“Gender can become salient in the environment in so many ways: an imbalance of the sexes in a group, a commercial, a comment from a colleague, a query about sex on a form, perhaps also a pronoun, the sign on a restroom door, the feel of a skirt, the awareness of one’s own body.”—Cordelia Fine, Delusions Of Gender
“Culture is more than the aggregate of what Google describes as the ‘the world’s information.’ It’s more than what can be reduced to binary code and uploaded onto the Net. To remain vital, culture must be renewed in the minds of the members of every generation. Outsource memory, and culture withers.”—Nicholas Carr, The Shallows
The year I admitted I was lonely I didn’t know what I was saying I said the nights are rough here they have minikins & clowns old postulates taking out the trash and you get lonely sometimes. I didn’t know how one thing leads to another like a smell under the house and then you’re talking about the payoff when you don’t even want to you want them to listen like people with taps on their shoes who later as they heavily, roguishly dance, think well of you.
These are faces I love. Adrift with wonder, big-eyed as infants and famished for strangeness in the world they haven’t known since early childhood, they are monsters of innocence who gladly shoulder the burden of the blessed, the unbroken, the beautiful, the lost.
“No matter the view from the window, the style of the architecture, the color of the evening sky, the distance between oneself and oneself remains immutable.”—Nicole Krauss, from Great House (Available on October 12, 2010)
“It’s the way you use words. You both pick your words like you’re stripping dead buds off a houseplant, but with this strange exhilaration. This fastidious, fussy exhilaration.”—Suzanne Rivecca, Death Is Not An Option
Let’s move to the jugular pulse of our lives, shake our asses to the sound of petty crime, a cash register opening, a libido humming in a nearby room. And when we return to our chairs, the dance floor, arid with our absence, let’s invent the brawl that starts at the bar — two men, say, who need the exercise, let’s conjure the bloodbeat, the contagion of violence, and slip out into the street with such things behind us, having done and survived them.
There’s not a nude in a museum or a person anywhere, taking a bath, nearly as naked as that French girl, stripped of all but her socks, head shaved, being spat upon by her own townspeople in one of history’s sunlit cobblestone squares.
“Assumptions lie behind the work of all writers. The writer is unaware of most of them, and many of them are weird. Often the weirder the better. Words love the ridiculous area of our minds.”—Richard Hugo, The Triggering Town, lectures and essays on poetry and writing.
"Fall comes suddenly where I live. By late September the long summer seems to stretch eternally, pale blue and golden. Then one day we wake up to the cool hush of morning fog, the delight of wearing a sweater while making coffee. Damp air brings the scent of sage and eucalyptus. The evenings draw in. I love this time of year. Everywhere in the world the pace picks up-and in the kitchen it slows down. It’s soup season."
“If you are to become a writer you’ll have to stop fooling with words,” she explained. “It would be better to give up the notion of writing until you are better prepared. Now it’s time to be living. I don’t want to frighten you, but I would like to make you understand the import of what you think of attempting. You must not become a mere peddler of words. The thing to learn is to know what people are thinking about, not what they say.”—Sherwood Anderson, The Teacher in Winesburg, Ohio
“Before jumping to any ideologically reductive conclusion, we should pause and think: What would American culture be without minstrelsy, jazz, haiku, Zen, karate, the blues, or anime — without, in other words, the incessant transfusion (and coopting) of diverse cultural traditions and creative energies?”—Yunte Huang, from the introduction to Charlie Chan
“Her scent blossomed in the car like heavenly polecat, like flowers manufactured in a tire plant, something dusky and nostril-stinging, like perfumed coal dust, dead rose blossoms on hot oil-grimed engine blocks.”—Brad Watson, from “Ordinary Monsters” in the story collection Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives
“He knew, with a finality that crept upon him as imperceptibly as breathing, that he himself, in some indefinable moment, had passed that turning point when regret had overtaken expectation. When had this happened?”—Lan Samantha Chang, from All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost (via italicsmine)
“i was familiar with the little mating rituals of getting to know each other, of dragging out the stories from childhood, summer camp, and high school, the famous humiliations, and the adorable things you said as a child, the familial dramas—of having a portrait of yourself, all the while making yourself out to be a little brighter, a little more deep than deep down you knew you actually were. and though i hadn’t had more than three or four relationships, i already knew that each time the thrill of telling another the story of yourself wore off a little more, each time you threw yourself into it a little less, and grew more distrustful of an intimacy that always, in the end, failed to pass into true understanding.”—nicole krauss, great house. (via paperbackgirl)
“Stories. Like air, like food, like hope. I read them, I told them, and later I wrote them, stories about men and women seeking the faraway in revolutions, in art, and in the dreamy search for love, but by that time she, Francesca, my first muse, was gone.”—Frederic Tuten, prologue from Self Portraits: Fictions
“It was a terrifying idea, the revival of my youth, the revival also of my terrors, my ship splintered, my shipmates drowned in the freezing rivers of the ocean, myself struck from a mast, a bobbing chip riding on an ice plate in the sea.”—Frederic Tuten, “Self Portrait with Icebergs” from Self Portraits: Fictions
“Sometimes I looked at the man I married — the temperate mildness of him, the scrunchy innocence of his yawns — and I am inconsolably, furiously, lonely.”—~ Suzanne Rivecca, “Consummation” from Death Is Not An Option
"I spend hours at the screen now, and though I am grateful for the machine, it leaves me skeptical. I wish often for the weight, or at least the solidity, of a book, instead of the image of words on glass. The transience of the picture worries me, and I have caught myself calling back earlier pages, comparing them to my own memory to see if the text has been altered by the computer’s traffic with so much other information. Sometimes, I am tantalized by a suspicion—surely that word was not noses, but something starting with a g; and that was cave, not save; not screen, but—I catch myself, and read on.”