Elsewhere… March 7, 2014

  • "For me, the writing life doesn’t just happen when I sit at the writing desk. It is a life lived with…"
    “For me, the writing life doesn’t just happen when I sit at the writing desk. It is a life lived with a centering principle, and mine is this: that I will pay close attention to this world I find myself in. ‘My heart keeps open house,’ was the way the poet Theodore Roethke put it in a poem. And rendering in language what one sees through the opened windows and doors of that house is a way of bearing witness to the mystery of what it is to be alive in this world.”

    Julia Alvarez, quoted in 1998 in The Writer magazine, with the quotation republished in “Great Writing Tips from 125 Years of The Writer,” in the magazine’s April 2012 issue. (via apoetreflects)

  • RIP Harold Ramis, via The Believer (http://the.blvr.org/Nuwq3s)
    THE BELIEVER: You had that great line in your New Yorker profile, “Sometimes what people perceive as my smile is a grimace of pain.”

    HAROLD RAMIS: That about sums it up. But part of my smile is also about how absurd it all is. I think I got in touch with that absurdity quite young. Sometimes it’s hysterical irony and sometimes it’s a painful irony. Life has all of these contradictory feelings and contradictory results. People spend their whole lives struggling to get what they think they want, and even if they get it, they find that it’s either not what they wanted, or it comes with so many unwanted consequences. We’re always shut off from pure joy.

  • "All things pass, and it feels like the time of the blog has in some sense passed too. Who has time…"
    “All things pass, and it feels like the time of the blog has in some sense passed too. Who has time to write, when you can pump out status updates which let your friends and family know exactly what you’re thinking and doing at any moment? And why bother to think through what you’re going to say and express in in a few hundred words, when really all anyone cares about is the pithy headline, the punchy hook. “This blog is 12 years old. The reason it’s still here will surprise you.””

    “This blog is 12 years old. The reason it’s still here will surprise you.” | Technovia

    I’d like to believe that personal/individual blogging is still a popular form of expression, but I certainly appreciate the sentiment of the extract above (and the entire article). Who needs to think their way through a long-form piece of writing when they can reblog1 something that’s popped up on a dashboard (“me too!”) or tap out a 140 character statement of the moment and move on?

    I started blogging in the early noughties, inspired by Josh Santangelo of Endquote.com, the first blogger I can remember reading with any regularity. Josh wrote about his hopes and aspirations, loves and losses, and all the messiness of his inner thought and experience. I was a bright-eyed wannabe writer with a penchant for the web, confessional poetry and any other writing that gave me insight into the inner workings of people I didn’t know. But Endquote was less an opportunity to practise voyeurism, more a reminder of the way that emotive writing can show us how different we are from the other people we share the planet with, and yet how un-alone.

    Last time I checked, the Endquote.com I knew was gone, replaced by a generic (professional) holding page. Checking again today, I find that Endquote is now a Tumblr property, complete with images of sharply styled young women, selfies, nods to sartorial inspiration and Soundcloud embeds. I miss the old Endquote (though I wonder if the writing as it was would have the same impact on me now) but this new iteration is still Josh. An absolutely contemporary expression of self.

    The personal blog, as it existed, isn’t exactly dead, but it’s probably not the dominant form of expression it once was. That said, long live the blog.23


    1. Nothing against reblogging here. Reblogging may as well be the new common intertextuality. 

    2. This started out as a much longer piece. Honestly. I’d love to say I edited it down from flabby imperfection, but the truth is I committed the schoolboy error of drafting the original through a web back-end in Safari on an iPad, while switching between tabs, as if taunting the god of all things technological to swallow everything I’d written. Which s/he did. D’oh. 

    3. Could be just me, but it looks like Tumblr doesn’t like Markdown footnotes. Grrr. 

  • "I have three goals for each day that I come to work:

    —Create value

    —Learn something new

    —Have a…"

    I have three goals for each day that I come to work:

    —Create value

    —Learn something new

    —Have a good time

    If I am not accomplishing most of these on most days then it is time for me to find something else to work on.

    Three goals for the day | ioates/

    Amen.

  • "Language is the element of definition, the defining and descriptive incantation. It puts the coin…"
    “Language is the element of definition, the defining and descriptive incantation. It puts the coin between our teeth. It whistles the boat up. It shows us the city of light across the water. Without language there is no poetry, without poetry there’s just talk. Talk is cheap and proves nothing. Poetry is dear and difficult to come by. But it poles us across the river and puts a music in our ears. It moves us to contemplation. And what we contemplate, what we sing our hymns to and offer our prayers to, is what will reincarnate us in the natural world, and what will be our one hope for salvation in the What’sToCome.”

    Charles Wright, The Art of Poetry No. 41 (via bostonpoetryslam)

  • "Time feels like a powerful black wave that wishes to crash down and engulf us. I must run faster."
    “Time feels like a powerful black wave that wishes to crash down and engulf us. I must run faster.”

    Odd Thomas

  • explore-blog:

    David Foster Wallace on leadership, in gorgeous…

    explore-blog:

    David Foster Wallace on leadership, in gorgeous felt-on-felt typographic artwork by Debbie Millman. Available as a print, with 100% of proceeds benefiting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 

    Transcript and a beautiful reading here.