home face album

An Enormous City Made Up Entirely of People Quietly Working

Week 43, popular, wide-ranging, functional

Among many other things, a physical business enlivens public space, by making the simple, eloquent statement: I am here, working.

There’s a scientific glassblowing studio north of us; I walk past it on the sidewalk often. By simply existing, and having a nice sign that faces the street, they are doing a small public service every day. We are here, working.

In the same light industrial complex as the Murray Street Media Lab, there’s a woodworking shop, and the man who runs it always keeps his door propped open. Simple as that. What a delight, every damn day, to ride my bike past that door and peek inside and see all his tools, the boards stacked up for whatever commission he’s undertaking. I am here, working.

Part of the problem of social media is that there is no equivalent to the scientific glassblowers’ sign, or the woodworker’s open door, or Dafna and Jesse’s sandwich boards. On the internet, if you stop speaking: you disappear. And, by corollary: on the internet, you only notice the people who are speaking nonstop.

If you could put on magic internet goggles that enabled you to see through this gnarly selection bias and view the composition of reality fairly, correctly—well, just come walk around Emeryville and West Berkeley. It would look like that! All the tumult of Twitter would shrink into a single weird cafe—just a speck, in an enormous city made up entirely of people quietly working.

Further up, he references just such a people quietly working, a small publisher in Kansas, Inside the Castle. He references this interview (which I haven’t read in its entirety, yet).

I take to the extreme Umberto Eco’s discussion of the open work, looking for books that are the equivalent of his chalk frame drawn around a crack in the wall. The best book is apparent as a book but is truly a continuation of the surface of the desk, or the quilt, or the grass in the park

The immediacy!

Even further up, he also references Hundred Rabbits, who are indeed, “dizzying”.


I feel like I’ve stumbled across desert.glass before, but didn’t dive deep enough at the time. I like how he even advertises it as temporary. Someday these links will be dead. At least he’s honest about it.


All this via this entry in Andy Matuschak amazing notes, which appear to be some kind of home-spun Roam.

431 words