Saturday, October 31, 2015

God chose me to write this blog ;-)

God chose me to write this book, writes satirist Al Franken in Lies and the Lying Liars. This isn't hubris. I just happened to be the right vessel at the right time. 

In a nutshell, unlike vessels rivers are free. They come and go as they please, and borders or governments do not bind them. But rivers have stories. For example, Sigmund Freud's Moravian river coined Morava is not different to the Ganges. This is a sacred river, filled with rituals and burning bodies. The ashes tell an ancient story, And thus, these river alphabets tell a story that precedes even the creation of language. Some days light reflected in river's mirror is the color of all / my losses as rivers  hold our histories and secrets ... Cold River, like most books, made life seem more interesting than it is.

"No one leaves home, unless home is the mouth of a shark. You only run for the border when you see your whole city running as well. You have to understand that no one puts children in a boat, unless the water is safer than the land." 
~'Home' by Warsan Shire

Isaiah Berlin was drawn to those he disagreed with. "They uncover the cracks, the flaws, the places between the ribs where the dagger can successfully be inserted”... SIMPle KINgS of this world »

“Do you understand that God is not looking for ‘the cream of the crop?’” Jared Wilson asks. “He is in the margins, picking the scrubs, the losers, the dum-dums.”

Paul Pastor (you may call him Pastor Pastor) reviews the second volume of David Wilkie’s Coffee with Jesus. He remembers Wilkie saying, “You have to be able to laugh at yourself first, because you might be the problem, not everybody else.”

I always tell my students they need to be aware of the myths and stories they tell themselves about reality, because the story you think you’re in determines the character you become. Neutral time is a particularly popular story. It goes something like this:
I’ve been a good kid in high school. I’ve done my homework, been to Bible study, and didn’t mess around too much or anything. Now, though, I really want to go out and enjoy myself a bit. The “college experience” is calling, and I can’t be expected to go and not let loose a little bit. I mean, I really love Jesus and my faith will always be a big part of my life, but you know, I’ll just go off for a bit, maybe a semester or two, have my fun, and then be back around. You’ll see.
Indifference is a power Aeon. On Stoicism.

Today, I happened to think of the Party slogan from George Orwell’s 1984:

"Night came, and it was such a night one knew that human eyes would not witness it and survive…. Many things were then said and done among us; but of these it is better that no memory remain."
He was terrified of spiders, women, and disappointing his mother. Yet his writing was unsparing, even fearless.  Today it is easy to imagine the young Levi searching for a voice, a manner, that would allow him to tell his tale without being overwhelmed by it and at the same time compel the reader’s attention. The question of  (PL) Primo Levi »

Marx, the German philosopher…once predicted the “hot tears of noble people” would be shed over his ashes… via WSJ article is Cemetery of Karl Marx

“Of seasons of the year, the Autumn is most melancholy. Of peculiar times; old age, from which natural melancholy is almost an inseparable accident; but this artificial malady is more frequent in such as are of a middle age. Some assign forty years; Gariopontus, 30; Jubertus excepts neither young nor old from this adventitious.”

“Never forget.” Like most Mittleuropean children, I heard that exhortation repeated in Sunday school whenever we discussed Hitler. Before the Nazi party rose to power, Slavs assumed that after the Great War Of 1914 they were safe again. The command to “never forget” was a reminder that the hunger for power and domination of races was an ongoing threat. Violence is always possible. The only way to prevent it is vigilance

INK BOTTLE“I doubt if one ever accepts a belief until one urgently needs it.”

~ Christopher Isherwood, Christopher and His Kind

“I suggested that the demands of history and fiction are slightly different – that since a novel is a story, it must be complete, and since a history must be accepted by the reader as accurate, history must be incomplete. He was not convinced.” The Guardian (UK) 

By putting people in situations where they face their deepest fears, they learn they will be OK and the phobia loses its suffocating grip. "Social anxiety is a result of the fear of a possibility that we will not be accepted by our peers. It's the fear of negative evaluation by others, and that is [part of] a very fundamental, biological need to be liked. That's why we have social anxiety." Blogging cure for social anxiety

At night they leave their century.

A necklace hangs loose across her breasts,
And between them lingers—
yet is it a lingering

and not an incessant arrival?—
the perfume of forever.

A perfume as old as sleep,

as familiar to the living as to the dead.

 Pallavi Aiyar, New Old World: An Indian Journalist Discovers the Changing Face of Europe.  I’ve been waiting for a book like this to be written, and now it exists.  It’s fun, and full of good humour

 “A physical book is like eating a great meal in a beautiful restaurant with a fantastic view; an e-book is like eating that same meal from a takeout box on your lap in a basement.” LitHub 

Lord, if perfection is death,
             let me stay here
a little while longer,
            spotted and stained:
Dramatic moments in the evening at the wedding 26 Sep 2015
Washington Post op-ed:  Democrats Protect Each Other Better Than Republicans Do, by Ed Rogers

Words are not up to the task of describing visual art. To experience art, focus on seeing, not telling - showing the story 

No doubt there is a necessary dialogue between catering and creating, but I side wholly with E.B. White, who famously asserted that “writers do not merely reflect and interpret life, they inform and shape life,” and that the role of the writer is “to lift people up, not lower them down.” And yet, half a century after White’s piercing idealism, we’ve found ourselves amid a culture that purveys cat listicles because, the narrative goes, cat listicles are what the people want — a narrative suffused with the insidious implication that cat listicles are all that people are capable or worthy of wanting. Increasingly, our agents of culture are abdicating their responsibility to create more elevated tastes and capitulating to catering 

James Shapiro, The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606.  What was the political and social setting in which Lear was composed?  Recommended, substantive throughout with hardly a wasted page.

The tale of how Flannery O’Connor’s purloined letters – purloined by one David Breithaupt from the Kenyon College library – were pinched and fenced is an example of just how easy it can be for us to lose crucial pieces of the historical record Literary Hub 

“I am a tree: mark how the leaves grow
Sparsely now; here a bunch, there,
At the end of this thin twig, another
And the bark hardening, thickening. I am allowed
No respite from the wind, the long
Thorn trunk and branches stretching like a swan’s neck
In torment. And the hiss
My own malice makes of this wind
Gentle enough, in itself: I can imagine myself
As this tree but what consciousness
Should go with it—that,
Screeching neck, I am blind to.”

“Without any real funds to contribute while they were in the grips of their lenders, Wissler relied on outside organizations to help her maintain the vibrancy of the place. The Mount invited theater companies, prominent writers and intellectuals to come in and give talks to what turned out to be sold-out auditoriums of locals. ‘We see a lot of hunger, even in the off months,’ Wissler said, ‘for intellectual content.'” The Guardian (UK) 

"How can man know himself? It is a dark, mysterious business: if a hare has seven skins, a man may skin himself seventy times seven times without being able to say, “Now that is truly you; that is no longer your outside.” It is also an agonizing, hazardous undertaking thus to dig into oneself, to climb down toughly and directly into the tunnels of one’s being. How easy it is thereby to give oneself such injuries as no doctor can heal. Moreover, why should it even be necessary given that everything bears witness to our being — our friendships and animosities, our glances and handshakes, our memories and all that we forget, our books as well as our pens. For the most important inquiry, however, there is a method. Let the young soul survey its own life with a view of the following question: “What have you truly loved thus far? What has ever uplifted your soul, what has dominated and delighted it at the same time?” Assemble these revered objects in a row before you and perhaps they will reveal a law by their nature and their order: the fundamental law of your very self. Compare these objects, see how they complement, enlarge, outdo, transfigure one another; how they form a ladder on whose steps you have been climbing up to yourself so far; for your true self does not lie buried deep within you, but rather rises immeasurably high above you, or at least above what you commonly take to be your I."
~ Nietzsche