I think as a youngster, when I started acting, there was a pressure to be or look a certain way — a six-pack, straight teeth, tan. That’s just not going to be a constant that I could ever maintain. I’m a bit wonky. Even if I had a pretty face, I couldn’t capitalize on that. That’s not where my heart is.
I do like a beard as well. Not that my whole life comes down to beards and tattoos, but there is a certain level of yeah, I’ve got something you want, so I’m going to deface it. Or maybe I’m incredibly vulnerable, so if I look like this maybe you’ll leave me alone. Perhaps that, too.
A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, The one I feed the most.
The Plummery is a suburban home where a backyard permaculture garden measuring only 100sq/m (1076 sq feet) produces over 400kg/900 pounds of food year-round.
Kat Lavers describes her approach to gardening, including vertical and biointensive growing, and how important it is – and possible! – for city dwellers to be food resilient in the face of natural, financial and social crises. We were very inspired by how little day-to-day effort goes into creating such an abundance of food!
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.
Clear waters drift through the immensity of a tall forest. In front of me a huge river mouth receives the long wind. Deep ripples hold white sand and white fish swimming as in a void. I sprawl on a big rock, billows nourishing my humble body. I gargle with water and wash my feet. A fisherman pauses out on the surf. So many fish long for bait. I look only to the east with its lotus leaves.
an ant dies, and no one mourns
a bird dies, and no one mourns if it isn’t a crested ibis
a monkey dies, and monkeys mourn
a monkey dies, and people pry open its skull
a shark dies, and another shark keeps swimming
a tiger dies, and some people mourning are mourning themselves
a person dies, and some people mourn and some people don’t
a person dies, and some people mourn and some even applaud
a generation dies, and the next generation doesn’t really mourn
a country dies, most of the time just leaving apocrypha
a country that doesn’t leave apocrypha wasn’t a real country
if it wasn’t a real country, when it dies no one mourns
no one mourns, and the wind blows in vain
rivers flow in vain, washing over rocks in vain
glistening in vain, making vain ripples
the river dies, and it’s not for man to mourn
the wind dies, and it’s not for man to mourn
the river and wind make their way to the sea, the sea as vast as in Zhuangzi
the vast sea dies, and you will have to die
the dragon king dies, and you will have to die
the moon doesn’t mourn, there’s no one on the moon
the stars don’t mourn, the stars aren’t flesh and blood
I hear from here the howl resolving all, even if it is not mine. Meanwhile there’s no use knowing you are gone, you are not, you are writhing yet, the hair is growing, the nails are growing, the entrails emptying, all the morticians are dead.
Kurt Vonnegut from a 2003 speech at the University of Wisconsin - Madison
realize that some of you may have come in hopes of hearing tips on how
to become a professional writer. I say to you, “If you really want to
hurt your parents - and you don’t have the nerve to be a homosexual -
the least you can do is go into the arts.” But do not use semicolons.
They are transvestite hermaphrodites, standing for absolutely nothing.
All they do is show you’ve been to college.
Which squabble among twelve midwives Caused them to throw your love-thing away? To hell with that squeaking mouse. To hell with that droning wasp. Who knows if it’s smooth or bumpy? Who can tell if it’s stem or bud? Whatever it is, it must do. You’ll never be called a slut.
It’s absolutely inevitable! So just take a deep breath and accept this adversity. But look! A distinguished visitor deigns to visit my tiny north-facing cell. Not the chief making his rounds, no, but a ray of sunlight as evening falls, a gleam no bigger than a screwed-up stamp. A sweetheart fit to go crazy about. It settles there on the palm of a hand, warms the toes of a shyly bared foot. Then as I kneel and, undevoutly, offer it a dry, parched face to kiss, in a moment that scrap of sunlight slips away. After the guest has departed through the bars, the room feels several times colder and darker. This military prison special cell is a photographer’s darkroom. Without any sunlight I laughed like a fool. One day it was a coffin holding a corpse. One day it was altogether the sea. A wonderful thing! A few people survive here.
Being alive is a sea without a single sail in sight.
I don’t really think about it. I know some day I’ll move on. Everybody
does. But I don’t worry about it. I like where I am now. Everything’s
fine. And there’s nothing I can do about anything that’s happened. The
only thing I have any control over is what’s happening right now. So I
don’t worry about a while ago or after a while.
morning as I was sitting stitching by the open window she burst in and
flew at me. Give him up, she screamed, he’s mine. Her photographs were
kind to her. Seeing her now for the first time full length in the flesh I
understood why he preferred me.
Take it for what it is: a chance to lie low
outside the weekend’s brackets, to mark off time in minutes,
peat briquettes, the cluster of units
a cursor eats up. The sameness of distant bells
and a digital clock’s ellipsis and cars parked in a row
and the alarm waiting to trip remains as good as intact—
apart from a dash to the line and back, the night sky something else.
One task of
literature is to formulate questions and construct counterstatements to
the reigning pieties. And even when art is not oppositional, the arts
gravitate toward contrariness. Literature is dialogue; responsiveness.
Literature might be described as the history of human responsiveness to
what is alive and what is moribund as cultures evolve and interact with
Writers can do something to combat the clichés of our
separateness, our difference - for writers are makers, not just
transmitters, of myths. Literature offers not only myths but
countermyths, just as life offers counterexperiences - experiences that
confound what you thought you thought, or felt, or believed.
and Freedom” was Susan Sontag’s acceptance speech after being awarded
the Friedenspreis, the Peace Prize of the German book trade, in 2003.
I am absolutely convinced that the main
source of hate in the world is religion and organized religion.
Absolutely convinced of that, And I think it should be - religion -
treated with ridicule, hatred, and contempt.
So when I say that I
think religion poisons everything, I’m not just doing what publishers
like and coming up with a provocative subtitle. I mean to say it infects
us in our most basic integrity.
It says we can’t be moral without
“Big Brother,” without a totalitarian permission. It means we can’t be
good to one another without this. It means we must be afraid.
must also be forced to love someone whom we fear - the essence of
sado-masochism, the essence of abjection, the essence of the
Master/Slave relationship. And that it knows death is coming, and can’t
wait to bring it on.
I say that is Evil.
And though I do, some nights, stay home, I enjoy more the nights when I go out and fight against this ultimate wickedness and this ultimate stupidity.
e. e. cummings - “what if a much of a which of a wind”
what if a much of a which of a wind
gives the truth to summer’s lie;
bloodies with dizzying leaves the sun
and yanks immortal stars awry?
Blow king to beggar and queen to seem
(blow friend to fiend: blow space to time)
-when skies are hanged and oceans drowned,
the single secret will still be man
what if a keen of a lean wind flays
screaming hills with sleet and snow:
strangles valleys by ropes of thing
and stifles forests in white ago?
Blow hope to terror; blow seeing to blind
(blow pity to envy and soul to mind)
-whose hearts are mountains, roots are trees,
it’s they shall cry hello to the spring
what if a dawn of a doom of a dream
bites this universe in two,
peels forever out of his grave
and sprinkles nowhere with me and you?
Blow soon to never and never to twice
(blow life to isn’t; blow death to was)
-all nothing’s only our hugest home;
the most who die, the more we live
Martin Luther King, Jr. from “Letter From Birmingham Jail”
must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely
disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the
regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the
stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku
Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than
to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of
tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who
constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t
agree with your methods of direct action;” who paternalistically feels
he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the
myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more
Gabriel García Márquez from One Hundred Years of Solitude
If I knew that today would be the last time I’d see you, I would hug you
tight and pray the Lord be the keeper of your soul. If I knew that this
would be the last time you pass through this door, I’d embrace you,
kiss you, and call you back for one more. If I knew that this would be
the last time I would hear your voice, I’d take hold of each word to be
able to hear it over and over again. If I knew this is the last time I
see you, I’d tell you I love you, and would not just assume foolishly
you know it already.
When I told the people of Northern Ireland that
I was an atheist, a woman in the audience stood up and said, “Yes, but
is it the God of the Catholics or the God of the Protestants in whom you
The stream of thought flows on;
but most of its segments fall into the bottomless abyss of oblivion. Of
some, no memory survives the instant of their passage. Of others, it is
confined to a few moments, hours, or days. Others, again, leave vestiges
which are indestructible, and by means of which they may be recalled as
long as life endures.
We must allow ourselves to think, we must dare to think, even though we
fail. It is in the nature of things that we always fail, because we
suddenly find it impossible to order our thoughts, because the process
of thinking requires us to consider every thought there is, every
possible thought. Fundamentally we have always failed, like all the
others, whoever they were, even the greatest minds. At some point, they
suddenly failed and their system collapsed, as is proved by their
writings, which we admire because they venture farthest into failure. To
think is to fail, I thought.
I begin to talk to violets. Tears fall into my soup and I drink them. Sooner or later everyone donates something. I carry wood, stone, and hay in my head. The eyes of the violets grow very wide. At the end of the day I reglue the broken foot of the china shepherd who has put up with me. Next door, in the house of the clock-repairer, a hundred clocks tick at once. He and his wife go about their business sleeping peacefully at night.
Jamgön Mipham from The Wisdom Chapter - Commentary on the Ninth Chapter of The Way of the Bodhisattva
phenomena are indeed seen to be devoid of true existence, great
compassion will well up effortlessly, a compassion that will never
abandon living beings who circle in samsara through their clinging to
true existence. For as it has been taught, it is in the nature of things
that such an attitude is born.
A gorge, a gorge, and yet, the same old gorge. Praise to whoever has gouged out this scene: A lurid cave with a stubby arch, And rich green boulders covered with algae. Now the stiff wind blows, shaking pine branches. Dew-drops dripping from willow leaves. You who are virtuous, or saintly, who hasn’t tried, Even with weak knees, exhausted feet, to mount it?
I’ve always been a
lone wolf. The first time I was seduced, I said to myself, Solto, watch
your step, mind how you go, go so far but no further. If they want to seduce you, let them seduce you, but marry them? Out of the question.
The cow is nothing less than elemental–mythological–monumental–a symbol of the great cycle of life. Into her mouth goes the grass of the the green and flowering meadows, the very growth of the soil, and turns into meat and torrents of milk; and even her waste matter, useless is ordinary housekeeping, goes back to renew the soil and the grasses with its fertilizing elements.
Luxuriant and smelling pleasantly of vegetation, the udder-bearing cow is nurse to the children of Earth, a protectress and good fairy to her wasteful and cunning exploiter, Homo sapiens, in whose language she has been relegated in modern times to a position of mere ridicule and odious comparisons. Stupid as a cow. Clumsy as a cow. Yet at the same time man smugly pours cream in his coffee or consumes his cheese dishes and caramels. But then of course he is so infinitely intelligent, this master of all creation, while the cow is ineffably low-browed and shallow brained.
Quite so. You don’t find much guile in a cow’s eye–no ulterior motives or cabals, no ambition or rank consciousness, and no warlike passions. But this great primeval gaze, deep as a well, is nevertheless an extraordinary thing to experience; it is like peering into the depths of the night sky. And how was it now–didn’t we learn in school that the Goddess of Wisdom, Pallas Athena, was cow-eyed?
The feelings that hurt most, the emotions
that sting most, are those that are absurd; the longing for impossible
things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never
was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone
else; dissatisfactions with the world’s existence.
All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are.
I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am
an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say.
…. or ….
I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am
an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say. I am
telling the truth. The only truth I can understand or express is,
logically defined, a lie. Psychologically defined, a symbol.
Aesthetically defined, a metaphor.
I was not trying to be shocking, or to be a
pioneer. I wasn’t trying to change society, or to be ahead of my time. I
didn’t think of myself as liberated, & I don’t believe that I did
anything important. I was just myself. I didn’t know any other way to
be, or any other way to live.
I tell you I didn’t do it ‘Cause I wasn’t there Don’t blame me, it just isn’t fair You listen to their side Now listen to mine Can’t think of a story Sure you’ll find me sometime
Now pass the blame and don’t blame me Just close your eyes and count to three (One) (Two) (Three) Then I’ll be gone and you’ll forget The broken window, t.v. set
It wasn’t me either, I’m just his mate He told me to stand here and watch the gate I’ve got a wife and three kids you know They’ll tell you I’m straight, at least I think so I’m as honest as the day is long, The longer the daylight, the less I do wrong
Now pass the blame and don’t blame me Just close your eyes and count to three (One) (Two) (Three) Then I’ll be gone and you’ll forget The broken window, t.v. set
Pass the blame and don’t blame me Just close your eyes and count to three (One) (Two) (Three) Then I’ll be gone and I’ll forget That what you give is what you get …
Mark William Bedford, Christopher John Foreman, Michael Barson, Cathal
Joseph Smyth, Daniel Mark Woodgate, Lee Jay Thompson, Graham Mcpherson
If, when I die, I must be buried, let No cemetery engulf me – no lone grot, Where the great palpitating world comes not, Save when, with heart bowed down and eyelids wet, It pays its last sad melancholy debt To some outjourneying pilgrim. May my lot Be rather to lie in some much-used spot, Where human life, with all its noise and fret, Throbs about me. Let the roll of wheels, With all earth’s sounds of pleasure, commerce, love, And rush of hurrying feet surge o’er my head. Even in my grave I shall be one who feels Close kinship with the pulsing world above; And too deep silence would distress me, dead.
That dog with daisies for eyes who flashes forth flame of his very self at every bark is the Dog of Art. Worked in wool, his blind eyes look inward to caverns and jewels which they see perfectly, and his voice measures forth the treasure in music sharp and loud, sharp and bright, bright flaming barks, and growling smoky soft, the Dog of Art turns to the world the quietness of his eyes.
He always pictured himself
a libertarian, which to my way of thinking means “I want the liberty to
grow rich and you can have the liberty to starve.” It’s easy to believe
that no one should depend on society for help when you yourself happen
not to need such help.
am passionate about everything in my life - first and foremost,
passionate about ideas. And that’s a dangerous person to be in this
society, not just because I’m a woman, but because it’s such a
fundamentally anti-intellectual, anti-critical thinking society.
casts out fear; but conversely fear casts out love. And not only love.
Fear also casts out intelligence, casts out goodness, casts out all
thought of beauty and truth. What remains in the bum or studiedly
jocular desperation of one who is aware of the obscene Presence in the
corner of the room and knows that the door is locked, that there aren’t
any windows. And now the thing bears down on him. He feels a hand on his
sleeve, smells a stinking breath, as the executioner’s assistant leans
almost amorously toward him.
“Your turn next, brother. Kindly step this way.”
in an instant his quiet terror is transmuted into a frenzy as violent
as it is futile. There is no longer a man among his fellow men, no
longer a rational being speaking articulately to other rational beings;
there is only a lacerated animal, screaming and struggling in the trap.
For in the end fear casts out even a man’s humanity.
And fear, my
good friends, fear is the very basis and foundation of modern life. Fear
of the much touted technology which, while it raises our standard of
living, increases the probability of our violently dying. Fear of the
science which takes away the one hand even more than what it so
profusely gives with the other. Fear of the demonstrably fatal
institutions for while, in our suicidal loyalty, we are ready to kill
and die. Fear of the Great Men whom we have raised, and by popular
acclaim, to a power which they use, inevitably, to murder and enslave
us. Fear of the war we don’t want yet do everything we can to bring
Doris Lessing from Prisons We Choose to Live Inside
Often the mass emotions are those which seem the noblest, best and most beautiful. And yet, inside a year, five years, a decade, five decades, people will be asking, "How could you have believed that?" because events will have taken place that will have banished the said mass emotions to the dustbin of history.
Very few people really care about freedom, about liberty, about the
truth, very few. Very few people have guts, the kind of guts on which a
real democracy has to depend. Without people with that sort of guts a
free society dies or cannot be born.
There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and
bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those,
dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag-and
never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it
is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that the book which bores you
when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are
forty or fifty-and vise versa. Don’t read a book out of its right time
Grown-ups desperately need to feel safe, and then they project onto the kids. But what none of us seem to realize is how smart kids are. They don’t like what we write for them, what we dish up for them, because it’s vapid, so they’ll go for the hard words, they’ll go for the hard concepts, they’ll go for the stuff where they can learn something. Not didactic things, but passionate things.
Ah, Grief, I should not treat you
like a homeless dog
who comes to the back door
for a crust, for a meatless bone.
I should trust you.
I should coax you
into the house and give you
your own corner,
a worn mat to lie on,
your own water dish.
You think I don't know you've been living
under my porch.
You long for your real place to be readied
before winter comes. You need
your collar and tag. You need
the right to warn off intruders,
my house your own
and me your person
my own dog.
No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist
Wolf’s-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss’d
By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
Make not your rosary of yew-berries,
Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be
Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
A partner in your sorrow’s mysteries;
For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.
But when the melancholy fit shall fall
Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
Or on the wealth of globed peonies;
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,
Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.
She dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die;
And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh,
Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips:
Ay, in the very temple of Delight
Veil’d Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
Can burst Joy’s grape against his palate fine;
His soul shalt taste the sadness of her might,
And be among her cloudy trophies hung.
arrive. The Ladies from the Ladies’ Betterment League
Arrive in the afternoon, the late light slanting
In diluted gold bars across the boulevard brag
Of proud, seamed faces with mercy and murder hinting
Here, there, interrupting, all deep and debonair,
The pink paint on the innocence of fear;
Walk in a gingerly manner up the hall.
Cutting with knives served by their softest care,
Served by their love, so barbarously fair.
Whose mothers taught: You’d better not be cruel!
You had better not throw stones upon the wrens!
Herein they kiss and coddle and assault
Anew and dearly in the innocence
With which they baffle nature. Who are full,
Sleek, tender-clad, fit, fiftyish, a-glow, all
Sweetly abortive, hinting at fat fruit,
Judge it high time that fiftyish fingers felt
Beneath the lovelier planes of enterprise.
To resurrect. To moisten with milky chill.
To be a random hitching-post or plush.
To be, for wet eyes, random and handy hem.
Their guild is giving money to the poor.
The worthy poor. The very very worthy
And beautiful poor. Perhaps just not too swarthy?
perhaps just not too dirty nor too dim
Nor—passionate. In truth, what they could wish
Is—something less than derelict or dull.
Not staunch enough to stab, though, gaze for gaze!
God shield them sharply from the beggar-bold!
The noxious needy ones whose battle’s bald
Nonetheless for being voiceless, hits one down.
But it’s all so bad! and entirely too much for them.
The stench; the urine, cabbage, and dead beans,
Dead porridges of assorted dusty grains,
The old smoke, heavy diapers, and, they’re told,
Something called chitterlings. The darkness. Drawn
Darkness, or dirty light. The soil that stirs.
The soil that looks the soil of centuries.
And for that matter the general oldness. Old
Wood. Old marble. Old tile. Old old old.
Not homekind Oldness! Not Lake Forest, Glencoe.
Nothing is sturdy, nothing is majestic,
There is no quiet drama, no rubbed glaze, no
Unkillable infirmity of such
A tasteful turn as lately they have left,
Glencoe, Lake Forest, and to which their cars
Must presently restore them. When they’re done
With dullards and distortions of this fistic
Patience of the poor and put-upon.
They’ve never seen such a make-do-ness as
Newspaper rugs before! In this, this “flat,”
Their hostess is gathering up the oozed, the rich
Rugs of the morning (tattered! the bespattered. . . .)
Readies to spread clean rugs for afternoon.
Here is a scene for you. The Ladies look,
In horror, behind a substantial citizeness
Whose trains clank out across her swollen heart.
Who, arms akimbo, almost fills a door.
All tumbling children, quilts dragged to the floor
And tortured thereover, potato peelings, soft-
Eyed kitten, hunched-up, haggard, to-be-hurt.
Their League is allotting largesse to the Lost.
But to put their clean, their pretty money, to put
Their money collected from delicate rose-fingers
Tipped with their hundred flawless rose-nails seems . . .
They own Spode, Lowestoft, candelabra,
Mantels, and hostess gowns, and sunburst clocks,
Turtle soup, Chippendale, red satin “hangings,”
Aubussons and Hattie Carnegie. They Winter
In Palm Beach; cross the Water in June; attend,
When suitable, the nice Art Institute;
Buy the right books in the best bindings; saunter
On Michigan, Easter mornings, in sun or wind.
Oh Squalor! This sick four-story hulk, this fibre
With fissures everywhere! Why, what are bringings
Of loathe-love largesse? What shall peril hungers
So old old, what shall flatter the desolate?
Tin can, blocked fire escape and chitterling
And swaggering seeking youth and the puzzled wreckage
Of the middle passage, and urine and stale shames
And, again, the porridges of the underslung
And children children children. Heavens! That
Was a rat, surely, off there, in the shadows? Long
And long-tailed? Gray? The Ladies from the Ladies’
Betterment League agree it will be better
To achieve the outer air that rights and steadies,
To hie to a house that does not holler, to ring
Bells elsetime, better presently to cater
To no more Possibilities, to get
Away. Perhaps the money can be posted.
Perhaps they two may choose another Slum!
Some serious sooty half-unhappy home!—
Where loathe-love likelier may be invested.
Keeping their scented bodies in the center
Of the hall as they walk down the hysterical hall,
They allow their lovely skirts to graze no wall,
Are off at what they manage of a canter,
And, resuming all the clues of what they were,
Try to avoid inhaling the laden air.