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Archive for October, 2016

The greatest enemy of print publishing might not be digital media or the widespread expectation that reading material be free. It might be the human body. A lot of people can’t stay awake while reading, including myself. While it feels good to have company, it’s not a club I want membership in. I want to read. My eyes just get so heavy at night.

On the couch, the street quiet outside and neighboring houses dark, it’s such a pleasure to curl up with a good book, as they say. Then a page or two in, the problems begin. The slumping. The nodding. Realizing you just blurred through a paragraph and can’t remember any of it, or worse, that you reread the same sentence ten or so times and still couldn’t get through it. You’re asleep! Go to bed! Just accept it and crawl under the covers with your partner already! Why resist? Because you want to read goddamit, that’s why. This was supposed to be your time. Booktime, not bedtime. You aren’t giving in so easily.

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In honor of National Taco Day, I wrote about what Del Taco meant to me as an Arizona kid obsessed with California but land-locked in Phoenix, at The Smart Set. Here’s how the essay “Cheddar Suns Rising Over Lettuce Mountains” begins:

 

The day my friend Rich bought a Del Taco T-shirt from an employee was the day I realized that my fixation with the fast food Mexican chain was about more than beans. Back then, in 1993, I was an 18-year-old Arizonan obsessed with California beach culture. I owned a boogie board that I used one week a year. I wore vintage Hang Ten and Hobie surf tees that I found at Phoenix thrift stores. I favored Van’s and cutoffs, and I rode a late ’60s red and white Schwinn beach cruiser whose sleek beauty and tall white walls had strangers yelling “Hey, Pee Wee Herman!” at me on the street. If the southern California coast was the center of my landlocked universe, then Del Taco was a bright star in my sky. What did I know? Fresh out of high school and uncertain about the future, I was searching for an identity. All I knew for certain was that I wanted to live on the beach.

You can read the rest of “Cheddar Suns Rising Over Lettuce Mountains” here.

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