01 october 2013.
I could happily swim in the thousands of quotes about New York City by one of my favorite writers Joan Didion, but it’s hard to swim in words… unless it’s alphabet soup, of course.
“You see I was in a curious position in New York: it never occurred to me that I was living a real life there.”
“Quite simply, I was in love with New York. I do not mean “love” in any colloquial way, I mean that I was in love with the city, the way you love the first person who ever touches you and you never love anyone quite that way again.”
nyc. january 2012.
Because there’s nothing more beautiful or terrifying than the personal revelation that you are deeply human and irrevocably flawed:
Of course all life is a process of breaking down, but the blows that do the dramatic side of the work — the big sudden blows that come, or seem to come, from outside — the ones you remember and blame things on and, in moments of weakness, tell your friends about, don’t show their effect all at once. There is another sort of blow that comes from within — that you don’t feel until it’s too late to do anything about it, until you realize with finality that in some regard you will never be as good a man again. The first sort of breakage seems to happen quick — the second kind happens almost without your knowing it but is realized suddenly indeed.
Before I go on with this short history, let me make a general observation — the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise. This philosophy fitted on to my early adult life, when I saw the improbable, the implausible, often the “impossible,” come true. Life was something you dominated if you were any good. Life yielded easily to intelligence and effort, or to what proportion could be mustered of both. It seemed a romantic business to be a successful literary man — you were not ever going to be as famous as a movie star but what note you had was probably longer-lived; you were never going to have the power of a man of strong political or religious convictions but you were certainly more independent. Of course within the practice of your trade you were forever unsatisfied — but I, for one, would not have chosen any other.
mercat de sant josep de la boqueria. april 2012.
I watched Five Easy Pieces yesterday. Besides Jack Nicholson in all his glory, I fell in love with this quote from the near-end of the film. It’s so true.
I move around a lot. Not because I’m looking for anything really, but because I’m getting away from things that get bad if I stay… auspicious beginnings, you know what I mean?
new york city. august 2012.
I came across this John Waters quote in the city the other day. I love it. I also love this other quote by him below… they’re both far too perfect. My opinion of him, which was just “meh” before, has since changed.
“If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.”
Words to live by, indeed.
san francisco. december 2010.
When author Maurice Sendak died a couple weeks ago he not only left a hole in the literary world, but in all of life as we know it.
Having loved him and his work since I was a kid, I devoured anything I could about him. Of all that has been written about him, or interviews he did, it’s this bit from “Maurice Sendak: On Life, Death And Children’s Lit” on NPR, that I love most:
“Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.”
Because that’s what a wild thing does when they love something so much: they eat it.
sunset over manhanttan as seen from park slope. may 2012.
In 2005, I read an article in the New Yorker about the writer Henry Roth. The writer of the article, Jonathan Rosen, wrote of Roth’s struggle with depression, self-loathing and a whole other myriad of issues that had long plagued the writer’s life.
I read the entire article but it was this paragraph below and the final sentence, in particular, that forever resonated with me:
But Roth, despite his own dramatic detour, did not remain in outer darkness. When I visited him, he had shattered the block that had imprisoned him and was on the verge of publishing the first installment of a vast, multivolume work, “Mercy of a Rude Stream.” His hands were warped by rheumatoid arthritis; the very touch of his computer keyboard was excruciating. But he still put in five hours a day, helped by Percocet, beer, a ferocious will, and the ministrations of several young assistants. Roth would not die like a pomegranate, with all his seeds inside.
Neither will I.
I will not die like a pomegranate with all my seeds inside me.
For that reason alone, I love pomegranate seeds for what they represent: words yet unlocked.
east village. may 2012.
Sometimes the best in us is the worst of us. And even better: the best part of us brings out the worst of us and others. In either situation, it results in a catastrophe… a beautiful catastrophe.
A Very Short Song:
Once, when I was young and true,
Someone left me sad-
Broke my brittle heart in two;
And that is very bad.
Love is for unlucky folk,
Love is but a curse.
Once there was a heart I broke;
And that, I think, is worse.