Friday, October 15
link


"I believe our survival demands revolution, both cultural and political. If we are to survive the disasters that threaten, and survive our own struggle to make it new - a struggle I believe we have no choice but to commit ourselves to - we need tremendous transfusions of imaginative energy. If it is indeed revolution we are moving toward, we need life, and abundantly - we need poems of the spirit, to inform us of the essential, to help us live the revolution. And if instead it be the Last Days - then we need to taste the dearest, freshest drops before we die - why bother with anything less than that, the essential?"
 - Denise Levertov
The Poet in the World



Thursday, October 14
link


"What does it mean to be radical, to tell radical stories in our time, to win the battle of the story? The North American tradition seems to focus its activity on the exposé, the telling of the grim underside of what we know: the food is poison, the system is corrupt, the leaders are lying, the war is failing. There is a place for this, but you cannot base a revolution on the bad things the status quo forgot to mention. You need to tell the stories they are not telling, to learn to see where they are blind, to look at how the great changes of the world come from the shadows and the margins, not center stage, to see where we're winning and that we can win something that matters, if not everything all the time."
 - Rebecca Solnit



Wednesday, October 13
link


"The human mind has absolute freedom as its true nature. There are thousands upon thousands of students who have practiced meditation and obtained this realization."
 - Dogen



Tuesday, October 12
link


"An anxiety is a lens through which to view the world, a colouration that grants the sufferer's experiences their distinctive hue. The Buddha alerted us to a fundamental metaphysical feature of this world, the 'co-dependent arising' of all that we experience and know. That is, nothing possesses existence independent of all else that makes it so: an anxious person inhabits a world coloured and contoured by their own, highly individual anxieties; it is a world co-constructed by the sufferer and his or her anxieties. Anxiety is therefore a perspective, a hermeneutical relationship with the world, whose text now gets read in a very peculiar way by this anxiety-laden vision. Things and persons and events fall into focus depending on their interactions with our anxieties: that man in the corner becomes threatening, this chair becomes unstable and unbalanced, that food becomes the agent of a fatal illness, my family - my wife, my daughter - appear as targets for cruel twists of fate. I live in a distinctive world shaded and illuminated by an idiosyncratic anxiety."
 - Samir Chopra
The Usefulness of Dread



Friday, October 8
link


You like it under the trees in autumn,
Because everything is half dead.
The wind moves like a cripple among the leaves
And repeats words without meaning.

In the same way, you were happy in spring,
With the half colors of quarter-things,
The slightly brighter sky, the melting clouds,
The single bird, the obscure moon -

The obscure moon lighting an obscure world
Of things that would never be quite expressed,
Where you yourself were never quite yourself
And did not want nor have to be
 - Wallace Stevens
from The Motive for Metaphor




Thursday, October 7
link


"My point in mentioning this is only to say that people who feel any sort of regret where you are concerned will suppose you are angry, and they will see anger in what you do, even if you're just quietly going about a life of your own choosing. They will make you doubt yourself, which, depending on cases, can be a severe distraction and a waste of time. This is a thing I wish I had understood much earlier than I did."
 - Marilynne Robinson
Gilead



Wednesday, October 6
link


"Whenever I feel bad, I go to the library and read controversial periodicals. Though I do not know whether I am a liberal or a conservative, I am nevertheless enlivened by the hatred which one bears the other. In fact, this hatred strikes me as one of the few signs of life remaining in the world. This is another thing about the world which is upside-down: all the friendly and likable people seem dead to me; only the haters seem alive."
 - Walker Percy
The Moviegoer: A Novel



Tuesday, October 5
link


If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
 - Jack Gilbert
from A Brief for the Defense
commonplace




Monday, October 4
link


I write
and write, and transcend
nothing, escape
nothing, nothing
is truly born from me,
yet magically it's better
than nothing - I know

you must be quite
changed by now, but you
are just the same, too,
like those stars that keep
shining for a long time after
they go out
 - Denis Johnson
excerpt From a Berkeley Notebook
The Incognito Lounge









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