Friday, August 31, 2007

Order of the Universe #9

The people I respect most behave as if they were immortal and as if society were eternal. Both assumptions are false: both of them must be accepted as true if we are to go on eating and working and loving, and are to keep open a few breathing holes for the human spirit. No millennium seems likely to descend upon humanity; no better and stronger League of Nations will be instituted; no form of Christianity and no alternative to Christianity will bring peace to the world or integrity to the individual; no “change of heart” will occur. And yet we needn’t despair, indeed we cannot despair; the evidence of history shows us that men have always insisted on behaving creatively under the shadow of the sword, and that we had better follow their example under the shadow of airplanes.

E.M. Forster, "What I Believe" (1939)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Scenes from a Life #11, Cinema #27

Rita Hayworth, Christopher Welles, and a maritime Orson Welles, perhaps blocking out scenes to come for The Lady from Shanghai.
Peter Stackpole, photographer, Life (1945)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Frontispiece #1

Memoirs of British Quadrupeds, illustrative principally of their habits of life, instincts, sagacity, and uses to mankind

William Bingley (1809)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Order of the Universe #8, WCW#4

Antipoetic is the thing
flowers mostly in the spring
and when it dies it lives again
first the egg and then the hen

Or is this merely an unreason
flowerless the which we beg
antipoetic mocks the season
first the hen and then the egg

William Carlos Williams, "The Entity" (1934)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Order of the Universe #7, Art #11

Things are not all so comprehensible and expressible as one would mostly have us believe; most events are inexpressible, taking place in a realm which no word has ever entered, and more inexpressible than all else are works of art, mysterious existences, the life of which, while ours passes away, endures.

Rainer Maria Rilke to Franz Xaver Kappus (February 17, 1903)
From the first of the Letters to a Young Poet

Monday, August 20, 2007

Order of the Universe #6

We are all prisoners in solitary confinement: when at last we give up trying to escape through mass emotion or sexual union there remains for us only the wall alphabet in which we tap our hopes and thoughts.

Cyril Connolly, “Writers and Society, 1940-3”

Friday, August 17, 2007

In Memoriam #4, Music #10, Manhattan #30

Max Roach


Max Roach, at the Three Deuces nightclub, 52nd Street, William Gottlieb, photographer (ca. Oct. 1947)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Art #10

The object of art is not to make salable pictures. It is to save yourself.
Any cleanness I have in my own life is due to my feeling for words.
The fools who write articles about me think that one morning I suddenly decided to write and begun to produce masterpieces.
There is no special trick about writing or painting either. I wrote constantly for 15 years before I produced anything with any solidity to it.
For days, weeks, and months now I can’t do it.
You saw me in Paris this winter. I was in a dead, blank time. you have to live through such times all your life.
The thing, of course, is to make yourself alive. Most people remain all of their lives in a stupor.
The point of being an artist is that you may live.

Sherwood Anderson to John Anderson, from Troutdale, Virginia (April? 1927)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Seasons #2

Verano (Summer)
From a cigarette card series of the four seasons (c. 1900)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Aphorisms #5, Scopitone #24

Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

Bob Dylan, "My Back Pages" (1964)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Word of the Day #22


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Beauty #4, Order of the Universe #5

Il est beau comme la rétractilité des serres des oiseaux rapaces ; ou encore, comme l'incertitude des mouvements musculaires dans les plaies des parties molles de la région cervicale postérieure ; ou plutôt, comme ce piège à rats perpétuel, toujours retendu par l'animal pris, qui peut prendre seul des rongeurs indéfiniment, et fonctionner même caché sous la paille ; et surtout, comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d'une machine à coudre et d'un parapluie !

beautiful ... as the chance encounter on a dissecting table of an umbrella and a sewing machine

Comte de Lautréamont, Les Chants de Maldoror (1869)