CATEGORY: PersonalNarrative

In two words, the restless struggle ‘to be present’

By Emily Rosman

Lately two words have been stuck inside my head, refusing to leave.

I wish.”

Like many college students, especially those graduating this May, I can’t help but think of all the things I didn’t do.

It’s human nature — at any age — to think about all the things that could have been accomplished or that could have been experienced.

I wish I’d joined more clubs that don’t specifically relate to my major. I wish I hadn’t wasted so many nights wasted. I wish I’d developed a more diverse group of friends with different interests. I wish I’d taken more electives like psychology or women’s studies.
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Mean street cutie pie

There was no child’s garden in sight…

She was tagging along while her dad walked his dog along Palou Avenue in Hunters Point in San Francisco. Dad and the dog are on the left. On the sidewalk nearby there was trash, discarded clothing, and a dead raccoon. Hunters Point can be that kind of neighborhood. But that didn’t keep her from skipping, giggling, hugging dad’s dog, and being the cutest thing lighting up the street that day…

(Hunters Point, San Francisco 2016. See more of my work here.)

Love song: an open letter to Space Team Electra

They don’t even know what it is to be a fan. Y’know? To truly love some silly little piece of music, or some band, so much that it hurts. – Sapphire, Almost Famous

Photo by Heather Ramey

Photo by Heather Ramey

My Last.FM profile says I have played Space Team Electra tracks 1,093 times. But that’s misleading. For starters, Last.FM didn’t launch until three years after the band broke up. So that’s nearly a decade of playing The Vortex FlowerThe Intergalactic Torch SongKill Apollo and Space Apple Deluxe to death. That number doesn’t include the 30-35 times I saw them live. It doesn’t count all the miles I have logged listening to the CDs on the road. And it doesn’t reflect the times I have been listening on my computer but, for some reason, the scrobbler was turned off.

Gun to my head guess? Continue reading

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Prince: R.I.P. you sexy motherfucker….

“Paisley Park” is my favorite Prince song ever.

This is the song that inspired me to start lugging around a camera when I lived in Tokyo in 1987 and 1988. The video is immediately below, which for copyright reasons I had to make a video of a video and YouTube might take it down soon anyway. Some of my Tokyo photos follow it.

Prince inspired me to be simultaneously in love with, and detached from. all of you and our places in this world.

Dig it…

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chyna - Joanie Laurer

Joanie Laurer, RIP: the sports entertainment machine spits out another dead body

#RIPChyna – former WWE superstar becomes the latest victim of an industry where people are disposable and life is cheap (because that’s what’s best for business)

chyna - Joanie Laurer.png

Joanie Laurer: “Chyna,” the 9th Wonder of the World

I woke to the news this morning of Joanie Laurer’s death. Known to professional wrestling fans as Chyna – “the 9th Wonder of the World” – Laurer was only 45. Details aren’t available yet, but if you follow the industry you’re not going to be surprised if it turns out to be drug-related. And if you have followed Laurer at all, you might immediately wonder if this is was suicide.

Laurer was a groundbreaking performer. There was nothing diva about her. Continue reading

Columbine: 17 years ago today



April 20, 1999. I remember exactly where I was, exactly what I was doing. My co-worker at US West, Joe Lopez, turned to me and said “hey Sammy, there’s been a shooting at a school down in Littleton.”

“Find out everything you can,” I said. I’ll go tell Marti. Marti was Marti Smith, our VP, and thus began some of the hardest days those of us in Colorado have ever had to confront.

It was also the moment when I realized that North Carolina, the state I grew up in, was no longer home.

This piece – “Columbine and the Power of Symbols” – chronicles my reaction to the events of 4/20/99 as well as the days that followed, as we all tried to make sense of utter senselessness. It’s still one of the three or four best things I have ever written. And it’s still so very hard to read, even after all these years.

Politics: Democrats vs Republicans

Election 2016: defining discourse down, again

I noted in a Facebook post the other day that the current political environment is reminding me of the early 2000s and the run-up to the Iraq invasion. I still believe this, and further thought has only deepened my concern. People seem to be losing their bearings, and since it’s happening to people I have often respected in the past, this is a bit disorienting. But it seems as if battle lines, once again, are being drawn, and I’m happy with neither the situation that’s developing, nor with the likely outcomes.

What concerned me then, and what concerns me now, is the extremes to which political alignment can go—what Eric Hoffer would have called the True Believer effect. This is hardly new, but it is still surprising when it occurs in unexpected places. Back then, it was clear that following 9/11, a number of people I respected and enjoyed reading had lost their bearings—or at least I thought they had. So I suddenly found myself on the opposite side of a major policy debate with people like Christopher Hitchens. I always had enjoyed reading Hitchens—he was thoughtful, a lively and elegant writer, and funny as hell much of the time. Best of all, he was almost always on the same side, and he made my arguments much better than I ever could, and the points on which we differed were trivial. Iraq changed that, and I thought changed him as well. Yes, he lived in DC, and was part of the intelligentsia there, in spite of being British to the core. But other intelligentsia (James Fallows, Michael Kinsley, and notably Paul Krugman) didn’t go down the same road, although there were a whole lot who did. And I thought it changed Hitchins—his intolerance levels rose, as did his condescension and outrage against those who didn’t share his commitment. So his books departed, sadly, from my library. Continue reading