Wednesday, September 29, 2004


I will be away for the next three days but in the meantime, you can practice Sincerity in the privacy of your own home.

Here's how:
-When people say things to you, look at them and give them a sincere facial expression, i.e. a look of thoughtfulness, and then respond back with statements like "oh, really?," "gosh, I had no idea," or "hmm, that's a damn shame." Please make certain to use the appropriate response.

-If you see one of those 47 cents-a-day commercials about supporting some poor child in some random foreign location, be sympathetic (or fake it). If there is someone else in the room, say aloud "hmm, that's a damn shame."

- Practice your no-I-really-do-care face in the mirror for 15 minutes a day. You'll get really good at it.

-Talk about your feelings. Yes, your feelings. You know what they are--they're that human condition that you've been supressing and ignoring all this time. And if that's too difficult, here's a prompter: sadness. Discuss.

-Call an elderly relative and ask them how they're doing. Never bring up the word "will."

-Put on your running shoes. And then a nice pair of running shorts. Go for a run. A long one. Then when you get back, tell yourself that that was a "sincere run." A sincere run is the best kind of run. Better than running for excercise (like anyone does that).

Do all these things and you should be ok. See ya' soon.

Monday, September 27, 2004


"Eye In The Sky" - The Alan Parsons Project

{Dedicated to the wonder that is Jenny]

I have begun work on my first novel. After all these years of searching for a premise worthy of devoting my time and attention to, I came up with it last week while I was inadvertently inspired.

If I do finish it, and I will certainly try, I can imagine a great many people relating to it. I would tell you what it's about but can I trust the world wide web to keep my secrets? The answer is no. Oh, I do trust's just that...your friend sitting next to you. Yeah, her.
Don't look at her. She'll know we're talking about her.
Anyway, she may be passing by your desk, looking innocently over you shoulder, and ask, "hey, what's that?"
"Oh, its Bring Back Sincerity," you'll say, gleaming, beaming with self-satisfaction and happiness. All the joyous things that sincerity brings.
And she'll say, "oh. I'll have to check that out." And she will and she will read everything and tell her writer boyfriend about this idea she "had" and it's all downhill from there. I am poor. I am out of an idea. And some rich trust-fund kid in the West Village gets famous over my idea.

So, you'll have to wait a year or two. It'll happen. Make sure you come to the book reading on November 21st 2006 at the Barnes and Noble in Union Square. It'll be a goodie. I'll sign yours "you are my favorite person alive. Love forever, Arye." And of course I will also write the date.

Friday, September 24, 2004


Today is the beginning of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

It is also technically the last day that I am being 'judged.' After tomorrow night, the upcoming year will be mapped out and predestined. It will be known where I will work, who I will date, what I will eat, what movies I will see, when all of this will take place. All will be known. But just not to me.

And I know that I haven't been the best person in the world--I'm not sure what I deserve in this New Year. I know that I was hurtful and that I may have been inconsiderate, selfish or both. I apologize for all that. Sincerely. I hope to mend and heal all of this in the upcoming year. I have a lot of wonderful things to discover in myself and in others. I just hope that you will allow me to do this with you.

Wherever you are, I look forward to our relationship developing in whatever capacity it is. I have a great deal of faith in us.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


Elliott Smith
From A Basement On A Hill

How does one critique the dead? Is it fair for a writer to comment on an artist's work after he is no longer around to defend it?

I am sitting in a cafe listening to Elliott Smith's first posthumous release, From A Basement On A Hill, and I am trying to separate the tragedy of Elliott Smith from the musician Elliott Smith. I remember the day I heard he had killed himself. I can't say I was surprised.

I received the farewell album over a month ago and I avoided it for quite a while. I didn't listen to the record because I was afraid it would disappoint and taint my appreciation for the late Smith. Like breaking up with someone amicably, instead of an ugly fight leaving a bad after-taste. My friend Barry won't listen to the new album. He says it would be too painful. While I've accused him of being too dramatic, Barry explains that Smith's emotional outpourings were the soundtrack to his confusing high school years. He saw Smith perform in the intimate, now closed, Brownies in New York. He said it was one of the most brilliant performances he has ever seen.

The first time I saw Smith, I was quite literally speechless. The disheveled folk singer with a bad complexion shuffled humbly out on stage and sat down on a worn-out love seat and played an hour of his heart-piercing acoustic confessionals. Everyone knew that his long sleeved shirt in the summer meant that he was inevitably covering the marks on his arm from frequent drug use. Truthfully, I felt uncomfortable observing a performance so intimate and personal. But I had an uncanny feeling that Smith felt just as uneasy, if not more.

And now I am conflicted about the new album. On the one hand, I feel betrayed by Smith just as I was disappointed in Kurt Cobain for opting out. His Shakespearean suicide with a knife to the chest proves to me just how tormented Smith was inside. And with lyrics like “I'm through trying now/it's a big relief” and “Bye bye/it's now black and white…this is not my life/it's just a fond farewell…” I am left wondering how those around him did not notice that suffering. His loved ones say that, toward the end of his days, Smith sounded happy and at peace with himself. In my opinion, that's revisionism. After repeated listens of From A Basement on a Hill, I have digested it and now I, too, am depressed. I can't help but consider that the inconsistent quality of the songs (some are great and some are…not) is due to the fact that Smith had a great deal more on his mind than making a crowd-pleasing release. I would much rather celebrate the records (if you can use the word 'celebrate' in connection to Smith's work) that were released when he was alive, like the invaluable either/or, when he was the creative force behind his songs, as opposed to his family or local band members familiar with his aesthetic. Right now, the new album just feels like an séance, listening to a haunting ghost communicate its misery from the afterlife and I really can't imagine being eager to experience that again.

We'll do this together. We go forth.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Sunday, September 19, 2004


I've unfortunately been hearing too much bad news nowadays. Besides the fact that my personal life is in need of great improvement, my friends, the people I care so much about, are also going through similar trying times. It's near discouraging. Sometimes, I feel so paralyzed for not being able to help. It's an incredibly frustrating experience watching someone suffer, especially when you sincerely want nothing but happiness for that person.

Well, I am at a stage in my life when I finally feel like I want to make people genuinely happy from hereon in. It's not solving world hunger or even a Middle East resolution. It just seems like the only way to function; it seems that we must rely on one another. Personally, I don't want to imagine putting people through the pain and hurt like that which I have seen. I can't fathom being a part of that.

So, therefore, I will do whatever I can to make you happier, whoever you may be. It's the least I can do. I will hold you and you will hold me.
Are you now in your holding positions?
So, now, you must email me with some of your good news. It's the least you can do.

Ps I'm thinking about getting a Gmail account. Please let me know your suggestion for a new witty and irony-free email address/name (and if you're thinking of "TheAdwiz," then I will tell you in advance that I'm rejecting that one).


This time of year always makes me quite pensive and nostalgic. Not only do I find myself wishing for a happy year but I also hope for one rife with meaning and love.

I hope we get both. We deserve it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


"You know what I love about you? I love that you don't have internet access at home."
"I mean, really. It's so nice. I really admire that. It's so old fashioned and also so bold. It's really a statement."
"I think you may be over-reacting. I'm just too lazy to set this computer up and get internet access."
"Yeah, well, I think it's pretty cool. I admire so many things about you."
"Are you ok? What brought on all of this...this gushing?"
"I'm not know, I was walking through the subway tunnel this morning. You know, the one that goes from the 1 and 9 to the ACE--"
"It always smells like urine."
"That's my fault--"
"--anyway, I was walking through that long tunnel and I just looked at everyone walking by. Like, looked at them for the first time. I didn't just walk briskly, focusing on the music coming from my iPod, ignoring my surroundings. I looked into these peoples' faces. Like, looked at them and I saw something I never thought about before. This is going to sound really silly..."
"Go on."
"Every person that walked by...I was suddenly aware of the fact that every one of them had, at one point in their life, been in love. Been heartbroken. Experienced a powerful emotional connection. That they felt so driven by something greater than them. I couldn't believe it. It was a very overwhelming acknowledge that while my feelings for you are super unique, there are so many people that could understand the concept of those emotions."
"That's a pretty weighty thought. To be in such a mental space on a standard morning commute. Too much coffee perhaps."
"So, I'm looking at all these people and I'm focusing on their facial expressions, trying hard to look deep into their experiences, their souls, their depth and all I could do was promise myself that every person I interact with, from that point on, that I would treat them with understanding and patience. It just so happens that right now the priority is you."
"That's really sweet. And I kind of hear what you're saying...that if we focus on ourselves right now and this immediate space...on our connection...then maybe we'll send out this vibe that could potentially influence the atmosphere around us. Is that presumptuous to think we have that ability but who knows?"
"Yes, you're getting exactly what I'm saying. If people decided to set an example by treating one another in such a glorious way, others have no choice but to be jealous and want to reflect that connection. Who wouldn't want to have something pure, something so joyous and wonderful? Why wouldn't you want to be great to each other if you saw how fulfilling it is?"
"You make it sound so simple. Forming a substantial connection is not so easy."
"Ah ha. But whoever said it was supposed to be? I don't know, baby, I just think that this...that this concept of "us" is all about effort and determination. Take our differences, for example. How do I view them; do i see them as deterents that keep me away because I'm not sure about conflict or do I embrace them as something that you bring to the table, something that I want to know more about. Something unique that makes us more layered and complementary. Why would I want myself in another person. Gosh, I've been in my body for 29 years already. I'm looking for a change."
"Meaning just as long as we are there together...then, that's the important thing."
"Yes. Exactly. With you, I could do anything. And everything. But as an individual, I don't have that same strength. There's something to be said about that. Like Adam and Eve were made from each other literally and I think that set the precedent for the rest of time for couples and love. We feel complete together because, really, originally we came from one another. That rib I'm missing, that's you. See, I don't have that rib anymore but you bring it to me. That difference, you know? Like a puzzle piece."
"Like someone is destined to be with you because the reality is that she or he may have almost litreally come from you. Like physically."
"Yes. That's why we feel so driven to certain people because they remind of completion, of home. Of a better place."
"And you thought about all of this on the way to the subway?"
"It's a long walk."

Friday, September 10, 2004


Bring Back Sincerity: So, it's nice to have you back. We haven't spoken in a while.
Arye Dworken: Yup. You're right. It's been, I think, a few months.
BBS: And how have those few months been?
AD: Hmmm...It's a good question. I've been spending the past week and half or so thinking about that. Can I say that they were unforgettable?
BBS: Ha ha. We don't have a "Survey Says" here, Arye. You can use whatever words you want.
AD: Well, then, that's what I'm going with. They were pretty incredible and rich. A wonderful time to be alive.
BBS: Sounds like your attitude is quite positive. I remember speaking with you last December and you said that your only complaint was that there weren't enough emotional catalysts in your day-to-day.
AD: You could say that it's definitely changed. You know, BBS, I really have found such an incredible appreciation for friends. It's unfortunate that we have to go through such challenging times to discover how meaningful those connections truly are. I have been speaking with so many people on the phone, meeting them for lunch, having drinks at night with them. That gives me so much strength.
BBS: People always see that a weakness unfortunately. Being dependent is not a bad thing. You have these tough people who insist that they don't need anybody that they can carry on independently. I think those people are really missing out.
Arye: I agree. I really do. I'm finding that the friends I have are genuinely concerned. Maybe it's a sign of maturity, maybe it's this need to make sincere and significant connections...I'm not sure. I mean, I think that I've changed a great deal. I think that I have become very emotionally capable over the past few months. You know what I mean?
BBS: Yes, I do. It's nice to hear all of this. But can I ask why it is that you're turning to friends in this time?
AD: Life has its ups and downs. It has been a very unpredictable time of my life. I feel like I have walked to the moon and back.
BBS: Wow, that's good exercise.
AD: Ha. It is. You know...I think music has also been incredibly helpful Cheesy as this sounds, I have been paying attention to so many lyrics. Some times I listen to sad music, some times I listen to songs like Modest Mouse's "Float On..."
BBS: And we'll all float on okay...
AD: Yeah, that's the one. You know? It really is an inspirational song. The lyrics and the sentiment are so simple but then again, I find the comfort in the simplicity of pop music. The more accessible the song, the more I find myself finding comfort in it. Like Avril Lavigne's new song....
BBS: No!
AD: Yes. Really. I can't remember the name of it but the one that goes "you were everything, everything that I wanted..." and I totally understand what she's saying. Even though, the inspiration for that song may have been an episode of The OC as opposed to a real occurrence, I appreciate it.
BBS: Life's been a bit rocky for you.
AD: What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger. Use it in the next experience.
BBS: C'mon. You can't really mean that, can you? Let's ignore "killing." What about pain, not sleeping...tension, anxiety...what about all of that?
AD: Man, Bring, it's all there. Everyone experiences something like that in their life. It sucks. Don't get me wrong but I've said this to you before; feeling something is so important. How many people do we know that don't feel or don't allow themselves to?
BBS: Many.
AD: Well, I'm not one of them. That's an amazing thing. It's like never realizing I had a right arm and then one morning, waking up noticing it. What the?!?! I have a right arm. Typing will be so much easier now. I could hold two bags. I could pick my nose while using the left hand to hide the act.
BBS: Ha ha.
AD: So, yes, discovering your emotions, your feelings...finding depth is confusing and overwhelming. It's crazy. Don't let me kid you. It's an effin' rollercoaster but it's so special to me. I wouldn't be what I am today if I didn't have that experience.
BBS: Can I play devil's advocate?
AD: Sure.
BBS: If I said I had a time machine right now and I could take you back before you were hurt or whatever...
AD: Yeah...?
BBS: Would you go and change everything?
AD: That's a very tough question to answer. Because a part of me that is hurt wants to say yes. But then I cherish the falling as much as the getting up. I don't know...There may be little aspects I would have changed but not the whole thing.
BBS: Like...?
AD: I would have been more attentive, for one. You know, we're so used to living in our little bubble that we don't give our complete attention to someone else.
BBS: You can't read minds, though.
AD: How do you know?
BBS: Ha ha. Look, you can only do so much. Haven't we always said that communication is the most important compenent of a relationship. Without the constant can it survive?
AD: Perhaps. Actually, no. You're right. Communication is important. So important.
BBS: So what now?
AD: I guess I start a new chapter. When the previous one is closed for you, really, you have no choice but to start the next one.
BBS: How do you feel?
AD: Nervous. I have no idea what will come next. It's a very open chapter. Quite intimidating actually.
BBS: Well, on behalf of BBS, we wish you luck, Arye. You deserve it.
AD: Thanks a lot. I really appreciate that. I think I need all the luck I can get.
BBS: Ladies & Gentlemen, Arye Dworken. Good night. And until next time when we bring back sincerity again.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


Changing her Friendster status to "single."

Tuesday, September 07, 2004


"If you knew the words I mean to say...
Maybe I can't say these things at all.

I put these songs in perfect form
To say what I could never voice
And I hope you hear right past these songs.
And you know why we belong..."

- Viva Voce, "Mixtape=Love"

I propose that everyone who reads this posting goes home after work or school today and looks through their music collections. Think long and hard about the songs you love. If you have never paid attention to lyrics before, do so now. This is the day to do that. You will find a richness in music that you've never found before. A treasure in your room. Yes! A roomfull of treasure and richness. A winning lottery ticket.

Put those CDs, tapes, records, MP3s aside and think some more. Who should you make a mix for? Who deserves a heartfelt collection of your thoughts and emotions? Who? Is it an ex-girlfriend you want to win back? Is it a close friend that has supported you in times of hardship? Is it a parent you are trying to musically educate? It could be all these and more. A roommate who always asks you "what are you listening to?" A boyfriend that needs the inspiration to be more expressive. Someone deserves it.

Make that mixtape...or CD. Today. Tonight. Buy a blank CD on the way home from work. Yes, there's a Staples near you. Don't be lazy. It's only three blocks from the subway.

Remember, it's a gift that one can appreciate for a lifetime. It's a present that someone could dig up twenty years from now and remember everything about you. It's a photo album of tunes. Unlike a scent, it never wears off. Listen to a song and everything comes back like a flood of emotions; of laughs and sadness and pain and happiness and truth and passion and wonderment and joy and love.

Make a mix for someone you care about, someone you love, someone who will be a part of your genetic and emotional structure, and you will be forever. You will be eighty (or ninety) minutes of beauty and truth, ugliness and brutality. You are that mix. That mix is you.

I should know. I've made two of the most important mixes of my life in the past week.