“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”
— Anais Nin
"To be transformed
to turn yourself inside out like a glove
to spin like a planet
to thread yourself through yourself
so that each day penetrates each night
so that each word runs on the other side of truth
so that each verse comes out of itself
and gives off its own light
so that each face leaning on a hand
sweats into the skin of the palm
So that this pen
changes into pure silence
I wanted to say in love”
— Anna Kamieńska, from “Transformation”, in Astonishments
"I feel too much. That’s what’s going on. Do you think one can feel too much? Or just feel in the wrong ways? My insides don’t match up with my outsides. Do anyone’s insides and outsides match up? I don’t know. I’m only me. Maybe that’s what a person’s personality is: the difference between the inside and outside. But it’s worse for me. I wonder if everyone thinks it’s worse for him. Probably. But it really is worse for me."
— Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
— John Steinbeck
post-grad checklist: swimming, lilacs, road trips, organization, kissing, loving, listening, exploring, learning, pipe dreams, books, sleeping, sleeping, sleep
fulfillment, constant, poetry, wine, frequent brunches, laura marling, singing, late nights, just kids, star-filled skies, icecream, lots of ice cream
open windows, barefoot streets, fire escape getaways, summer subways, pups, dancing
maybe a compass tattoo will help me to find it all.
What on earth can you do on this earth but catch at whatever comes near you, with both your fingers, until your fingers are broken?
Tennessee Williams, Orpheus Descending
“We’re all lonely for something we don’t know we’re lonely for. How else can we explain the curious feeling that goes around feeling like missing somebody we’ve never even met?”
David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
Everything is ecstasy, inside. We just don’t know it because of our thinking-minds. But in our true blissful essence of mind is known that everything is alright forever and forever and forever. Close your eyes, let your hands and nerve-ends drop, stop breathing for 3 seconds, listen to the silence inside the illusion of the world, and you will remember the lesson you forgot, which was taught in immense milky way soft cloud innumerable worlds long ago and not even at all. It is all one vast awakened thing. I call it the golden eternity. It is perfect. We were never really born, we will never really die. It has nothing to do with the imaginary idea of a personal self, other selves, many selves everywhere: Self is only an idea, a mortal idea. That which passes into everything is one thing. It’s a dream already ended.
In my low periods, I wondered what was the point of creating art. For whom? Are we animating God? Are we talking to ourselves? And what was the ultimate goal? To have one’s work caged in art’s great zoos—the Modern, the Met, the Louvre?
I craved honesty, yet found dishonesty in myself. Why commit to art? For self-realization, or for itself? It seemed indulgent to add to the glut unless one offered illumination.
Often I’d sit and try to write or draw, but all of the manic activity in the streets, coupled with the Vietnam War, made my efforts seem meaningless. I could not identify with political movements. In trying to join them I felt overwhelmed by yet another form of bureaucracy. I wondered if anything I did mattered.
— Patti Smith (Just Kids, 2010)
“People are strange: They are constantly angered by trivial things, but on a major matter like totally wasting their lives, they hardly seem to notice.”
The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!” Too fast to live, too young to die. Like a really pretty girl smoking a cigarette, and her makeup is smeared and her stockings are torn but she’s still a total babe. That’s why I stay up pretty late, go to a lot of concerts. Because I just want to live, surround myself with the living. Crackle crackle crackle. All I see is fireworks. Cause baby, you’re a firework.
On The Road; Jack Kerouac
You used to read dictionaries like other people read novels. Each entry is a character, you’d say, who might be encountered on some other page. Plots, many of them, would form during any random reading. The story changes according to the order in which the entries are read. A dictionary resembles the world more than a novel does, because the world is not a coherent sequence of actions but a constellation of things perceived… . To portray your life in order would be absurd: I remember you at random. My brain resurrects you through stochastic details, like picking marbles out of a bag.
Édouard Levé (tr. Jan Steyn), Suicide
You are tired,
Of the always puzzle of living and doing;
And so am I.
Come with me, then,
And we’ll leave it far and far away—
(Only you and I, understand!)
You have played,
And broke the toys you were fondest of,
And are a little tired now;
Tired of things that break, and—
So am I.
But I come with a dream in my eyes tonight,
And I knock with a rose at the hopeless gate of your heart—
Open to me!
For I will show you places Nobody knows,
And, if you like,
The perfect places of Sleep.
Ah, come with me!
I’ll blow you that wonderful bubble, the moon,
That floats forever and a day;
I’ll sing you the jacinth song
Of the probable stars;
I will attempt the unstartled steppes of dream,
Until I find the Only Flower,
Which shall keep (I think) your little heart
While the moon comes out of the sea.
- e.e. cummings
“The beauty of things must be that they end.”
— Jack Kerouac, Tristessa
pg. 255 - This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.
All happiness that is dependent on others
is bound to disappear sooner or later.
It is temporary, it is momentary, it is illusory.
Only that joy is yours which wells up
within your own being.
Hence Buddha says:
delight in meditation
delight in solitude
Aloneness is the joy of being just yourself.
It is being joyous with yourself,
it is enjoying your own company.
There are very few people
who enjoy their own company.
And it is a very strange world:
nobody enjoys his company
and everybody wants others to enjoy his company.
Choose Life over the other stuff. Get out of your head. Live. Dress up. Eat. Touch people. Help out. Give up. Love people. Give your best away. There’s more. What’s the problem? Relax. You’re going to die. Throw a party. Eat off my plate. Sing to me. Meet me in the bedroom. Get a massage. Give one. Let your amazement out into the room. Pry open the box you hide your joy in. Be a poem.
-John Patrick ShanleySomething sad keeps moving
So I wandered around.
I fell in love with the burden
Holding me down.
Bless my mind, I miss
Being told how to live.
What I learned without knowing
How much more I owe than I can give.
This is how I tell it
Oh, but it’s long.
One Sunday morning
One son is gone.
-Wilco, One Sunday Morning
“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”
“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”