E. E. Cummings once said, “I’m living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart.” Once, on his way home from a party with his wife, he discovered that he didn’t have enough money for the subway. The party had been in a fancy apartment building, and they were riding in an elevator with a well-dressed gentleman of generous proportions. Cummings held his hat out in front of the man and said in a winning voice, “Sir, would you be interested in stepping on my hat?” The man looked confused, and Cummings added, “It will cost you five dollars.” The man, as in a dream, stepped obediently on the hat and paid the fee, and Cummings and his wife went home in a taxi.
“Up to a certain point, I’m telling myself, ‘No, I’m not yet writing. I’m just putting down ideas.’ Then, at a certain point, I tell myself, ‘Everything is already there. Now I just have to edit it.’ So that’s the idea: to split it into two. I put down notes; I edit it. Writing disappears.”
Spencer Reece has given us a Whitman-esque South Beach in The Prodigal Son minus the goddamn decadence.
Lines from Alice Fulton:
- “If song goes wrong,/ be dancerly.”
- “It is a ferocious thing/ to have your body as your instrument.”
- “This tune with mountains tied inside”
Cally Conan-Davies : Ace
Sandra Beasley : “No one// ever praises the ass of the peacock”
There’s much fun and wisdom in Anna Kamienska’s Notebook, but here are my favs :
- Talking too much about yourself is like wearing your clothes inside out.
- Where your pain is, there your heart lies also.
- her hedgehog, all alone, fell in love with a broom.
- The more we love another person, the more we love ourselves, and everything else, and the world.
- God doesn’t hesitate to cast his word on the wind, since he knows it won’t be lost.
- God had His reasons for keeping death under wraps.
- Sleep is what I’ll miss the most when I die.
A book like this may never be written again or at least not for some centuries. We are far too meek to sprawl so authorially, to psychologize so boldly, but there are few pleasures greater than reading such an epic. Perhaps the characters are a shade too aware of their deepest feelings and motivations and the narrator impossibly aware, but despite these minor niggles I was mesmerized and charmed throughout its 600 pages.
It is Paradise Lost passed through the rough and rowdy ethos of the American West; there’s an infernal trinity, its Pandorian and Puritan soil, cross-stitched with brother struggle and the American virtues of Liberty and Individuality along with the American sins of Liberty and Individuality. And though it is easy to get lost in its scope, time passing in its true speed, but a breath, years flipped in a few pages, there are so many moments, beyond mere baubles, so many fully characters (Samuel Hamilton, Lee and that serpent Kate), rich in wisdom or a clarion wickedness, that I can’t but hope that when these timid first person narratives have run their course that our literary men and women will embrace the freedom at the heart of “timshel”.
Michel Gondry, filmmaker, was asked to provide a commentary on Spike Jonze’s Being John Malkovich. This is a snippet:
Gondry on the introduction of Mr. Lester:
“I don’t know who this actor is, I bet he’s not alive anymore. It’s kinda gross to watch movies, everyone is dead… I remember watching the movie and thinking the shoes of the guy survived the guy, the guy was dead, but maybe his shoes were somewhere still functioning. Anyway, I’m supposed to be talking about this movie… who is this actor? [Gondry is told it’s Orson Bean] Is he still alive… [a few moments pass] Great news, Orson Bean is still alive.”
“Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.”
— Maurice Sendak
“A movie is made for an audience and a film is made for both the audience and the filmmakers. I think that The Game is a movie and I think Fight Club’s a film. I think that Fight Club is more than the sum of its parts, whereas Panic Room is the sum of its parts. I didn’t look at Panic Room and think: Wow, this is gonna set the world on fire. These are footnote movies, guilty pleasure movies. Thrillers. Woman-trapped-in-a-house movies. They’re not particularly important.”