Then you attain those things and realize you still couldn’t be more empty. I didn’t know where to put myself.


The most notice thing about Angelina Jolie Pitt —apart from her almost preternatural physical presence—is that nearly everywhere she goes she turns up more or less unattended (unless, of course, you count husband Brad Pitt and their brood of six). Arriving for an interview at a West Hollywood hotel suite to promote By the Seaher upcoming movie with Pitt, she’s trailed only by a lone bodyguard—she doesn’t employ a manager or even a publicist. […]

According to King, Jolie Pitt’s attention to detail extends well beyond wardrobe. When she first approached him about In the Land of Blood and Honey, she was “extraordinarily well prepared,” he says. “She turned up in my office with the location, photos, storyboards, casting information…He also came to admire her “hands-on” approach. “Whether it’s interviews, photo shoots or directing films, she gets involved herself,” he says. “Angie does not send people into meetings. There’s no manager or agent, no PR. When I first met her I couldn’t believe how accessible she was.” […]

In her teens, Jolie Pitt suffered from depression, which she attributes in part to her “unhealthy” hometown. “I grew up in L.A., where focus is very inward. I didn’t know why I was so destructive and miserable. I didn’t appreciate or understand my life.” Her unhappiness was further compounded by guilt. “I was raised in a place where if you have fame and money and you’re decent-looking and have the ability to work in this industry, you have everything in the world. Then you attain those things and realize you still couldn’t be more empty. I didn’t know where to put myself.” […]

Pitt says he doubts his wife would call her choice to go public with her decisions brave, noting that “she’s never been a person who hides. She’s utterly forthcoming and sincere about who she is.” He adds that once she’s made up her mind, she’s always been unwavering about her choices. “I’ll tell you this about her surgeries: Once the decision was made, she was on the operating table two weeks later.”

If she was confident in her decision, she had painful reasons to be. “You have to understand that this is a woman who never knew she’d make it to 40,” Pitt says. “This is a woman who had watched her mother, aunt and grandmother become sick and eventually succumb, all at an early age. Her drive, her absolute value in herself, is defined by the impact she can have during her time here—for her kids and for the underprivileged and those suffering injustices.” […]

~ Julia Reed, The Examined Life of Angelina Jolie Pitt

Related Angelina Jolie Post: It is polarizing, and it is peaceful.

Riding Metro North. Vive la France.



2:45 am.

How quiet it is.
Too soon to wake.
Too late to stop the mind.
A hamster on the wheel, spinning.

Duras: “How quiet it is,” […] “Who’d believe our nights are such an ordeal?”

3:30 am.

In the Quiet Zone.
Ascending to de Botton’s higher consciousness. Or somewhere.

Alain de Botton: “Perhaps late at night or early in the morning (when there are no threats or demands on us), when our bodies and passions are comfortable and quiescent, we have the privilege of being able to access the higher mind …We loosen our hold on our own egos and ascend to a less biased and more universal perspective, casting off a little of the customary anxious self-justification and brittle pride.”

I do feel that ascension. Now if I could only park here.

6:51 a.m.

Father and his daughter walk to train station.  It’s 45° F.  “It’s cold Dad.” I look down at her bare red legs pockmarked with goose bumps: “Why aren’t you wearing nylons?” She snaps back at me: “Really Dad? Nylons. Nobody wears Nylons anymore? That’s creepy.

So, now I’m on the wrong side of 50 and creepy.  OK, so it wasn’t a focus area. And, it’s not that I haven’t looked at women’s legs. And there you are, a flat stone skipping silently across the water, jumping decades of fashion revolution. [Read more…]

It’s been a long day


The odd little magpie of the mind.
Nothing is finally finished, then?
The past emerges and re-emerges.
It builds its random nest in the oddest places.

~ Colum McCann, Thirteen Ways of Looking


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

Lightning. Hit me.


At times the truth shines so brilliantly that we perceive it as clear as day. Our nature and habit then draw a veil over our perception, and we return to a darkness almost as dense as before. We are like those who, though beholding frequent flashes of lightning, still find themselves in the thickest darkness of the night. On some the lightning flashes in rapid succession, and they seem to be in continuous light, and their night is as clear as the day… By others only once during the whole night is a flash of lightning perceived… There are some to whom the flashes of lightning appear with varying intervals; others are in the condition of men, whose darkness is illumined not by lightning, but by some kind of crystal or similar stone, or other substances that possess the property of shining during the night; and to them even this small amount of light is not continuous, but now it shines and now it vanishes, as if it were “the flame of the rotating sword.” The degrees in the perfection of men vary according to these distinctions.

~ Moses Maimonides, a twelfth-century Jewish philosopher and astronomer in the The Guide for the Perplexed

Credits: Quote – Brainpickings. Photo: Andrew S. Gray (via Madame Scherzo)

So it has come to this


So it has come to this
insomnia at 3:15 A.M., 
the clock tolling its engine 
All night dark wings 
flopping in my heart. 
Each an ambition bird

Anne Sexton, The Ambition Bird, The Complete Poems, Anne Sexton

Notes: Poem Source – Didier Leclair.  Photo: Pause Between Thoughts

Riding Metro North. Giving Up the Ghost.


Hump Day. Hump it was.

It’s the 9:06 pm train from Grand Central. A 15-hour day and it wasn’t over.

I sit with other weary commuters heading home. The train is silent.

I can’t get comfortable. I shift left, and then right and then lean against the window. I give up. I need to be horizontal, in my bed.

It’s Haunting. A Ghost. It’s Hilary Mantel’s Giving Up the Ghost:

The faintest movement, a ripple, a disturbance of the air. I can sense a spiral, a lazy buzzing swirl, like flies; but it is not flies. There is nothing to see. There is nothing to smell. There is nothing to hear. But it is motion, its insolent shift, makes my stomach heave. I can sense— at the periphery, the limit of all my senses— the dimensions of the creature. It is as high as a child of two. Its depth is a foot, fifteen inches. The air stirs around it, invisibly. I am cold, and rinsed by nausea. I cannot move. I am shaking. . . . This is the beginning of shame.

You are tired. You know that’s it.  Let it go Man. [Read more…]

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’

And doubling and doubling and doubling back


“Ever since Michel de Montaigne, the founder of the modern essay, gave as a motto his befuddled “What do I know?” and put forth a vision of humanity as mentally wavering and inconstant, the essay has become a meadow inviting contradiction, paradox, irresolution and self-doubt. The essay’s job is to track consciousness; if you are fully aware of your mind you will find your thoughts doubling back, registering little peeps of ambivalence or disbelief.”

~ Phillip Lopate, The Essay, An Exercise in Doubt


Driving I-95 S. Catching the 5:40.


Wednesday night

RK:  Dad, can you drive me to the train station? I need to get to work early.
DK:  What time?
RK:  5:30 am for the 5:40 train.
DK:  Really? It’s a 5-minute walk.
RK:  You are up anyway. You don’t want me walking in the dark, do you?

Thursday morning.

We pull up to the station.

5:31 am.

DK:  Have a good day Honey.
RK:  What’s the rush? A few more minutes Dad. It’s toasty in here.
DK:  OK.

We sit in silence with the car running. I flip on ‘The Coffee House’ on Sirius: Ray LaMontagne with Trouble. The air vents are blowing heat, it’s 46° F outside.  And dark. [Read more…]