"You’ve got to steep yourself in things."
I work for a tabloid, the Standard Evening Sun. Since I got this job, I have gone out with four sons of famous fathers, two businessmen with unfinished novels, three writers with a habit of saying “May I use that” when I said something that seemed to them in character, and a revolutionary editor who patted my hair and said “You’re very sweet” whenever I asked him anything. I have sat, shivering on cold steps, with a band of fifteen radicals of whom ten were in analysis and six wore contact lenses. Things have changed very much, several times, since I grew up, and, like everyone in New York except the intellectuals, I have led several lives and I still lead some of them.
For a while, I thought I had no real interests—no theater, concerts, museums, stamp collections. Only ambitions and ties to people of a certain intensity. Different sorts of people. I was becoming a ward heeler of the emotional life. Now ambitions have drifted after the interests. I have lost my sense of the whole. I wait for event to take form. I remember somebody saying, “You’ve got to steep yourself in things.” So I steeped myself, in thrillers, commercials, news magazines. The same person used to write “tepid” and “arguable” all over the margins of what our obituary writers wrote. I now think “tepid” and “arguable” several times a day.
- Renata Adler, Speedboat
3:54 pm • 3 January 2013 • View comments
|| I wish god could send a bird down with a scroll in its mouth and inside the scroll it either said FIRST PERSON or THIRD PERSON, and that turk could eat the bird after
|| the bird comes. it drops the scroll in your lap. it says SECOND PERSON. the bird is a falcon and carries turk away
|| was not expecting that, she said, watching the bird break the horizon
1:15 pm • 27 December 2012 • 7 notes • View comments
"[Ms. Hathaway] devours the song, the scene, the movie, and turns her astonishing, cavernous mouth into a vision of the void."
- Manohla Dargis, "The Wretched Lift Their Voices"
7:16 pm • 26 December 2012 • 1 note • View comments
Zadie Smith on Joy, Popsicles, Amphetamines
"All day long I can look forward to a popsicle. The persistent anxiety that fills the rest of my life is calmed for as long as I have the flavor of something good in my mouth. And though it’s true that when the flavor is finished the anxiety returns, we do not have so many reliable sources of pleasure in this life as to turn our nose up at one that is so readily available, especially here in America. A pineapple popsicle. Even the great anxiety of writing can be stilled for the eight minutes it takes to eat a pineapple popsicle."
2:41 pm • 18 December 2012 • View comments
"It is so vast an alleviation to be able to point for another to look at. And then not to talk."
'Now this room seems to me central, something scooped out of the eternal night. Outside lines twist and intersect, but round us, wrapping us about. Here we are centred. Here we can be silent, or speak without raising our voices. Did you notice that and then that? we say. He said that, meaning… . She hesitated, and I believe suspected. Anyhow, I heard voices, a sob on the stair late at night. It is the end of their relationship. Thus we spin round us infinitely fine filaments and construct a system. Plato and Shakespeare are included, also quite obscure people, people of no importance whatsoever. I hate men who wear crucifixes on the left side of their waistcoats. I hate ceremonies and lamentations and the sad figure of Christ trembling beside another trembling and sad figure. Also the pomp and the indifference and the emphasis, always on the wrong place, of people holding forth under chandeliers in full evening dress, wearing stars and decorations. Some spray in a hedge, though, or a sunset over a flat winter field, or again the way some old woman sits, arms akimbo, in an omnibus with a basket—those we point at for the other to look at. It is so vast an alleviation to be able to point for another to look at. And then not to talk. To follow the dark paths of the mind and enter the past, to visit books, to brush aside their branches and break off some fruit. And you take it and marvel, as I take the careless movements of your body and marvel at its ease, its power—how you fling open windows and are dexterous with your hands. For alas! my mind is a little impeded, it soon tires; I fall damp, perhaps disgusting, at the goal.
'Alas! I could not ride about India in a sun helmet and return to a bungalow. I cannot tumble, as you do, like half-naked boys on the deck of a ship, squirting each other with hose-pipes. I want this fire, I want this chair. I want someone to sit beside me after the day's pursuit and all its anguish, after its listenings, and its waitings, and its suspicions. After quarrelling and reconciliation I need privacy—to be alone with you, to set this hubbub in order. For I am as neat as a cat in my habits. We must oppose the waste and deformity of the world, its crowds eddying round and round disgorged and trampling. One must slip paper-knives, even, exactly through the pages of novels, and tie up packets of letters neatly with green silk, and brush up the cinders with a hearth broom. Everything must be done to rebuke the horror of deformity. Let us read writers of Roman severity and virtue; let us seek perfection through the sand. Yes, but I love to slip the virtue and severity of the noble Romans under the grey light of your eyes, and dancing grasses and summer breezes and the laughter and shouts of boys at play—of naked cabin-boys squirting each other with hosepipes on the decks of ships. Hence I am not a disinterested seeker, like Louis, after perfection through the sand. Colours always stain the page; clouds pass over it. And the poem, I think, is only your voice speaking. Alcibiades, Ajax, Hector and Percival are also you. They loved riding, they risked their lives wantonly, they were not great readers either. But you are not Ajax or Percival. They did not wrinkle their noses and scratch their foreheads with your precise gesture. You are you. That is what consoles me for the lack of many things—I am ugly, I am weak—and the depravity of the world, and the flight of youth and Percival's death, and bitterness and rancour and envies innumerable.
'But if one day you do not come after breakfast, if one day I see you in some looking-glass perhaps looking after another, if the telephone buzzes and buzzes in your empty room, I shall then, after unspeakable anguish, I shall then—for there is no end to the folly of the human heart—seek another, find another, you. Meanwhile, let us abolish the ticking of time's clock with one blow. Come closer.'
- Virginia Woolf, The Waves
3:29 pm • 16 December 2012 • 1 note • View comments
Ellen Willis: Birthday cake.
It’s my mom Ellen Willis’ birthday today. She would have been 71. Every year, I figure the best way of honoring her is to read my favorite pieces she’s written—things that push me to consider every moment of my life, and to fit together cultural forces like puzzle pieces. Here’s what I’m reading…
12:51 pm • 14 December 2012 • 74 notes • View comments