“The screams of the latke grew quieter and quieter as the pancake ran out of the village into the surrounding forest. Its utter fury was still unabated — a phrase which here means ‘The latke was still very annoyed at the objects to whom it had spoken’— but it was quite tired, and so it decided to rest a few minutes beneath the branches of a little pine tree. The pine tree was napping, but woke up at the sound of an object plopping down at its feet.”—
Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler), The Little Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: a Christmas story.
“Heretofore, the mother, while loving her child with the intensity of a sole affection, had schooled herself to hope for little other return than the waywardness of an April breeze; which spends its time in airy sport, and has its gusts of inexplicable passion, and is petulant in its best of moods, and chills oftener than caresses you, when you take it to your bosom; in requital of which misdemeanors, it will sometimes, of its own vague purpose, kiss your cheek with a kind of doubtful tenderness, and play gently with your hair, and then begone about its other idle business, leaving a dreamy pleasure in your heart. And this, moreover, was a mother’s estimate of the child’s disposition.”—
Nathanial Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter.
I’ll tell you what, people used to write fucking sentences back in the day.
“That’s why I write, because life never works except in retrospect. And writing makes you look back. Because since you can’t control life, at least you can control your version. Because even sitting in a puddle of warm Los Angeles Water, I was already thinking about what I’d tell my friends when they asked about this trip. I’d tell them about my infection and Malibu and the bottomless bathtub, and they’d say:
You should write that down.”—Chuck Palahniuk, “Almost California” from Stranger Than Fiction
“Harry was printing some of the first bits of Ulysses, and the printer set the type and there was a widow on one of the plates (I guess printing was pretty primitive at the time for this to be such a big deal). The printer suggested that Harry ask Joyce for some more writing to fill the page. Harry scoffed like, “You can’t just ask Mister James Joyce to write some more because you screwed up the typesetting!” That night, the printer went to Joyce’s house, explained the problem, and Joyce said, “Sure. Here you go,” and wrote out a page for him as he stood. How “In your FACE!” is that?”—Giancarlo DiTrapano, “My Favourite Rich Kid,” Vice Magazine
“He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. The huge bed stretched around him like a nocturnal sea. He heard the freezing wind. The fierce pounding of his heart.
‘Are you starting to feel a little as if you’ve come a long way” Shimao asked.
‘Hmm. Now I feel as if I’ve come a very long way,’ Komura answered honestly.
Shimao traced a complicated design on Komura’s chest with her finger tip, as if casting a magic spell.
‘But really,’ she said, ‘you’re just at the beginning.’”—
Haruki Murakami “Ufo in Kushiro” from After the Quake.
I would suck anything of Haruki Murakami’s, period.
If our cave-dwelling ancestors had been content to lie around eating soft fruits – assuming, of course, that soft fruits were readily available to be eaten in Pleistocene-era Africa – they wouldn’t have survived long enough to reproduce, and then where would we be? Sure, it’d be nice to imagine a sort of Eloi-without-the-Morlocks kind of existence of childlike art and song and beauty in an unpolluted and verdant land, but you simply cannot tell that to a sabre-tooth tiger who is bearing down upon you with a set of gleaming dinnerware so ready to go that it’s permanently attached to its jaw with ligaments. Stress and anxiety were adaptive for H. sapiens: our ancestors were both hunters and hunted, their brains structured to deal with preying and being preyed upon, not sitting back and enjoying the soft fruits of their labours.
I was wandering around the mall so I wouldn’t be too early for a job interview, and this little kid (I almost said he was four, but my ability to judge ages is so bad that trying to give him a number would probably do more harm than good) was waiting for his mom to finish talking to her friend and munching on a Dairy Queen chocolate dipped ice cream. I was walking by and he was staring at me, and I felt like I should respond somehow so I just smiled at him as I walked past. While doing this I felt good, like a solid, real person type person. I’ve never been one for making silly faces at, or even really acknowledging, random children in public places, so I was feeling oddly internally proud as I walked by, and this kid looked me right in the eye with a blank, “my brain hasn’t grown all the way” sort of look on his face, and without breaking eye contact he threw his entire ice cream onto the front of my pants. The mother didn’t notice, and the kid just turned around and weirdly nestled his forehead into the leg of her suit-pants, and then I had ten minutes to clean up and go to my interview.
The moral of the story is that I don’t ever want to have children and I’m a telephone opinion poller now.
“Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.”—Flannery O’Connor, a.k.a among the best short story writers ever. Also among the best aggressive Catholics ever.
“Nothing, thou elder brother even to shade,/ Thou hadst a being ere the world was made,/ And (well fixed) art alone of ending not afraid./ Ere time and place were, time and place were not,/ When primitive Nothing Something straight begot,/ Then all proceeded from the great united—What?”—
John Wilmot (the Earl of Rochester), Upon Nothing
Most underrated poem EVER. Restoration court poetry FTW
“The following account of the late Dr. Boerhaave, so loudly celebrated, and so universally lamented through the whole learned world, will, we hope, be not unacceptable to our readers; we could have made it much larger, by adopting flying reports, and inserting unattested facts: a close adherence to certainty has contracted our narrative, and hindered it from swelling to that bulk at which modern histories generally arrive.”—
“Critics often use the term “minimalist” when discussing my prose. But it’s a label that bothers me: it suggests the idea of a narrow vision of life, low ambitions, and limited cultural horizons. And, frankly, I don’t believe that’s my case. Sure, my writing is lean and tends to avoid any excess. There’s a saying of Hemingway’s that I could take for my motto: “Prose is architecture. And this isn’t the Baroque age.”—
“I filled out this dating thing on the computer a few weeks ago. One thing they ask you is, ‘If you were an animal, what would you be?’ I wrote, ‘A bumblebee trying to fuck a marble.’ It’s true.”—Wells Tower, “Retreat” (from Everything Ravaged Everything Burned)
“Industry journalist Harold Hecuba: ‘It’s the new Barnum. Nobody ever goes broke overestimating the rage and misogyny of the average American male.’”—David Foster Wallace, “Big Red Son,” Consider the Lobster
“Now Cadmus never knew that his dear child/ And grandson had become sea-deities;/ But overcome by sorrow and his train/ of troubles and so many warning signs,/ he left that city, Thebes, that he had founded,/ as if that city’s fortune, not his own,/ were crushing him”—