Spence Green

التكرار يعلم الحمار

I work at Lilt. In addition to computers and languages, my interests include travel, running, and scuba diving. more...

Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

California, Weird

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More than a few friends have cautioned me about moving to California: you will be offered drugs, you will spend $10 on a sandwich, a man will try to marry you. California’s ostensibly high tolerance for “experimentation” and otherwise callow ethics has become an idee fixe for these wags, and the origin of endless comedy. But California culture merely follows Europe by widening the moat around personal preference: if you desire it, and it does not interfere with others, then do it. Very different are the puritanical politics of the east coast and the endless debates about whether Capote novels should be allowed in the school library or not. To me, these questions are a matter of perspective, and that is why I feel as if I am moving to another country.

No perspective, however, can convince me that preference can alter nature’s organization. What other gender possibilities exist?!

Written by Spence

September 8th, 2008 at 9:00 am

Posted in Composition,Writing

God in 500 Words

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If you could step into someone else’s shoes for a day, who would it be and why?

In an interview during the 1994 US Amateur Golf tournament, a reporter asked a giraffe-like, 19-year-old competitor who he most admired in the sport. “Me,” replied the young golfer.
“What?” said the incredulous writer.
“You see,” Tiger Woods explained, “every golfer has weaknesses. I take the best qualities from each player and add them to an ideal golfer. I aspire to play like him, and since he only exists in my head, I must respond ‘me’.”

As an avid reader of biographies and student of people’s lives, I too have developed an Ideal Man in my mind. He is at once many people and no one at all. I would like to be him, but only for a day. Let me describe him to you.

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Written by Spence

January 5th, 2008 at 11:41 pm

Posted in Writing

More With Less

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An unattributed byline about Kurt Cobain in a recent GQ issue caught my attention for its terse description of a complex person.

A man of chronic contradictions, Kurt Cobain exuded an energy that was both savage and artistic. When Nirvana readied to play Saturday Night Live on January 11, 1992, Nevermind had reached Billboard’s number one spot, and the music world waited to meet its new 24-year-old star. He wore a Flipper T-shirt under a mold-colored cardigan and hair he’d dyed the night before with strawberry Kool-Aid. He also blew the shit out of the room with a 1965 Fender Jaguar the color of a Doberman and introduced us to a new status quo for cultural icons. Glamorous, dirty, quiet, and loud—Cobain would be dead in two years. And we’re still trying to figure him out.

The selective use of adjectives makes this article work: “savage”, “mold-colored”, “glamorous, dirty, quiet, and loud.” This is Seattle, and the apathetic movement that it spawned. Using an expletive makes the writer vulnerable to the reader’s contempt, but in this case, it seems to resonate against the grinding hum of the brown Fender. Here, the writer has sketched a book-length subject in 114 words.

Here’s the SNL performance.

Written by Spence

December 2nd, 2007 at 10:54 pm

Posted in Composition