“No, she thought, one could say nothing to nobody. The urgency of the moment always missed its mark. Words fluttered sideways and struck the object inches too low.”—Virginia Woolf, from To The Lighthouse (via c-ovet)
It looked like the opening credits to a feel-good movie.
Blue sky splashed like liquid dishsoap above us, the Statue of Liberty beaming in the distance, and the entire Manhattan skyline spread out ahead, like a glittering mirage. Ben and I ran through Brooklyn Bridge park, darting between people - a mother blowing bubbles while her toddler grabbed at them, a man flying a great big green kite, little girls in matching yellow Easter dresses. My iPod playing “Walking on Broken Glass” by Annie Lennox. My little green mesh shorts riding a bit too high.
Every time I run I am still disappointed that it is still this hard. Breathing is hard. Being aware of my body is hard. Moving limb after limb after limb is hard. Still, I was buoyant. Not weightless, but buoyed up by the sunshine and the long walk here and the stretch of soccer field jutting out into the East River, green as Easter grass.
Today is the anniversary of Ben’s father’s death, so I wanted to get us out of the house and into the cold, bright day. After our run, we collapsed onto a bench on the promenade, trading sips from the water bottle, while I stripped a layer of clothing, feeling accomplished, feeling reverent to this long process. Feeling the pink in my cheeks. Sweaty and ugly and happy.
On the walk home we stopped at a little Italian restaurant for lunch. Inside it was cool and dark. The waitress was this wide-eyed wonder with a big thick brown braid and I fell a little bit in love with her while she listed off the specials for five minutes straight. I asked her if she was the owner because she seemed so deeply committed to the place and she said “no, I just like food!” and looked flattered.
We ordered drinks and split a pizza with prosciutto, red peppers, baked gorgonzola, and caramelized garlic. It was exceptional, even for New York. My white wine was very sweet, the way I like it.
On the walk home, I photographed brownstones and tulips and Ben and I kept throwing our arms around each other very tightly and stopping at restaurant windows to look at menus and note their names. I picked out furniture for our imaginary apartment - midcentury modern - and stopped to greet dogs on the street.
I don’t go to church anymore, but I’m not faithless. In fact, I’ve never felt so close to the meaning of Easter as I did on that long walk home. So back to life. So renewed.
“Well, they were a match! They were of the same intelligent, bookish, high-strung, perhaps somewhat egotistic temperament, inclined to impatience, exasperation. Inclined to think well of themselves and less well of most others.”—Joyce Carol Oates, from The Falls (via violentwavesofemotion)
“I always thought losing yourself in a relationship was something that happened in the throes of passion: mind and body bleached with electricity. That connection. And it is like that or it can be, but I also think it’s a little more pedestrian: you hold back here, you stop yourself there, until one day you see an old friend out of the blue and you are so struck by how true she is to herself - as robust and perfect and kooky as ever - and suddenly you’re crying in your kitchen, trying to explain why it’s so important for her to keep being exactly who he is, because you realize you’ve been sanitizing parts of yourself to make some kind of space for this new person in your life, a person who would never want you to sanitize yourself in the first place, but limb by limb, you did, because you wanted love to make you light the way good poems make you light. Because you were waiting for that lightness to kick in and replenish all those sanitized parts of yourself. Because it’s just what happened, along with some other stuff, like fear and longing.”—Jordan Karnes “It Hasn’t Stopped Being California Here’
“I believe the poem is an act of the mind. I think it is easier to talk about the end of a poem than it is to talk about its beginning. Because the poem ends on the page, but it begins off the page, it begins in the mind. The mind acts, the mind wills a poem, often against our own will; somehow this happens, somehow a poem gets written in the middle of a chaotic holiday party that has just run out of ice, and it’s your house.”—Mary Ruefle, from Madness, Rack, and Honey (via bostonpoetryslam)
“Cakes have gotten a bad rap. People equate virtue with turning down dessert. There is always one person at the table who holds up her hand when I serve the cake. No, really, I couldn’t she says, and then gives her flat stomach a conspiratorial little pat. Everyone who is pressing a fork into that first tender layer looks at the person who declined the plate, and they all think, That person is better than I am. That person has discipline. But that isn’t a person with discipline; that is a person who has completely lost touch with joy. A slice of cake never made anybody fat. You don’t eat the whole cake. You don’t eat a cake every day of your life. You take the cake when it is offered because the cake is delicious. You have a slice of cake and what it reminds you of is someplace that’s safe, uncomplicated, without stress. A cake is a party, a birthday, a wedding. A cake is what’s served on the happiest days of your life. This is a story of how my life was saved by cake, so, of course, if sides are to be taken, I will always take the side of cake.”—Jeanne Ray (via shetakesflight)
“I still can’t describe Swamplandia! I think I tried 800 times, and every time it just sounds insane and false, and sort of panicky — the way I sound when they ask me if I packed my own bags at airport security. It really is the conversation killer at the cocktail party. People will say, “What are you working on?” And I’m like, “Oh, well…” and everyone is like, “Where’s the bar? That book of yours sounds doomed.””—Karen Russell, author of the new novella SLEEP DONATION, to BuzzFeed
“Postcards are a nice way to send a message to someone. However, they are a fragile form. Why anyone would ever trust paper is an answer we will never know. But if you must send a postcard send a postcard in a bottle. And really there is only one message you should ever write on a postcard. The card should read I love you but I am stuck in a jungle and it is going to eat me. Never specify who you are, this way anyone who receives the postcard will think they are loved by someone who was eaten by a jungle. This is a good way to be remembered. This is a good way to have candles lit in your honor.”—Chad Redden, from his dream guides podcast The Rocket Dream (via kdecember)
“For me, it’s what I want from The New York Times on a weekend,” said Singer, 45, her voice picking up. “I want a good, sexy, neurotic story about New York literary life in the Seventies. I want the New York Review of Book parties. I want a little Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. You have that literary dream of New York. It’s got it all.”—Sally Singer
“But I think our childhood is more decisive than people generally are willing to admit. And what happens to us later can either cast a shadow or shine a light on what’s already been created — or ruined — within us.”—Ingmar Bergman, from an interview (via violentwavesofemotion)
“She looked strangely young, yet worn, exhausted. Her eyes were a peculiar glassy green, rather small, shrinking. She was no beauty, with eyebrows and lashes so pale a red as to be nearly colorless, and a translucent skin showing a tracery of small blue veins at her temples. Yet there was something fierce and implacable in her. A stubborness, almost a radiance. Like she had been wounded, real deep. Humiliated. But she was going to see it through, every drop of it.”—Joyce Carol Oates, from The Falls (via violentwavesofemotion)
“In Southern Gothic, the most important concept is the grotesque. With the grotesque, reality is distorted into ugly and absurd shapes. “I use the grotesque the way I do because people are deaf and dumb and need help to see and hear,” Flannery O’Connor once said. By exaggerating reality, we are able to actually see it. The grotesque is a balance of contradictions. It creeps and crawls between repulsion and attraction, the real and the unreal, and humor and horror. The sublime floats in the mind, but the grotesque is experienced in the body—in turning stomachs, goose bumps, and sweat.”—Lincoln Michel: Lush Rot - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics (via guernicamag)
Hello, Caroline! I'm in the mood to read (aka I write for Her Campus BC and my next article is a book review) but haven't read anything that wasn't assigned in far too long. Any recommendations that will be enthralling, but also manageable for the rusty reader? You always have great ones!
Hello! I hope I’m not too late on this! I always recommend this one, but Truman Capote’s Summer Crossing is short and lovely and perfect for warmer weather that’s on its way here. I couldn’t put down The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. Enjoy whatever you choose!
I want to start reading poetry? any recommendations on where to start?
I think you should start with whatever calls your name. Don’t force yourself to read anything you don’t like. I fell in love with poetry by reading the collected works of Anne Sexton, but there are so many other amazing poets out there. Browsing your local bookstore for the ones that speak to you is half the fun.
“Nice kind of evening feeling. No more wandering about. Just loll there: quiet dusk: let everything rip. Forget. Tell about places you have been, strange customs. She listens with big dark soft eyes. Tell her: more and more: all. Then a sigh: silence.”—James Joyce, from Ulysses (via violentwavesofemotion)
“the phone rings and i pick it up and i really wanted to do something else with my hands. it keeps coming back to that: what do i do with these hands? let’s say the dead are watching us. what should we do with our hands? let’s say that aliens are watching us. what should we do with our hands? let’s say that the world isn’t made out of love, let’s say it’s all paratroopers and suckerpunches. does this really change anything?”—richard siken, black telephone (via thefogsaid)
“Because it was raining and the day seemed unimportant she put on the first things she came to; a grey tweed suit that she knew was shapeless and heavy on her now that she was so thin, a blue blouse that never felt comfortable. She knew her own face too well to enjoy the long careful scrutiny that went with putting on make-up; toward four o’clock in the afternoon her pale narrow cheeks would warm up and fill out, and the lipstick that looked too purple with her dark hair and eyes would take on a rosier touch in spite of the blue blouse, but this morning she thought, as she had thought nearly every morning standing in front of her mirror, I wish I’d been a blonde; never realizing quite that it was because there were thin hints of grey in her hair.
She walked quickly around her one-room apartment, with a sureness that came of habit rather than conviction; after more than four years in this one home she knew all its possibilities, how it could put on a sham appearance of warmth and welcome when she needed a place to hide in, how it stood over her in the night when she woke suddenly, how it could relax itself into a disagreeable unmade, badly-put-together state, mornings like this, anxious to drive her out and go back to sleep. The book she had read the night before lay face down on the end table, the ashtray next to it dirtied: the clothes she had taken off lay over the back of a chair, to be taken to the cleaner this morning.”—Again, why so good at these visceral details of women’s lives, Shirley Jackson? From “Elizabeth” in The Magic of Shirley Jackson (Ridiculously titled collection, but it was like 700 pages for seven bucks)
“I was fascinated by strangers, wanted to know what food they ate and what dishes they ate it from, what movies they watched and what music they listened to, wanted to look under their beds and in their secret drawers and night tables and inside the pockets of their coats.”—Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch (via thatkindofwoman)
“If anything, Taylor is even more adamant about the need for white writers to examine their own history. “There’s this intense fear that if white people talk about race, they’re going to get it wrong, and therefore there’s a kind of a default position where white people don’t want to talk about race or racism or racial knowledge,” she says. “The side effect of not wanting to get it wrong is sometimes just silencing the stories of things that we know and not allowing ourselves to talk at all. I think that silence itself is part of the problem.””—Michael Bourne, “Filling the Silences: Race, Poetry, and the Digital-Media Megaphone” (via millionsmillions)
“If I had to sum up what he did to me, I’d say that it was this: he made me sing along to all the bad songs on the radio. Both when he loved me and when he didn’t.”—Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill (via rachelfershleiser)