Sees her in a construction
bucket being hoisted up against the
sun to a traffic light outside the
dental school. Her darkly yellow
helmet. Flees to Houston Hall where
friends discover him shrunk into a
triangularity of Expresso Cart,
Arby's Roast Beef, and Philly

``She's here! My mother! Red
light!'' They convince him it's
impossible, to lighten up.

Back to his room to fetch books
for Political Science, he departs
the dorm through a crew raking
leaves. Checked flannel shirts,
shafts of dusty sunlight. Her.
Quite round and singularly benign,
looking a bit like the pope about
to bless with a glowing rake.
Jettisons books and papers, all,
into the crunching leaves. Past his
friends who try to intersect Hey!
catapults he.

Runs to exhaustion, then
staggers onto the Philadelphia Art
Museum's steps, collapses - at the
top of which she's into the Rocky
imitation in capacious bra above
boxing trunks of snaking

His second wind cuts in and he
bolts to the campus. That evening
the university opens a new folk
center, and he, chosen by a student
committee to give the address of
welcome, introduces afterwards a
troupe of mummers, designated a
“Cowboy Comic Brigade.” A
sequined twenty surround him,
twirling ropes while performing the
famous mummer's strut, a kind of
zig-zagging stompabout as if
wearing snowshoes. Lasso slaps his
shoulder, flops over his head. Down
to his waist. He doesn't look




Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some time.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.


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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for TheMorningNews.org. (July 11)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford. It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So: Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...) (May 13)

That Shaggy Feeling. Soon, orphans. (May 12)

Antilunchism, by Paul Ford. Snack trams. (May 11)

Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford. I'll have no one to blame but future me. (May 10)

Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford. (1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and the historical fallacy. (May 9)

Bantha Tracks. (May 5)

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