“Never was a more brilliant show of colored landscape than yesterday afternoon—incredibly excellent topaz & ruby at 4 o’clock, cold & shabby at 6.”more info
source: Oct. 11, 1854 entry, Emerson in His Journals, selected and edited by Joel Porte (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982), 457.
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“The lower Quarter is the best part. The ironwork on the balconies sags like rotten lace. Little French cottages hide behind high walls. Through deep sweating carriageways one catches glimpses of courtyards gone to jungle.”more info
source: The Moviegoer (New York: Vintage International Edition, 1998), 14.
“The sky was peach and gold, a teacup of a morning, just enough clouds so as not to mock us.”more info
source: An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2008), 100.
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“My most thrilling musical experience was in Time Square, over thirty years ago. There was a rehearsal hall around the Brill Building where all the rooms were divided into tiny spaces with just enough room to open the door. Inside was a spinet piano— cigarette burns, missing keys, old paint and no pedals. You go in and close the door and it’s so loud from other rehearsals you can’t really work—so you stop and listen and the goulash of music was thrilling. Scales on a clarinet, tango, light opera, sour string quartet, voice lessons, someone belting out ‘Everything’s Coming Up Roses,’ garage bands, and piano lessons. The floor was pulsing, the walls were thin. As if ten radios were on at the same time, in the same room. It was a train station of music with all the sounds milling around…for me it was heavenly.”more info
source: Tom Waits interviews himself on ANTI.com, May 20, 2008.
“Words shouted into a fierce gale which is anyway blowing in the wrong direction.”more info
source: letter to James Wood, dated September 9, 1996, in Saul Bellow: Letters (New York: Viking, 2010), 525–26.
“At the right there was an old House—the window was open. We could see a table with a greenish oil cloth, on it a long bread, a bottle of wine, heavy white plates. We could only see the old hands of the people who were eating. A hand passed a basket with 2 peaches on it. It was all the paintings of the world, quiet, resisting time, everlasting. It is the only image of duration and eternity I have seen in a long time.”more info
source: letter to Felix Pollak dated July 18, 1958 in Arrows of Longing (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1998), 128–29.
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notes: Felix Pollak (1909–1987) was an American poet
“Music is like acupuncture—the exact same treatment, the exact same songs, even the exact same recording will move people, even the same people at different times, in very different ways. If someone is unmoved, its none of my business—I don’t mind, I don’t care.”more info
source: response to Rick Moody’s Blog post “Swinging Modern Sounds #24: A Magician of the Highest Degree,” The Rumpus, June 20, 2010.
medium: Blog comment
“A book is a cubic piece of burning, smoking conscience—and nothing else.”more info
source: The Marsh of Gold: Pasternak’s Writings on Inspiration and Creation by Angela Livingstone (Brighton, MA: Academic Studies Press, 2008), 16.
notes: quoted by Mary Karr in her Twitter feed
“I knew from the very first that some day there would be a cow here. One of the first things that turned up when we bought the place was a milking stool, an old one, handmade, smooth with the wax finish which only the seat of an honest man’s breeches can give to wood.”more info
source: “Getting Ready for a Cow,” in One Man’s Meat (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1944), 315.
notes: White wrote this essay in September 1942.
“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”more info
source: recounted by Edith Wharton in A Backward Glance (New York: D. Appleton-Century Company, 1934), 249.
medium: autobiographyvia: Fannie Bushin
“I can’t afford to regret. That life is simply gone now, and I can’t regret its passing. I have to live in the present. The life back then is gone just as surely—it’s as remote to me as if it had happened to somebody I read about in a nineteenth-century novel. I don’t spend more than five minutes a month in the past. The past really is a foreign country, and they do things differently there.”more info
source: The Paris Review Interviews, vol. III (New York: Picador, 2008), 235.
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notes: Originally published in Issue 88 of The Paris Review, 1983.
“So sensitive, said a family friend, that she could feel the grass grow under her feet.”more info
source: Summers with Juliet (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1992), 2.
“On the wide level acres of the valley the topsoil lay deep and fertile. It required only a rich winter of rain to make it break forth in grass and flowers. The spring flowers in a wet year were unbelievable. The whole valley floor, and the foothills too, would be carpeted with lupins and poppies. Once a woman told me that colored flowers would seem more bright if you added a few white flowers to give the colors definition. Every petal of blue lupin is edged with white, so that a field of lupins is more blue than you can imagine. And mixed with these were splashes of California poppies. These too are of a burning color—not orange, not gold, but if pure gold were liquid and could raise a cream, that golden cream might be like the color of poppies.”more info
source: East of Eden (New York: Penguin Books, 1986), 5.
“Time interval is a strange and contradictory matter in the mind. It would be reasonable to suppose that a routine time or an eventless time would seem interminable. It should be so, but it is not. It is the dull eventless times that have no duration whatever. A time splashed with interest, wounded with tragedy, crevassed with joy—that’s the time that seems long in the memory. And this is right when you think about it. Eventlessness has no posts to drape duration on. From nothing to nothing is no time at all.”more info
source: East of Eden (New York: Penguin Books, 1986), 73.
“I cried for the boyfriends I was no longer with, the people and places I no longer knew very well, for my parents and grandparents ailing and stuck in Florida, their tough, unchanging forms conjured only in memory: a jewel box kept in a medicine cabinet in the attic of a house on the moon; that’s where their unchanging forms were kept. I cried for everyone and for all the scrabbly, funny love one sent out into the world like some hit song that enters space and bounds off to another galaxy, a tune so pretty you think the words are true, you do! There was never any containing a song like that, keeping it. It went off and out, speeding out of earshot or imagining or any reach at all, like a rocket invented in sleep.”more info