“An Affair To Remember, if you haven’t seen it, is a movie about Deborah Kerr’s fabulous collection of furs and fall-colored floaty gowns, and also about Cary Grant’s expensive Italian leather tan. What I learned from this movie is that if you ever have to travel to France by ocean liner, be sure you bring plenty of formal wear and at least 1 satin dressing gown you wouldn’t mind being photographed in. Also, be careful around cabs in midtown Manhattan and hang on to useful ex-boyfriends, but those go without saying, I think.”—I wrote a Lily a long, disjointed letter today
“You do what you have to do, basically, as an artist, as a human being, to survive. And to put out something that’s meaningful in the world because you care about doing that. You have to be able to tell the truth. As a reader, if it’s not really true and bold and creative and courageous, I can’t really believe it, and I won’t get invested in it. I feel like I owe that to my readers as well, this level of honestly, or else why bother? If you’re not going to be brave, who cares? I don’t know of any work that I love that isn’t brave.”—Conversations With Writers Braver Than Me #16: Rebecca Walker (via therumpus)
“I do not want to be human. I want to be myself. They think I am a lion, that I will chase them. I will not deny I have lions in me. I am the monster in the wood. I have wonders in my house of sugar. I have parts of myself I do not yet understand.”—Catherynne M. Valente, Silently and Very Fast (via larmoyante)
“I must tell you that I should really like to think there’s something wrong with me because if there isn’t, then there’s something wrong with the world itself — and that’s much more frightening! That would be terrible. So I’d rather believe there is something wrong with me, that could be put right.”—T.S. Eliot, from The Cocktail Party (via violentwavesofemotion)
“Last night I told my friend Matt, “I feel like I’m rebelling against people I really like.” We were talking about community and writing, writers. Though I think I also meant how I navigate loss. The air around me takes shape and once I feel it’s edges it collapses again. I also watched a documentary on Near Death Experiences. I didn’t get through the whole thing, I went for a drive.
The old road where the barn still has a Christmas wreath. It wasn’t sad, but writing it is sad. I was thinking about Bob’s video on Loneliness, which made me cry, but the way you do when you hear a sad song that you know well. It’s funny what we tell ourselves, I do it all the time. I wouldn’t know where to begin, what to take off. But I think I’m starting. I found a small cross, I thought I lost, in my car. My sister gave it to me a year ago. I remember I was exactly here a year ago, but in a different way. It felt warm from the heater. And.
this morning. drinking iced coffee, I had to drive by the park that has been flooded. That’s what I want, too. I want to be overwhelmed. Like I said last night. And I am, in all the great ways.”—Poems Art Snow:
“Thunderbolts explode between different intensities, but they are preceded by an invisible, imperceptible dark precursor, which determines their path in advance but in reverse, as though intagliated. Likewise, every system contains its dark precursor which ensures the communication of peripheral series.”—Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition (via heteroglossia)
“Tall, slender, statuesque, and dark, her eyes mournful as she drew deeply upon the cigarette, a Salem menthol, that she held clasped in her long elegant fingers. With her black hair and eyes of aquamarine, she was as beautiful and dramatic a woman as a daughter could hope for.”—Linda Gray Sexton, from 45 Mercy Street: Anne Sexton (via violentwavesofemotion)
after the plates are cleaned off of the dinner table, after everyone has left for the couch for their room for a post-meal smoke outside, i gather the crumbs and arugula, the salt bits and the little pepper shakes into a pile in the center and identify very deeply with that little pile of disjointed flavor.
safety and security as a small village in the middle of the woods. think, first settlements. think jamestown. we know the people within the fence, know their faces, know each of them individually and intimately, know where they rest where they work what the baker’s hands look like, but everything outside of that is dark and wooded. the lanterns go on at night and we light up our streets, but everywhere outside is still dark. still full of what we perceive to be all the humps and bumps of nighttime, the unknown, the mysterious.
now imagine taking yourself out of the safety of that town, of your comfort zone, having to roam around with only your hands blindly blindly until you reach something familiar again, solid. having to enter a new world and rearrange yourself. you tell people your name, hope that they understand you, but know that they don’t. for the first time, you are a stranger.
that is how i feel about a lot of the things that i’m interested in, and a lot of the life choices that i have to make. this entire year has been me flipping the table, breaking out of the face because i am afraid of being stuck within one town for the rest of my life, and going where the branches are hitting my face where the shrubs the thorns are making blood of my knees, my ankles. i ran, and it was terrifying, but i did it. and now i’m here again, at another place where i feel the need to leave, to go, to run for the fucking moon.
it’s harder, the second time, to do it all again.
when i think of the self i think of laying against the damp earth, pressing palms into wet into wood, into ants into worms. i am thinking of letting the animals crawl over me. i’m thinking of putting soggy dead leaves in my mouth and sucking them bone-dry. i am thinking of laying there looking up at late september, light filtering very sweetly very slightly between the trees. every color of green. i am thinking of myself laying there for so long that my body turns into a bed of moss, until i smell sweet and earthy, a picnic place, somewhere you take your children, the person you love, the place you go to when you need to get away. i want to be that. let me be that.
“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)