November 2010

Fear Me!

"'Fear is the original sin,' wrote John Foster. 'Almost all the evil in the world has its origin in the fact that some one is afraid of something. It is a cold, slimy serpent coiling about you. It is horrible to live with fear; and it is of all things degrading.'" -L.M. Montgomery, The Blue Castle

"But while there was life there was fear." -L.M. Montgomery, The Blue Castle

"He was afraid of the world. It was such a huge world and he was so terribly small in it." -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Ingleside

"You have to listen to women.  You should never ignore a woman's fears." -Roberto Bolaño (Translated by Natasha Wimmer), 2666

"'And after all, one does not die of it.' 'Die of what?' I asked swiftly. 'Of being afraid.'" -Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim

"'It is natural to be afraid…'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

"…I will show you fear in a handful of dust…." -T.S. Eliot, "The Waste Land"

"…I have to be protected
Because I am so afraid" -Dorothea Lasky, "Two Doors to Hell"

"…Live things are what the world is made of
Live things are black
Black in that they forget where they came from
I have not forgotten, however I choose not to feel
Those places that have burned into me
There is too much burning here, I'm afraid
Readers, you read flat words
Inside here are many moments
In which I have screamed in pain
As the flames ate me" -Dorothea Lasky, "Jakob"

Francesca: It isn't human not to be lonely and it isn't human not to be afraid.
-The Bridges of Madison County

Random Musing
I don't actually think you should fear me. I was just in the mood for theatrics. Felt I should explain that. Make sure you know I'm not going power hungry and losing my mind or anything. I just finished re-reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, so I'm blaming the mood on a large dose of Voldemort.

Anyways, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

On Poetry

"'Look, do you see that poem?' she said suddenly, pointing." -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

"'I should rather call it a picture,' said Jane. 'A poem is lines and verses.'
'Oh dear me, no.' Anne shook her head with its fluffy wild cherry coronal positively. 'The lines and verses are only the outward garments of the poem and are no more really it than your ruffles and flounces are you Jane. The real poem is the soul within them…and that beautiful bit is the soul of an unwritten poem. It is not every day one sees a soul…even of a poem.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

"Everybody who has ever lived in the world and could string two rhymes together has written a poem on spring. It is the most be-rhymed subject in the world – and always will be, because it is poetry incarnate itself. You can never be a real poet if you haven't made at least one poem about spring." -L.M. Montgomery, Emily of New Moon

"I used to read everything, Professor, I read all the time.  Now all I read is poetry.  Poetry is the one thing that isn't contaminated, the one thing that isn't part of the game.  I don't know if you follow me, Professor.  Only poetry – and let me be clear, only some of it – is good for you, only poetry isn't shit." -Roberto Bolaño (Translated by Natasha Wimmer), 2666

"'To be a poet is to have a soul so quick to discern, that no shade of quality escapes it, and so quick to feel, that discernment is but a hand playing with finely ordered variety on the chords of emotion – a soul in which knowledge passes instantaneously into feeling, and feeling flashes back as a new organ of knowledge. One may have that condition by fits only.'" -George Eliot, Middlemarch

"'I don't know. Poets are always taking the weather so personally. They're always sticking their emotions in things that have no emotions.'" -J.D. Salinger, "Teddy," Nine Stories

"…a poem is like a rare little watch: alter the delicate juxtaposition of cogs, and it just may not tick." -Sylvia Plath, Letters Home

"For some reason, no one likes to be told that they do not read enough poetry…" -Virginia Woolf, Night and Day

People Should Read

"For her, reading was directly linked to pleasure, not to knowledge or enigmas or constructions or verbal labyrinths…" -Roberto Bolaño (Translated by Natasha Wimmer), 2666

"Fate imagined the masseur reading in a dark room and a shudder passed through him.  It must be something like happiness, he thought." -Roberto Bolaño (Translated by Natasha Wimmer), 2666

"Reading is pleasure and happiness to be alive or sadness to be alive and above all it's knowledge and questions." -Roberto Bolaño (Translated by Natasha Wimmer), 2666

"'What a relief to give up literature, to give up writing and simply read!'" -Roberto Bolaño (Translated by Natasha Wimmer), 2666

"Madeleine had become an English major for the purest and dullest of reasons: because she loved to read." -Jeffrey Eugenides, "Extreme Solitude"

These Are Writers

"'I wonder why people so commonly suppose that if two individuals are both writers they must therefore be hugely congenial,' said Anne, rather scornfully. 'Nobody would expect two blacksmiths to be violently attracted towards each other merely because they were both blacksmiths.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams

"But there is a destiny which shapes the ends of young misses who are born with the itch for writing tingling in their baby fingertips…" -L.M. Montgomery, Emily of New Moon

"Younger than Morini and Pelletier, Espinoza studied Spanish literature, not German literature, at least for the first two years of his university career, among other sad reasons because he dreamed of being a writer." -Roberto Bolaño (Translated by Natasha Wimmer), 2666

"These weren't comforting nights, much less pleasant ones, but Espinoza discovered two things that helped him mightily in the early days: he would never be a fiction writer, and, in his own way, he was brave." -Roberto Bolaño (Translated by Natasha Wimmer), 2666

"Ivanov's fear was of a literary nature.  That is, it was the fear that afflicts most citizens who, after fine (or dark) day, choose to make the practice of writing, and especially the practice of fiction writing, an integral part of their lives.  Fear of being no good.  Also fear of being overlooked.  But above all, fear of being no good.  Fear that one's efforts and striving will come to nothing.  Fear of the step that leaves no trace.  Fear of the forces of chance and nature that wipe away shallow prints.  Fear of the dining alone and unnoticed.  Fear of going unrecognized.  Fear of failure and making a spectacle of oneself.  But above all, fear of being no good.  Fear of forever dwelling in the hell of bad writers." -Roberto Bolaño (Translated by Natasha Wimmer), 2666

"See you at the Nobel, writers say, as one might say: see you in hell." -Roberto Bolaño (Translated by Natasha Wimmer), 2666

"Play and delusion are the blindfold and spur of minor writers.  Also: the promise of their future happiness." -Roberto Bolaño (Translated by Natasha Wimmer), 2666

"…You wanted to be a writer.
Wanted to write? What was it within you
Had to tell its tale?…" -Ted Hughes, "The God"

This is Writing

"'The p'int of good writing is to know when to stop.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams

"The thing about writing is not to talk, but to do it; no matter how bad or even mediocre it is, the process and production is the thing, not the sitting and theorizing about how one should write ideally, or how well on could write if one really wanted to or had the time." -Sylvia Plath, Letters Home

"Writing sharpens life; life enriches writing." -Sylvia Plath, Letters Home

"When I say I must write, I don't mean I must publish. There is a great difference." -Sylvia Plath, Letters Home

"…Writing, meanwhile, is almost always empty.  There's nothing in the guts of a the man who sits there writing." -Roberto Bolaño (Translated by Natasha Wimmer), 2666

"It seems to me possible, perhaps desirable, that I may be the only person in this room who has committed the folly of writing, trying to write, or failing to write, a novel. And when I asked myself, as your invitation to speak to you about modern fiction made me ask myself, what demon whispered in my ear and urged me to my doom, a little figure rose before me – the figure of a man, or of a woman, who said, 'My name is Brown. Catch me if you can.'
Most novelists have the same experience. Some Brown, Smith, or Jones comes before them and says in the most seductive and charming way in the world, 'Come and catch me if you can.' And so, led on by this will-o'-the-wisp, they flounder through volume after volume, spending the best years of their lives in the pursuit, and receiving for the most part very little cash in exchange. Few catch the phantom; most have to be content with a scrap of her dress or a wisp of her hair." -Virginia Woolf, "Character in Fiction"

Dreams and Dreaming #6

"'I've a pocket full of dreams to sell,' said Teddy whimsically, with a new, unaccountable gaiety of voice and manner. 'What d'ye lack? What d'ye lack? A dream of success – a dream of adventure – a dream of the sea – a dream of the woodland – any kind of dream you want at reasonable prices, including one or two unique little nightmares. What will you give me for a dream?'" -L.M. Montgomery, Emily Climbs

On Dying

"'Going out – out beyond the dawn. Past the morning star. Used to think I'd be frightened. Not frightened. Funny. Think how much I'm going to know – in just a few more minutes, Emily. Wiser than anybody else living. Always wanted to know – to know. Never liked guesses. Done with curiosity – about life. Just curious now – about death. I'll know the truth, Emily – just a few more minutes and I'll know the – truth. No more guessing.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Emily's Quest

"'I don't want to die now!' he yelled.  'I've still got a headache!  I don't want to go to heaven with a headache, I'd be all cross and wouldn't enjoy it!'" -Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

"'I'll never die,' the baroness said once to Archimboldi.  'Or I'll die at ninety-five, which is the same as never dying.'" -Roberto Bolaño (Translated by Natasha Wimmer), 2666

"When the commonplace 'We must all die' transforms itself suddenly into the acute consciousness 'I must die – and soon', then death grapples us, and his fingers are cruel; afterwards, he may come to fold us in his arms as our mother did, and our last moment of dim earthly discerning may be like the first." -George Eliot, Middlemarch

"…Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
     I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
     To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,..." -John Keats, "Ode to a Nightingale"

On Happiness #19

"'It seems to me that the sum of human happiness remains much the same from age to age, no matter how it may vary in distribution…'" -L.M. Montgomery, Rilla of Ingleside

On Friendship #11

"I always enjoy giving love, and it is slightly painful to have it shut up in one until deep friendships develop with fruitful, reciprocal confidences involved." -Sylvia Plath, Letters Home

On Love #10

"…If I really loved you
Well I do love you!
Love me too
My heart is so dear to me
I could have been someone
With this throbbing thing
Spilling its red dress everywhere
Making people laugh
I could have made them cry" -Dorothea Lasky, "The Journey"

Post DC

Random Musing
DC was spectacular.

Yes, the drive was long - a total twenty hours there and back I believe. Yes, after so many hours of walking around and standing my feet hurt. Yes, I didn't really get much sleep over the course of three days.

But roadtripping and walking around the city was incredibly fun, The National Gallery of Art was just beautiful - it's an amazing collection -, and the rally was so much fun. Just so much fun. It was a once in a lifetime experience and I'm so glad I got to go. I'm not going to attempt to explain why it was so great. Cause I'm pretty certain I would fail.

All I'm going to say is that it was Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and a slew of amazing artists. Yusuf (Cat Stevens for those out there who weren't aware he converted to Islam in 1977 and changed his name to Yusuf Islam) was probably my favorite of those who were there. Colbert and Stewart singing was also a highlight - in a show full of highlights. "From the shores of Idaho to the shores of Kentucky." No joke.

So, in short, it was a pretty wonderful weekend. I hope that all of you out there - who graciously take the time to check in every once in a while - had excellent Halloween weekends as well!

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