I think the secret to popping that kernel is to be open to whatever character or story is triggered by the kernel, whether serendipitous typo, long-remembered personal experience, overheard conversation, interesting description of a person, or current events. Then being willing to combine the seemingly unrelated wool bits that your subconscious mind wants together. Your mind tells you it wants the connection by foisting distracting memories/thoughts on you when you’re trying to write something else. Gather wool. Pay attention.
I was able to slip past everything with a pink polo,
That was from a place of love.
I knew I was going to make it this far;
I knew that this was going to happen.
If you walk into an old man’s house, they’re not giving nothing.
Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, Nicolas Ghesquière,
Anna Wintour, David Stern. Beauty, truth,
This isn’t America’s baby.
Awesomeness. That’s all it is. I would rather sit in a factory
Than sit in a Maybach,
Trap and drill and house. Do you want me
To go onstage for you? I have, as a human being,
Fallen to peer pressure. And when you say justice,
What’s vanity about wearing a kilt?
All I want is positive! All I want is dopeness!
There’s no opera sounds, sonic acrobatics,
No minor chords. A piece of me
Being the opinionated individual that I am,
I uninvited myself. Why would you want to control
That? I didn’t realize I was new wave until
This one Corbusier lamp
That liked nice things also.
I’m the type of soul that likes to be in love,
Forever the 5-year-old of something.
The world wins, fresh kids win,
I don’t know if this is statistically right.
If you don’t make Christmas presents
The biggest glass panes that ever been done,
I think you got to make your case. Self,
That’s all I have to say. Kill sel
Cather was not a modest woman. She knew very well what she was and saw no reason to dissemble. But she was also content to let her work speak for itself. This is another sense in which she speaks to us across a large cultural divide. She preceded the age of publicity, and the idea that the personal is political would have seemed to her both foolish and naïve. She died a New Yorker and a devotee of the Metropolitan Opera, but her values were always those of yeomanry, of Red Cloud. Like well-made furniture, her novels strengthen with age, taking on the character of their absent maker. Her reputation is not the largest in American letters, but at this moment it appears to be one of the sturdiest.
Jonathan Clarke on “The Silence Artist: On The Selected Letters of Willa Cather”
One misconception people have about poetry is that it is written in “code,” one they aren’t smart enough to understand. In fact, if you do not comprehend a poem, you may return it. Send a SASE and copy of the defective poem to:
1402 Innovation Park
Battle Creek, MI 49014
You should receive a new poem in six to eights weeks. The old poem will be delivered by barge to a South American landfill.
Technology celebrates connectedness, but encourages retreat. The phone didn’t make me avoid the human connection, but it did make ignoring her easier in that moment, and more likely, by comfortably encouraging me to forget my choice to do so. My daily use of technological communication has been shaping me into someone more likely to forget others. The flow of water carves rock, a little bit at a time. And our personhood is carved, too, by the flow of our habits.
“1. Eloise’s mother from Eloise
When I was younger, I didn’t wonder much about the parents of Eloise, the six-year-old heroine who lives with her British nanny in the Plaza Hotel, putting sunglasses on her dog Weenie and combing her hair with a fork. Now when I read the book to my son, I think about them a lot. It’s wealth that allows Eloise’s mother to neglect her daughter, and it’s the mother’s absence that haunts the book. What do we know of the woman? Eloise tells us that she is 30 and has “a charge account at Bergdorf’s.” Her mother knows Coco Chanel, and has AT&T stock and “knows an ad man whatever that is.” Sometimes she goes to Virginia with her lawyer. Eloise’s father is never mentioned. (Is the lawyer Eloise’s dad, and Eloise just doesn’t know it?) I’d love to read a novel narrated by Eloise’s mother. She’s a rich fuck-up, to be sure, maybe a functioning alcoholic with a penchant for Bloody Marys at breakfast and champagne every afternoon. She loves her daughter, but can’t stand to be around her for more than a few minutes. She jets off to Milan, to Paris, forgetting to remember her offspring back in Manhattan. There would definitely be a strange and/or degrading sex scene involving the owner of The Plaza.”
-Our own Edan Lepucki on “Don’t Let the Story End: Five Spinoff Novels I’d Love to Read”
Once upon a time a woman never got married, but had many fulfilling relationships, a job that kept her comfortable, an apartment that she got to decorate just for her, and hobbies that stimulated her mind.