Jan/Feb 1998

e c l e c t i c a
s a l o n


(These are excerpts—click on the title to view the whole piece!)

Show Some Love: Coping with a Down Year, and Why I'm Opposed to Begging

If life comes in a series of peaks and valleys, a biorhythmic sine-wave, then this year was not a high point for me. As the year drew to a close, it seemed I was wallowing at the absolute nadir of the wave. I felt listless, unmotivated, outright depressed. The only thing that seemed to help, that made me feel an almost imperceptible lifting of the spirit, was when I heard the lyric quoted above on my way to school one morning. It stuck fiercely in my psyche. I sang it all day, sometimes aloud, and each time I felt a little better. I wrote the words on my chalkboard, so every morning I'd see them again and resume my soundtrack of recovery. I used that lyric like a mantra to make it through to Christmas break.

Tom Dooley


Lessons from a Long Year

Sometimes friends have to go their separate ways, regardless of the strength of their friendship and the nature of the events they have lived through together. I still harbor hope that it doesn't have to happen to all friends. Sometimes it even has to be a bitter parting, with the accompanying ugliness of resentment and self-righteousness. This past year saw the loss of a few friends for varying reasons: physical distance, my own inattentiveness, inevitable changes wrought by growth and romantic attachments. I take my fair share of blame for every one of them, even when I felt I was acting in the only way possible, out of self defense.

Chris Lott


The Evils of Direct Marketing, with Some Extra Complaining Thrown In

The bastards block caller ID, so there's no way of knowing who is calling unless you pick up. They won't leave messages on the machine. The long pause is because they're making multiple calls at the same time, and they don't bother to actually pick up a line they've dialed unless they get a "live" one. They can call you; they know your number. You don't know their number, and there's no way to call them.

Tom Dooley


On Books

The upstairs stacking had really begun a month ago, on cool nights in early September. I had a Japan stack, and a dust-jacketed hardcover fiction stack, and a box for humor, and a stack for languages (only guy I know with an Urdu-English dictionary). I had a Middle East box, where Jew and Arab DO live in quiet peace! Two days ago, two guys from the SF club offered to come on Tuesdays (my free morning) and help me whip this monster collection into working shape. So, I really felt I had to buckle down and get it vaguely shipshape to be reboxed and organized.

Valentine Smith