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scaffolding
by Helena Fitzgerald / April 23, 2019

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Fitzgerald, H. (2019, April 23). scaffolding. Griefbacon. https://griefbacon.substack.com/p/scaffolding

[...\ The places in which your life takes place, the places you love so radically, belong to wealthy corporations, to a tiny handful of families with unthinkably old money, to the Sacklers and their industry of death, to the Catholic Church, to NYU, to Google, to Donald Trump. We are borrowing our lives from people who disdain those lives, to whom we are at absolute best an inconvenience. Each inch of sidewalk, each welcoming shadow of a grand building, the air itself as it softens around you and turns siren-like and loving in spring, all of these are possessions; someone owns them, but it isn’t you.

To live in a city is to carve a very small story out of someone else’s much larger one, burrowing our skinless and unimportant daily events, our losses, our triumphs, our jokes and heartbreaks and errands and arguments, cancelled plans and chance reunions, forgivenesses and grudges, bargains and failures, into someone else’s massive narrative of wealth. One comfort is that this is the way it has always been, the skyscrapers versus the ground. This paradox of an essentially rented life may actually be the thing that gives a city meaning, but it is also the thing against which the city struggles. How possible is it to live in the quiet story, and how long until those lives become largely untenable, until the loud story is all that is left?

by Helena Fitzgerald 12 months ago

[...\ The places in which your life takes place, the places you love so radically, belong to wealthy corporations, to a tiny handful of families with unthinkably old money, to the Sacklers and their industry of death, to the Catholic Church, to NYU, to Google, to Donald Trump. We are borrowing our lives from people who disdain those lives, to whom we are at absolute best an inconvenience. Each inch of sidewalk, each welcoming shadow of a grand building, the air itself as it softens around you and turns siren-like and loving in spring, all of these are possessions; someone owns them, but it isn’t you.

To live in a city is to carve a very small story out of someone else’s much larger one, burrowing our skinless and unimportant daily events, our losses, our triumphs, our jokes and heartbreaks and errands and arguments, cancelled plans and chance reunions, forgivenesses and grudges, bargains and failures, into someone else’s massive narrative of wealth. One comfort is that this is the way it has always been, the skyscrapers versus the ground. This paradox of an essentially rented life may actually be the thing that gives a city meaning, but it is also the thing against which the city struggles. How possible is it to live in the quiet story, and how long until those lives become largely untenable, until the loud story is all that is left?

by Helena Fitzgerald 12 months ago

This is the time of year to love New York if you are going to love it. Springtime in this city is a cheat code, an overripe and irresistible metaphor. The light is all at once kind, the afternoons that float into evening are longer, carrying in their slow blue hours the memory of every past springtime that brought this same collection of streets and stairs and corners back to life. Days arrive like color flooding into black and white movies. The avenues announce themselves in old-fashioned photographic splendor, lined up in the patterns of classical art, beauty easy to find.

It is not that it is more beautiful here than anywhere else at this time of year. It is beautiful, generally, in the world, in the spring. If I lived somewhere else, I would think that springtime there was the most beautiful thing each time it happened. It would renew my belief that this location, wherever it was, still had something hopeful and generative and particular to offer. Finding beauty in New York, or anywhere, is a survival mechanism. We focus on the shiny parts in order to convince ourselves that the difficulties are worth it. Beauty is always one kind of propaganda or another.

aaaaah i just love her writing

by Helena Fitzgerald 12 months ago

This is the time of year to love New York if you are going to love it. Springtime in this city is a cheat code, an overripe and irresistible metaphor. The light is all at once kind, the afternoons that float into evening are longer, carrying in their slow blue hours the memory of every past springtime that brought this same collection of streets and stairs and corners back to life. Days arrive like color flooding into black and white movies. The avenues announce themselves in old-fashioned photographic splendor, lined up in the patterns of classical art, beauty easy to find.

It is not that it is more beautiful here than anywhere else at this time of year. It is beautiful, generally, in the world, in the spring. If I lived somewhere else, I would think that springtime there was the most beautiful thing each time it happened. It would renew my belief that this location, wherever it was, still had something hopeful and generative and particular to offer. Finding beauty in New York, or anywhere, is a survival mechanism. We focus on the shiny parts in order to convince ourselves that the difficulties are worth it. Beauty is always one kind of propaganda or another.

aaaaah i just love her writing

by Helena Fitzgerald 12 months ago