A Solemn Pleasure

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I’ve read hundreds of forewords introducing new books. I’ve skipped many many (many) hundreds more to get to the story. And, then, there was this one:

Like all great writers, Pritchard has no interest in providing answers. Rather, she strives only to articulate the questions in a manner that the readers can hear. Her aim is never to convey information, but only and powerfully to relay experiences – experiences that are poignant and devastating, familiar and extraordinary, inspiring and gutting. Individually, each of these essays confirms that to write is to think and feel, to take park in the profound and sacred act of witness. Read together – and the book is so arresting that many readers will finish it in a single sitting – the essays amount to a clear and irrefutable mandate for empathy. […]

As you read A Solemn Pleasure, notice how often you find yourself leaning toward the pages. I did so often my neck hurt. The pain was minor, but persistent. In fact, this ache – like each of the powerful essays – is still with me. It’s a reminder. Each time it flares, I remember one of Pritchard’s trenchant sentences. No matter which sentence I recall, it translates to the author beckoning. Look here, she’s saying. Come closer. I’ve got something to show you. Something you need to see.

~ Bret Anthony Johnston, His Foreword for A Solemn Pleasure: To Imagine, Witness, And Write (The Art of the Essay): Melissa Pritchard


Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

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Photographer: Robby Cavanaugh via My Modern Met

5:00 PM Bell!

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Notes: Photograph by 

Saturday Morning: Heal

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You will burn
and you will burn out;
you will be healed
and come back again.

~ Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov


Quote: Mme Scherzo. Image: Trevillion Images (@ Katerina Lomonosov) via Distantpassion

Now

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Source: Thegoodvibe.com

Breathe it in, pass it on

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I breathe in the soft, saturated exhalations of cedar trees and salmonberry bushes, fireweed and wood fern, marsh hawks and meadow voles, marten and harbor seal and blacktail deer. I breathe in the same particles of air that made songs in the throats of hermit thrushes and gave voices to humpback whales, the same particles of air that lifted the wings of bald eagles and buzzed in the flight of hummingbirds, the same particles of air that rushed over the sea in storms, whirled in high mountain snows, whistled across the poles, and whispered through lush equatorial gardens  . . . air that has passed continually through life on earth. I breathe it in, pass it on, share it in equal measure with billions of other living things, endlessly, infinitely.

~ Richard Nelson, The Island Within


Notes: Quote: Whiskey River. Photo: Ted McBride in Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C.

It would just be there

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I lie awake,
wishing I had faith of some kind.
I’ve caught glimpses of it now and then,
I can even conjure it up for a second or two,
but it fades.
It’s a stillness,
the polar opposite of worry.
It isn’t hope;
hope has too much energy,
requires constant renewal;
faith (if I had it) would just be there.

~ Abigail Thomas, Safekeeping: Some True Stories From a Life


Photograph: A. Sprigg via Precious Things

Saturday Morning. 4 am.

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But now it is four in the morning and she is still awake while her husband breathes regularly and sweetly beside her. When she tires of listening to him breathe, which takes a long time because he sounds like a child and it is beautiful to hear, she comes into the other room and looks out her window uptown and at the lights on the river. Now and then opening a can of tuna fish and thinking this fish in this room on 112th Street was originally swimming in the deep Atlantic and now it is here on the thirteenth floor. What a miracle, although not for the fish. Still. You can appreciate things at four in the morning that would go right past you during the day.

~ Abigail Thomas, She has had insomnia. Safekeeping: Some True Stories from a Life


Image Source – Precious Things – Serrah Russel, Equivalents

I wish I had not been so reserved*

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*Joseph Cornell’s final words: “I wish I had not been so reserved.”


Sources: Gif/Photograph – gifak-net. Quote Source: hyperallergic.com via invisiblestories

Where is your bliss station?

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[Sacred space] is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen. […]

Our life has become so economic and practical in its orientation that, as you get older, the claims of the moment upon you are so great, you hardly know where the hell you are, or what it is you intended. You are always doing something that is required of you. Where is your bliss station? You have to try to find it.

~ Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth


Credits: Quote – Brain Pickings. Photograph: HauntedBeautifully