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A depressed writer sends a letter to a popular advice columnist:

I couldn’t seem to go above the Twelfth Street location of my class, not to Central Park or the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the New York Public Library. I had no interest in going below Twelfth Street, either. I definitely couldn’t go to the youthful hub Williamsburg, specifically to the newly opened McCarren Park Pool, at any time of day, for any reason, ever; all the people my age made me feel old. I put on makeup in the morning and washed it off before bed, having never gone outside. The idea of “making it” was everywhere, and I needed to avoid it. I’d moved to the supposed greatest city in the world in order to spend seventy-two hours at a time insulated and solitary, developing an allergy to people and a near-romantic attachment to Netflix. Like a crazy hermit in the cave on the hill—my hill being Brooklyn Heights—I watched movies like The Human Centipede and wrote to a popular online advice columnist about my thoughts of jumping out of a window because I couldn’t do what I’d moved to New York to do. I was full of the vulnerability that drives people toward the Internet.
Writing a letter to ‘Dear Sugar,’ the advice column of TheRumpus.net, was a last resort: it felt just short of running into the street, dropping to my knees, and begging no one, desperately, for help.

"The Human Centipede; Or, How to Move to New York." — Elissa Bassist, The Paris Review
More from the Paris Review

A depressed writer sends a letter to a popular advice columnist:

I couldn’t seem to go above the Twelfth Street location of my class, not to Central Park or the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the New York Public Library. I had no interest in going below Twelfth Street, either. I definitely couldn’t go to the youthful hub Williamsburg, specifically to the newly opened McCarren Park Pool, at any time of day, for any reason, ever; all the people my age made me feel old. I put on makeup in the morning and washed it off before bed, having never gone outside. The idea of “making it” was everywhere, and I needed to avoid it. I’d moved to the supposed greatest city in the world in order to spend seventy-two hours at a time insulated and solitary, developing an allergy to people and a near-romantic attachment to Netflix. Like a crazy hermit in the cave on the hill—my hill being Brooklyn Heights—I watched movies like The Human Centipede and wrote to a popular online advice columnist about my thoughts of jumping out of a window because I couldn’t do what I’d moved to New York to do. I was full of the vulnerability that drives people toward the Internet.

Writing a letter to ‘Dear Sugar,’ the advice column of TheRumpus.net, was a last resort: it felt just short of running into the street, dropping to my knees, and begging no one, desperately, for help.

"The Human Centipede; Or, How to Move to New York." — Elissa Bassist, The Paris Review

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55 notes
  1. excessivetalk reblogged this from longreads
  2. awez-im-gohst reblogged this from hissingbooth and added:
    Oh god, this is me in LA right now. Except I’m watching 90s sitcoms instead of horror films.
  3. lifeincoffeespoons reblogged this from longreads and added:
    “The idea of ‘making it’ was everywhere, and I needed to avoid it.”
  4. mickeymousehasgrownupaclown reblogged this from longreads
  5. hissingbooth reblogged this from velocipedestrienne
  6. fostby reblogged this from velocipedestrienne
  7. ladyfabulous reblogged this from velocipedestrienne and added:
    After not having seen Laura for about 3 years after she moved up to 100 Mile I saw her last night at Angel’s partay and,...
  8. mrenzulli reblogged this from longreads
  9. coldasaslab reblogged this from velocipedestrienne and added:
    oh my god. I would read this right now but it would make me cry, and I’m already too emotional today.
  10. velocipedestrienne reblogged this from lizlemming and added:
    This is really good. Read it.
  11. fragmentedfictions reblogged this from longreads and added:
    …working is not what kills us. It’s what keeps us alive.
  12. cressdelahanty reblogged this from longreads
  13. lizlemming reblogged this from longreads and added:
    There was a kid in one of my classes last year who liked to say that almost every reading really “resonated” with him,...