Faces, Steve Miller, Vernezuela, Ashes, Sleep

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Autobiography Of A Gaze

Rachel Arndt | Believer | 30th May 2018

The poet Lucy Grealy suffered two decades of surgery for cancer of the jaw, which she recounted in her memoir, “Autobiography Of A Face”. Rachel Arndt’s face was broken in a bicycle crash. Arndt wonders whether to approach Grealy’s memoir as a comfort or a nightmare. “I didn’t want to admit how afraid I was of being ugly. I could barely bear my own vanity, but then Grealy made me confront it. I saw, eventually, that within vanity is something more meaningful and more painful: Loneliness” (1,200 words)

Growing Up With Steve Miller

Max Marshall | Texas Monthly | 30th May 2018

Gorgeous memoir about what can happen when you are teenager with a gift for playing guitar and one of your dad’s friends is a rock star. “Even though he was sixty-something years old, his hair was longer, featherier, more swooped and tangled than the dad cuts at the party. We walked up, and he blew out smoke and grinned. He showed me a chord progression the great Texas blues musician T-Bone Walker had taught him when Mr Steve was my age. And then my parents made me go to bed” (6,100 words)

Why Nicolas Maduro Clings To Power

Francisco Toro & Moses Naim | Atlantic | 30th May 2018

Justice for tyrants has its downside, if fear of justice causes tyrants to cling more desperately to power. Such is the case with Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro, whose incompetence has brought his country to the brink of starvation. “The ghost of Manuel Noriega hangs heavily over Maduro’s future. Like Noriega, Maduro runs a regime knee-deep in the drug trade. He’s not so much governing, as using the state for a protective cocoon, his last alternative to a life behind bars” (1,450 words)

How To Scatter Ashes

Tré Miller Rodríguez | Modern Loss | 2nd May 2014

Advice from a bereaved spouse, who scattered her husband’s remains at places they had loved around the world. Point one: Expect bones. “When I unscrewed the urn containing Alberto’s ashes, I expected a small box of soft campfire ash. I encountered a plastic bag with 6 pounds of coarse sand and sharp bone fragments. Not sure if anything prepares you to see someone you love reduced to a bag of cement mix, but the knowledge that cremated remains look nothing like ashes is a starting point” (875 words)

I Had To Edit Out The Snake

Laura Bennett | Slate | 30th May 2018

Conversation with author Phoebe Smith, who writes stories designed to put people to sleep. “When you are writing for a travel magazine, you are starting somewhere really dramatic and pulling people along. But in a sleep story, it’s about making them feel like they are there, relaxing them as they go. Anything remotely exciting happens in the beginning. I don’t generally worry about writing sentences that are too boring, but sometimes I have to go back and delete sentences that are too exciting” (1,260 words)

Video of the day Why Credit Cards Have Chips

What to expect:

Entertaining history of the credit card, explaining why France was the first to embed chips (3’50”)

Thought for the day

If I paint a wild horse, you might not see the horse, but you will see the wildness
Pablo Picasso

Podcast One Tongue | Slate

John McWhorter wonders whether the world would be a better place with one language in place of 7,000
(36m 00s)

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