Monday, April 18, 2011

recently at the breakfast table

the colors! I was delighted. I had to stop chopping things to documents them. (The observant reader will note that, in view of the position of the plunger on the French press, I hadn't even had my coffee yet. A true sign of my excitement level re: this breakfast's aesthetic appeal.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

to jump to fall to fail

To talk is always to jump. To jump off of something. Once in the air, the force is stronger than you. No matter what your feelings as you fall, you are falling now. The other thing about words: Until you speak them, they aren't there. And then irrevocable. We say, "I take it back" but of course there isn't this. There is only the contradiction, the change, the new decision. Once voiced, words speed away from you with your outreaching hands. They are gone and building walls and banging into people and changing everything. And you are left wondering at the new, the invisible architecture of the air, the structures you may not have meant to make.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

and I love adverbs

"Since when did 'literally' start meaning 'not literally?' An adverb meant, quite obviously, to point out the literal nature of something being said, now is being thrown about merely to punctuate figures of speech which are not literal. Stop that. If what you're saying is literal, then you may say 'literally.' If what you mean was figurative, then you may not."
                - btq
Always appreciate more people joining my team.

Monday, April 4, 2011

in other words

"Michel Butor says that to travel is to write, because to travel is to read. This can be developed further: To write is to travel, to write is to read, to read is to write and to read is to travel. But George Steiner says that to translate is also to read, and to translate is to write, as to write is to translate and to read is to translate. So that we may say: To translate is to travel and to travel is to translate. To translate a travel writing, to read a writing, to write a writing, and to travel. But if because you are translating you read, and because writing translate, because traveling write, because traveling read, and because translating travel; that is if to read is to translate, and to translate is to write, to write to travel, to read to travel, to write to read, to read to write, and to travel to translate; then to write is also to write, and to read is also to read, and even more, because when you read you read, but also travel, and because traveling read, therefore read and read; and when reading also write, therefore read; and reading also translate, therefore read; therefore read, read, read, and read. The same argument may be made for translating, traveling, and writing."

  – Lydia Davis, "To Reiterate," Almost No Memory

the purpose of literature

"The answer to the use-pleasure conundrum is not neither, but both. What is more, they are the same thing. 'Use' does not mean instruction, as it did to Horace or the Victorians, the inculcation of virtue through the presentation of moral exempla. It means awareness. Literature is 'useful' because it wakes us up from the sleepwalk of self-involvement—of plans, anxieties, resentments, habits, the fog that clings to our eyes as we stumble through the day, stumble through our lives—and shows us the world, shows us ourselves, shows us life and experience and the reality of other people, and forces us to think about them all. The pleasure of serious literature is not escape or fantasy, it is this very shiver of consciousness, this troubling exhilaration. Reading is thinking and feeling, both at once and both together, simultaneous and identical. Pleasure is use, use pleasure."

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