A depressed writer sends a letter to a popular advice columnist:

I couldn’t seem to go above the Twelfth Street location of my class, not to Central Park or the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the New York Public Library. I had no interest in going below Twelfth Street, either. I definitely couldn’t go to the youthful hub Williamsburg, specifically to the newly opened McCarren Park Pool, at any time of day, for any reason, ever; all the people my age made me feel old. I put on makeup in the morning and washed it off before bed, having never gone outside. The idea of “making it” was everywhere, and I needed to avoid it. I’d moved to the supposed greatest city in the world in order to spend seventy-two hours at a time insulated and solitary, developing an allergy to people and a near-romantic attachment to Netflix. Like a crazy hermit in the cave on the hill—my hill being Brooklyn Heights—I watched movies like The Human Centipede and wrote to a popular online advice columnist about my thoughts of jumping out of a window because I couldn’t do what I’d moved to New York to do. I was full of the vulnerability that drives people toward the Internet.

Writing a letter to ‘Dear Sugar,’ the advice column of TheRumpus.net, was a last resort: it felt just short of running into the street, dropping to my knees, and begging no one, desperately, for help.

“The Human Centipede; Or, How to Move to New York.” — Elissa Bassist, The Paris Review

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