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Sam Kriss: Drug Aficionado and Master Essayist

I don't know whether I'm impressed or appalled, and I can't tell if the writer is confessing or bragging.

But boy, Sam Kriss, a "British writer and dilettante," has written the most enjoyable essay of the year. The agnostic Kriss ("[m]y girlfriend believes in the Christian God and I’m agnostic about the Jewish one") published it in that most enjoyable of all journals, The Lamp.

The essay has everything: humor (two samples), stories, self-reflection autobiography, relevant observations.

And great style.

When I find myself grumbling that more people aren't worshipping my prose, I think about essays like this and realize how far I have to go. Compared to the schlock at Yes, I'm not afraid to assert that I'm a master stylist, but compared to Kriss? I'm afraid my superiority at Medium parallels my superiority when wrestling toddlers.

Unfortunately, you'll need a subscription to read Kriss' fascinating and funny drug-fueled travelogue of the post-Soviet Iron Curtain region, but I'll say again: The Lamp's $10-per-issue price tag is worth it. With one exception, every issue has stunned me with its level of literary accomplishment. It's obviously a very well-funded enterprise, but such things need the public's support . . . or at least the Catholic public's support, though, quite frankly, I'm not sure why anyone who likes fine reading wouldn't subscribe.

Kriss at Substack

Kriss, btw, appears to write almost exclusively on Substack, which is where, I believe, the talent goes. Medium is mostly for writers with training wheels: a site of sophomoric prose, high school ideological rants, and the left-hemispheric dogmatist beliefs that you'd find on most college campuses these days. Substack is where real literature is being written.

And yes, I say that as a guy who still publishes on Medium. I have my toe in the water at Substack but I won't jump in until I can devote serious time and effort to it.

Numb at the Lodge | Sam Kriss | Substack
These heavy sands are language tide and wind have silted here. Click to read Numb at the Lodge, by Sam Kriss, a Substack publication with tens of thousands of subscribers.