“On any person who desires such queer prizes, New York will bestow the gift of loneliness and the gift of privacy.”

E.B. White, Here is New York

I’m nearing my first decade in New York and I never actually read the full E.B. White essay until a few days ago—which is funny because E.B. White moved to a part of Maine that’s near and dear to my heart and I’ve had a few encounters with his descendants (who’re some of the most talented boat builders in the world).

Somehow, White’s essay is gestating in my brain and made more pregnant by listening to the audiobook of Matthew Crawford’s Shopclass as Soulcraft on a recent drive. Crawford’s book is what you get when someone from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago takes an Aristotelean argument to the case for working with your hands, excellence, and how it binds communities together.

I’m not exactly sure if this love child between New York and wrenching on motorcycles will be well-formed or still-born, but it’s one of those times when a bunch of things have definitely collided in my brain.

“A notebook is basically the creative equivalent of the NFL jersey you picked up at Macy’s; unless you fill it with a lot of hard work and sacrifices, you’re just a dilettante with poor spending patterns. An aspiring something. A fan of the game. An existential cosplayer. And, that’s not what I want to help you to be. Even if you really love Moleskines or the Raiders, God love ‘em.”