cow you.

It's just NeNe without throwing wine.
@CharlesPPierce is solidly brilliant every damn day, speaking complicated things in deceptively simple ways.
I have described him as our Mark Twain and as I always assert, we do not deserve him. Read him every day and your writing will improve.

"Will I get to Charlie's level?"
But if every day is a chance to move forward or backward, if it defies physics that humans remain static, wouldn't you like to be a better writer?

Or, maybe be a better human?

As those of you who follow me know, I'm live-tweeting @ElieNYC's next book, ALLOW ME TO RETORT.
I have a weakness for politics -

"Really, Quinn?"

Oh, hush.

- and I read/listen to more books about politics than I am prepared to admit. You hardly ever hear me talking about them, except in passing.

I am obsessed with Mystal's book.

Every page is a joy.
Specifically, what Mystal has written is a category of non-fiction I call, "No, that's bullshit," a book where a highly-educated person tears through conventional thinking and false conclusions like so much sodden Kleenex. This fills me with glee.
I have laughed more reading this book than I did in all the seasons of, well, a sitcom whose producers might be hiring writers again so I'm just going to leave it at that. But sliding in under the intelligence and the wit is a powerful statement:

"No more pretending."
Mystal's book lays out the case that our self-aggrandizing narrative about the Constitution, about the Framers, about what we have labeled a democracy is a deception and that deception is destroying us. To say otherwise is to announce that people disappear when I look away.
You get it; I love the book.

"But, what does this have to do with y-"

I'm getting there.

While reading a book about not pretending otherwise anymore, even if it feels cozy, I got an email from someone I know, asking if she could pick my brain about writing.
I've known this woman my entire adult life. Every few years, she picks my brain about writing. Then, she does nothing with what little information I give her. None of this surprises me; the entertainment industry is ringed by people eager to start their project "...any day now."
And then, they do not.

I am not innocent of this pattern. More than once, I have been both Vladimir and Estragon, announcing I shall do a thing and then, not doing a thing. It's part of the magical tapestry which is the creative process and also fills Rebirthing seminars.
I read the email - nearly identical to the previous five, six...nine? emails - I received from the would-be writer and I was about to give her my lunch schedule for next week because God knows I have no reason not to help. My life is small; I have the time.
"Yeah," @ElieNYC's voice said in my ear, in my brain, "But it's bullshit."

Does Elie Mystal know this woman?

God, I hope not.

Does he know anything about this situation?

Only if he just read it.
But after three days of reading someone say, in effect, "I'm not going to act as if bullshit isn't bullshit," and doing it extremely well, it soaked into my hard skull, a bit.

This request was bullshit.

It was not my responsibility to pretend it was not.
And yes, the brain-picking request was harmless bullshit, which makes it different than the centuries of fuckery the Framers codified but also, why must I accept any level of bullshit?

"It's only a bullshit-topped Triscuit" still sounds less than completely delightful.
Now, at this point, I had a small conundrum. Did I tell her no? See, Los Angeles is a tonal language and we have a "Yes" which everyone knows is "This is no. Do not make it weird by acting as if it is yes."

But, not everyone respect the tone. I could get cornered into this.
"This. Is. Bullshit," my inner Elie intoned and before I lost my nerve I quickly wrote and explained that I had told her everything I knew, several times.

I then thought and erased the last two words.

I passed on the chance to repeat myself and wished her luck.
I sent it before I undid the whole thing and insisted we meet immediately because women and caretaking is some societal/genetic bullshit that must be constantly neutralized.

I then texted Consort, "I have time to spend. I do not have time for bullshit."
He responded, "Good for you!" and then added, "What?" because maybe for a second he worried I'd been kidnapped because that certainly didn't sound like me. I didn't bother to explain myself as it would take too long and I had a book to keep reading and be improved by.
You should pre-order it. May I suggest @vromans ?


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More from @quinncy

21 Oct
A small story:

For a couple of years, Kid swam/water polo’ed/dove. She was never completely dry and the back seat of my car was a shade lighter than the front seat thanks to chlorine.
While all three pool sports shared a venue, the participants were easily categorized. The swim-team kids were the ones shaped like inverted triangles, the water-polo players were covered in bruises and the divers had destroyed hair.

“Didn’t they all?”

Swim team wore caps, water-polo wore caps- at least in part so an opponent didn’t tear off their ears- but divers, did not. The pattern of diving/waiting to dive created greater porosity in the hair, leading to greater damage.
Read 15 tweets
20 Oct
For those who asked, here is the book (feat: Non-janky highlighter)
Here is the first page. I will give you no more but lie to me and tell me you don’t want @ElieNYC’s book.

Pre-order it.
You have no idea how mad I am at you, @ElieNYC.

Read 20 tweets
20 Oct
A small story:

I loved ballet.

I loved the precision, the quiet, the discipline, the chasing after a Platonic ideal of a line, a movement, the feeling of flight, of speed. I loved the wardrobe and oh, did I love pointe shoes.

Ballet tolerated me.
At its heart dance is a sport * and, like all sports, there are certain people more physically-suited to the sport than other. I wasn't designed for ballet.

* At its heart, ballet began as a way for French aristocrats to look at lady-legs and pick out their new mistress.
Even though I was small, I was the wrong kind of small; the perfect ballet dancer should have a smaller head, very long limbs and very bendy feet.

If spiders could pirouette, Balanchine would have married three of them.
Read 26 tweets
19 Oct
A small story:

If pressed, I think the most baffling thing to explain to anyone younger than 25 is how rarely anyone over 45 took a picture.

Well, that and rotary phones.

I imagine myself pulling down a photo album and then stopping to explain a photo album.
Having broken down the idea of "We printed them and then put them in a book and never looked at them unlike now, where they are in your phone and you never look at them," I'd show them an average page.

Birthday or two.



"That's a year," I would say.
They'd possibly push the pictures a few times, thinking that maybe it would open a file of the rest of the 16,000 images of pets, meals and bomb-light pouting which is now how we measure a year.

"Nope," I'd say cheerfully, "The picture were printed, picked up, put in here."
Read 18 tweets
14 Oct
A small story:

"I'm sorry," someone who knows me in three dimensions says apologetically, "I'm not on Twitter."

It's fair for them to assume this will wound me deeply. As I have noted before, "I was on Twitter" will always be my alibi, no matter the day or time.
Anyone who spends as much time as I do on here must like it.


"Good for you!" I say supportively to the non-Twitter person, then add, "And never start. It's a septic tank."

I believe this.

Turns out, I'm that bacteria which has evolved to thrive in septic tanks.
Until this morning, my answer was always, "There is no good reason an emotionally healthy and fully-actualized person should be on Twitter. The Nazis alone are reason enough. Also, no edit button."

This morning, I received a text from a friend's son, newly in this tank.
Read 10 tweets
13 Oct
A small story:

As anyone who has followed me for a while knows, my volunteering energy goes a bunch of places but I put the bulk of it towards @SanteDOr, a tiny, nearly all-volunteer rescue, based in a single storefront in Atwater Village.

Don't let the size fool you.
In the last twenty years, they have saved and placed thousands of cats, some dogs, a few very confused rabbits and one very alarmed hamster. During the pandemic, they redoubled their TNR efforts because a lot of groups were overwhelmed.

They are good people.

Stuff gets done.
More to the point, animals get second chances. Frequently during a Trap/Neuter/Release program in a feral cat colony a volunteer will realize a "Feral" cat is frantically purring and curling around their hands, desperate for safety and care again.
Read 25 tweets

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