They’re simply too good. Better to close your eyes and carry on with your own work.


Before I begin this review, I have to make a small confession. I have never read Michel Houellebecq’s books. This is odd, I concede, since Houellebecq is considered a great contemporary author, and one cannot be said to be keeping abreast of contemporary literature without reading his work. His books have been recommended to me ever since 1998, most often “The Elementary Particles,” by one friend in particular, who says the same thing every time I see him. You have to read “The Elementary Particles,” he tells me, it’s awesome, the best book I’ve ever read. Several times I’ve been on the verge of heeding his advice, plucking “The Elementary Particles” from its place on my shelf and considering it for a while, though always returning it unread. The resistance to starting a book by Houellebecq is too great. I’m not entirely sure where it comes from, though I do have a suspicion, because the same thing goes for the films of Lars von Trier: When “Antichrist” came out I couldn’t bring myself to see it, neither in the cinema nor at home on the DVD I eventually bought, which remains in its box unwatched. They’re simply too good. What prevents me from reading Houellebecq and watching von Trier is a kind of envy — not that I begrudge them success, but by reading the books and watching the films I would be reminded of how excellent a work of art can be, and of how far beneath that level my own work is. Such a reminder, which can be crushing, is something I shield myself from by ignoring Houellebecq’s books and von Trier’s films. That may sound strange, and yet it can hardly be unusual. If you’re a carpenter, for instance, and you keep hearing about the amazing work of another carpenter, you’re not necessarily going to seek it out, because what would be the good of having it confirmed that there is a level of excellence to which you may never aspire? Better to close your eyes and carry on with your own work, pretending the master carpenter doesn’t exist.

~ Karl Ove Knausgaard, from his review of Michel Houellebecq’s “Submission

Since the emergence of the six volumes of My Struggle, which began in 2009 and continues as the books are translated into dozens of languages, Karl Ove Knausgaard, 46, has become one of the 21st century’s greatest literary sensations. […] It was jarring to think that this unassuming guy, driving a scuffed van cluttered with toys, old CDs and a baby seat, is quite probably in line to receive a Nobel Prize in literature for his epic saga of what he describes as “the tormented inner life of one male.”

~ Liesl Schillinger, Why Karl Ove Knausgaard Can’t Stop Writing

Kate Winslet: “I’m proud of those silences”

At home, on most days, she is up at 6 a.m., cooking breakfast and getting the kids ready for school—not the stereotypical image of a movie star. “Do you have to use that word?” she asks, wincing. “I’ve always been so uncomfortable with that. I just don’t feel like one, and I don’t live like one either—not the way I imagine a proper movie star living.” […]

I didn’t plan on its being that way,” Winslet says. “And f— me, it hasn’t been easy, you know.” Noting that the tabloids tried and failed to detail how and why her earlier marriages unraveled, she adds, “No one really knows what has happened in my life. No one really knows why my first marriage didn’t last; no one knows why my second didn’t. And I’m proud of those silences.” […]

She admits to a lot of self-criticism when she was younger, but “thank God all that s—’s evaporated,” she says. “We all focus on our bodies in our late teens and our early 20s, in a way that is just not cool or healthy. In your 30s, you become aware of staying fit. Now I view my physical self as an instrument that I have to keep going because I’m a mother, and I have to be as healthy as I can for those three people who need me—more than I need for myself to be in a f—ing nude scene.” […]

Recently, Winslet has found herself in a new phase of her career. “When you get older, you’ve got to become more interesting. That’s why you have to choose the right parts,” says Primorac, mentioning the resolution of today’s digital cameras, which magnify every physical flaw. “I’ve done lots of films where Kate is the amazingly sexy leading lady, but now she’s more interested in the parts where she can frown and she can have wrinkles in her forehead. Instead of worrying, ‘Am I going to look good next to Liam Hemsworth?’—which she still does, by the way—she’s more interested in a great role.” […]

I want to read a script and go, ‘Holy s—, how the hell would I ever play that role?’ And then find myself somehow playing it,” she says, laughing. “I want to always be doing this. I want to grow and I want to change and I want to freak myself out.” Part of that process will be turning 40 this month, a birthday Winslet is sanguine about. “I have not wasted a second,” she says with a smile. “Good God, have I made the most of those 40 years.”

~ Elisa Lipsky-Karasz, Interview with Kate Winslet

Read entire interview here: Director’s Darling: Kate Winslet Stars in the Highly Anticipated Film ‘Steve Jobs’

Flying S-SW. 2,000,000 and counting.


38,000 feet above Earth.
This flight is a milestone: 2,000,000 miles on American Airlines.
Congratulations. You’ve achieve lifetime Platinum status on AA.
Another goal chased and passed.
A sigh. And then quickly comes the ‘so what.’

The mind burrows back.

It was the Harvest Moon as we touched down in Warsaw.

It was early morning in our approach: “Sweet blueberry or strawberry yogurt Sir?” Are all the women this beautiful in Singapore?

It was the security lines at Heathrow post-9-11, waiting for the red-eye back to New York. The tense shuffling of feet.

It was the soft flowing arid landscape of Athens.  Hogan whispering: “Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still they say. Watch and listen.” Ancient sacred grounds stirring the depths of the soul. Greek Gods. Feel their presence.

But, there’s interference in my rooting back.
Back never holds me for long.
Back like Jack. Kerouac that is. “Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”

It’s one image that flares.
And won’t let go. [Read more…]

Don Henley’s Long Run


“Almost a half-century later, the Eagles are still prospering. The band recently wrapped up a retrospective History of the Eagles tour, which spanned 146 concerts and grossed $253 million in ticket sales. On a hot, windy day in August, Mr. Henley, 68, seemed relieved that the run was over, as he sat at a picnic table before a platter heaped with cherry tomatoes from his garden. “I’ve been a human jukebox for a long time now,” he said, suggesting that the Eagles might be done touring for good—though that’s been said before.  To move forward, he has gone back, using a different setting—his hometown of Linden, Texas, 1,600 miles from Malibu, and 160 miles from his primary home in Dallas—as the musical jumping-off point for his first solo album in 15 years. “Cass County,” due Sept. 25, mixes country and other roots styles, echoing the blend of music that poured through his northeastern corner of the state. […]

In the past you’ve been pretty frank about the insecurities of being a songwriter. Do you still have confidence issues about your work?

No. I’ve pretty much outgrown that, which is another thing that made this album more enjoyable. There’s a paralyzation that occurs when you’re too hard on yourself. The great becomes the enemy of the good. I just decided to lighten up. There’s a magical middle ground that if you hit it, you can write and you can write well. I’m never going to be Paul Simon or Randy Newman, but I’m going to be me and I always aspire to do better work.

You have a two-part documentary out, “History of the Eagles.” What did you cut from the movie, or hesitate to include?

I think the documentary is great, but I didn’t like the process. I’m a very private person. I don’t understand this culture oversharing and putting it all on YouTube or Twitter. We were able to remove most of the cringe-worthy stuff. We didn’t want it to be just another movie about sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. Joe [Walsh] talked more about addiction in the film than we did, but we were all as bad as him—we just didn’t want to talk about it. I started putting that stuff behind me in the late ‘80s. Took me a few years, but I got there. But the movie had an incredibly positive effect on the old career. As our manager is fond of saying, it did more for our career than putting out a new album would have.

Read the rest of the Don Henley interview by John Jorgensen: Don Henley’s Long Run

A sneak preview into his new album: Don Henley Cass County Official Trailer

Find the album on iTunes here: Don Henley Cass County

Got it


Source: Nikkie Lamb




A Murmur. Yes, Maybe.


For once
the mocking, predictable voice
inside my head that says “No way”
is silent.
In fact, I think I can just barely make out
some other, quieter voice, whispering,

― Katrina Kenison, Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment

Photograph: Anka Zhuravleva (“Ginger“)



No Words.


She stirred it.
d smith kaich jones, in lower case whispers, in truth and mirrors:

“there are days I don’t write because (very small voice)
sometimes I don’t believe

It begins innocuously.
It builds surreptitiously.
It ends perniciously.

A slow drip from a leaky faucet.
A Drip. Drip. Drip.
The Drops splash on cool stainless steel.
From Drops. To Rain. To Tsunami.
Now Paralyzed by its immensity,
you stare at the blinking cursor,
and find Yves Klein‘s deep deep blue of emptiness.

The Sails lie flat,
the Ship is adrift.
You wait for tailwinds.
You Wait, for Words.

Image: Cloudair (Dead calm, Atlantic Ocean, Canary Islands)

Do the work


She looked about fifteen, and not only out of place in that crowd but also a little young to be asking a question in front of such a big audience. I think she felt it, too, because I could see from the stage that she was shaking. After a moment of nervous silence, she asked, “Mindy, where do you get your confidence? Because I feel like I used to have it when I was younger but now I don’t.”

Context is so important. If this question had been asked by a white man, I might actually have been offended, because the subtext of it would have been completely different. When an adult white man asks me “Where do you get your confidence?” the tacit assumption behind it is: “Because you don’t look like a person who should have any confidence. You’re not white, you’re not a man, and you’re not thin or conventionally attractive. How were you able to overlook these obvious shortcomings to feel confident?” […]

For the record, I, like everyone else, have had moments when I felt unattractive and stupid and unskilled. When I started at The Office, I had zero confidence. Whenever Greg Daniels came into the room to talk to our small group of writers, I was so nervous that I would raise and lower my chair involuntarily, like a tic. Finally, weeks in, writer Mike Schur put his hand on my arm and said, gently, “You have to stop.” Years later I realized that the way I had felt during those first few months was correct. I didn’t deserve to be confident yet. I happen to believe that no one inherently deserves anything, except basic human rights. […]

Confidence is just entitlement. Entitlement has gotten a bad rap because it’s used almost exclusively for the useless children of the rich, reality TV stars, and Conrad Hilton Jr., who gets kicked off an airplane for smoking pot in the lavatory and calling people peasants or whatever. But entitlement in and of itself isn’t so bad. Entitlement is simply the belief that you deserve something. Which is great. The hard part is, you’d better make sure you deserve it. So, how did I make sure that I deserved it?

To answer that, I would like to quote from the Twitter bio of one of my favorite people, Kevin Hart. It reads: My name is Kevin Hart and I WORK HARD!!! That pretty much sums me up!!! Everybody Wants To Be Famous But Nobody Wants To Do The Work!

People talk about confidence without ever bringing up hard work. That’s a mistake. I know I sound like some dour older spinster chambermaid on Downton Abbey who has never felt a man’s touch and whose heart has turned to stone, but I don’t understand how you could have self-confidence if you don’t do the work.

I work a lot. Like, a lot a lot. I feel like I must have been watching TV as a kid and that cartoon parable about the industrious ants and the lazy grasshopper came on at a vital moment when my soft little brain was hardening, and the moral of it was imprinted on me. The result of which is that I’m usually hyper-prepared for whatever I set my mind to do, which makes me feel deserving of attention and professional success, when that’s what I’m seeking.

~ Mindy Kaling, Mindy Kaling’s Guide to Killer Confidence


That aching gap


I am still beset
by the same old lusts
and ego and emotions,
the endless nagging details and irritations –
that aching gap between
what I know and what I am.

~ Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard

Source: Schonwieder