I wonder if going to the woods, Thoreau-style, is still possible? It is sadly troubling that my first response to this not-so-rhetorical question is: Ted Kaczynski. “The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race.” So begins the so-called Unabomber Manifesto, or, as Kaczynski titled it, Industrial Society and its Future. The influence upon Kaczynski by the Transcendentalist from Walden is well documented. Kaczynski even modeled his Montana cabin after Thoreau’s. But of course one of the men was a paranoid schizophrenic.

A Crisis of Vacuum

By Doug Bruns

Essay

I’m in crisis. It has nothing to do with middle age, though I fit that demographic profile. Simple people would label my crisis that way, I’m afraid, people with little minds, people who have little capacity for probing below the surface. It is easy, particularly for people who don’t really know me, to think: middle-aged crisis at eleven o’clock, and motion in my direction. I wish I could say that I didn’t care. But I kind of do care and have taken measures to keep my crisis to myself. I fear being a cliché. At least that was my intention–keeping it to myself–until I decided that perhaps the best way to confront this challenge is head on and declare it to the world. So, let it be known, throughout the kingdom, there is a crisis going on and it belongs to Doug Bruns.

August.

The ass end of summer.

The time of year when I’m slogging through the drudgery of everyday life: the commuting, the second-only-to-L.A. traffic of Atlanta, the smog, the latest Mexican drug-trafficking hub that is Gwinnett County, the belligerent assholes in their giant SUVs with the faded “We’re Proud of You” and “Support Our Troops” magnetic ribbons, the tragic irony of which is no longer worth criticizing or satirizing.

I’ve always preferred the muted light of an overcast day; everything looks calm and friendly in the filtered light, which is strange since I lived in Florida for the first 28 years of my life. You’d think I’d be accustomed to sunshine. But in Florida we had afternoon thunderstorms that scuttled in from the gulf every day like clockwork. I adored those gray cumulonimbi.