Wednesday, September 18
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"Why is it we want so badly to memorialize ourselves? Even while we're still alive. We wish to assert our existence, like dogs peeing on fire hydrants. We put on display our framed photographs, our parchment diplomas, our silver-plated cups; we monogram our linen, we carve our names on trees, we scrawl them on washroom walls. It's all the same impulse. What do we hope from it? Applause, envy, respect? Or simply attention, of any kind we can get?
At the very least we want a witness. We can't stand the idea of our own voices falling silent finally, like a radio running down."
 - Margaret Atwood
The Blind Assassin



Saturday, September 14
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"Even if we were very good at making everything outside of ourselves be just the way we ourselves want it to be (a ludicrous thought, you must admit), we could fundamentally never get everything perfect: because our desires are always changing, because they are often conflicting, and because the changes of the environment can never keep up with the pace of the wanting mind. The satisfaction of desire as a strategy for happiness will always be a doomed enterprise."
 - Andrew Olendzki



Friday, September 13
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The Seven Sorrows
The first sorrow of autumn
Is the slow goodbye
Of the garden who stands so long in the evening -
A brown poppy head,
The stalk of a lily,
And still cannot go.

The second sorrow
Is the empty feet
Of a pheasant who hangs from a hook with his brothers.
The woodland of gold
Is folded in feathers
With its head in a bag.

And the third sorrow
Is the slow goodbye
Of the sun who has gathered the birds and who gathers
The minutes of evening,
The golden and holy
Ground of the picture.

The fourth sorrow
Is the pond gone black
Ruined and sunken the city of water -
The beetle's palace,
The catacombs
Of the dragonfly.

And the fifth sorrow
Is the slow goodbye
Of the woodland that quietly breaks up its camp.
One day it's gone.
It has only left litter -
Firewood, tentpoles.

And the sixth sorrow
Is the fox's sorrow
The joy of the huntsman, the joy of the hounds,
The hooves that pound
Till earth closes her ear
To the fox's prayer.

And the seventh sorrow
Is the slow goodbye
Of the face with its wrinkles that looks through the window
As the year packs up
Like a tatty fairground
That came for the children.
 - Ted Hughes



Thursday, September 12
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"Words tend to last a bit longer than things, but eventually they fade too, along with the pictures they once evoked. Entire categories of objects disappear - flowerpots, for example, or cigarette filters, or rubber bands - and for a time you will be able to recognize those words, even if you cannot recall what they mean. But then, little by little, the words become only sounds, a random collection of glottals and fricatives, a storm of whirling phonemes, and finally the whole thing just collapses into gibberish."
 - Paul Auster
In the Country of Last Things



Wednesday, September 11
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"The silence is so intense that you can hear your own blood roar in your ears but louder than that by far is the mysterious roar which I always identify with the roaring of the diamond wisdom, the mysterious roar of silence itself, which is a great Shhhh reminding you of something you've seemed to have forgotten in the stress of your days since birth."
 - Jack Kerouac
the vale of soul-making



Monday, September 9
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"Well, the terrible fact is that though we are all more or less thinking of something or other all the time, some of us are thinking more and some less.
Some brains are battling and working and remembering and puzzling things over all the time and other brains are just lying down, snoring and occasionally turning over. It is to the lazy minds that I am now speaking, and from my own experience I imagine this includes nineteen people out of every twenty. I am one of that clan myself and always have been."
 - Ted Hughes



Sunday, September 8
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The Goddess who created this passing world
Said Let there be lightbulbs & liquefaction
Life spilled out onto the street, colors whirled
Cars & the variously shod feet were born
And the past & future & I born too
Light as airmail paper away she flew
To Annapurna or Mt. McKinley
Or both but instantly
Clarified, composed, forever was I
Meant by her to recognize a painting
As beautiful or a movie stunning
And to adore the finitude of words
And understand as surfaces my dreams
Know the eye the organ of affection
And depths to be inflections
Of her voice & wrist & smile
 - Alice Notley



Thursday, September 5
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"Art is an engagement of the senses; art sharpens the acuity with which emotions, and the other senses, are felt or imagined (and again, here, it challenges reality: What is the difference between feeling happy and really being happy? What is the difference between imagining you can taste something and really tasting it? A hair's breadth; a measurement less than the thickness of a dried work-skein of ink on paper).

And then the kicker is this: in passing from the real to the imagined, in following that trail, you learn that both sides have a little of the other in each, that there are elements of the imagined inside your experience of the 'real' world - rock, bone, wood, ice - and elements of the real - not the metaphorical, but the actual thing itself - inside stories and tales and dreams."
 - Rick Bass



Wednesday, September 4
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"Everyone has their own reality in which, if one is not too cautious, timid, or frightened, one swims. This is the only reality there is. If you can get it down on paper, in words, notes, or color, so much the better. The great artists don't even bother to put it down on paper: they live with it silently, they become it."
 - Henry Miller
Stand Still Like The Hummingbird
thrive



Tuesday, September 3
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Wind
This house has been far out at sea all night,
The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills,
Winds stampeding the fields under the window
Floundering black astride and blinding wet

Till day rose; then under an orange sky
The hills had new places, and wind wielded
Blade-light, luminous black and emerald,
Flexing like the lens of a mad eye.

At noon I scaled along the house-side as far as
The coal-house door. Once I looked up -
Through the brunt wind that dented the balls of my eyes
The tent of the hills drummed and strained its guy rope,

The fields quivering, the skyline a grimace,
At any second to bang and vanish with a flap;
The wind flung a magpie away and a black-
Back gull bent like an iron bar slowly. The house

Rang like some fine green goblet in the note
That any second would shatter it. Now deep
In chairs, in front of the great fire, we grip
Our hearts and cannot entertain book, thought,

Or each other. We watch the fire blazing,
And feel the roots of the house move, but sit on,
Seeing the window tremble to come in,
Hearing the stones cry out under the horizons.
 - Ted Hughes
The Hawk in the Rain









  • ". . . as I have said often enough, I write for myself in multiplicate,
    a not unfamiliar phenomenon on the horizon of shimmering deserts."
    - Vladimir Nabokov