Sunday, October 31
link


Fezzik: "Why do you wear a mask? Were you burned by acid, or something like that?"

Man in Black: "Oh no, it's just that they're terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future."
 - The Princess Bride
running after my hat



"All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need ... fantasies to make life bearable."

Really? As if it was some kind of pink pill? No. Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.

"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little -"

Yes. As practice. You have to start out learning to believe the little lies.

"So we can believe the big ones?"

Yes. Justice. Mercy. Duty. That sort of thing.

"They're not the same at all!"

You think so? Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through the finest sieve and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. And yet - Death waved a hand  And yet you act as if there is some ideal order in the world, as if there is some ... some rightness in the universe by which it may be judged.

"Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point -"

My point exactly
 - Terry Pratchett
Hogfather
running after my hat



Friday, October 29
link


Where the text says song, see ghost.
Where the text says ghost, see further.
 - Brenda Steczkowski
heteroglossia



Thursday, October 28
link


"It is sad, is it not, that no one today displays an interest in the art of shrunken heads. Men, women, and children walk on the streets, they cross fields and enter forests, they run along the edges of oceans, but none of them, to the best of my knowledge, are thinking about shrunken heads."
 - Mary Ruefle
My Private Property



Wednesday, October 27
link


For My Young Friends Who Are Afraid
There is a country to cross you will
find in the corner of your eye, in
the quick slip of your foot - air far
down, a snap that might have caught.
And maybe for you, for me, a high, passing
voice that finds its way by being
afraid. That country is there, for us,
carried as it is crossed. What you fear
will not go away: it will take you into
yourself and bless you and keep you.
That's the world, and we all live there.
 - William Stafford
The Way It Is



Tuesday, October 26
link


"You lock the door. You lock the window. You dream of the dead. You salt the sills from the inside. You are going to dream. You check the window. You burn a piece of paper. You burn a piece of hair. You check the door. You put a root beneath your pillow. You put the candle out. You bite the root before you put it beneath your pillow. You dream of the dead. You keep a candle burning. You bite the root. The dead put their fingers in your mouth. You are dreaming. You draw the dead & burn the paper. The dead have no doors. They have no salt. Each one takes a grain of salt. There are more dead than salt. You bolt the door. You are dreaming. When the salt is gone the dead touch your mouth. When the salt is gone you buy more salt. When the salt is gone the root does nothing. The salt does nothing."
 - Lisa Ciccarello
At Night



Monday, October 25
link


"But the man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser, but less cocksure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance, yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable Mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend."
 - Aldous Huxley
The Doors of Perception & Heaven and Hell



Friday, October 22
link


Scary Movies
Today the cloud shapes are terrifying,
and I keep expecting some enormous
black-and-white B-movie Cyclops
to appear at the edge of the horizon,

to come striding over the ocean
and drag me from my kitchen
to the deep cave that flickered
into my young brain one Saturday

at the Baronet Theater where I sat helpless
between my older brothers, pumped up
on candy and horror - that cave,
the litter of human bones

gnawed on and flung toward the entrance,
I can smell their stench as clearly
as the bacon fat from breakfast. This
is how it feels to lose it -

not sanity, I mean, but whatever it is
that helps you get up in the morning
and actually leave the house
on those days when it seems like death

in his brown uniform
is cruising his panel truck
of packages through your neighborhood.
I think of a friend's voice

on her answering machine -
Hi, I'm not here -
the morning of her funeral,
the calls filling up the tape

and the mail still arriving,
and I feel as afraid as I was
after all those vampire movies
when I'd come home and lie awake

all night, rigid in my bed,
unable to get up
even to pee because the undead
were waiting underneath it;

if I so much as stuck a bare
foot out there in the unprotected air
they'd grab me by the ankle and pull me
under. And my parents said there was

nothing there, when I was older
I would know better, and now
they're dead, and I'm older,
and I know better.
 - Kim Addonizio
What Is This Thing Called Love



Wednesday, October 20
link


"What I want is the other world in this world. What I want is the way up and the way down, the way in and the way out. What I want is the poem that rears up like a mythic creature from the dark place of origins, only to transform into the holy, unrepeatable faces of the living. What I want is the mythic wings still thrumming inside them."
 - Joseph Fasano
memory's landscape




Tuesday, October 19
link


Fall Song
It is a dark fall day.
The earth is slightly damp with rain.
I hear a jay.
The cry is blue.
I have found you in the story again.
Is there another word for 'divine'?
I need a song that will keep sky open in my mind.
If I think behind me, I might break.
If I think forward, I lose now.
Forever will be a day like this
Strung perfectly on the necklace of days.
Slightly overcast
Yellow leaves
Your jacket hanging in the hallway
Next to mine.
 - Joy Harjo
commonplace



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



Sunday, October 3
link


"The only thing I can recommend at this stage is a sense of humor, an ability to see things in their ridiculous and absurd dimensions, to laugh at others and at ourselves, a sense of irony regarding everything that calls out for parody in this world. In other words, I can only recommend perspective and distance."
 - Václav Havel
commonplace




Friday, October 1
link


"You come to see that everything you think you know about yourself, everything you think you know about the world, is based on assumptions, beliefs, and opinions - things you believe because you were taught or told that they were true. Until we start to see these false perceptions for what they really are, consciousness will be imprisoned within the dream state."
 - Adyashanti
The End of Your World: Uncensored Straight Talk on the Nature of Enlightenment









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