Exhaust Vents

6 July 2023

From the cat has its heart on the outside by Elias Ericson.

Some thoughts I needed to get out in an attempt to grasp at where I'm at right now. Just about everything's that's here probably won't be forever.

There's probably a throughline running along all these sections (click to open each), but I'll let you figure that out for yourself.


Zl perngvir raretl unf onfvpnyyl pengrerq.

V unir nebhaq frira be rvtug qvssrerag cebwrpgf fvzzrevat va zl urnq ng gur gvzr bs jevgvat. Sbhe bs gubfr ner svpgvba. Guerr bs gubfr ner bevtvany, serr bs pbecbengr-cerfpevorq onttntr, serr gb rzcybl jungrire punenpgref naq cybgyvarf naq vasyhraprf V jnag, jvgubhg nalbar gb cebq zr nobhg jung qbrf be qbrfa’g yvar hc jvgu gurve bja creprcgvbaf.

V fgvyy pna’g trg zhpu shegure guna vqrnf fpevooyrq va n abgrobbx be n srj uhaqerq jbeqf. Gur ernfba? Orpnhfr V pna’g eraqre nal punenpgref be bowrpgf be jungrire va qenjvatf nf pbzcrgragyl nf V’q yvxr lrg.

Vg’f fvyyl, frys-vzcbfrq syntryyngvba, V xabj. Given the sheer specificity of palettes people draw from while reading, someone’s visual image from a piece of prose will be different from everyone else’s. And yet, it feels like any story I write is missing something essential, miss something that’s uniquely mine. If the reader can’t witness that visual vision originating from my hand, they won’t be experiencing the right story.

Is that selfish?


Final Fantasy XVI came out around a week ago. I read a review saying something that the cinematics and combat and combat cinematics are dynamic, multifaceted, kinetic; its story is “largely about white Europeans discovering that slavery is wrong for the very first time in their lives.”


Do I like my job? Sure, I guess. I think I like working with the public. I need to feel the hum and thrum of a shared space with others to feel alive, despite the mortifying ordeal that is being perceived. There’s a steady satisfaction that comes with getting patrons the materials they need, or helping them navigate increasingly obtuse interfaces they wouldn’t have gotten through on their own.

Even if we’re steadily being bled out of the resources to do our job. Since libraries are the last public space in North America, very much for the worse, it’s pretty much a hard requirement that you stretch yourself out of the bounds of the duties in your job description.

My system’s clientèle is still really pale. I still have to try not flashing a “I’m sorry, who are you?” look when they read the name on my tag.

My coworkers are still mostly pale. Barely anyone is uninsulated from current existential crises outside of what drips into mainstream newsfeeds now and then, much less any willingness to truly understand why things are going bad if they aren’t.

It’s not okay, but it’s okay.

Would it actually be good if I were working in a system among my people—whatever that crowd might look like?

What happens when that gradually flattens to okay, too?

I’m so tired of whiteness, or social contracts, or neoliberalism—or whatever people use to refer to the notion of “ignore the problem and maybe it’ll go away” these days.

One of my coworkers always apologizes for asking how I’m doing when I come in to work. Since I like being specific with my answers to that question (mostly variations of the immaculately named videogame studio Extremely OK Games), much less not immediately fire off a “good” or fine,” they seem to think asking only rubs in whatever malaise constantly afflicting me.

As if we all aren’t going crazy from “once in a lifetime” incidents progressively piling up every single day.

As if the structures we’re entrapped in don’t take vital parts of ourselves away as the price for living in them in the first place.


Zl cngpujbex bs sevraqf vf cerggl qvfcnengr. N yvatrevat npdhnvagnapr sebz havirefvgl urer, na napube bs yvxr-zvaqrqarff obea bhg bs fbyvqnevgl va na njshy jbex raivebazrag gurer, n ohggresyl sebz uvtu fpubby fgvyy ebcvat zr vagb gurve trg-gbtrguref nyzbfg n qrpnqr yngre, naq zber orfvqrf.

V qba’g trg znal bccbeghavgvrf gb frr gurz va crefba, pnhtug va gubfr pncevpvbhf pheeragf bs “nqhygubbq” naq “erfcbafvovyvgl” naq gung jr nyy ner, ohg gurl qb znantr gb pbairetr erthyneyl rabhtu. V pbzr njnl sebz gubfr bppnfvbaf srryvat yvxr guvatf jba’g qevsg ncneg. Zbfg bs gur gvzr.

Fbzrgvzrf gurl’yy zragvba fbzrguvat fnvq be qbar ol n fcbhfr be cnegare, be n orfg sevraq gurl’ir xabja fvapr ryrzragnel fpubby.

V ubcr abar bs gur qvfnccbvagzrag fubjf ba zl snpr. V vzntvar ubj vg zvtug srry gb gehyl xabj n crefba sbe fb ybat, fb jryy. V gel gb dhvg ntbavmvat vs nalbar jvyy rire svaq zr jbegu gung xvaq bs ertneq.

V znqr guvf jrofvgr va cneg gb rkcerff zber purreshyarff guna V srry pbzsbegnoyr orvat ba nirentr. Ng guvf cbvag, V’z whfg nf rzoneenffrq ybbxvat ng zbfg bs zl cnfg bayvar cerfragngvba nf V nz jura V trg gbb rzbgvir va crefba.

Fb, abj jung? V pna’g fgbc perngvat guvatf gung V jba’g or ng yrnfg n yvggyr cebhq bs, n yvggyr tynq gb funer jvgu nalbar jvyyvat gb jvgarff. Ohg jul obgure trggvat rkpvgrq jura V zvtug raq hc ahefvat n dhnyz gung znxrf gung raguhfvnfz ybbx qhzo n lrne yngre?


The muskrat probably started hammering the final nails into Twitter's coffin last week. At least, if that coffin was a submarine, and the nails were puncturing holes into a hull that was already half flooded with water, soon to sink to the ocean floor. Ha ha.

It’s sad, really. We all know the disparaging vocabulary everyone refers to social media with, the shroud hanging around Twitter in particular. Yet for all doomscrolling on the hellsite was cumulatively corrosive, there’s a direct line from me using Twitter too much starting around 2017~2018, to me, as I exist, in its entirety: media habits, friends, gender, sexuality, creative inclinations; all of it. Something monumental is being lost—even if it was a monument to an era that probably did more harm than good.

Heck, that’s not even mentioning how the rest of its contemporaries seem to be diving down right after the bird. Social media and search engines and storefronts that humanity poured their heart into, all crumbling into a sea of sludge as the platform capitalism VCs suck the rest of the nourishment up their straws, leaving everyone else scrambling for wreckage to hold onto.

Convenient, that the end of the “useful free internet” begins as I grow more unmoored from it than ever before.

Quietly catastrophic, for all the livelihoods that are suck within the ship as it capsizes.


Shouldn’t this all be in a journal? Like a physical, bound, lined-paper-to-write-words-down-on journal?

Probably. I can’t write in a journal regularly enough to save my life, though. Lately I’ve been reading lots of nonfiction and taking notes in a notebook, yet writing by hand feels almost clumsy to me. The strokes you put down on paper stay there, even if you’ve got a good eraser. My thoughts spin too fast for that. It’s…claustrophobic, in a way.