near & far

I don’t feel madness in my wish to bite stars, but the earth still exists. And because the first truth is in the earth and the body. If the twinkling of the stars pains me, if this distant communication is possible, it is because something almost like a star quivers within me. Here I am back at the body. Return to my body. {…} Where does music go when it’s not playing? — she asked herself. And disarmed she would answer: may they make a harp of my nerves when I die.”

 

-Clarice Lispector
Near to the Wild Heart

love

“Admonitions To A Special Person”
by Anne Sexton
(The Paris Review, Issue 71)

Watch out for power
for its avalanche can bury you,
snow, snow, snow, smothering your mountain.

Watch out for hate,
it can open its mouth and you’ll fling yourself out
to eat off your leg, an instant leper.

Watch out for friends,
because when you betray them,
as you will,
they will bury their heads in the toilet
and flush themselves away.

Watch out for intellect,
because it knows so much it knows nothing
and leaves you hanging upside down,
mouthing knowledge as your heart
falls out of your mouth. Continue reading “love”

ma

And the question began to arise: What if I don’t have kids? Maybe this record is everything I want to say to my child whether I have them or not. And then, Who am I a parent to if I have no child? And maybe the point of what it really means — expanding, or working on yourself — is to begin with this one specific person you call “Mother.” And as you grow, you see Mother everywhere. You have a nonspecific feeling you call Mother. And it becomes very animistic — it becomes the ocean, it becomes the Sun, and it becomes other people. And for me, without a doubt literature has been a Mother, music has been a Mother. And art has been a Mother.”

-Devendra Banhart on Ma in the LA Review of Books

needy for beauty

I think of beauty as an absolute necessity. I don’t think it’s a privilege or an indulgence. It’s not even a quest. I think it’s almost like knowledge, which is to say, it’s what we were born for. I think finding, incorporating, and then representing beauty is what humans do. With or without authorities telling us what it is. I think it would exist in any case. The startle and the wonder of being in this place! … Some of it’s natural, some of it’s man-made. Some of it is a mere glance. It’s an absolute necessity. I don’t think we can do without it any more than we can do without dreams or oxygen.”

-Toni Morrison on beauty in The Paris Review 

&

She had all the attributes of a great character. She was capable of madness, like the affair with her land, but she also possessed a great lucidity. She embodied those contradictions that make for great characters, like when she nearly died upon learning that I enrolled in the Communist Party. But she is not the main hero of my body of work, nor the most permanent. No, I am the most permanent. Writing is to write for oneself… We separate ourselves from people by writing.”

-Marguerite Duras on her mother in
Me & Other Writing

excess

One must also recognize that morality is based on ideas and that all ideas are dangerous—dangerous because ideas can only lead to action and where the action leads no man can say. And dangerous in this respect: that confronted with the impossibility of remaining faithful to one’s beliefs, and the equal impossibility of becoming free of them, one can be driven to the most inhuman excesses.”

-James Baldwin
Stranger in the Village

💧

…and this was the point where this senseless, unworthy, non-meritorious, melancholy, brooding, but all the while sweet-as-honey and vividly convincing prophetic proclamation began to dissolve into a sound of an entirely different order, the words, sentences, voice, speech, morphing into slow gossamer-light increments into a so-called eternal sound of running water… a flurry of words began to whirl again, that the Whole exists in its wholeness, the Parts in their own particularity, and the Whole and the Parts cannot be lumped together, they don’t follow from one another, since the waterfall for example is not composed of individual drops, for single drops would never constitute a waterfall, but drops nonetheless do exist, and how heartrendingly beautiful they can be when they sparkle in the sunlight, indeed how long do they exist? a flash, and they are gone, but they still have time in this almost timeless flash to sparkle…

…perhaps there really is no other day, only this single one, or not even this, which amounts to the same thing now in his quivering brain, and the same holds true in this brain regarding the stories, those too had given his brain a good scare, for in vain there might be ten, a hundred, a thousand million stories day after day in this insane inferno, on that one and only day, or not even then, in vain does this or that happen and keep happening ten, a hundred, a thousand million times in the alleys and major intersections, on this one and only day, or not even then, it’s as if among all those stories only a single one were true, or not even one, so that the succession of days one after another, or the stack of stories mounting up one on top of the other: neither of them holds up, neither exists, one cannot rely on them, cannot rely on anything, here everything operates under the aegis of a raving madness, albeit not at a command from above or below but because each and every element of existence is insane in its own right.”

-László Krasznahorkai
The World Goes On

You don’t understand music: you hear it. So hear me with your whole body. When you come to read me you will ask why I don’t keep to painting and my exhibitions, since I write so rough and disorderly. It’s because now I feel the need for words—and what I’m writing is new to me because until now my true word has never been touched. The word is my fourth dimension… My unbalanced words are the wealth of my silence. I write in acrobatics and pirouettes in the air—I write because I so deeply want to speak. Though writing only gives me the full measure of silence. And if I say ‘I’ it’s because I dare not say ‘you,’ or ‘we’ or ‘one.’ I’m forced to the humility of personalizing myself belittling myself but I am the are-you… I am before, I am almost, I am never. And all of this I won when I stopped loving you… And every thing that occurs to me I note to pin it down. For I want to feel in my hands the quivering and lively nerve of the now and may that nerve resist me like a restless vein. And may it rebel, that nerve of life, and may it contort and throb. And may sapphires, amethysts and emeralds spill into the dark eroticism of abundant life: because in my darkness quakes at last the great topaz, word that has its own light…

Am I one of the weak? a weak woman possessed by incessant and mad rhythm? if I were solid and strong would I even have heard the rhythm? I find no answer: I am.”

-Clarice Lispector
Água Viva

não é nada

There we lived for a time, a time incapable of passing, in a space one could not even think of measuring. A passing of time outside of Time, a space that knew nothing of the usual habits of real space… O futile companion of my tedium, what hours of happy disquiet seemed to be ours! Hours of ashen wit, days of spatial longing, inner centuries of outer landscapes… And we did not ask ourselves what it was for, because we took pleasure in knowing it wasn’t for anything.”

-Fernando Pessoa
The Book of Disquiet