Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Auto-Fun Archive: October

quote: "First of all, are you our sort of person?" (Sylvia Plath, "The Applicant")
quote: "Until I was in my early thirties, I never sent a Birthday, Christmas, or anniversary card. Not because I didn't think to, but because I could never get it together in time. I had no training in this simple, respectful task. I specialized in chaos. In nearly destroying myself, and then rebuilding myself, which is exactly what I watched my mother do, year after year, throughout my childhood. It's amazing how this happens. How you become your parents, even though you are determined not to. And sometimes, you become them in ways that are quite transparent to your own eyes. Such as, becoming the opposite." (Augusten Burroughs, "Santa Shrink," Black Book)
link: fourfour's ANTM Recap: "Despite What She Says, [T]yra [B]anks is Not Jesus Christ."
quote: "From infancy on, we are all spies; the shame is not this but that the secrets to be discovered are so paltry and few." (John Updike)
link: "A Teenager in Love (So-Called)", New York Times. (opening line: "To a certain sort of woman who is somewhere between late youth and unacknowledged middle age, the name Jordan Catalano isn't a television reference, it is a sense memory.")
quote: "What makes humans human is precisely that they do not know the future. That is why they do the fateful and amusing things they do: who can say how anything will turn out? Therein lies the only hope for redemption, discovery, and -- let's be frank -- fun, fun, fun! There might be things people will get away with. And not just motel towels. There might be great illicit loves, enduring joy, faith-shaking accidents with farm machinery. But you have to not know in order to see what stories your life's efforts bring you. The mystery is all." (Lorrie Moore, "People Like That Are the Only People Here.")
link: David Sedaris interview, The Chicago Tribune
quote: "After all, your style is you. At the end the personality of a writer has so much to do with the work. The personality has to be humanly there. Personality is a debased word, I know, but it's what I mean. The writer's individual humanity, his word or gesture toward the world, has to appear almost like a character that makes contact with the reader. If the personality is vague or confused or merely literary, ca ne va pas." (Truman Capote, Paris Review Interview)
link:'How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read' Proves its Own Point [New York Magazine]
quote: "One day, standing in the river with my flyrod, I'll have the courage to admit my life." (Jim Harrison)
link:Video of Tegan & Sara covering Umbrella
Auto-Straddle "L Word" Pilot Recap

"I want to get up early one more morning, at least.
And go to my place with some coffee and wait.
Just wait, to see what's going to happen."
(Raymond Carver, "At Least")
FourFour's ANTM Recap 10-22
The past around us is deeper than.
Present events defy us, the past
Has no such scruples.
(Jack Spicer, "Six Poems for Poetry Chicago")

Marjane Satrapi-Interview with Deborah Soloman at NY Times Magazine
quote: "I used to hate writing assignments, but now I enjoy them. I realized that the purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure poor reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!" (Calvin, Calvin and Hobbes)
link: My Favorite part of this is the Comments [Why Don't We Get Drunk and Blog?]
quote: "None of us seemed to know the nature of the coincidences that bound us together, as I know now, or that junkies and masochists and hookers and those who have squandered everything are the ring of brightest angels around heaven." (Rick Moody, The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven)
quote: "What a terrible mistake to let go of something wonderful for something real." (Miranda July, "Making Love in 2003," No one belongs here more than you.)
Cecily Von Ziegesar's Note to GG Readers on Amazon
Gran: Talking to yourself dear? That's the first sign of madness, you know.
Eddie: Really? I thought it was talking to you.
(Absolutely Fabulous)
link: Girlbomb: How Long Were You Working On Your First Book?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Lorrie Moore, from the short stories of

"... her husband had said, in the circuitous syntax and ponderous Louisiana drawl that, like so much else about him, had once made her misty with desire and now drove her nuts with scorn."
("Real Estate," Birds of America)

"She glared at him and tried not to cry. She hadn't loved him enough and he had sensed it. She hadn't really loved him at all, not really. But she had liked him a lot! So it still seemed unfair. A bone in her opened up, gleaming and pale, and she held it to the light and spoke from it:
"I want to know one thing." She paused, not really for effect, but it had one. "Did you have oral sex?"
("Willing," Like Life)

"It is like having a book out from the library.
it is like constantly having a book out from the library."
("How to be an other Woman," Self Help)

"Sidra. This is not right! You need to go out with someone really smart for a change."
"I've been out with smart. I've been out with someone who had two Ph.D's. We spent all of our time in bed with the light on, proofreading his vita." She sighed. "Every little thing he'd ever done, every little, little, little. I mean, have you ever seen a vita?"
("Willing," Like Life)

"That had been in Agnes's mishmash decade, after college. She had lived improvisationally then, getting this job or that, in restaurants or offices, taking a class or two, not thinking too far ahead, negotiating the precariousness and subway flus and scrimping for an occasional manicure or a play. Such a life required much exaggerated self-esteem. It engaged gross quantitities of hope and despair and set them wildly side by side, like a Third World country of the heart. Her days grew messy with contradictions. When she went for walks, for her health, cinders would spot her cheecks and soot would settle in the furled leaf of each ear. Her shoes became unspeakable. Her blouses darkened in a breeze, and a blast of bus exhaust might linger in her hair for hours. Finally, her old asthma returned and, with a hacking , incressant cough, she gave up."
("Agnes of Iowa," Birds of America)

"The only expression she can get from Andrew is a derisive one. He is a traffic cop. She is the speeding flower child."
("Charades," Birds of America)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

George Szirtes: "Questions for Stan Laurel" and "Canzone"

From Guernica/Two Poems:
by George Szirtes
(link to Gurenica)

Questions for Stan Laurel

How could the body not be comical
when the music it plays is the fiddling of bones,
the deep fart of flesh in the stalls,
the high whine of bagpipes in the ear,
a fusillade of drumming automatics,
a small rattling of hollow balls,
the faint harmonics of the queer?

How could the body not be comical when one
is fat, the other thin and the belly droops
to the crotch, and the sliding trombone
is the ripping of pants in the sunshine,
when comedy is being unhurt in the shadow
of the great cliff having fallen from air
and proving the hard ground harmless?

How could the body not be comical when grace
is the other name of loss, along with scapegrace, disgrace,
the un-grace entailed in clumsiness?
How could your body not be mine and mine yours
in the constant exchange of bodies, from the svelte
athlete, the ploughman with his lunch, the groan
of the almost defeated Bulgarian weightlifter,

when it is the child’s body that holds
no surprises? When the song and dance
you break into begins as something twangs
in the doorway and the barbershop boys sing
you into the eternal bar kept open for such as you,
and the terrible force of the mallet on your head
makes you break into your one true falsetto.
for Marilyn Hacker

Somewhere there is a perfect architecture
where light, form, shadow, space all move
to form a language beyond architecture,
where to dream of the wrong architecture
is to dream of dying. But waking bans
the dream and reinvents the architecture
of the empty day that is all architecture
and no dream. Is there somewhere a culprit
we might blame for this, and is the culprit
ourselves? We make our own architecture
and live in it as in a house of ill fame,
it being all we desire of fame.

Our fame is inward: it is a private fame
for which we must create an architecture
of outwardness if only because fame
cannot remain private if it is to be fame.
We know our names and must pronounce the bans
from the pulpit of our anonymous fame.
Who can object to this? It is our own fame
we give names to, couple with and move
house with. It is ourselves we move
and no one else. We proclaim our fame
to the walls that recognise a culprit
when they hear one: name itself is culprit.

And what, after all, is it to be a culprit?
It is to have a certain portion of fame
and take it for self, blaming the culprit
for desire to survive merely as a culprit.
It is the self building an architecture
in which it may be possible to be a culprit.
But who could bear always to be a culprit,
a culprit, what is more, at one remove
beyond the self, unable to move
a culprit in a pulpit perhaps but still a culprit,
subject therefore to all the usual bans,
both hating and welcoming such bans?

There’s a certain kind of building the city bans,
the builder of which it treats as a culprit,
applying not only these but other bans,
because cities depend on applying bans
in case the rampant self obscures the fame
due only to cities. Order dictates bans:
bans dictate anonymity. No one bans
no one. None may construct the architecture
that is merely a building calling itself architecture.
The self may bar itself against some bans
but no self can afford to stay still. It must move.
There’s always another building, one more move.

Self is an architecture that must move
in order to accommodate. No self bans
movement because it knows that to move
is to survive. Heart must beat, blood move
around the building. To live is to be a culprit.
And then another enters with a neat move
slick as a poem that is obliged to move
the heart, which is all a self can know of fame,
bestowing fame through accommodation. Fame
at last is words like these, constantly on the move
turning the building into architecture
or simply calling the building architecture.

I touch the miraculous architecture
of your face feeling its own solitary fame
knowing myself both self and culprit.
Something inside the word rebels, bans
conversation. It’s language on the move.

Micheal Cunningham, from the novels of

"We become the stories we tell about ourselves." (A Home at the End of the World)

"If the life you lead is not the one you dreamed about, then flee." (A Home at the End of the World)

"She always surprises you this way, by knowing more than you think she does. Louis wonders if they're calculated, these little demonstrations of self-knowledge that pepper Clarissa's wise, hostessy performance. She seems, at times, to have read your thoughts. She disarms you by saying, essentially, I know what you're thinking and I agree, I'm ridiculous, I'm far less than I could have been and I'd like to be otherwise but I can't seem to help myself. You find that you move, almost against your will, from being irritated with her to consoling her, helping her back into her performance so that she can be comfortable again and you can resume feeling irritated." (The Hours)

"Perhaps, in the extravagance of youth, we give away our devotions easily and all but arbitrarily, on the mistaken assumption that we'll always have more to give." (A Home at the End of the World)

"Like many of us, she had grown up expecting romance to bestow dignity and direction." (A Home at the End of the World)

Friday, October 26, 2007

John Updike, random quotes of

"From infancy on, we are all spies; the shame is not this but that the secrets to be discovered are so paltry and few."

"The true New Yorker secretly believes that anyone living anywhere else must somehow, in a sense, be kidding.”

"Most of American life consists of driving somewhere and then returning home, wondering why the hell you went.”

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Stephen Dunn: "Corners" and selections from "Loves"


I've sought out corner bars, lived in corner houses;
like everyone else I've reserved
corner tables, thinking they'd be sufficient.
I've met at corners
perceived as crossroads, lonved to find love
leaning against a lamp post
but have known the abruptness of corners too,
the pivot, the silence.
I've sat in corners at parties hoping for someone
who knew the virtue
of both distance and close quarters, someone with a corner person's taste
for intimacy, hard won, rising out of shyness
and desire.
And I've turned corners there was no going back to,
in the middle of a room that led
to Spain or solitude.
And always the thin line between corner
and cornered,
the good corners of bodies and those severe bodies
that permit no repose,
the places we retreat to, the places we can't bear
to be found.

-from Not Dancing (1984) and New & Selected Poems (1994)


From "Loves":

"I love love, for example,
its diminishments and renewals,
I love being the
stupidest happy kid on the block."

"So good to find htem:
he people who've
discovered fraudulence in their lives
who've cast off, say
a twenty-year lie."

"Those who've gotten away from me:
read this, and call.
Those whom I've hurt:
I wanted everything, or not enough.
It was all my fault."

"I love the number of people
you can love at the same time,
one deep erotic love,
radiating even to strangers,
cynics, making a temporary sense
of the senseless, choreful day."

"Listen, my truest love.
I've tried to clear a late century place for us
in among the shards.
Lie down, tell me what you need.
Here is where loneliness can live
with failure,
and nothing's complete.
I love how we go on."

-from New & Selected Poems (1994)

Monday, October 1, 2007