“It took me almost another decade after graduate school to figure out what writing really is, or at least what it could be for me; and what prompted this second lesson in language was my discovery of certain remaindered books … in which virtually every sentence had the force and feel of a climax, in which almost every sentence was a vivid extremity of language, an abruption, a definitive inquietude. These were books written by writers who recognized the sentence as the one true theater of endeavor, as the place where writing comes to a point and attains its ultimacy. As a reader, I finally knew what I wanted to read, and as someone now yearning to become a writer, I knew exactly what I wanted to try to write: narratives of steep verbal topography, narratives in which the sentence is a complete, portable solitude, a minute immediacy of consummated language—the sort of sentence that, even when liberated from its receiving context, impresses itself upon the eye and the ear as a totality, an omnitude, unto itself. I once later tried to define this kind of sentence as “an outcry combining the acoustical elegance of the aphorism with the force and utility of the load-bearing, tractional sentence of more or less conventional narrative.” The writers of such sentences became the writers I read and reread. I favored books that you could open to any page and find in every paragraph sentences that had been worked and reworked until their forms and contours and their organizations of sound had about them an air of having been foreordained—as if this combination of words could not be improved upon and had finished readying itself for infinity.” —Gary Lutz, “The Sentence is a Lonely Place,” reprinted in The Believer in 2009.
“Nowadays, the passion of design educators seems to be technology; they fear that computer illiteracy will handicap their graduates. But it’s the broader kind of illiteracy that’s more profoundly troubling. Until educators find a way to expose their students to a meaningful range of culture, graduates will continue to speak in languages that only their classmates understand. And designers, more and more, will end up talking to themselves.” —Michael Bierut in”Why Designers Can’t Think,” essay # 2 of his excellent Seventy-Nine Short Essays on Design, now out in paperback. An added treat for design nerds – each essay in the book is set in a different typeface that plays on its subject. (via explore-blog)
“Today is my thirtieth birthday and I sit on the ocean wave in the schoolyard and wait for Kate and think of nothing. Now in the thirty-first year of my dark pilgrimage on this earth and knowing less than I ever knew before, having learned only to recognize merde when I see it, having inherited no more from my father than a good nose for merde, for every species of shit that flies—my only talent—smelling merde from every quarter, living in fact in the very century of merde, the great shithouse of scientific humanism where needs are satisfied, everyone becomes an anyone, a warm and creative person, and prospers like a dung beetle, and one hundred percent of people are humanists and ninety-eight percent believe in God, and men are dead, dead, dead; and the malaise has settled like a fall-out and what people really fear is not that the bomb will fall but that the bomb will not fall—on this my thirtieth birthday, I know nothing and there is nothing to do but fall prey to desire.” —Walker Percy, The Moviegoer (1961), Vintage International, 1998, p. 228, quoted with characteristic precision by Ms.Odradek. (via mills)
“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.” —Paulo Coelho (via eastatlanta)
“If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed to trap them before they escape.” —Ray Bradbury (via bbook)
“texts are produced in particular historical moments and with specific horizons of possibility. they are part of a repertoire of conversations, questions, assumptions, political environments, available data, and theoretical resources. these discursive conglomerates shift over time—sometimes by slow increments, and sometimes with dramatic jolts. when new formations become the familiar terrain, it becomes difficult to recall the previous landscape with its distinctive assemblage of what could be thought and what seemed significant. durable texts find new meanings in new historical contexts and evolving preoccupations. but as texts are read in new circumstances, the issues that formed them are often forgotten, as the edges of the old landscape are eroded by time.” — Gayle Rubin (via Libby Sharrow)