Salt is sacramental, a sign of the love between humans and the divine. The Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians all gave their gods gifts of salt, and in Shintoism, small piles of salt are placed in dishes by the entrances of buildings. Called “salt flowers,” these offerings are believed to placate the spirits. The Jainists pair raw rice with salt as an offering of devotion to their deities. For the Jews, salt dipped in bread and passed around the table at seder is a sign of preserving the covenant between God and his people. Catholic priests bless salt to use in rituals such as baptism, reconsecrating a defiled altar, and consecrating holy water. Blessed salt can also be used in exorcisms or sprinkled inside the faithful’s homes for protection. In this way, salt becomes a gift of God’s love for mankind.
At The Rumpus, Kate Angus argues that salt, far from being simply a pillar of the spice trade, is in fact “the physical manifestation of the basic triad of our lives: love, work, and grief.”
It took me some time away from Florida to understand what an interesting place it is. Even central Florida, in the suburbs, where I grew up, is strange in all kinds of subtle ways. I didn’t really appreciate how strange it was when I was there. It was something I was only able to see in hindsight.
It’s true that when the world did not end when I predicted it would, at the end of last year, in my Netflix special Ragnarok, I realized a number of things, one of which was that I had not made a lot of professional or creative plans on the contingency that the world would continue. I just figured that it would end.
Greg Hunter interviews John Hodgman at The Rumpus.
I also had to figure out how much of the truth do I tell, how do I make the truth as balanced as I possibly can? How do I make these people as complicated and as human and as unique and as multifaceted as I possibly can? For me, that was the way I attempted to counteract some of that criticism.
10. Discover the internet. Discover Kate Bornstein. Discover that it’s not just you.
11. Cut your hair, but only a little.
12. Fall again for the girl in the picture in that magazine you’re still carrying, after seven more moves and one amazing partner and three splendid kids and all those years.
13. Stop pretending.
14. Blow up the world, clumsily. Break hearts, including your own.
Recommended Reading: Rafe Posey’s Rumpus essay, “Coming Out, Again and Again, in 27 Easy Steps.”
Don’t send first drafts, toss-offs, or unfinished experiments. Use punctuation. Indent paragraphs. Proofread. Be honest with yourself. Read your work aloud. Now imagine reading it aloud to a room of strangers and then ask how many of them are checking messages on their smartphones. Speaking of which: throw out your smart phone. Get off Facebook and Twitter. Get offline once in a while. Live a little. Eat lots of vegetables. Concentrate. Write like a motherfucker.
For me, the VICE fashion spread exemplified (without exploring) the viewpoint that women writers—women writers who kill themselves—are somehow perpetually on display, or even on trial. They must answer for their art and their final act against the world and their husbands and children, born and unborn. In that courtroom, Hemingway gets off without any jail time. After all, his royalties provided both alimony and child support, so what more could you ask?
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