The darker the night, the brighter the stars,
The deeper the grief, the closer is God!
I wanted to look up words. I wanted to look up velleity and quotidian and memorize the fuckers for all time, spell them, learn them, pronounce them syllable by syllable—vocalize, phonate, utter the sounds, say the words for all they’re worth. This is the only way in the world you can escape the things that made you.
Don DeLillo, Underworld (via mianoti)
But unlike Franzen’s belligerence about “society” having a deleterious effect on art or “the soul,” or Wallace’s paralyzing concern about the relationship between writers and their television screens, Smith’s work as both a critic and novelist invites her readers to celebrate the delicious and ever disastrous commingling of the world and the self. She blurs these borders in order to simultaneously honor and disparage art’s greatest article of faith-based flapdoodle: authenticity. It is a really neat trick.
I am not particularly happy over this new habit of saying things that I have very little idea what I mean by saying, to tell the truth.
David Markson, Wittgenstein’s Mistress
I always feel like I’m struggling to become someone else. Like I’m trying to find a new place, grab hold of a new life, a new personality. I guess it’s part of growing up, yet it’s also an attempt to reinvent myself. By becoming a different me, I could free myself of everything. I seriously believed I could escape myself — as long as I made the effort. But I always hit a dead end. No matter where I go, I still end up me. What’s missing never changes.
True heroism is minutes, hours, weeks, year upon year of the quiet, precise, judicious exercise of probity and care — with no one there to see or cheer. This is the world.
Song: “Slow Revolution” by Alexi Murdoch
iTunes :: Amazon
You have with you the book you were reading in the cafe, which you are eager to continue, so that you can then hand it on to her, to communicate again with her through the channel dug by others’ words, which, as they are uttered by an alien voice, by the voice of that silent nobody made of ink and typographical spacing, can become yours and hers, a language, a code between the two of you, a means to exchange signals and recognize each other.
A man sets out to draw the world. As the years go by, he peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, instruments, stars, horses, and individuals. A short time before he dies, he discovers that the patient labyrinth of lines traces the lineaments of his own face.
He walked down, for a long while avoiding looking at her as at the sun, but seeing her, as one does the sun, without looking.
Look, if the contemporary condition is hopelessly shitty, insipid, materialistic, emotionally retarded, sadomasochistic, and stupid, then I (or any writer) can get away with slapping together stories with characters who are stupid, vapid, emotionally retarded, which is easy, because these sorts of characters require no development. With descriptions that are simply lists of brand-name consumer products. Where stupid people say insipid stuff to each other. If what’s always distinguished bad writing—flat characters, a narrative world that’s cliched and not recognizably human, etc.—is also a description of today’s world, then bad writing becomes an ingenious mimesis of a bad world.
Cormac McCarthy’s early drafts reveal how Blood Meridian was born
It’s easy to forget that McCarthy is blood and bones. We often fall into the trap of thinking about artists, particularly the reclusive ones, as single-minded and stoic. But releasing your personal papers is, invariably, an exercise in vulnerability—and there are moments of it in McCarthy’s notes. In a letter sent around 1979, he told a close friend that he had not touched the Blood Meridian manuscript in six months out of frustration. In his notebooks he searched for inspiration, jotting down quotes from William James, Joseph Heller, Lord Byron, Martin Luther King Jr., Flaubert, and Wagner. And he was certainly not immune to bad ideas: Early on he fancied Blood Meridian to include period prints, mainly lithographs and woodcuts, illustrating the gang’s Western journey.
Now: imagine if McCarthy had a Tumblr in 1979…
The fifth effect has more to do with you, how you’re perceived. It’s powerful although its use is more restricted. Pay attention, boy. The next suitable person you’re in light conversation with, you stop suddenly in the middle of the conversation and look at the person closely and say, “What’s wrong?” You say it in a concerned way. He’ll say, “What do you mean?” You say, “Something’s wrong. I can tell. What is it?” And he’ll look stunned and say, “How did you know?” He doesn’t realize something’s always wrong, with everybody. Often more than one thing. He doesn’t know everybody’s always going around all the time with something wrong and believing they’re exerting great willpower and control to keep other people, for whom they think nothing’s ever wrong, from seeing it. This is the way of people. Suddenly ask what’s wrong, and whether they open up and spill their guts or deny it and pretend you’re off, they’ll think you’re perceptive and understanding. They’ll either be grateful, or they’ll be frightened and avoid you from then on. Both reactions have their uses, as we’ll get to. You can play it either way. This works over 90 percent of the time.
David Foster Wallace - The Pale King (via Mockingbird)