Friday, November 30, 2007

A little simplicity for the cold days



Thursday, November 29, 2007

Write Often; Read As Much As Possible

I've been repeating a lot of things to myself lately, as I've entered a phase of self evaluation which has led me to think seriously about the bad habits I've developed, the negative ways of thinking and generally all the different things, external as well as internal, that I've allowed to be hindrances in my life.
  • Sacrifice Everything for the Clean Line
    • Posted a few days ago. Di Prima wrote about the various sayings scrawled across her wall during her beatnik days. This particular one meant that you should do whatever it took for your art. Art should be the biggest focus and motivator in you your life.
  • Write Often; Read As Much As Possible.
    • I just finished reading Murakami's After Dark a few days ago. One of the main characters, Takahashi, said his personal motto was "walk slowly, drink lots of water." As I was walking to work today, thinking about how much writing I'd accomplished in the past week and the correlation between the amount of reading I'd enjoyed, this popped into my head. The cadence is of course directly related to Muakami, something I internalized without realizing it at the time.
  • Today is a Clean Slate.
    • It helps to put things into perspective. Yesterday is gone and all I can do is work towards a better today. It seems like the simplest of things to say but to me, who was born with a natural proclivity for worrying (and anxiety attacks), it just reminds me to take a deep breath each morning and get through the day with as little baggage as possible. I still haven't stopped being amazed at how effective it is.
  • Remember Imagined Realities.
    • I would try to explain this, but its a lot to get into and I have a friend waiting for me to meet them. Maybe if I'm feeling a little less literal tomorrow...I'll go on. I will say that it has a lot to do with perception, imagination and writing.
Thats all for now.


Two Years Ago

I was reading a few posts (beloved typos and all) from two years ago on teeny books and it made me a little nostalgic. Back then, I had just started hanging out with a few new friends and reconnected with old ones. My relationship wasn't great, but it wasn't something that occupied my thoughts or my time (the fact that I had just developed a crush on a co-worker that would last the better part of a year-should have been a warning sign). I had just started writing teenybooks and was hoping to make it the next big blog (pshaw).

Even posting this, a small smile comes to my face. Maybe that's what happens when you look back at a time in life where you thought you knew so much when really, knew next to nothing. Maybe in a few years I'll feel this nostalgia again.

While riding the train this morning I listened to my favorite album of the time "Let it Die" by Feist (Mushaboom.mp3 was my favorite song) and just reflected a bit on the things I've gained, the things I've lost and the amount of perspective it's all given me.

I posted this, back in 2005, from a letter someone sent me a year or two prior, that elicited similar feelings of nostalgia:
totsuzen no deai e no kokoro kara no yorokobi to
"itsushika owaru kamoshirenai..." sonna kankaku ni obiete
soshite hitomi o mitsumeteta
nanimo wakarazu ni

The joy from my heart at our sudden meeting says
"Maybe it'll be over before I know it..." those forebodings scare me
And then I was gazing into your eyes
Without understanding anything

dore dake no omoide mo yume no you na maboroshi de
itsumademo kawaru koto no nai tojikomerareta kimi ga iru
ima mo hitomi o mitsumeteta
nanimo kawarazu ni

They're not forever changing, so how many phantoms,
Like memories and dreams, could you file away
And now I gazed into your eyes
Without changing anything
From: Gackt - Emu For My Dear


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I'm finally reading Atonement*

One of my favorite passage thus far:
It seemed so obvious now that it was too late: a story was a form of telepathy. By means of inking symbols onto a page, she was able to send thoughts and feelings from her mind to her reader's. It was a magical process, so commonplace that no one stopped to wonder at it. Reading a sentence and understanding it were the same thing; as with the crooking of the finger, nothing lay between them. There was no gap during which the symbols were unraveled. You saw the word castle, and it was there, seen from some distance, with woods in high summer spread before it, the air bluish and soft with smoke rising from the blacksmith's forge, and a cobbled road twisting away into the green shade...
*I'm no longer reading American Psycho as the sidebar suggests.


Monday, November 26, 2007


  • This weekend, December 1st and 2nd, is the Small Press Book Fair at "The New York Center for Independent Publishing" (formerly the Small Press Center). I went a few years back and hope to go again. Whether I go or not depends on my inherent weekend laziness and how much time I spend with a visiting relative. Either way the line up is great with Ian Mckaye from Fugazi on Saturday speaking on culture and on Sunday Amiri Baraka and Hattie Gossett reading their poetry.
  • Although I'm sure tickets to this will be sold out by the time I finish this post, if you happen to be going to PenUltimate Lit on Wednesday(Rick Moody, Wesley Stace and Sufjan Stevens), then I kind of hate you. (I will be scouring Craigslist religiously for the next two days searching for a sucker willing to sell their tickets)
  • Friday December 7th Bon Iver is playing at the Bowery Ballroom. He's along the ranks of my new favorites. If you live in New York and you're free that Friday, the show will definitely be worth the trek in the cold (and possibly rain).
  • Beatrice has two articles by the author of Matrimony Joshua Henkin relating to characters and the narrative time line. Both are engaging and interesting short essays about the nature of his craft, which are worth a read whether you're a writer or an avid reader.
Thats it. Happy Monday.

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"Sacrifice Everything for the Clean Line."

My favorite quote from Diane Di Prima "Recollections of My Life As A Woman." I was reminded of this last night while I thought of my future. It is why I'm awake early before work writing this morning.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

My New Love: Bonobo

Oh, to discover new music. It gives way to a wave of emotions. You feel all at once greatful because it feels as though you've found the one sound thats been missing from you life, and incredulous because you can't believe it existed in the world before without your knowledge. I've always been a fan of downtempo and became slowly familiar with NinjaTune over the past few years (artist include Diplo, Fog, Daedelus, and Saul Williams) occasionally downloading new tracks by various artist.

Probably a year ago I downloaded Bonobo's Flutter. I might have listened to it then but didn't really dig it at the time or maybe I intended to listen to it but never got around to it, whatever the case while listening to Bon Iver this morning I allowed my Itunes to play straight through and came across this gem.

I'll post the song up to tumblr and link back, after midnight. Been having problems uploading the song onto the tumblr sight. I'll get it up as soon as I can.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Screw the iphone, I want a Kindle

I'm usually on the fence about converting to new technology. When I made the change from cassettes to cd's and video tapes to dvd's it was rather reluctantly. (But come on, just one small scratch and you've wasted twenty dollars). I've stuck next to my little LG phone for years before I've even thought of upgrading. (Why would I need a camera on my phone? isn't that why I have a camera?)

But I'm dropping my crazy old cat lady shtick for the Kindle. One the one hand of course there is the fear always looming that books are becoming obsolete. I can't say I really believe that'll happen anytime soon. I don't think that we should avoid embracing technology because of fear (Unless that technology involves humanoid robots). Plus my right shoulder is probably going to be damaged when I get older from carrying all those books.

Alright...thats enough post holiday writing for me. If this is a tad bit choppy its because I still haven't really recovered from my Thanksgiving of drinking and debauchery. (Oh if Thanksgiving could be like this every year).

*Update: there is alot of uproar about the Kindle in regards to bloggers having there content sold and not being paid for it. The dialog on Edrants is pretty interesting. Check it out.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

One of My New Favorite Poems

Steve Cramer's "Curses" perfectly captures everything I recall about childhood curiosity. The times spent with my brother, testing the sounds of curse words as they left our mouths. Every other word was an explicative. Its always admirable when someone captures the common human experience in a way that's not boring or cliched, its the job of the writer and what makes you want to pick up a book and keep reading.

From his book Tongue & Groove:
Gleamed from gutter mouths, we knew their muscle before
meanings, the monosyllables raised to hallowed refrains
on our tongues. We glorified it, the older world of vice
& impiety. So just as we both wanted to be the fugitive
in cops & robbers, my best friend & I hid downstairs
& scrawled out a barrage of vulgarities—the heavy hitters,
of course, but then the half-dozen declensions of ass,
the lumped phrases of defecation,
the whole shameful lexicon
of anatomy. Then, those white
sheets defiled (microcosm
of our own soiled tabula rasa),
we crumpled them &—like shoving a bottled note to
the sea's blind tug—threw them to the ditch at wood's edge.
It was the same fertile gully where I'd picked, years before,
palmfuls of fruit &—the words monk's hood, nightshade
still a decade off—swallowed them. I hardly even remember
being sped to the ER to have my stomach pumped. Of course
our ink-spangled pages
never went anywhere,
though I wish I could hold
one now, dim record
of childhood's vast
testing ground—the
necessary absurdity & litter
of it all. Instead, those lost
notes were draped with stray
leaves, coiled with briars
which could never quite
keep from reach those
sweet-looking berries
we were told not to touch
but had to. And did.

Via Beatrice


Monday, November 12, 2007

I'm Disconnected

I haven't lapsed back into lazy bloggerville, I've just moved into a new apartment and currently have no internet connection. It should be on tonight, which means regularly scheduled blogging to this and my other two (three...) blogs will begin after this weekend.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Everything We Never Knew (another letter)

I was thinking of the whole planetarium experience, and how you asked me if seeing all that, the size of the universe, made me feel small. It put me in awe really, it amazed me, but I think it affected you a bit differently than it did me. I'm always feeling the weight of space and the weight of time pressing down on me. I'm not sure when it came about, but suddenly there it was, this information that kept me up at nights and gave me bouts of anxiety while I tried to sleep. I've felt that way so often its no longer surprising.

I wonder if other beings in other worlds have the same search for meaning.

What I wanted to say was, what makes me feel the way that you felt in that instance is knowledge. For me to feel that exact feeling and in that exact way is to be confronted with all the things in front of me that I have yet to learn. To stand in a library and see all the amazing books I might never have the time to read, it frightens me and fills me with the same optimism that you described. I suddenly feel both limited and limitless all at once, and usually filled with a new desire to read more, to learn more on every subject to ingest as much as I can, till I can no longer ingest. I'm more afraid of dying without knowing, than I am afraid of dying, to be frank (and I'm fairly afraid of death). I'm afraid that I can live my life and not know so much, to never have read the words of Nietzsche, right now makes me immediately sad. Infinitely sad. to know that there is still time, lightens the load. We all have the capacity to learn so much, to experience so much, to move beyond ourselves into something higher, to experience enlightenment (whatever your definition maybe), to be interested and passionate about things (ideas, art, people).

My startlingly large universe is filled with pages that I've never read. Yours is filled with supernovas that you'll never glimpse.


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Thursday, November 01, 2007

More from The Times, Love Letters

The letter from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is my favorites so far. It read like an actual love letter with the sensibilities of a writer. Here is an excerpt discussing the importance of liking:
Yesterday, too, I realised that I have never told you how much I like you - this before your text, by the way. Love is different. Love is ridiculous. Love can just happen, as it did to you when you saw me and asked Ifeanyi to introduce us (exactly seventeen months and three days ago) and to me as you tried to charm me with your watery knowledge of Achebe's work, but like requires reason. And yesterday I marvelled at how much I have come to like you. I like that you know when to leave and quietly shut my door and that when you do I never worry that you are not coming back. I like your cooking (I have never complimented you because I keep imagining those silly women who over-praise men for cooking, and those silly mothers who like to say, 'My son can cook-oh, so no woman will use food to tempt him'). I like the way your butt looks in your jeans, that flat elegance that you don't like me to point out, and I like that you make futile attempts at the gym to grow muscles we both know you never will and I like that you underline sentences in books to show me. I like that you like me and that your liking me makes me like myself.

I will, by the way, never write anything like this to you again. So smile all you want now, atulu

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