Volume Four: Take a penny, leave a penny
tl;dr: One Cent, Two Cents, Three Cents, and Four Other Pieces of Jangling Pocket Metal
Um, hello? Are you still there?
It’s been awhile. More than awhile. An eternity. I both had and still have writer’s block, but I happened upon a link that sparked the thought, “Wow, I wish I could email this to everyone I know…” and I realized that I can. The link’s in the four somethings at the bottom, so this is my marshmallow test, and you’re just living in it. Will you resist the urge to scroll?
Great minds take a hike. A metaphorical one, that is.
Meaning, my October/November creative output hiked away from me after I accepted Tim’s request to write a response to the following poem for his zine, The Footlighter.
“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz...”
—an excerpt from Howl by Allen Ginsberg (1984)
This threw me down a spiral of being the least fun guest at Halloween parties—asking everyone the question, “Who do you think the greatest minds of our generation are?” when they probably just wanted to grab another cider.
The forward I wrote, combining everything I learned from those conversations, is on printed and stapled copies of the zine that belong to the Footlight—a Ridgewood-based curator of art, music, comedy and everything else that lights up the ol’ soul founded by Laura Regan (follow @footlightpresents to keep tabs on their upcoming events)—so I’m not going to include it in full here. This is what it looks like though—isn’t Tim’s art cool?
That said, while I was working through the zine piece that you don’t get to read, I wrote an accompanying poem mimicking Ginsburg’s style. Not my typical medium, but if you want to… you can read that poem here in an unformatted Google Doc. Consider it the lost November issue of this neuesletter. If you can stop cringing long enough to roast me in the comments, do that, and then tell me who you think our greatest minds are/aren’t/might be.
Two-Cent Club Roll Call
Considering how many submissions to join the very prestigious TWO-CENT CLUB I’ve gotten recently, in which you email me something good, and I send you a poor man’s NFT—a lucky penny via Venmo—I’m officially losing money writing this, and I couldn’t be happier.
Summer, this neuesletter’s first reader who I’ve known since summer camp—when she was still in her anonymously posting “yolo” era and I was still wearing my first pair of lace-up boots—said: “i am thinking about how to use a tiny journal i've had since i was 11. it's been sitting on my desk for 13 years.”
Just open it, right now, and splash some ink on the inside cover. At this point, the journal is Penelope and you’re Odysseus, so stop your wandering and go home already. Start by writing your name, and then commit to one of the following: 1) Write down the first word (or sentence) you hear out loud in it every day for another 13 years. Then, stop and read them all out loud on a rainy afternoon in 2034. 2) Pick up an overly involved hobby (bird-watching? NASCAR?) to write about, obsessively. 3) Write in it as if you are still 11 years old. Stop if it starts feeling like slightly-too-creepy cosplay.
My ideas are kind of bad. Email me with your tiny journal usage thoughts to save a poor, defenseless journal from being put through one of mine. Onward.
Macayla, who works at Disney because of her good ideas, said: “Ok, so picture this. For your billionth second birthday you give things a second try. Didn't like spiced wine in 2019? Give it a second try. Went camping once? Give it a second try.”
Macayla answered the question I posed about how to spend a billionth second birthday in Volume Three perfectly. See you on April 15, 2029, at 11:16:40 a.m. when I try gin, run further than “to a train I’m about to miss” and rewatch the Bo Burnam special.
Oof! Was that last bit too political? Macayla also sent me a rollicking, “I’m subscribed to you, not someone appropriately hinged,” when I called this issue “unhinged” on Instagram. Onward!
Les, in a brilliant stroke of genius, managed to send me something that I can’t editorialize, with: “What I have been musing about: Duchess, the cat from Aristocats, is a MILF (photo below).”
I just… agree. ONWARD.
Want an easier way to get an oh-so-coveted penny? Help the cents continue addling my senses by getting a friend/lover/hater/acquaintance to subscribe (think of it as a digital friendship bracelet that’ll help you DTR), and I’ll cent ya with no email required.
Was that enough?
I think it was. This was a weird issue, but it’s been a whirlwind of a few weeks that included attending a burlesque rendition of the Nutcracker—rat king and all—and getting more up close and personal (pause at 1:08:57 to see me in The Parade) with my favorite 546-year-old man, Papa Smurf, than ever before.
Now, as the Rizzle Kicks once sang-said… I’ll skip to the good bit:
Something scrolled: I can’t take my eyes off of media non-darling Kaitlin Phillips’ Google Docs gift guide. Note: Don’t expect to make any purchases. This is an opulent, riveting, upsetting ride best taken while pre- or post-vacation scrolling at the airport bar.
Something nude: For a bare bones list of off the beaten path events (online and in-person, variant-depending) in New York, The City, subscribe to nonsense nyc, my favorite weekly that’ll help you turn any evening into a whirlwind, whether you’re seeing standup or attending a nude literary show (called the “Bare Book Club. I haven’t been, but report back if you do).
Something to be followed: Watch this reel made by a comedian who needs a kidney. Then, follow, share, donate, etc.
Something of the milieu: To be clear, this is the link I referenced in the intro. Meet the Dan Trager’s Practice Girlfriend Game. These stills are all you need to know about both it and the current type of thing that makes me laugh. (It was created by Obvious Plant—one of the only consistently refreshing Instagram accounts left.)
OKAY! It’ll be nice to meet you tomorrow. Onward.
-- N. Graney I
P.S. Lucky penny for your thoughts? If you’re a professional contact who ended up reading this because of algorithm-fueled personal interest, please just chalk all of this up to generational quirkiness, and email me in the morning after you’ve read the less-jumpy issues of this neuesletter. If you’re an unprofessional contact email me anyway.