Power is being told you are not loved and not being destroyed by it.Madonna, allegedly. (via abrelosojos)
His girlfriend was making excuses. Maybe he’d hear the real story later, and maybe he wouldn’t, though he suspected he would. There was so much dramatic tension built up all over her, in every tight cell of her body, and he loved watching it unfold. Whatever emotions she was experiencing—and they were not entirely bad; in fact, they were sometimes so delicate and passionate that it was as if he could see right through to her soul—she made it count. On a daily basis, she took great big gulps of feelings, and whatever was left over she would pass on to him. Being with Robin was like being stabbed with a million pinpricks at once. He was shocked by how good that felt.Jami Attenberg, The Middlesteins
She was not sentimental. But she had excess love in her heart now; she knew that was true. She had taken it back from her father. It had not disappeared. But it needed redirection. Robin looked at Daniel and had the meanest thought of her entire life. He’ll do.Jami Attenberg, The Middlesteins
People in their twenties and thirties were now moving [to Seattle] (as their parents had done only towards the ends of their lives) for the sake of the climate and the natural amenities of a place…the difference was that they were coming at the beginning of their careers. They arrived as kayakers, hikers, balloonists, birdwatchers, skiers, and mountain bikers who also happened to have degrees in math and marketing and computer science…This great migration of open-air hobbyists had won Seattle a curious niche in urban history, as the first big city to which people had fled in order to be closer to nature.Jonathan Raban, Driving Home
You cannot hope to be a scholar. But what you can do is to curb arrogance; what you can do is to rise above pleasures and pains; you can be superior to the lure of popularity; you can keep your temper with the foolish and ungrateful, yes, and even care for them.Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Here [in Seattle], more than anywhere else I know, the tenure of civilization appears unexpectedly provisional and insecure. It didn’t take to this soil as it took elsewhere. The Indians had lived on tiptoe, in small numbers, on the extreme fringes of the forest, barely grazing the surface of the water. Then the great self-important juggernaut of American capitalism rumbled through the Pacific Northwest, clearing it with chainsaws, paving it with asphalt, building bridges, banks, insurance towers, tract housing, and all the rest. Yet on this overcast morning, only a mile offshore, you’d hardly notice, so modest seemed its impact, compared with the urgent press of the forest and swirl of the tide. Squint a little and you might, for all intents and purposes, be back in 1792, looking out on a nature that still awaited men with grandiose designs on it.Jonathan Raban, Passage to Juneau (Enjoying this book to nearly ecstatic degrees.)
Jonathan Raban, For Love & Money (I love these tidbits.)
[Robert] Lowell probably qualified as the worst fisherman in the world. His idea of fly-casting was to wave his line about until it tangled into a mare’s nest, then chuck this mess at the water, where it fell with a tremendous splash and made frightened moorhens take to the trees for cover. Frequently this splash was followed by another, bigger splash, when Lowell’s enthusiasm for mysterious underwater kingdoms got the better of him and the fish were joined by a whopping bespectacled writer, calling—unnecessarily, but not without pleasure—“I fell in.”
He fell into an Orkney lock. He fell into a trout-stream in Kent which looked like a trench in the First World War. He fell into a very pretty artifical lake on the outskirts of Guildford. I only knew Lowell for the last seven years of his life, but I imagine that there are few fishable waters in Massachusetts and Ohio which Lowell didn’t at some point fall into.
Connolly called journalism the Blue Bugloss, the ‘deadliest of the weeds on Crabbe’s heath’…The most damaging aspect of feature journalism is the way it turns life into a series of larks. A few days spent in someone else’s world…is simply not enough to experience it as real…So the writer slips into a style of mechanical facetious irony as he deals with this wrong-end-of-the-telescope view of the world…he tries to make language itself mask and make up for the fundamental shallowness of his experience…He is fatally engaged by the mere business of description…The nature of journalism is such that it forces the writer into a purely professional relationship with his subject.Jonathan Raban, For Love & Money (Yeah! Rid the world of feature journalism!) (I’m kidding) (I’m not at all kidding)
The New Criticism, with its emphasis on the single sentence, the local metaphor, the paragraph, makes no sense of his work at all. For Trollope seized on the length of the novel as its most important formal attribute. His books are masterpieces of literary architecture on a large scale; his metaphors are long-range ones; his greatest effects come from playing whole chapters against each other, from a subtle modulation of tone that may take hundreds of pages to achieve. Trying to write about Trollope, the first thing one discovers is that he offers very few brief quotations that are resonant…His irony is not an irony of remarks; it is an entire lifetime’s strategy for surviving in an untenable world.Jonathan Raban, For Love & Money (It occurs to me that, although he certainly is the master of the quotable remark, the last clause could absolutely apply to St. Aubyn’s style and tone.)
For in his own life, Trollope had grasped one overwhelming, cold and relativist truth: that the fundamental system of values on which society was based, its measure of good and evil, failure and success, was, essentially, one of manners…If Trollope usually manipulates the plot to bring about happy ending and good marriages, he does so with a kind of breezy wilfulness which is itself an expression of a moral cynicism so profound and conclusive that it has generally been mistaken for benignity. Trollope is no more benign than Kafka; and Trollope’s exploration of social terror is in some ways very close to Kafka’s exploration of psychological terror.Jonathan Raban, For Love & Money
I’m in love with you. Yeah, it’s that bad. You’re so beautiful to me. Shut up, let me tell you, let me. Every time I look at your face, or even remember it, it wrecks me. And the way you are with me; you’re just fun and you shit all over me and you make fun of me and you’re real. I don’t have enough time in any day to think about you enough. I feel like I’m gonna live a thousand years cause that’s how long it’s gonna take me to have ONE thought about you which is that I’m crazy about you. I don’t wanna be with anybody else. I don’t. I really don’t. I don’t think about women anymore. I think about you. I had a dream the other night that you and I were on a train. We were on this train and you were holding my hand. That’s the whole dream: you were holding my hand and I felt you holding my hand. I woke up and I couldn’t believe it wasn’t real. I’m sick in love with you. It’s like a condition; it’s like polio. I feel like I’m gonna die if I can’t be with you and I can’t be with you so, I’m gonna die and I don’t care cause I was brought into existence to know you, and that’s enough…Louis CK (via hayiey)
I am probably 39% cuter in the fall
Jonathan Franzen, Strong Motion (via ianc-b)
'It's cheap, I know. But there's something else about the place … a coldness, an ugliness. I mean every week there's some incredibly twisted crime here. And somehow all the people who think Boston's a center of culture and education manage to ignore it. They see this cute, manageable, safe city, you know, that's not as scary as New York. It's like New York, only better. But I look and I see overt racism and a rotten climate and elevated cancer rates and bad drivers and a harbor full of sewage, and I see all these young mothers with their Saabs in Cambridge blissing out on being in Cambridge, and who wouldn't be revolted?'
Louis was laughing.
'You laugh,' Renee said. 'It's obviously a problem I have. I always wanted to live here. But then I found out that the part of me that made this place attractive, the part of me I shared with the other people who actively wanted to be here, was not a part of me that I liked anymore. And the fact that I'm still here after six years is this ghastly reminder of something about myself I wish I'd forgotten six years ago. …'
n. a feast celebrated on the day of your 26th birthday, which marks the point at which your youth finally expires as a valid excuse—when you must begin harvesting your crops, even if they’ve barely taken root—and the point at which the days will begin to feel shorter as they pass, until even the pollen in the air reminds you of the coming snow.
Oh cool turning 26 in a month hooray
Thackeray had less faith [than Tolstoy] in the human potential for happiness, and throughout Vanity Fair the principle behind human relationships is conflict. Instead, that is, of concentrating hostility into scenes of battle, Thackeray omits the battle-scenes and…illustrates how misleading it is to imagine war and peace as separate areas…For him war is not, as it is for Tolstoy, something into which innocent mankind is suddenly plunged by the machinations of a ruthless tyrant. War is implicit in the greed and self-seeking of what we call peace.John Carey, Intr. to Vanity Fair