This year I sometimes feel as though I am wearing a sign that says, ‘Please wink at me,’ because I am a recipient of an unseasonably high number of them, even for the racetrack: some from saucy elderly men, who are permitted, and some from guys my age, who honestly should not be winking at anyone under any circumstance.
It is a finite season, but in the middle of it all, it feels unending, a single moment in time, stretching out across the call to the post, the starting bell, over ten races a day, six days a week, six weeks a year, for a century and a half.
People talk about where they’re headed next, and I can feel everyone collectively shucking off their summer personas and reassembling their real lives.
"It is easy, after the fact, to draw neat lines between events, to look for cause and effect in random acts of chance. But then you spend a while sitting behind the betting windows, watching assholes blithely cashing huge tickets, or informing sweet old ladies that they’ve lost a week’s savings." Our own Elizabeth Minkel reflects on the nature of luck.
Eventually I reach the grandstand, and as I walk inside I am greeted by a blinding expanse of white: maybe a few hundred people milling around, greeting each other after eleven months away like it’s the first day of school, clad in white-collared shirts and toting lunch boxes and already a bit weary, as if the first race has gone off and some angry drunk is shouting that their mistakes have cost him a huge trifecta. These are my people: these are the pari-mutuel clerks.
I have to say goodbye to New York, which feels a bit self-indulgent: people change cities, migrate across the globe, uproot their lives every day, and most of them don’t feel compelled to write long essays about moving. But New York, though — maybe it’s the preponderance of writers here, the narcissism and the navel-gazing, that turns our comings and goings into a series of extended metaphors? We document our arrivals and our acclimations, the natural evolution of a human being, growing older — changing in a city that’s often painted as the living embodiment of change. And when we manage to leave, if we manage to leave, escape becomes a genre in and of itself.
Everything changes, even people, at least a little bit, and I watched my friends unravel somewhat in New York and then weave themselves into something nearly unrecognizable to me.
"The New York of our imaginations has to end sooner than that — maybe it collapses under the weight of our own preconceptions, or maybe pinning so much responsibility on a city serves to mask the way the passage of time can alter us: when we arrive we are willing and eager to fold ourselves into different shapes, to make ourselves fit, but as we grow older, acts of contortion become more difficult, or at the very least, less desirable"
Farewell to the Enchanted City by Elizabeth Minkel
Surely every person in the entire realm of fan fiction is tired of the monetization question by now. The simple answer is that it really, really isn’t about the money. But people keep on asking anyway: how can so much time and energy and a sheer dizzying number of words be spent on something for no financial compensation? It’s easy enough to say that the person who asks that question doesn’t understand the idea of fan fiction, or doesn’t fully grasp what it means to be a fan of something in general — but that feels dismissive and unhelpful. There is a disconnect here, though, and it’s one that’s tricky for me to articulate, between Amazon and Alloy and the fan fiction community, or between Tumblr and Yahoo and the people who look at 100,000 reblogs and can only see a missed opportunity for advertising.
"Kindle Worlds might seem like a vast step up for your average fanfic writer, the best of whom are paid in praise alone. If it didn’t feel like such a fundamental and remotely insulting misunderstanding of fan culture, if it didn’t feel like a prime chance for corporations to exploit rather than promote, I might even praise Amazon."
Will Kindle Worlds Commodify Fan Fiction? by Elizabeth Minkel