The Capital


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Michael Hingston is the author of Let's Go Exploring, a non-fiction book about Calvin and Hobbes, and the novel The Dilettantes. He is also editor and co-publisher of the Short Story Advent Calenda  [+]

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He had a diploma. He had ideas. He had time on his hands. He started a blog.

He had the knack. He followed the conversations. He enjoyed the process. He wrote strong entries with weak headlines. It was an incomplete kind of knack. He changed the logo. He threw things at the wall. He noted what stuck. He cross-promoted. He knew a guy who knew computers. He told his parents. He wanted commenters. He deleted their comments. He had an audience. He suspected bots. He had merch. He shelled out for the online store. He had a closet full of hats with the old logo. He liked a girl. He swung. He missed.

He moved to the capital. He was open to possibility. He went for walks. He breathed different air. He liked the word “wayfinding.” He found a favourite restaurant. He sat alone, ordered the special. He started believing in clichés. He had more ideas—bigger ones. He had a fun twist on casual Fridays. He had a plan. He forgot to buy new clothes. He gained a bit of weight. He had hobbies. He posted on hobby-specific message boards. He was an early adopter. He lost entire evenings to nothing in particular, an ambient buzzing in his ears. He liked a girl. He rebranded. He updated Flash. He deleted more comments. He didn’t notice what wasn’t there.

He moved to a new neighbourhood. He built a shelf. He flossed his teeth. He could improve parts of his life by focusing on them, but only one part at a time. He ordered dinner ingredients through an online subscription. He wrote the coupon code down on a piece of paper. He simplified his life. He outsourced the things he wasn’t good at. He monetized the things he was. He asked hard questions about which of his possessions sparked joy, and found he had no answers. He squeezed people out. He called in old debts. He read Wikipedia entries all the way to the end. He found the closet of old hats and didn’t recognize them. He let his life be taken over by diversions. He floated with the current. He didn’t like the word “wayfinding.” He mistook discomfort for pain. He stopped flossing. And when, finally, he went looking for anger, he found it everywhere.

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