Saturday

he’s dead


The book I was reading was this book I took out of the library by mistake. They gave me the wrong book, and I didn't notice it till I got back to my room. They gave me Out of Africa, by Isak Dinesen. I thought it was going to stink, but it didn’t. It was a very good book. I’m quite illiterate, but I read a lot. My favorite author is my brother D.B., and my next favorite is Ring Lardner. My brother gave me a book by Ring Lardner for my birthday, just before I went to Pencey. It had these very funny, crazy plays in it, and then it had this one story about a traffic cop that falls in love with this very cute girl that’s always speeding. Only, he’s married, the cop, so be can’t marry her or anything. Then this girl gets killed, because she's always speeding. That story just about killed me. What I like best is a book that’s at least funny once in a while. I read a lot of classical books, like The Return of the Native and all, and I like them, and I read a lot of war books and mysteries and all, but they don’t knock me out too much. What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though. I wouldn’t mind calling this Isak Dinesen up. And Ring Lardner, except that D.B. told me he’s dead.


J. D. Salinger ( January 1, 1919 - January 27, 2010)

Thursday

the opening of Donald Barthelme’s Snow White


SHE is a tall dark beauty containing a great many beauty spots: one above the breast, one above the belly, one above the knee, one above the ankle, one above the buttock, one on the back of the neck. All of these are on the left side, more or less in a row, as you go up and down:


*

*

*

*

*

*



The hair is black as ebony, the skin white as snow.



more at The Evening Redness in the West

Sunday

Once upon a time


a little red hen was picking up stones and worms and seeds in a barnyard when something fell on her head. “The heavens are falling down!” she shouted, and she began to run, still shouting, “The heavens are falling down!” All the hens that she met and all the roosters and turkeys and ducks laughed at her, smugly, the way you laugh at one who is terrified when you aren't. “What did you say?” they chortled. “The heavens are falling down!” cried the little red hen. Finally a very pompous rooster said to her, “Don't be silly, my dear, it was only a pea that fell on your head.” And he laughed and laughed and everybody else except the little red hen laughed. Then suddenly with an awful roar great chunks of crystalized cloud and huge blocks of icy blue sky began to drop on everybody from above, and everybody was killed, the laughing rooster and the little red hen and everybody else in the barnyard, for the heavens actually were falling down.

Moral: It wouldn't surprise me a bit if they did.

James Thurber, Fables for Our Time

Wednesday

The Reality of the Symbol


A list of printing errors in the list of printing errors.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Monday

The Reality of the Symbol


(703): fucking a dude
(703): i mean: fucking a, dude
(703): wow, that comma made all the difference there

texts from last night

Saturday

opening lines


This is the saddest story I have ever heard.

The Good Soldier
Ford Madox Ford

Friday

Thursday

opening lines


It happened this way.

Monsieur Quixote
Graham Greene

Friday

The Reality of the Symbol (part 1)


It is without any apparent suspicion of what she is about that the powerfully built housewife who is portrayed by Giotto in the Arena Chapel beneath the label “Charity,” and a reproduction of whose portrait hung upon the wall of my schoolroom at Combray, incarnates that virtue, for it seems impossible, that any thought of charity can ever have found expression in her vulgar and energetic face.

By a fine stroke of the painter's invention she is tumbling all the treasures of the earth at her feet, but exactly as if she were treading grapes in a wine-press to extract their juice, or, still more, as if she had climbed on a heap of sacks to raise herself higher; and she is holding out her flaming heart to God, or shall we say 'handing' it to Him, exactly as a cook might hand up a corkscrew through the skylight of her underground kitchen to some one who had called down to ask her for it from the ground-level above.

Proust
Combray

Wednesday

The Reality of the Symbol (part 2)


Giotto's “Envy,” again, should have had some look on her face of envy.

But in this fresco, too, the symbol occupies so large a place and is represented with such realism; the serpent hissing between the lips of Envy is so huge, and so completely fills her wide-opened mouth that the muscles of her face are strained and contorted, like a child's who is filling a balloon with his breath, and that Envy, and we ourselves for that matter, when we look at her, since all her attention and ours are concentrated on the action of her lips, have no time, almost, to spare for envious thoughts.

Despite all the admiration that M. Swann might profess for these figures of Giotto, it was a long time before I could find any pleasure in seeing in our schoolroom (where the copies he had brought me were hung) that Charity devoid of charity, that Envy who looked like nothing so much as a plate in some medical book, illustrating the compression of the glottis or uvula by a tumour in the tongue, or by the introduction of the operator's instrument.

But in later years I understood that the arresting strangeness, the special beauty of these frescoes lay in the great part played in each of them by its symbols, while the fact that these were depicted, not as symbols (for the thought symbolised was nowhere expressed), but as real things, actually felt or materially handled, added something more precise and more literal to their meaning, something more concrete and more striking to the lesson they imparted.

Are not the thoughts of men and women in the agony of death often turned towards the practical, painful, obscure, internal, intestinal aspect, towards that 'seamy side' of death which is, as it happens, the side that death actually presents to them and forces them to feel, a side which far more closely resembles a crushing burden, a difficulty in breathing, a destroying thirst, than the abstract idea to which we are accustomed to give the name of Death?

Proust
Combray

Monday

diary entry from January 9, 2008


I can’t believe it’s taken me nine days to figure out that several of my New Year’s resolutions are at odds with each other.

My resolution to grow grotesquely long fingernails conflicts with my resolution to learn Japanese origami, my resolution to become more environmentally aware conflicts with my resolution to worry less, and my resolution to feed dependent family members more regularly conflicts with my resolution to cut down on expenses.

I take a moment to think about who I am and where I’m headed. Looks like origami class, the environment, and that extra food budget will have to wait until next year.

Sunday

Saturday

blog resolutions

  1. No more posts secretly aimed at one particular person (not always the same person) who might be reading that I have a crush on.
  2. Make sure posts work as well in ascending order (for anyone following day-by-day) as they do going down.
  3. Make sure each post is as interesting on its own as it is in context.
  4. Slightly higher proportion of personal/self-referential posts.
  5. More pictures of Asia Argento.
  6. No long posts.
  7. No series I instantly lose interest in.
  8. Don't post anything that seems "Internet-y."
  9. Structure IS content.