We spend our lives trying to discern where we end and the rest of the world begins. There is a strange and sorrowful loneliness to this, to being a creature that carries its fragile sense of self in a bag of skin on an endless pilgrimage to some promised land of belonging. We are willing to erect many defenses to hedge against that loneliness and fortress our fragility. But every once in a while, we encounter another such creature who reminds us with the sweetness of persistent yet undemanding affection that we need not walk alone.– Maria Popova
“Totalitarianism in power invariably replaces all first-rate talents, regardless of their sympathies, with those crackpots and fools whose lack of intelligence and creativity is still the best guarantee of their loyalty.”
—Hannah Arendt, “The Origins of Totalitarianism”
“I’m very tolerant of stillness. I don’t mind sitting there for half an hour. I’d rather not move my hands just to move them; I’ll wait for the right thing.”– Jonathan Lethem
Re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency, not only in its words, but in the silent lines of its lips and face, and between the lashes of your eyes, and in every motion and joint of your body.Walt Whitman
From the preface to Leaves Grass
Reading and writing are in themselves subversive acts. What they subvert is the notion that things have to be the way they are, that you are alone, that no one has ever felt the way you have.
I’ve been neglecting my blog. I’m writing a lot but it’s mostly journaling. I’ve become a rabid – I mean avid – journaler. There is a new poem about our dog, which I might post later today. And there’s a blog post about the death of focus and deep work in the epoch of screens. But it’s only half done. I keep getting distracted. I think I’m learning, though, that distraction isn’t exactly the problem. It’s an epidemic of addiction to psychological stimulation. The smartphone-enhanced brain of 2019 is constantly seeking the dopamine hit of incoming stuff.
What New with you?
What can a pencil do for all of us? Amazing things. It can write transcendent poetry, uplifting music, or life-changing equations; it can sketch the future, give life to untold beauty, and communicate the full-force of our love and aspirations.
Sit down and put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.
– Colette, author (28 Jan 1873-1954)