- passage from "Everyman" by Philip Roth, Vintage International p. 126-7
Sunday, July 25, 2010
"Yet wide as it was, it was still his beach and at the center of the circles in which his mind revolved when he remembered the best of boyhood. But how much time could a man spend remembering the best of his boyhood? What about enjoying the best of old age? Or was the best of old age just that--the longing for the best of boyhood, for the tubular sprout that was then his body and that rode the waves from way out where they began to build, rode them with his arms pointed like an arrowhead and the skinny rest of him following behind like the arrow's shaft, rode them all the way in to where his rib cage scraped against the tiny sharp pebbles and jagged clamshells and pulverized seashells at the edge of the shore and he hustled to his feet and hurriedly turned and went lurching through the low surf until it was knee high and deep enough for him to plunge in and begin swimming madly out to the rising breakers--into the advancing, green Atlantic, rolling unstoppably toward him like the obstinate fact of the future--and, if he was lucky, make it there in time to catch the next big wave and then the next and the next and the next until from the low slant of inland sunlight glittering across the water he knew it was time to go. He ran home barefoot and wet and salty, remembering the mightiness of that immense sea boiling in his own two ears and licking his forearm to taste his skin fresh from the ocean and baked by the sun. Along with the ecstasy of a whole day of being battered silly by the sea, the taste and the smell intoxicated him so that he was driven to the brink of biting down with his teeth to tear out a chunk of himself and savor his fleshy existence."
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Stay with us. Don't sink to the bottom
like a fish going to sleep.
Be with the ocean moving steadily all night,
not scattered like a rainstorm.
The spring we're looking for
is somewhere in this murkiness.
See the night-lights up there traveling together,
the candle awake in its gold dish.
Don't slide into the cracks of ground like spilled mercury.
When the full moon comes out, look around.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
"It would be senseless for the author to try to convince the reader that his characters once actually lived. They were not born of a mother's womb; they were born of a stimulating phrase or two from a basic situation. Tomas was born of the saying, 'Einmal ist keinmal.' Tereza was born of the rumbling of a stomach.
The first time she went to Tomas's flat, her insides began to rumble. And no wonder: she had had nothing to eat since breakfast but a quick sandwich on the platform before boarding the train. She had concentrated on the daring journey ahead of her and forgotten about food. But when we ignore the body, we are more easily victimized by it. She felt terrible standing there in front of Tomas listening to her belly speak out. She felt like crying. Fortunately, after the first ten seconds Tomas put his arms around her and made her forget her ventral voices."
-Milan Kundera, p. 39 "The Unbearable Lightness of Being"
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Be free, dear graduate. That's what my advice is:
And if it's trouble for which you hunger,
Don't wait for midlife to have your crisis.
It's better to do it when you're younger.
Don't wait until you're older and at the pinnacle
And people fawn over you and hail your
So-called achievements. Not to be cynical,
But youth is the best time for a big bold failure.
You won't learn this from reading Plato or Socrates:
But rather than average, why not go for Really Really Bad?
Better to be a fool than one of the mediocrities.
And a major failure can bring you closer to your dad.
Fritter away your dough. Don't plan, don't build.
He's waiting. That fatted calf needs to be killed.
-Garrison Keillor, from his recently published book "77 Love Sonnets".
It is time to share between us the words we find beautiful, those which grasp at some deeper part of ourselves, time to share the delicious slice of cake between us all.