10. In a moment of being lost in thought something quite ephemeral arises, like a kind of inclination to stylize [a few words here illegible] one’s body by oneself.
11. Aversion to information. Rudiments of a state of transport. Considerable sensitivity towards open doors, loud talk, music.
12. Feeling of understanding Poe much better now. The entrance gates to a world of grotesques seem to open up. I simply prefer not to enter.
13. Heating-oven becomes cat. Mention of the word ‘ginger’ in setting up the writing table and suddenly there is a fruitstand there, which I immediately recognize as the writing table. I recalled the 1001 Nights.
14. Thought follows thought reluctantly and ponderously.
There was a lot to observe in Paris about seduction, about the Parisian manner of seduction. If only because seduction was the base syrup of most exchanges, business or otherwise, along with confrontation.
I found more lessons in my coworkers’ social-media updates than in watching lovers make out along the Seine—most of those lovers being tourists. Of course, plenty of French people still made out along the Seine; they simply had more company these days, Paris having so many goldfish in the privacy of their bowls …
Anyway, my French coworkers used the Web pretty much the same as Americans did, but with greater respect for individual privacy—I never saw photos of any coworkers shotgunning beers, though perhaps shotgunning beers wasn’t the best test case—and, in almost all exchanges, with flirtation.
There was also greater tolerance for sexy material. Men, and plenty of women, would get up from their desks to cluster around what ever nude flesh was trending on the Web. Of course, it was excused as a business exercise; we worked in an ad agency, and we required inspiration. And French advertising didn’t lack for nudity. Like one condom TV spot that got passed around. Six of us clustered around Josette’s computer. The video showed a woman’s face and bare breasts responding to something being done to her offscreen—a lot of tickling, perhaps, during an earthquake.
“What I like is the music,” Josette said. The soundtrack had a young Wayne Newton saying thanks in German. “That and the joy that is presented by the contrast, rather than anything nasty.”
“The world had been so clear, so transparent. That morning, the sun had squeezed impatiently into the room, but then everything suddenly changed, the darkness of accusation and rejection fell upon that day. The world had become gloomy, clouded over, and had lost its luster, which before had cleared his eyes’ course all the way up to the horizon. Now, somewhere in the depths of that darkness, the innocent heart of Jean-Jacques could only flicker like a burning, useless crystal. From that incident onward, he tells us, he could no longer enjoy unperturbed happiness.-”—A new translation of Marek Bieńczyk’s essay “Transparency,” published in April 2012 issue of Asymptote Journal.
There (were) two messengers
(They) had animosity (among each other)
(They were) equally powerful (in fight)
Here are the corpses.”—The Javanese alphabet, read sequentially, comprises a poem. What’s your language’s alphabet done lately?
“Sometimes I just want to read a book from beginning to end as quickly as possible. Arcadia was perfect for this venture, both because I was immediately in love with it, and because the book itself is about experiences that wrap around you until the outside world fades away.”—Janet Potter on Lauren Groff’sArcadia
“It was Cameron’s movie that transformed the Titanic from a coterie phenomenon to a mass one. Since the late fifties there had been a core audience of Titanic buffs, sometimes dubbed ‘rivet counters’, who pored over deck plans and could rhyme off the launch times for all the lifeboats. But after Cameron’s blockbuster, it seemed as if everyone was a rivet counter. At school talks, eight-year-old boys would catch me up on the transverse bulkheads and the number of watertight compartments. Young girls knew all about the dogs on board. And at every book signing there was at least one person claiming that their great-grandparents were almost on the Titanic ––that they had booked tickets and then unaccountably changed their minds. Every Titanic historian I know reports hearing similar stories and it would take a thousand Titanic’s for them all to be true but I’ve stopped disabusing people of this notion. I find it touching that so many people wish to enshrine a connection to the Titanic, however apocryphal, in their family histories.”—Hugh Brewster, on our enduring fascination with the mythology of the Titanic.
Let me put it this way: the expectation to be funny when you’re presenting a book about the Titanic can be awfully daunting. There’s also the pressure to satisfy the folks who expect Celine Dion to appear in the poems, but I’ll save my comments on that for another day.
I think I now understand how Whoopi Goldberg felt years ago when folks questioned how she, a sketch comedian, could play a role as serious as Celie in the film adaption of Alice Walker’s A Color Purple. What many folks fail to realize is the sensitivity that it takes to realize the happier parts of our psyches, is often the same sensitivity it takes to fully get the sadness.
“Literature can accommodate nostalgia, but only as a houseguest; if nostalgia becomes the landlord, architect and psychoanalyst, literature will have to evict itself.”—Toby Litt, “The Reader and Technology.”
“Perpetually cash-strapped, F. Scott Fitzgerald spent much of his twenty-year career cranking out popular fiction for the Saturday Evening Post and other high-paying “slicks.” While Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, and William Faulkner racked up double digits in the novels column, Fitzgerald completed a paltry four and a half, with only one of them (Gatsby, of course) truly great. By contrast, he produced 160 short stories, earning a total of $241,453 off the genre – more than $3 million in today’s dollars.”—from Kirk Curnutt's “The Love Songs of F. Scott Fitzgerald.”
“There is only one story. The usual dictum goes, “There are two kinds of stories,” or “There are seven basic types of story,” and so on, depending on the level of thought and the point of view and the purposes of the person expounding the dicta. I say there is only one. But because we are slightly different from each other, because we ourselves are constantly changing, and because the world is constantly changing, the story comes out differently each time it is born.”—Gary Amdahl in a recent interview with Ryan Bradley.
“It shows adulthood and devotedness, I think, to try and get back to a book you love, every four seasons or so. So which books do you all reread yearly, or biannually, or quadrennially, or decennially, and why?”—The Books We Come Back To by Brian Ted Jones