The Esalen Institute was once a bastion of hippie counterculture. I spent a weekend finding out if the ghosts of its past remain.
How we get high reflects the desires and fears of our times.
On the female flâneur, the plight of visibility, and why the history of walking requires revision.
On tennis, grief, and the emptiness of social striving
On the way fortune-telling has served both to reify and subvert the logic of capitalist economics.
On what is lost when we spend our lives trying to avoid feeling alone.
On the new style of summer music festival and the rise of the capitalist bohemian.
On the expatriate’s experience and her existential dilemma
What happens when corporate sponsorship moves into the realm of arts and culture?
Anyone who spends a good deal of time writing knows that it is a lonely pursuit. Nearly every other job has at least some aspect of socializing to it — even other creative jobs: actors exchange dialogue; musicians are often in bands or at least collaborating on songwriting; even painters, sculptors, and drawers can be in the same studio together. For the writer though, solitude is perhaps the single most important requirement to success. Especially when writing something long — be it a novel, a play, or a screenplay — there are so many loose parts spinning about in the writer’s mind that even the din of a café can be too much. Time locked away in isolation is precious. And yet the causality between writing and loneliness is misunderstood. Writing does not breed loneliness so much as loneliness breeds writing. People do not start writing because they want to be lonely; they start writing because they are lonely. There is nothing more terrifying than being alone with your own thoughts, weighing your existence, letting your problems spring up like weeds …