Clarification

Couple things from that music thread.

First:

You appreciate record stores; you appreciate that this particular record store introduced you to a particular performer you would probably not have encountered otherwise; you appreciate the artist enough to buy the album; you are IN the record store; and yet rather than buy the album from the record store, you go home and download it instead. This makes no sense to me. Why didn't you buy the album at the store?

The guy was playing it off his iPod, actually, which is a statement in and of itself. I asked him if they had anything by Woods. They didn't have a single record in stock.

Second:

its funny all the times i've read your blog I never figured you for a smoker. You surprise me ta-nehisi. all this time i figured you for this really evolved black dude. Kind of nice to see your more like me than I though.

Feh, I wish. I had to slow down when the kid was born. And then the longer I wrote the more it became clear that getting smoked out--much like getting smashed--was actually making my job harder. This isn't a judgment--nothing would pleases me more than a good bender bracketed by some sticky lime-greens and tequila shots, and interrupted only by Korean fried chicken and good conversation.

Unfortunately the upshot of that kind of partying tends to be me out of commission the next day, and then running at 50 percent the day after that. Writing, for me, don't work like that. I need all the daylight I can get. And being a Pops definitely don't work like that. The boy needs all the daylight I can give him.

I don't know, maybe one day I'll get back to it. And I'm not opposed to a puff now and again, but I can't really be a smoker and be myself, too. When I was young, I used to write with a fifth of Jack and a liter of Coke at the ready. But let's face facts--I'm not the man I was. Better to acknowledge this and move forward less I become the old man in the club. Or rather the old man falling asleep in the club.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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