I am a buyer of blank books. Kids find it interesting that I would buy a blank book. They say, “Twenty-Six dollars for a blank book! Why would you pay that?” The reason I pay twenty-six dollars is to challenge myself to find something worth twenty-six dollars to put in there. All my journals are private, but if you ever got hold of one of them, you wouldn’t have to look very far to discover it is worth more than twenty-six dollars
I repeat here what you will find in my first chapter, that the only thing that signifies to you in a book is what it means to you, and if your opinion is at variance with that of everyone else in the world it is of no consequence. Your opinion is valid for you. In matters of art people, especially, I think, in America, are apt to accept willingly from professors and critics a tyranny which in matters of government they would rebel against. But in these questions there is no right and wrong. The relation between the reader and his book is as free and intimate as that between the mystic and his God. Of all forms of snobbishness the literary is perhaps the most detestable, and there is no excuse for the fool who despises his fellow-man because he does not share his opinion of the value of a certain book. Pretence in literary appreciation is odious, and no one should be ashamed if a book that the best critics think highly of means nothing to him. On the other hand it is better not to speak ill of such books if you have not read them.
I . . . hurried to the city library to find out the true age of Chicago. City library! After all, it cannot be anything but Chicagoesque. His is the richest library, no doubt, as everything in Chicago is great in size and wealth. Its million books are filling all the shelves, as the dry goods fill the big stores. Oh, librarian, you furnished me a very good dinner, even ice cream, but—where is the table? The Chicago city library has no solemnly quiet, softly peaceful reading-room; you are like a god who made a perfect man and forgot to put in the soul; the books are worth nothing without having a sweet corner and plenty of time, as the man is nothing without soul. Throw those books away, if you don't have a perfect reading-room! Dinner is useless without a table. I want to read a book as a scholar, as I want to eat dinner as a gentleman. What difference is there, my dearest Chicago, between your honourable library and the great department store, an emporium where people buy things without a moment of selection, like a busy honey bee?The library is situated in the most annoyingly noisy business quarter, under the overhanging smoke, in the nearest reach of the engine bells of the lakeside. One can hardly spend an hour in it if he be not a Chicagoan who was born without taste of the fresh air and blue sky. The heavy, oppressive, ill-smelling air of Chicago almost kills me sometimes. What a foolishness and absurdity of the city administrators to build the office of learning in such place of restaurants and barber shops!Look at that edifice of the city library! Look at that white marble! That's great, admirable; that means tremendous power of money. But what a vulgarity, stupid taste, outward display, what an entire lacking of fine sentiment and artistic love! Ah, those decorations with gold and green on the marble stone spoil the beauty! What a shame! That is exactly Chicagoesque. O Chicago, you have fine taste, haven't you?
I had a book of Bible stories when I was a kid. There was a picture I'd look at twenty times every day: Jacob wrestles with the angel. I don't really remember the story, or why the wrestling --just the picture. Jacob is young and very strong. The angel is...a beautiful man, with golden hair and wings, of course. I still dream about it. Many nights. I'm...It's me. In that struggle. Fierce, and unfair. The angel is not human, and it holds nothing back, so how could anyone human win, what kind of a fight is that? It's not just. Losing means your soul thrown down in the dust, your heart torn out from God's. But you can't not lose.
I am shocked to find that some people think a 2 star 'I liked it' rating is a bad rating. What? I liked it. I LIKED it! That means I read the whole thing, to the last page, in spite of my life raining comets on me. It's a good book that survives the reading process with me. If a book is so-so, it ends up under the bed somewhere, or maybe under a stinky judo bag in the back of the van. So a 2 star from me means,yes, I liked the book, and I'd loan it to a friend and it went everywhere in my jacket pocket or purse until I finished it. A 3 star means that I've ignored friends to finish it and my sink is full of dirty dishes. A 4 star means I'm probably in trouble with my editor for missing a deadline because I was reading this book. But I want you to know . . . I don't finish books I don't like. There's too many good ones out there waiting to be found. Robin Hobb, author
The Defendant: I am pleading guilty your honors but I'm doing it because I think it would be a waste of money to have a trial over five dollars worth of crack. What I really need is a drug program because I want to turn my life around and the only reason I was doing what I was doing on the street was to support my habit. The habit has to be fed your honors as you know and I believe in working for my money. I could be out there robbing people but I'm not and I've always worked even though I am disabled. And not always at this your honors, I used to be a mail carrier back in the day but then I started using drugs and that was all I wanted to do. So I'm taking this plea to save the city of New York and the taxpayers money because I can't believe that the DA, who I can see is a very tall man, would take to trial a case involving five dollars worth of crack, especially knowing how much a trial of that nature would cost. But I still think that I should get a chance to do a drug program because I've never been given that chance in any of my cases and the money that will be spent keeping me in jail could be spent addressing my real problem which is that I like, no need, to smoke crack every day and every chance I get, and if I have to point people to somebody who's selling the stuff so I can get one dollar and eventually save up enough to buy a vial then smoke it immediately and start saving up for my next one that I'll gladly do that, and I'll do it even though I know it could land me in jail for years because the only thing that matters at that moment is getting my next vial and I am not a Homo-sapiens-sexual your honors but if I need money to buy crack I will suck. . . .
INTERVIEWERYou’re self-educated, aren’t you?BRADBURYYes, I am. I’m completely library educated. I’ve never been to college. I went down to the library when I was in grade school in Waukegan, and in high school in Los Angeles, and spent long days every summer in the library. I used to steal magazines from a store on Genesee Street, in Waukegan, and read them and then steal them back on the racks again. That way I took the print off with my eyeballs and stayed honest. I didn’t want to be a permanent thief, and I was very careful to wash my hands before I read them. But with the library, it’s like catnip, I suppose: you begin to run in circles because there’s so much to look at and read. And it’s far more fun than going to school, simply because you make up your own list and you don’t have to listen to anyone. When I would see some of the books my kids were forced to bring home and read by some of their teachers, and were graded on—well, what if you don’t like those books?I am a librarian. I discovered me in the library. I went to find me in the library. Before I fell in love with libraries, I was just a six-year-old boy. The library fueled all of my curiosities, from dinosaurs to ancient Egypt. When I graduated from high school in 1938, I began going to the library three nights a week. I did this every week for almost ten years and finally, in 1947, around the time I got married, I figured I was done. So I graduated from the library when I was twenty-seven. I discovered that the library is the real school.
Just to let you know I don't post my books and things on the net in hopes of being rich. The reason is. "I am a person with Bipolar Disorder" and they're are a lot of great minds on the "Famous Bipolar" list that died penniless. If I do the same it's no big deal but having a form of mental Illness I would love to get my name on the Bipolar list also one day. Preferably while I'm still living so I can make sure they spelled it right
I am happy to pay you," she announced. "For your services."A harsh, strangled sound cut through the room. It came from him. "Pay me."She nodded. "Would say, twenty-five pounds do?""No."Her brows knit together. "Of course, a person of your--prowess--is worth more. I apologize for the offense. Fifty? I'm afraid I can't go much higher. It's quite a bit of money.
Years ago, I dated a lovely young woman who was a few thousand dollars in debt. She was completely stressed out about this. Every month, more interest would be added to her debts.To deal with her stress, she would go every Tuesday night to a meditation and yoga class. This was her one free night, and she said it seemed to be helping her. She would breathe in, imagining that she was finding ways to deal with her debts. She would breathe out, telling herself that her money problems would one day be behind her.It went on like this, Tuesday after Tuesday.Finally, one day I looked through her finances with her. I figured out that if she spent four or five months working a part-time job on Tuesday nights, she could actually pay off all the money she owed.I told her I had nothing against yoga or meditation. But I did think its always best to try to treat the disease first. Her symptoms were stress and anxiety. Her disease was the money she owed."Why don't you get a job on Tuesday nights and skip yoga for a while?" I suggested.This was something of a revelation to her. And she took my advice. She became a Tuesday-night waitress and soon enough paid off her debts. After that, she could go back to yoga and really breathe easier.
When I am high I couldn’t worry about money if I tried. So I don’t. The money will come from somewhere; I am entitled; God will provide. Credit cards are disastrous, personal checks worse. Unfortunately, for manics anyway, mania is a natural extension of the economy. What with credit cards and bank accounts there is little beyond reach. So I bought twelve snakebite kits, with a sense of urgency and importance. I bought precious stones, elegant and unnecessary furniture, three watches within an hour of one another (in the Rolex rather than Timex class: champagne tastes bubble to the surface, are the surface, in mania), and totally inappropriate sirenlike clothes. During one spree in London I spent several hundred pounds on books having titles or covers that somehow caught my fancy: books on the natural history of the mole, twenty sundry Penguin books because I thought it could be nice if the penguins could form a colony. Once I think I shoplifted a blouse because I could not wait a minute longer for the woman-with-molasses feet in front of me in line. Or maybe I just thought about shoplifting, I don’t remember, I was totally confused. I imagine I must have spent far more than thirty thousand dollars during my two major manic episodes, and God only knows how much more during my frequent milder manias.But then back on lithium and rotating on the planet at the same pace as everyone else, you find your credit is decimated, your mortification complete: mania is not a luxury one can easily afford. It is devastating to have the illness and aggravating to have to pay for medications, blood tests, and psychotherapy. They, at least, are partially deductible. But money spent while manic doesn’t fit into the Internal Revenue Service concept of medical expense or business loss. So after mania, when most depressed, you’re given excellent reason to be even more so.
I've been thinking about that book about the boys who crash on the island....Lord of the Flies what about it....You know how you said it wasn't a true measure of humanity since there were no girls and you wondered how it would be different if there had been girls...Maybe girls need an island to find themselves. Maybe they need a place where no one's watching them so they can be who they really are.
I am almost a hundred years old; waiting for the end, and thinking about the beginning.There are things I need to tell you, but would you listen if I told you how quickly time passes?I know you are unable to imagine this.Nevertheless, I can tell you that you will awake someday to find that your life has rushed by at a speed at once impossible and cruel. The most intense moments will seem to have occurred only yesterday and nothing will have erased the pain and pleasure, the impossible intensity of love and its dog-leaping happiness, the bleak blackness of passions unrequited, or unexpressed, or unresolved.
There you'll find the place I love most in the world. The place where I grew thin from dreaming. My village, rising from the plain. Shaded with trees and leaves like a piggy bank filled with memories. You'll see why a person would want to live there forever. Dawn, morning, mid-day, night: all the same, except for the changes in the air. The air changes the color of things there. And life whirs by as quiet as a murmur...the pure murmuring of life.
Why are you here?Where am I?You have come to this place… to lie in the ground?The derision in the question was clear.I have come to this place to find peace.And what is peace?Laughter in the recesses of his mind.This is peace. Perhaps it is. I don’t know.A pause.Talking to yourself, eh?There is no one else around.That is the beginning of wisdom.And what of it?Who are you?I am Peter.What are you?I… I am that which says I.Clever.Sometimes.He sparked a cigarette, nicotine bringing a touch of stability to his otherwise entirely too excited cognitions.What is I?I am.That is all?I don’t know.Where is I?Where am I?I am between this and that.This is again wisdom.He laughed aloud now, pulling deeply on his smoke, exhaling through clenched teeth.I am space.Of a sort.I am a character in a story.Sometimes.Nothing more?A page of your life turns. Do you see it?Sometimes.The blank of the page, the openness of its margins, do you see?Yes.This is the void of your unfolding imagination.Indeed.Would you fill it with your own story?I am void. I am between. I am neither this nor that. I am an idea of a between.What story would you have?Whatever I can. I am nothing.That is enough?No.What would you be?A man.This is also wisdom.
An awfulness was deep inside me, and I couldn't fight it; forced into submission and taken hostage by it, I could only just lie there, let it wash over me, and let myself be consumed by it. If I cooperate, maybe it won't stay too long; maybe it'll let me go free. But if I fight it, it might stay longer just to spite me. So I decided to let The Feeling inhabit me as long as it desired, while I lay still, cautious not to incite me, secretly hoping it would leave me soon and bother someone else, but outwardly, pretending to be its gracious host. The most discouraging element of what I felt was my inability to understand it. Usually when I was filled with an unpleasant feeling, I could make it go away, or at least tame it, by watching a light-hearted film or reading a good book or listening to a feel good album. But this feeling was different. I knew non of those distractions could rid me of it. But I knew nothing else. I couldn't even describe it. Is this depression? Maybe once you ask someone to describe depression, he can't find the words. Maybe I'm part of the official club now. I imagined myself in a room full of people where someone in the crowd, also suffering from depression, immediately noticed me-as if he detected the scent of his own kind-walked over, and looked into my eyes. He knew that I had The Feeling inside me because he, too, da The Feeling inside him. He didn't ask me to talk about it, because he understood that our type of suffering was ineffable. He only nodded at me, and I nodded back; and then, during our moment of silence, we both shared a sad smile of recognition, knowing that we only had each other in a room filled with people who would never understand us, because they didn't have The Feeling inside them.
One of the secrets of life is to find joy in the journey." But Grandma, you weren't on *this* journey. It was just crazy--"Grandma held up her hand. "You have six brothers. You got to spend a whole day in the car with them. You're all healthy, well fed, happy... Someday, when you're a little older, I'll bet you'd give anything to be back in that van of yours with all of your brothers, smelly diapers and all."I mulled that over.Well what about Dad?" I pointed out. "He didn't find any joy in the journey. He was yelling at trees."Grandma sat back, "Your father and mother are masters at finding joy in the journey."I didn't understand.Grandma continued, "Do you really think your parents would have had seven kids if they couldn't find joy in the journey?... I would be willing to wager that he'll be laughing about this trip on Monday morning with his friends at work."Grandma took my hands into hers. "There are a lot of people in this life that will try to convince you that they're selling something that will bring you joy. The simple fact of the matter is that *things* don't bring you joy. You have to find joy in life experience. And if you take along somebody you love, then that journey is going to be all the more enjoyable.I can promise you right now that both good and bad things are going to happen to you in your life. Good and bad things happen to everybody. Some people are good at finding the miserable things in life, and some are good at finding the joy. No matter what happens to you, what you remember is up to you.
When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that. When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.
April 11, 2004Does anyone know where I can find a copy of the rules of thought, feeling, and behavior in these circumstances? It seems like there should be a rule book somewhere that lays out everything exactly the way one should respond to a loss like this. I'd surely like to know if I'm doing it right. Am I whining enough or too much? Am I unseemly in my occasional moments of lightheartedness? At what date and I supposed to turn off the emotion and jump back on the treadmill of normalcy? Is there a specific number of days or decades that must pass before I can do something I enjoy without feeling I've betrayed my dearest love? And when, oh when, am I ever really going to believe this has happened? Next time you're in a bookstore, as if there's a rule book.11:54 p.m.Jim
The universe, maybe a blank canvas, you and I are born to create a painting. Some people die from cancer, some people die at birth, and that's their painting. We'll share the same painting, we're born to die just like the universe began and it will end with your last breath.Our life might be a broken watch, or an untuned piano. Maybe all our lives, are but a drop, a drop in an ocean beyond control because chaos controls the rhythm of sound.Maybe the universe is a poem, and we're all the stanza break. Maybe the only way to live is to be poetic in some sense in what we do by the choices we make. Maybe the only way to see life is through the lenses of melody. Maybe we're all a poem or grand novel being written by an author. Maybe the only way to get through the night and day is to listen to your own heartbeat.To know that purposelessness and meaningless is a part of the human condition this will give you the strength to carry on through. And in the end your eyes could be a pen to write a story that would give yourself meaning.
The Idiot. I have read it once, and find that I don't remember the events of the book very well--or even all the principal characters. But mostly the 'portrait of a truly beautiful person' that dostoevsky supposedly set out to write in that book. And I remember how Myshkin seemed so simple when I began the book, but by the end, I realized how I didn't understand him at all. the things he did. Maybe when I read it again it will be different. But the plot of these dostoevsky books can hold such twists and turns for the first-time reader-- I guess that's b/c he was writing most of these books as serials that had to have cliffhangers and such. But I make marks in my books, mostly at parts where I see the author's philosophical points standing in the most stark relief. My copy of Moby Dick is positively full of these marks. The Idiot, I find has a few... Part 3, Section 5. The sickly Ippolit is reading from his 'Explanation' or whatever its called. He says his convictions are not tied to him being condemned to death. It's important for him to describe, of happiness: "you may be sure that Columbus was happy not when he had discovered America, but when he was discovering it." That it's the process of life--not the end or accomplished goals in it--that matter. Well. Easier said than lived! Part 3, Section 6. more of Ippolit talking--about a christian mindset. He references Jesus's parable of The Word as seeds that grow in men, couched in a description of how people are interrelated over time; its a picture of a multiplicity. Later in this section, he relates looking at a painting of Christ being taken down from the cross, at Rogozhin's house. The painting produced in him an intricate metaphor of despair over death "in the form of a huge machine of the most modern construction which, dull and insensible, has aimlessly clutched, crushed, and swallowed up a great priceless Being, a Being worth all nature and its laws, worth the whole earth, which was created perhaps solely for the sake of the advent of this Being." The way Ippolit's ideas are configured, here, reminds me of the writings of Gilles Deleuze. And the phrasing just sort of remidns me of the way everyone feels--many people feel crushed by the incomprehensible machine, in life. Many people feel martyred in their very minor ways. And it makes me think of the concept that a narrative religion like Christianity uniquely allows for a kind of socialized or externalized, shared experience of subjectivity. Like, we all know the story of this man--and it feels like our own stories at the same time. Part 4, Section 7. Myshkin's excitement (leading to a seizure) among the Epanchin's dignitary guests when he talks about what the nobility needs to become ("servants in order to be leaders"). I'm drawn to things like this because it's affirming, I guess, for me: "it really is true that we're absurd, that we're shallow, have bad habits, that we're bored, that we don't know how to look at things, that we can't understand; we're all like that." And of course he finds a way to make that into a good thing. which, it's pointed out by scholars, is very important to Dostoevsky philosophy--don't deny the earthly passions and problems in yourself, but accept them and incorporate them into your whole person. Me, I'm still working on that one.
I know it's late, but could you find a book for me? It's called The Slavs: Study of Pagan Tradition by Osvintsev."Barabas sighed dramatically. "Kate, you make me despair. Let's try that again from the top, except this time pretend you are an alpha.""I don't need a lecture. I just need the book.""Much better. Little more growl in the voice?""Barabas!""And we're there. Congratulations!
When I look back on history, and think about the ‘great depression’- when men, women and children starved- I’ve often wondered why people fell back to Government and money. That was the issue (after-all). Perhaps people believed that they were powerless... People had skills, to continue doing things like farming, building.. helping each other- coming together. But I think that they didn’t see that they had power, because they had been told that they didn’t.When you think about the power that people have (especially today), you can see that if something (like the collapse of banks) were to happen, we would all be perfectly okay. We still have inventors, builders, farmers, gardeners, entertainers, doctors, barristas, sports people, writers, etc. They don’t disappear. We could simply just go on, do what we love, and not worry about income from those pursuits. And everyone would be okay. Probably better, in-fact. No worry about paying bills, or affording things we want (or need). Too bad that people (during the depression) never thought to do that. But then again. What’s that saying?‘Hindsight is 20/20’...."From the third book in the "I Am... Subject to change without notice" series, by Cheri Bauer
One of the things I love about books is being able to define and condense certain portions of a character's life into chapters. It's intriguing, because you can't do this with real life. You can't just end a chapter, then skip the things you don't want to live through, only to open it up to a chapter that better suits your mood. Life can't be divided into chapters... only minutes. The events of your life are all crammed together one minute right after the other without any time lapses or blank pages or chapter breaks because no matter what happens life just keeps going and moving forward and words keep flowing and truths keep spewing whether you like it or not and life never lets you pause and just catch your fucking breath.I need one of those chapter breaks. I just want to catch my breath, but I have no idea how.