a whole new thing

I “synched” my book to my Kindle for PC copy of Brothers Karamazov yesterday. By that I mean I found my place on my Kindle for PC software in the book and then found the place in the actual copy of the book and started reading from there.

This morning I got up and found this passage again that I read last night:

“If I did not believe in life, if I were to lose faith in the woman I love, if I were to become convinced of chaos, if I were struck even by all the horrors of human disillusionment—still I would want to live….”

“…. I’ve asked myself many times: is there such despair in the world as could overcome this wild and perhaps indent thirst for life in me, and have decided that apparently there is not…”

“I want to live, and I do live, even if it be against logic. Though I do not believe in the order of things, still the sticky little leaves that come out in the spring are dear to me, the blue sky is dear to me, some people are dear to me, … some human deeds are dear to me, which one has perhaps long ceased believing in, but still honors with with one’s heart, out of old habit.”

I find myself often thinking about joie de vivre (joy or zest for life).

I think that I find this in much of Mozart’s music, especially the operas.

Mozart had a short life by modern standards, but he packed into it so much wonderful music that breaths with this sentiment, this zest for just being alive.

In fact when I am most in touch with music I also feel this very deeply even as my ego fades in the act of what I am doing.

The Atlantic - Fiction 2011

I finished reading this issue of Atlantic from cover to cover last night omitting only a short essay at the end of the book by John Barth.

I now find that all of these are online for anyone to read. The short stories were just what the doctor ordered for me for r & r: well written, engaging, and often brutal.

The final essay reminds me a bit of the process I just mentioned in music making: that is the quietening of personality and other distractions and allowing the music to happen and to be the only thing happening

This is difficult and I’m not sure how often I attain this state, only that it like other aspects of my technique is something I am aiming at in my work.

Hello, Write Soon Fish

Don’t Write What You Know – Magazine – The Atlantic

This essay by Brett Anthony Johnston follows nine short stories and packs as big a wallop as a well written piece of fiction.

Here’s a sample.

“I don’t know the origin of the “write what you know” logic. A lot of folks attribute it to Hemingway, but what I find is his having said this:

“From all things that you know and all those you cannot know, you make something through your invention that is not a representation but a whole new thing truer than anything true and alive.”

If this is the logic’s origin, then maybe what’s happened is akin to that old game called Telephone. In the game, one kid whispers a message to a second kid and then that kid whispers it to a third and so on, until the message circles the room and returns to the first kid. The message is always altered, minimized, and corrupted by translation. “Bill is smart to sit in the grass” becomes “Bill is a smart-ass.” A similar transmission problem undermines the logic of writing what you know and, ironically, Hemingway may have been arguing against it all along. The very act of committing an experience to the page is necessarily an act of reduction, and regardless of craft or skill, vision or voice, the result is a story beholden to and inevitably eclipsed by source material.”

I highly recommend the entire essay and obviously not just for aspiring writers.

“A whole new thing” in Hemingway’s phrase above can find its origin in poetry, music, fiction and art. I sometimes think of the phrase, ” ‘art‘ is ‘artificial.’ ” I’m not sure of the meaning exactly except that it makes think of the necessary limits of art. That music is not life. Fiction is not life. Story itself is not life.

But these things and other things help us make meaning. They contribute to a fundamentally deepening of the zest for being alive for the short time we each are given.


China Says Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and Other Pop Stars Are a Threat – NYTimes.com

The repression is song-specific. Hilarious (due to the light nature of the music) and tragic (due to the life killing nature of censorship) at the same time.


Here are 4 links of articles I plan to check out further. Since I haven’t read them, I don’t know much about them other than they have intrigued me enough to bookmark.

Literature Brings the Physical Past to Life – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Seems to point toward using Darwinian thinking in literary theory.

A Walk to Remember to Remember | Full-Stop.net

Begins with an interesting description of the narrator’s first steps which he accurately describes as “a kind of delayed falling forward.” My undergrad class in Physical Anthropology taught me the same thing: that walking is basically falling and catching yourself.

Kazin’s Complaint « Commentary Magazine

Reviews of books about/by a literary critic who I have dabbled in.

Review: Introducing Mr. Trevor-Roper | The National Interest

I have also read some of Trevor-Roper’s work as well. This is one I remember:


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