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Story Archives

Moving On

Jonathan Ames

By Jonathan Ames

I was going to write that my heart feels less now that I’m older. I thought this because I was recalling how I used to weep while listening to Cat Stevens. I was eighteen and my heart was broken and I was driving my car on a long trip and for hours I would just play over and over my Cat Stevens album, which was, I believe, Tea for the Tillerman, and all the while I would cry, thinking about the girl I had lost.

So as I sat down to write just now, I didn’t think I could cry like that any more. But I put on a Cat Stevens greatest hits album to reacquaint myself with the music, and maybe because it’s first thing in the morning and I’m tired, but, in my mind, I was back in that car, I was eighteen again, except I was imagining what it would be like to lose someone now, and I felt the tears coming. I felt like I could weep. I didn’t, but I could have. I turned off the music and the water left my eyes and my heart closed; that is, it went back to normal.

There’s something a bit seductive, though, about crying. I sort of wish I hadn’t stopped myself. But I guess it would be melodramatic to cry about a heartbreak that hasn’t happened. Recently I was terribly worried about something that could possibly occur in the future — something that could go wrong, a small personal disaster — and a friend of mine, quoting some Hindu text, said, “The problem that hasn’t happened yet does not exist.” I like that quote; it’s been very helpful lately. [From “Cat Stevens,” Guilt and Pleasure, Issue 6, Fall 2007]

 

Do you allow fear of the unknown to impact your decisions?

 

Jonathan Ames is the author of a number of books, including Wake Up Sir, and the creator of the HBO show Bored to Death.