Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"The song does not belong to the singer. The singer is found by the song...It was a wonder, a marvel- a mystery. It caused me to see, in any case, that we are all limited, and, mostly, misshapen instruments, and yet, if we can, simultaneously, confront and surrender, extraordinary fingers can string from us the response to our mortality."
from Just Above My Head by James Baldwin

Monday, March 30, 2009

"The earth was warm under me, and warm as I crumbled it through my fingers...I kept as still as I could. Nothing happened. I did not expect anything to happen. I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep."
from My Antonia by Willa Cather

Sunday, March 29, 2009

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."
Albert Camus

Saturday, March 28, 2009

"It seems to me that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension, which we feel as paralysis because we no longer hear our astonished emotions living. Because we are alone with the unfamiliar presence that has entered us; because everything we trust and are used to is for a moment taken away from us; because we stand in the midst of a transition where we cannot remain standing. That is why the sadness passes: the new presence inside us, the presence that has been added, has entered our heart, has gone into its innermost chamber and is no longer even there, - is already in our bloodstream. And we don't know what it was. We could easily be made to believe that nothing happened, and yet we have changed, as a house that a guest has entered changes. We can't say who has come, perhaps we will never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters us in this way in order to be transformed in us, long before it happens. And that is why it is so important to be solitary and attentive when one is sad: because the seemingly uneventful and motionless moment when our future steps into us is so much closer to life than that other loud and accidental point of time when it happens to us as if from the outside. The quieter we are, the more patient and open we are in our sadnesses, the more deeply and serenely the new presence can enter us, and the more we can make it our own, the more it becomes our fate."
Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, March 27, 2009

"We can only add to the world, where we believe it ends, more parts similar to those we already know (an expanse made again and always of water and land, stars and skies)"
from The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ahead, 11x17"
"In every important way we are such secrets from one another, and I do believe that there is a separate language in each of us, also a separate aesthetics and a separate jurisprudence. Every single one of us is a little civilization built on the ruins of any number of preceding civilizations, but with our own variant notions of what is beautiful and what is acceptable- which, I hasten to add, we generally do not satisfy and by which we struggle to live. We take fortuitous resemblances among us to be actual likeness, because those around us have also fallen heir to the same customs, trade in the same coin, acknowledge, more or less, the same notions of decency and sanity. But all that really just allows us to coexist with the inviolable, intraversable, and utterly vast spaces between us."
from Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Were all stars to disappear or die
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total darkness sublime
Though this might take me a little time.
from W.H.Auden's poem The More Loving One

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space."
from Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

Monday, March 23, 2009

"The death of something living is the price of our own survival, and we pay it again and again.
We have no choice. It is the one solemn promise every life on earth is born and bound to keep."
from The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls."
Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"The proof that one truly believes is in action."
Bayard Rustin

Friday, March 20, 2009

Infectious Buoyancy, 11x25.5"
"Time weighs down on you like an old ambiguous dream. You keep on moving, trying to slip through it. But even if you go to the ends of the earth, you won't be able to escape it. Still, you have to go there- to the edge of the world. There's something you can't do unless you get there."
from Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"It was not so much any one example, any one event, which I recollected which was important, but the flow, the texture of events, for meaning is never in the event but in the motion through event. Otherwise we could isolate an instant in the event and say that this is the event itself. The meaning. But we cannot do that. For it is the motion which is important. And I was moving. I was moving back through time into my memory. They say the drowning man relives his life as he drowns. Well, I was not drowning in water, but I was drowning in West. I drowned westward through the hot brass days and black velvet nights. It took me seventy hours to drown. For my body to sink down to the very bottom of West and lie in the motionless ooze of history, naked on a hotel bed in Long Beach, California."
from All the Kings Men by Robert Penn Warren

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Was this betrayal or was it an act of courage? Perhaps both. Neither one involves forethought: such things take place in an instant, in an eyeblink. This can only be because they have been rehearsed by us already, over and over, in silence and darkness; in such a silence, such darkness, that we are ignorant of them ourselves. Blind but surefooted, we step forward as if into a remembered dance."
from The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"The very conceptual tools with which he pursued life's most desperate questions threatened to keep him forever at a distance from the connections he struggled to make."
James Ryerson about David Foster Wallace

Monday, March 16, 2009

"The new always happens against the overwhelming odds of statistical laws and their probability, which for all practical, everyday purposes amounts to certainty; the new therefore always appears in the guise of a miracle."
Hannah Arendt

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"Sanity is a cozy lie."
Susan Sontag

Saturday, March 14, 2009

"We are poor passing facts,
warned by that to give
each figure in the photograph
his living name."
from the poem "Epilogue" by Robert Lowell

Friday, March 13, 2009

My Soul Knows Your Soul, 11x17"
"Try to be buried in ground that will remember you."
from Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"Something's your vocation if it keeps making more of you."
from Evensong by Gail Godwin

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of the body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day."
Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"(Art) has often been under attack. Tyrants always fear art because tyrants want to mystify while art tends to clarify. The good artist is a vehicle of truth, he formulates ideas which would otherwise remain vague and focuses attention upon facts which can no longer be ignored. The tyrant persecutes the artist by silencing him or by attempting to degrade or buy him."
from Existentialists and Mystics by Iris Murdoch

I would argue that capitalism and commodity culture has the same effect.

Monday, March 9, 2009

"When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability... To be alive is to be vulnerable."
Madeleine L'Engle

Sunday, March 8, 2009

"...man was only a transit station, a temporary junction of mesmeric currents, wandering hither and thither within the lap of eternal matter. All the inventions in which he took such pride were traps into which nature had enticed him, were snares of the unknown."
fron The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz

Saturday, March 7, 2009

"The pure present is an ungraspable advance of the past devouring the future. In truth, all sensation is already memory."
from Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

Friday, March 6, 2009

"When you meet a person who is searching,
you postpone giving up."
from Borderliners by Peter Hoeg

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Homage to John S.-
Nurturer of Souls Both Wooden and Flesh

now in the collection of Ward S. in Portland OR
"Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation."
Viktor Frankl

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation."
from The Life of Pi by Yan Martel

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"To be sensual, I think, is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does....Something very sinister happens to the people of a country when they begin to distrust their own reactions as deeply as they do here, and become as joyless as they have become....this inability to renew themselves at the fountains of their own lives....The person who distrusts himself has no touchstone for reality- for this can only be oneself. Such a person interposes between himself and reality nothing less than a labyrinth of attitudes."
from The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

Monday, March 2, 2009

"...the world has power, and interest follows power. Where are the poets' power and interest? They originate in dream states. These come because the poets is what he is in himself, because a voice in his soul which has power equal to the power of societies, states, and regimes. You don't make yourself interesting through madness, eccentricity, or anything of the sort but because you have the power to cancel the world's distraction, activity, noise, and become fit to hear the essence of things."
from Humboldt's Gift by Saul Bellow

Sunday, March 1, 2009

"...creation is the privilege of all spirits. Matter has been given infinite fertility, inexhaustible vitality, and, at the same time, a seductive power of temptation which invites us to create as well. In the depth of matter, indistinct smiles are shaped, tensions build up, attempts at form appear. The whole of matter pulsates with infinite possibilities that send dull shivers through it. Waiting for the life-giving breath of the spirit, it is endlessly in motion. It entices us with a thousand sweet, soft, round shapes which it blindly dreams up within itself."
from The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz