Thursday, December 22, 2011

Eddie helped paint the porch...
When I get the sense that a new book is beginning, I start a notebook into which I put anything that might seem relevant, which could be a large-scale plot idea, something overheard on the bus, or a descriptive phrase that came to me on a walk. I don't actually start writing that book until out of all this has emerged a pretty clear plan for the whole thing. I can't just start writing and see what happens. Of course improvisation is an important part- I would find it dreadfully boring if I planned everything. What keeps you going are the discoveries you make in the course of writing."
Alan Hollinghurs, from an interview in The Paris Review

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"only dead fish follow the stream"
- a Finnish expression

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Workmanship of risk is, generally, the making of anything individually by hand, the creation of a product that is never exactly the same twice...
Because the outcome of workmanship of risk is never certain, the quality of it is determined by the care, dexterity, and judgement of the worker...
from Wooden Boats by Michael Ruhlman
“When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.”
John Ruskin

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"I never if I can help it get into the specifics of songs and their meanings. If you're a songwriter, and your idea is that your songs are helpful to yourself and others, they sort of operate on this sense of mystery. They don't function if they are explained; it puts out the fire." Ryan Adams in nyt interview 10/11/11
treasures found behind the wall at 2107

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"He loathed gentility and social convention. To him they smacked of fakery, like the various artistic symbolisms, Surrealism among them, that modern painting had contrived. The real world, stripped bare, already presented unfathomable strangeness and fascination. An artistic life should exhaust itself trying to unpack it."
Michael Kimmelman about Lucian Freud

Friday, July 22, 2011

"Outside it is day. You have entered, and your eyes are blinded with so much darkness. It penetrates deeply into the pupils of your eyes and hurts. You close your eyes for a moment, until they have adjusted themselves. Both are within you, the darkness and the brightness, they are yours in the depths of you retina, and you can draw them from the same well; which it will be depends on whether you stand in the light or in darkness."
from The Death of the Adversary by Hans Keilson

Thursday, July 21, 2011

"The sea had jeeringly kept his finite body up, but drowned the infinite of his soul. Not drowned entirely, though. Rather carried down alive to wondrous depths, where strange shapes of the unwarped primal world glided to and fro before his passive eyes; and the miser-merman, Wisdom, revealed his hoarded heaps; and among the joyous heartless, ever-juvenile eternities, Pip saw the multitudinous, God-omnipresent, coral insects, that out of the firmament of waters heaved the colossal orbs. He saw God's foot upon the treadle of the loom, and spoke it; and therefore his shipmates called him mad. So man's insanity is heavens sense; and wandering from all mortal reason, man comes at last to that celestial thought, which, to reason, is absurd and frantic; and weal or woe, feels then uncompromised, indifferent as his God."
from Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Friday, July 8, 2011

"... in America, where a national bent for proprietary branding can confuse a signature look with quality."
Peter Schjeldahl in a review of Blinky Palermo

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"If you listen first, and write later, then whatever you write will have had time to filter through your brain, and you'll be in what you say. This is what makes you exist. If you are only a reflector of information, are you really there?"
Jaron Lanier

Monday, June 27, 2011

tree i pass on my walk from Union Station to NMAI
The television stayed on day and night, singing like a Siren in the crowded house. “Come sit by me and die a little,” it said.
Salvatore Scibona from Where I Learned to Read in the June 13 New Yorker

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"It took me years to realize a very simple thing, which is that when you write fiction you're raising questions, and a lot of people think you're playing a little game with them and that actually you know the answers to the questions. They read your question. They don't know how to answer correctly. And they think that if they could only meet you personally and look into your eyes, you could give them the answers.
At readings I'm quite often speechless, actually. I am very happy that I am striking a nerve. But it's when they take it a step further and think that i have the salve for the nerve I've hit, or that I have personally lived through that myself, and that therefore we have a common bond, because they have also lived through that - then I begin to realize that what is between me and other people isn't kinship but a kind of gulf."
Anne Beattie in The Paris Review

Monday, February 28, 2011

found in federal hill

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Repressed people take it out on the people around them. Enfranchised people discover pride."
Roger Cohen in the NYT

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"For me, however, the greatest pleasure is to overcome some difficulty, to find or invent something while I work. I begin by posing myself a problem. But I don't wish merely to solve this problem. While I solve it, I want to find something else, I want to stumble across something that prods me into unknown territory. Out of boredom or the need to entertain myself, I end up discovering something that gives me pleasure.
This kind of work seems to develop me, to educate me, while painting landscapes is another matter entirely. There I enter into a much more sensual state of the soul, in which I have the satisfaction of finding exactly what I already know. Many painters surrender themselves to this sensual pleasure- it allows them to duplicate the things they already know, and they think it's a marvel that all these creations are ultimately recognizable as their own work.
It's a little bit like fairy tales, which end exactly the same way they did the last time we heard them."
Saul Steinberg

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"... grand ideas kill first efforts. Begin with something in your range. Then write it as a secret. I'd be paralyzed if I thought I had to write a great novel, and no matter how good I think a book is on one day, I know that a time will come when I will look upon it as a failure. The gratification has to come from the effort itself. I try not to look back. I approach the work as though, in truth, I'm nothing and the words are everything. Then I write to save my life. If you are a writer, that will be true. Writing has saved my life."
Louise Erdrich in The Paris Review

Sunday, January 23, 2011

found at the edge of the harbor in baltimore...

“Grant mystery it‘s eternal validity and rather than solving it, look for ways to contemplate it and give it honor.”
Thomas Moore

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blizzard Park
"The writer must be universal in sympathy and an outcast by nature: only then can he see clearly."
from Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes

Friday, January 7, 2011

"Mr. Neuberger bought all his works himself, usually through dealers. And his taste ran toward the bold. “I liked adventuresome work that I often didn’t understand,” he told The Times as he was celebrating his 100th birthday. “For art to be very good it has to be over your head.”
from the NYT obit for Roy R. Neuberger

Thursday, January 6, 2011

"I don’t distort. I comment honestly and make pictures of my perceptions. The celebrity is but a person to me. I see them within the primary moment. I try not to have previous assumptions. Each moment is the only moment that we have. We have to enter it without prejudice and with the thought that it may be the last one. The photograph is an attempt to give the perception of the moment some relationship to immortality."
from an interview with Larry Fink in the NYT