There is a brokenness
Out of which comes the unbroken,
A shatteredness out of which blooms the unshatterable.
There is a sorrow
Beyond all grief which leads to joy
And a fragility out of whose depths emerges strength.
There is a hollow space too vast for words
Through which we pass with each loss,
Out of darkness we are sanctioned into being.
There is a cry deeper than all sound
Whose serrated edges cut the heart
As we break open
To the place inside which is unbreakable
While learning to sing.
“worldly goods: security, order, happiness, contiguous numbers that, once they were added together, might resemble love, almost be love. But they were not love, and these doubts increased her confusion, because she was also not convinced that love was really what she most needed to live.”
-Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
“But the analogy between television and liquor is best, I think. Because (bear with me a second) I’m afraid good old average Joe Briefcase might be a teleholic. I.e., watching TV can become malignantly addictive. It may become malignantly addictive only once a certain threshold of quantity is habitually passed, but then the same is true of Wild Turkey. And by “malignant” and “addictive” I again do not mean evil or hypnotizing. An activity is addictive if one’s relationship to it lies on that downward-sloping continuum between liking it a little too much and downright needing it. Many addictions, from exercise to letter-writing, are pretty benign. But something is malignantly addictive if (1) it causes real problems for the addict, and (2) it offers itself as relief from the very problems it causes. A malignant addiction is also distinguished for spreading the problems of the addiction out and in in interference patterns, creating difficulties for relationships, communities, and the addict’s very sense of self and spirit. In the abstract, some of this hyperbole might strain the analogy for you, but concrete illustrations of malignant TV-watching cycles aren’t hard to come by. If it’s true that many Americans are lonely, and if it’s true that many lonely people are prodigious TV-watchers, and if it’s true that lonely people find in television’s 2D images relief from the pain of their reluctance to be around real humans, then it’s also obvious that the more time spent watching TV, the less time spent in the real human world, and the less time spent in the real human world, the harder it becomes not to feel inadequate to the tasks involved in being a part of the world, thus fundamentally apart from it, alienated from it, solipsistic, lonely. It’s also true that to the extent one begins to view pseudo-relationships with Bud Bundy or Jane Pauley as acceptable alternatives to relationships with real people, one has commensurately less conscious incentive even to try to connect with real 3D persons, connections that are pretty important to mental health. For Joe Briefcase, as for many addicts, the Special Treat begins to substitute for something nourishing and needed, and the original genuine hunger– less satisfied than bludgeoned– subsides to a strange objectless unease.”
― David Foster Wallace, “E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction
Ah, but poems amount to so little when you write them too early in your life. You ought to wait and gather sense and sweetness for a whole lifetime, and a long one if possible, and then, at the very end, you might perhaps be able to write ten good lines. For poems are not, as people think, simple emotions (one has emotions early enough)–they are experiences. For the sake of a simple poem, you must see many cities, many people and Things, you must understand animals, must feel how birds fly, and know the gesture which small flowers make when they open in the morning. You must be able to think back to streets in unknown neighborhoods, to unexpected encounters and to partings you had long seen coming; to days of childhood whose mystery is still unexplained, to parents whom you had to hurt when they brought in a joy and you didn’t pick it up (it was a joy meant for somebody else–); to childhood illnesses that began so strangely with so many profound and difficult transformations, to days in quiet, restrained rooms and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to nights of travel that rushed along high overhead and went flying with all the stars,–and it is still not enough to be able to think of all that. You must have memories of many nights of love, each one different from all the others, memories of women screaming in labor, and of light, pale, sleeping girls who have just given birth and are closing again. But you must also have been beside the dying, must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open window and the scattered noises. And it is not yet enough to have memories. You must be able to forget them when they are many, and you must have the immense patience to wait until they return. For the memories themselves are not important. Only when they have changed into our very well blood, into glance and gesture, and are nameless, no longer to be distinguished from ourselves–only then can it happen that in some very rare hour the first word of a poem arises in their midst and goes forth from them.
– Excerpt from The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke
Planning on finally watching “The Future”, which has been sitting on my TV stand for nearly a month, tonight. It looks quirky yet moving, like the rest of Miranda July’s work. Also on my to-do list is reading July’s newest book, “It Chooses You”, which is something of a companion piece to the “The Future”. In the book, she chronicles her journey of finding the stories behind the people whose postings she comes across in the PennySaver. The concept in itself is intriguing and simple enough but I’m sure it’s July’s perspective and storytelling that really makes it special. Anyway, it’s time to leave the office, disconnect from the distractions, and go be productive!
I Want To Know You
By Ryan O’Connell
I want to know you. You seem like someone worth knowing. Every day I feel like I’m surrounded by people with hard edges and sour faces but I get the sense that you’re different. Too often people seem to think that they have the answers to everything. Their faces are trapped in permascowls and they can’t be bothered with anything besides their own narcissism. You aren’t like that. You still ask questions. You’re still looking for the answers.
People with kind hearts make me feel dirty. Like I need to give my personality a bath or something. Rub it clean of my neuroses and judgments. But that’s a good thing. When someone inspires you to take a long hard look at yourself and question all of your bad habits, they’re someone worth keeping around. It’s all about finding that person who’s able to hold up a mirror to your life and cause you to reevaluate the noise. It’s all about wanting to be a better man.
I know you’ll surprise me. I know you’ll take a right turn when I’m convinced you’ll take a left. All of this may seem arbitrary (why does it even matter if you take a right instead of a left?) but it provides me with a giant sense of relief. Do you know what it feels like to go through life rarely being surprised? The person who you think is going to hurt you ends up leaving you alone at three in the morning. The person who will never understand your jokes or passions turns out to be a stranger forever. You sleep with them, go out to dinners, and even run away to a bed and breakfast on a long weekend, all in hopes that they’ll start to make sense to you one day. But they never do. They just get more and more foreign each day. Experiences don’t always breed intimacy. Sometimes they just make the distance more apparent.
I want to know how your weekend was (I never want to know these types of things but you’re the exception to all my rules) and I want to know how you got that scar on your knee (biking accident when you were twelve? Tell me more! This story is more riveting than The Hunger Games!) and I want to know about your mom and dad (Are they assholes? No matter! We’ll start our own family!) I want to protect you. I want to preserve your innocence and drink it up for myself. You learn from me and I’ll learn from you. Deal?
You’ll open me up like an orange, leaving a mess of pulp and sticky peels everywhere. Certain parts of my personality will be extracted and I’ll find myself feeling stuff I never knew was possible. It’s strange to think how many things we’re capable of without really knowing it until we have a proper catalyst — something or someone to bring it to the surface. Dig, dig, dig. No, you might need to dig a little deeper. I have a lot of crap sticking on top of the good stuff.
In order for all of this to work though, you have to let me know you. You have to let me cut you open and trust that I won’t accidentally hit a nerve. You have to accept me for my shortcomings and understand that you’re a better person than I am. I’m a little rotten. Please don’t let that deter you though. Because when I look at you, I see someone who makes sense. I see an anomaly — someone who’s untouched by all of the modern inventions and hang ups. I see someone I want to know.
Source: Thought Catalog