Spotify Discover: A Love Story

Mild erotica, for BuzzFeed Live Medium:

I reached into my cashmere onesie while Discover played me Jonathan Richman’s “Girlfriend,” where he sings “I walk through the Fenway, I have my heart in my hands, I understand a girlfriend” and I smiled to myself at how dorky it was for Discover to choose this particular song. I thought then that Discover would be the kind of eager, earnest boyfriend who’d offer to eat me out while I smoked pot and watched Cheers reruns, a boyfriend I’ve never actually had but have often fantasized about while smoking pot and watching Cheers.

Who We Love And Who We Eat

On loving and not eating animals, for BuzzFeed:

I sat on our living room couch, sandwiched between my two smart and thoughtful parents, who let me watch just about any movie I was interested in. The film as I remember it slowly and deliberately introduces the gorillas to Fossey and to the viewers. She gives them names. She loves them. They show her their personalities, their emotions, and their commitment to their family. Then, local hunters come and kill the gorillas, intending to sell their hands and heads to tourists. I think it’s about halfway through the film, but it’s the last scene of the movie I’ve seen to this day. I remember the scene as violent, painfully realistic, almost macabre. I started screaming at the top of my lungs. Tears streaming down my face, hyperventilating, terrified of my own emotions, unable to comprehend how this could happen, how anyone could do something like this. I was inconsolable. My mom recalls the incident vividly 23 years later, saying it’s the most upset she’s ever seen me. I look back on the moment as a turning point in my life when I realized that I see animals differently than most people do.

How I Grew Up On The Internet

The Internet is IRL, for BuzzFeed:

I’ve always wondered about the assumption that our online personas are more fake than our physical ones. I often feel awkward and nervous in real-life situations; I almost always feel like I’m saying the wrong thing and am unable to articulate what I really think and feel. Online, I have plenty of time and unlimited space to consider what to say and how to express myself. It’s an advantage that makes me feel more like myself, not less so.

 

First.

On my first kiss, for my Tumblr:

We spent the next four years together, more or less turning into grown-ups, and I went through some other firsts — the ones you’re thinking of, plus firsts like “first time someone you love tells you they’re in love with someone else,” and “first time you wake someone up in the middle of the night because you’re crying and they get mad instead of hugging you and you feel like there is a cavernous difference between you and the person you’re closest to in the world,” and “first trip together” and “first month apart” and “first time you see that your mom loves the person you love as a son and wants the two of you to be happy together forever and it makes you want that too, so much” and “first time you forgive someone for things you never could have imagined forgiving someone for,” and “first time you are broken up with by someone with the flu,” and “first time you kiss someone who broke your heart,” and “first time you go from feeling that falling out of love is an oxymoron to feeling like it happened when you weren’t even paying attention.” 

The Fine Art Of Mixtape Seduction

An essay about making tapes for boys, for BuzzFeed:

I named “Wilco and Breakfast” that because of how I imagined our future together — listening to Summerteeth on vinyl while smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee in bed. “His beard makes me feel like he’d make good pancakes,” I told my roommate during one of our countless conversations about the boys I was considering hitching my crush wagon to.

 

How I Fell In Love With The Dorkiest Game Of The Year

I wrote about Elder Scrolls Online for BuzzFeed

I feel like I have accomplished a lot today. I have rescued some fake-ass prophet, gotten to Tamriel, saved a queen from some assholes, been arrested unfairly, repaired a ship, fucked up some magic pirates, killed a bunch of dinosaurs, destroyed some rats’ nests (sigh), made two daggers, helped some hot cat kid kill his dad, destroyed countless skeletons and rogues, joined a mage’s guild, picked some plants, and now I’m in some fucking dank ass catacombs. And I don’t even look phased — Liliger remains the Beyoncé of Tamriel.

Places I've Lived: TEXAS (& Brooklyn)

Little essay for The Billfold on all the places I have lived: 

I lived here with my cat, Tigger, who had been a present for my fifth birthday. The apartment was lovely, a few blocks from my dad’s house, and it had enough room for all the random crap I’d collected at thrift stores. Two of my best friends helped me move in, and I remember sitting on the floor eating pizza, admiring the number of boxes full of books stacked almost to the ceiling along the living room. I think this was the first place away from my parents that actually felt like home. I made out with my secret boyfriend on the floor, drank way too much, and took a lot of selfies in the parking lot. I read dozens of books and watched hundreds of movies. It felt like a real home for awhile. Then the secret boyfriend broke my heart, Tigger died, and they sold the place and turned it into condos, evicting all of the renting residents.

Three Unpublished J.D. Salinger Stories Have Leaked Online

A scooplet, as Ben Smith would say! For BuzzFeedof course, the first media outlet to have this news:

Reading the stories is an odd experience — “The Ocean Full Of Bowling Balls” in particular is magical and sweet and sad, as is all of Salinger, and it’s a delight to finally be able to read it and impossible to understand why he would secret it away. But the other two stories are very rough, at best, and it’s hard not to feel a bit guilty when devouring something that he didn’t want the world to see, and it’s harder still to imagine a less Salinger-esque way to read these stories than hastily scanned and illegally hosted online.

Every Year Of Your Twenties, Ranked From Worst To Best

For BuzzFeed:

Sorry, 23-year-olds, but this year is total shit. You’re a year or two removed from college and reaching a legal drinking age, but you’re not mature enough to have actually figured out what you want to do with your life. Drinking and partying is getting old, but you’re equally bored by staying home. Basically everything is terrible. Ask a bunch of over-30 people what the worst year of their twenties was and they will inevitably tell you that when they were 23, everything fell apart and they had no idea who they were anymore or WTF they were doing with themselves. Be strong, better years are coming.

The Year Without Esme

For BuzzFeedabout a beloved friend that we lost. 

“Esme Barrera was” doesn’t feel like the right beginning. Esme Barrera is the biggest heart in the tiniest body. She is the kindest and most generous person I’ve ever known. When people who didn’t get the chance to know Esme started telling me they were sorry for my loss, I wanted to say, “I’m sorry for yours.” Getting to know her at all is one of the best things that ever happened to me, even more so than losing her was the worst.

Mario Mendoza Hit Four Home Runs

A series of vignettes, for Notgraphs:

Early enough in the season that Mario must have believe that his luck was going to change. He was following 1979, when Seattle was desperate enough to use him as a starter, and in the most plate appearances of his career he had hit .198/.216/.249. In the offseason, he works on his stance and his swing, he closes his eyes and tries to press the failure — eight times out of ten, failure — out of his brain. He returns the next year, and in the second week of the season he swings, and what emerges is this glorious game-tying home run. The world is confetti. The Mariners win. Mendoza is, for just a moment, surfing on top of the wave rather than drowning underneath it.

Your Forever Admirer: A Love Song For Jonathan Taylor Thomas

For The Hairpin:

Jonathan:
I am starting this book to give to you when I meet you. Right now I am 13, and you are 14. We watched Lauren Hutton’s show last night, with you on it. Your politics are approved by my mom, by the way. Today I saw Tom And Huck. Kate has decided she KINDA likes Brad Renfro. She thinks he has nice eyes. Not as good as yours!
Tons O’ Love (Really, Love!),
Summer

 

Female Pop Stars, Baseballed

For NotGraphs:

[Beyonce] is a true “five tool player,” winning us over with her dancing skills as well as her truly spectacular singing voice, cheeky and creative music videos, a seemingly utopian home life, and, of course, the booty. She wins from both sides of the spectrum, making her a perennial all-star: from a numbers perspective, she is among the best selling female artists of all time worldwide, but she is also the kind of player that gives you that inarticulateable feeling in your gut when you see her — like you just know you’re witnessing something special.

The 125 Best Songs of the '00s

On #21, The Mountain Goats' This Year. On my Tumblr:

It’s so inspiring to watch someone else be honest. That’s why AA works, it’s why ‘creative nonfiction’ memoirs are so popular, it’s why everyone likes people who are self-effacing. It takes away the enormous amount of pressure that we all feel to play it cool, to pretend like everything is okay. It’s like when you ask someone how they’re doing and they look at you and say “not so great.” I’m not saying that would make you feel good, but it comes as a wave of relief in a way, just because they are telling the truth.

So that’s what John Darnielle does, and he does it articulately and beautifully and with fear but also hope stitched to his sleeve. I can’t listen to this song without wanting to stand up and celebrate. Everyone is broken, but how we make it through day after day — year after year — anyway.

Your New Favorite Old Songs

For The Hairpin:

Jacqueline was a teenage ye-ye girl which was the 1960s French version of “twee as hell.” In this song, she wakes up in the morning (guess what time?) and starts spinning records by The Who and Elvis and looking for her toothbrush. The lyrics are a meandering inner dialogue, complete with pauses and sighs to drive home to point that Jacqueline is just singing every single thing that goes through her head on this uneventful school day morning. “It’s, uh, Monday, isn’t it? Oh, I have an English exam today. Mm, I wish I had Paul McCartney to — [long pause] — help me.”