Saturday, February 23, 2013

Traces of Kumbaya

"All the plays that have ever been written, from ancient Greece to the present day, have never really been anything but thrillers."
Eugène Ionesco, Victims of Duty

Gone is the rigor of Montaigne. Today’s essayists are yarn-spinners, tall-tale tellers, humorists parading as autobiographers... says as much when he admits to appropriating the life stories of his partner, Hugh: “His stories have, over time, become my own. I say this with no trace of a kumbaya. There is no spiritual symbiosis; I’m just a petty thief who lifts his memories the same way I’ll take a handful of change left on his dresser. When my own experiences fall short of the mark, I just go out and spend some of his.” Memoirs of writers: The Best, Worst, and Most Dysfunctional Romances in Literature

In a word, the serious writer must take serious vows if he is to concentrate on his chief aim. A vow of silence, except through his work. A vow of consistency, sticking with writing to the exclusion of other fields. A vow of ego-chastity, abstaining from adulation. A vow of solitude, or at least long periods of privacy. A vow of self-regard, placing the self as writer before the self as personality. A vow of solitude

A baffling human type is the man or woman with a cerebral appreciation of humor who is incapable of being intentionally funny. I knew a computational mathematician for almost seven years before I recently heard him laugh. It’s a good laugh, too – helpless, open-mouthed, full-bodied – the sort that’s contagious. His torso, shoulders and arms bounced up and down like a marionette’s, and his eyes watered copiously Baffling Human Nature

An old-fashioned spin on bookselling with a nod to how we all love to get presents ~ Buying your way to the Bestseller lists? It really doesn’t work ~ The Wall Street Cold River is Dead

"Oh words, what crimes are committed in your name!"
-Eugène Ionesco, Jacques or the Submission

An award was given in the UK this week for the book-review hatchet job of the year. It was for Camilla Long’s demolition, in the Sunday Times, of Rachel Cusk’s Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation. Want to read some of it? Of course you do. Hatchet jobs and the art of the good bad review