If it really was a no-brainer to make it on your own in business there'd be millions of no-brained, harebrained, and otherwise dubiously brained individuals quitting their day jobs and hanging out their own shingles. Nobody would be left to round out the workforce and execute the business plan.
My one-time roommate Claire had inherited the house from her uncle, and when she went off to bigger and better things, she'd left it in my care. And it needed a lot of it. Most importantly, it needed a new roof. There was a worrying stain on the ceiling of my bedroom that had started out roughly the shape of Rhode Island, but now looked more like North Carolina. Another few more days of rain and it was going to be Texas. And then it wouldn't be anything at all because the battered old shingles were going to cave in on my head.
When the cold comes to New England it arrives in sheets of sleet and ice. In December, the wind wraps itself around bare trees and twists in between husbands and wives asleep in their beds. It shakes the shingles from the roofs and sifts through cracks in the plaster. The only green things left are the holly bushes and the old boxwood hedges in the village, and these are often painted white with snow. Chipmunks and weasels come to nest in basements and barns; owls find their way into attics. At night, the dark is blue and bluer still, as sapphire of night.
When the cold comes to New England it arrives in sheets of sleet and ice. In December, the wind wraps itself around bare trees and twists in between husbands and wives asleep in their beds. It shakes the shingles from the roofs and sifts through cracks in the plaster. The only green things left are the holly bushes and the old boxwood hedges in the village, and these are often painted white with snow. Chipmunks and weasels come to nest in basements and barns; owls find their way into attics. At night,the dark is blue and bluer still, as sapphire of night.
Song of a Second April APRIL this year, not otherwise Than April of a year ago Is full of whispers, full of sighs, Dazzling mud and dingy snow; Hepaticas that pleased you so Are here again, and butterflies. There rings a hammering all day, And shingles lie about the doors; From orchards near and far away The gray wood-pecker taps and bores, And men are merry at their chores, And children earnest at their play. The larger streams run still and deep; Noisy and swift the small brooks run. Among the mullein stalks the sheep Go up the hillside in the sun Pensively; only you are gone, You that alone I cared to keep.
Edna St. Vincent Millay
All money is imaginary, " answered the Calcatrix simply. "Money is magic everyone agrees to pretend is not magic. Observe! You treat it like magic, wield it like magic, fear it like magic! Why should a body with more small circles of copper or silver or gold than anyone else have an easy life full of treats every day and sleeping in and other people bowing down? The little circles can't get up and fight a battle or make a supper so splendid you get full just by looking at it or build a house of a thousand gables. They can do those things because everyone agrees to give them power. If everyone agreed to stop giving power to pretty metals and started giving it to thumbnails or mushroom caps or roof shingles or first kisses or tears or hours or puffin feathers, those little circles would just lay there tarnishing in the rain and not making anyone bow their noses down to the ground or stick them up in the air.
Catherynne M. Valente
Every inch of space was used. As the road narrowed, signs receded upwards and changed to the vertical. Businesses simply soared from ground level and hung out vaster, more fascinatingly illuminated shingles than competitors. We were still in a traffic tangle, but now the road curved. Shops crowded the pavements and became homelier. Vegetables, spices, grocery produce in boxes or hanging from shop lintels, meats adangle - as always, my ultimate ghastliness - and here and there among the crowds the alarming spectacle of an armed Sikh, shotgun aslant, casually sitting at a bank entrance. And markets everywhere. To the right, cramped streets sloped down to the harbor. To the left, as we meandered along the tramlines through sudden dense markets of hawkers' barrows, the streets turned abruptly into flights of steps careering upwards into a bluish mist of domestic smoke, clouds of washing on poles, and climbing. Hong Kong had the knack of building where others wouldn't dare.
I saw to the south a man walking. He was breaking ground in perfect silence. He wore a harness and pulled a plow. His feet trod his figure's blue shadow, and the plow cut a long blue shadow in the field. He turned back as if to check the furrow, or as if he heard a call. Again I saw another man on the plain to the north. This man walked slowly with a spade, and turned the green ground under. Then before me in the near distance I saw the earth itself walking, the earth walking dark and aerated as it always does in every season, peeling the light back: The earth was plowing the men under, and the space, and the plow. No one sees us go under. No one sees generations churn, or civilizations. The green fields grow up forgetting. Ours is a planet sown in beings. Our generations overlap like shingles. We don't fall in rows like hay, but we fall. Once we get here, we spend forever on the globe, most of it tucked under. While we breathe, we open time like a path in the grass. We open time as a boat's stem slits the crest of the present.
There was no Disney World then, just rows of orange trees. Millions of them. Stretching for miles And somewhere near the middle was the Citrus Tower, which the tourists climbed to see even more orange trees. Every month an eighty-year-old couple became lost in the groves, driving up and down identical rows for days until they were spotted by helicopter or another tourist on top of the Citrus Tower. They had lived on nothing but oranges and come out of the trees drilled on vitamin C and checked into the honeymoon suite at the nearest bed-and-breakfast. "The Miami Seaquarium put in a monorail and rockets started going off at Cape Canaveral, making us feel like we were on the frontier of the future. Disney bought up everything north of Lake Okeechobee, preparing to shove the future down our throats sideways. "Things evolved rapidly! Missile silos in Cuba. Bales on the beach. Alligators are almost extinct and then they aren't. Juntas hanging shingles in Boca Raton. Richard Nixon and Bebe Rebozo skinny-dipping off Key Biscayne. We atone for atrocities against the INdians by playing Bingo. Shark fetuses in formaldehyde jars, roadside gecko farms, tourists waddling around waffle houses like flocks of flightless birds. And before we know it, we have The New Florida, underplanned, overbuilt and ripe for a killer hurricane that'll knock that giant geodesic dome at Epcot down the trunpike like a golf ball, a solid one-wood by Buckminster Fuller. "I am the native and this is my home. Faded pastels, and Spanish tiles constantly slipping off roofs, shattering on the sidewalk. Dogs with mange and skateboard punks with mange roaming through yards, knocking over garbage cans. Lunatics wandering the streets at night, talking about spaceships. Bail bondsmen wake me up at three A.M. looking for the last tenant. Next door, a mail-order bride is clubbed by a smelly ma in a mechanic's shirt. Cats violently mate under my windows and rats break-dance in the drop ceiling. And I'm lying in bed with a broken air conditioner, sweating and sipping lemonade through a straw. And I'm thinking, geez, this used to be a great state. "You wanna come to Florida? You get a discount on theme-park tickets and find out you just bough a time share. Or maybe you end up at Cape Canaveral, sitting in a field for a week as a space shuttle launch is canceled six times. And suddenly vacation is over, you have to catch a plane, and you see the shuttle take off on TV at the airport. But you keep coming back, year after year, and one day you find you're eighty years old driving through an orange grove.