Tag Archives: conversations

selections from Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“She’ll come back and be a serious Americanah like Bisi,” Ranyinudo said.

They roared with laughter, at that word “Americanah,” wreathed in glee, the fourth syllable extended, and at the thought of Bisi, a girl in the form below them, who had come back from a short trip to America with odd affectations, pretending she no longer understood Yoruba, adding a slurred r to every English word she spoke. (78) Continue reading

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selections from Plato’s Lysis, Symposium, and Gorgias, translated by W.R.M. Lamb (1925)

PREFACE recension (n.) a revised edition of a text; an act of making a revised edition of a text. The Greek text in this volume is based on the recension of Schanz. (v) ————— ————— GENERAL INTRODUCTION Though [Socrates] seems, … Continue reading

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selections from The Confidence-Man by Herman Melville

‘True; but look, now, what my doubt is. I am one who thinks well of man. I love man. I have confidence in man. But what was told me not a half-hour since? I was told that I would find it written — “Believe not his many words — an enemy speaketh sweetly with his lips” — and also I was told that I would find a good deal more to the same effect, and all in this book. I could not think it; and, coming here to look for myself, what do I read? Not only just what was quoted, but also, as was engaged, more to the same purpose, such as this: “With much communication he will tempt thee; he will smile upon thee, and speak thee fair, and say What wantest thou? If thou be for his profit he will use thee; he will make thee bear, and will not be sorry for it. Observe and take good heed. When thou hearest these things, awake in thy sleep.”‘

‘Who’s that describing the confidence-man?’ here came from the berth again. (286) Continue reading

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Baby, Let Me Follow You Down

what is San Francisco?

where is it? why is it? who is it?

well, it’s named after St. Francis of Assisi, popularly known as the Italian dude with a weird haircut and lots of animal friends. it is probably not coincidence that today’s Italians, dudes with weird haircuts, and animal friends are all welcome in the little loving boundaries of San Francisco.

i like San Francisco because it’s so walkable. if you really want to, you can walk pretty much anywhere you’re going–just plan an hour or two for the really long distances. but most won’t even take that long.

maybe i’m just antsy, or maybe it’s because this city’s so walkable, but i can’t wait for buses. (don’t talk to me about taxes; nobody has that kind of money, i just bought a summer flight to Europe.) if the bus ain’t coming this very minute, i just start walking. now, the funny thing is that i walk along the bus route, so eventually i hop on the very same bus that i would have hopped on had i just waited at the first stop. i guess i’m just antsy.

after leaving my girlfriend’s house this afternoon, i made it as far as the Fillmore before my bus came. the 31 picked me up, along with a girl/woman i could not even remotely guess the age of (15? 30? 45?) and a father with his little five-year-old sunshine.

i wasn’t even settled onto the bus before this older woman started chatting me up.

“you know, you have very beautiful hair.”

“why, thank you. that’s very sweet.”

“are you married?”

“no… are you?”

“i was. 17 years.”

“that’s a long time.”

“it is. a long time… what’s your name?”

“ronny.”

“i’m Cat, but call me ‘Miss Kitty.'”

i didn’t get much of a chance to call her anything, what with the bus rattling to a stop and shuffling passengers in, out, and all around. the father pursued his daughter as she squeezed past me and a few others. when Miss Kitty saw her, our conversation was over: “well hello there little sunshine!”

a few steps forward and i had a bar to lean on. another older woman started talking to me.

“you such have beautiful, brown hair.”

“why tha–”

“i’ve always wanted brown hair.”

“how c–”

“beautiful, brown hair. so long too. i have dark hair, almost jet black. not as nice as brown hair. i’ve always wanted brown hair but you can’t really dye it yourself. you never really do it right when you dye it yourself. suppose you could go get it done but i just don’t know, my eyes are brown so it would probably look nice having brown hair. it’s amazing how brown hair looks.”

eyes glazed over, staring directly out the window, and endlessly chatting… she didn’t need me to respond or even acknowledge anything she was saying. good thing too, considering i could only hear half of her thoughts and words as they enmeshed themselves in the overall sonic landscape of the windy, clunky, wheezy, chatty hell of a bus.

who is San Francisco?

why, where, what? Continue reading

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