Search Results for: Adam Zagajewski

As a child, I learned to eat honeysuckle sugar.

As a child, I learned to eat honeysuckle sugar. It is a tedious process, […] one that requires demonstration and touch. Despite the meager payoff, a few drops of nectar, these are small, bright memories. When I look through my past for a consistent pleasure, I find those empty, discarded blossoms scattered through my childhood summers.

~ Alysia Sawchyn, from “Riverbanks and Honeysuckle,” Cutbank (no. 86, July 2016)


Notes:

  • Inspired by Adam Zagajewski, Slight Exaggeration: An Essay: “the surface on which we step has no more substance than the clouds floating above us on a summer day.
  • Photo of Honeysuckle: Awkward Botany.
  • Prose Source: Memory’s Landscape.  Alysia Sawchyn was the Winner of the CutBank 2016 Big Sky, Small Prose: Flash Contest with Riverbanks and Honeysuckle.

Sunday Morning

And visitors, how should they treat the cathedral? Here’s what I think: You need to take your time in Chartres Cathedral, you can’t hurry, like the tourist groups; you should take a seat, study the windows, then stand up and stroll around, forget that you’re in a cathedral, then remember again, and after a while you’ll sense something undescribed in any guidebook, a kind of strong longing or desire that isn’t contained within the cathedral’s walls or its windows, it’s in the air, in its very lungs. After some time, after you’ve circled the cathedral several times, crossing its zones of light and shade, purely visual impressions recede while this ever-growing desire comes into focus. We don’t know why the cathedral inspires such longing. Why its dark interior gives rise to longing.

~ Adam Zagajewski, Slight Exaggeration: An Essay


Notes:

  • Photo: Chartres Cathedral, France. The first Gothic cathedral ever built, Chartres Cathedral has stood for over 800 years. With its soaring arches and unmatched stained glass windows, to enter Chartres is to have a spiritual experience. Photographer: Michael Brewer.
  • Related Posts: Adam Zagajewski

Lightly Child, Lightly.

Music— organized by melody, harmony, but sometimes we’re most struck by the mass of sound, the absurd (intellectually speaking) accumulation of noises, the magnificent, physically compelling actualization of the instruments’ power— as sometimes in Bruckner we feel the bows vibrating, the cellos’ heavy hair swimming alongside the bass cry of the trumpets and trombones, sometimes in Wagner, or more recently, in the first movement of Henryk Gorecki’s Third Symphony, when slow as the dawn, the orchestra’s cocoon unfolds— or, a different metaphor, we can imagine the hull of a massive ship emerging, slowly, from the mist. This incredibly sensual, palpable wall of sound stirs our entire body, but remains unseen. And perhaps it’s precisely this contrast— between overwhelming presence and invisibility— that moves us, leads us, momentarily, to another world, another way of being that we can only visit.

~ Adam Zagajewski, Slight Exaggeration: An Essay (April 4, 2017)


Notes:

  • Photo: janae (@janaeture)  (via Your Eyes Blaze Out)
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”
  • Related Posts: Adam Zagajewski

 

What are you reading?

We all ask each other a lot of questions: “Where did you go for vacation?” “How did you sleep?” Or, my favorite, as I eye the last bites of chocolate cake on a friend’s dessert plate, “Are you going to finish that?” (A question memorably featured in the 1982 movie Diner.) But there’s one question I think we should ask of one another a lot more often, and that’s “What are you reading?” It’s a simple question but a powerful one, and it can change lives, creating a shared universe for people who are otherwise separated by culture and age and by time and space. […]

When we ask one another “What are you reading?” sometimes we discover the ways that we are similar; sometimes the ways that we are different. Sometimes we discover things we never knew we shared; other times we open ourselves up to exploring new worlds and ideas. “What are you reading?” isn’t a simple question when asked with genuine curiosity; it’s really a way of asking, “Who are you now and who are you becoming?

~ Will Schwalbe, Books for a Living


And after being prompted by several friends to share what I am reading, here’s my current list:

  1. Books for Living, by Will Schwalbe
  2. A Slight Exaggeration: Essays by Adam Zagajewski
  3. Autumn by Karl Ove Knausgaard
  4. If There is Something to Desire: One Hundred Poems by Vera Pavlova

And yours?


Photo: (via nini-poppins)

Sunday Morning

L7matrix

It’s enough just to listen to music, to keep asking questions for which there are no answers, to remember paintings seen in a museum, to note the earth’s quiet at dusk, birds’ voices in May, to shiver at the thought that they’re alive, that the gleam of each new dawn is an endless promise.

~ Adam Zagajewski, Slight Exaggeration: An Essay (April 4, 2017)


Notes:

Elle est bonne

On the Mediterranean beaches of France, in summer, you hear one cry repeated endlessly: Elle est bonne. That is, It’s good. Meaning the seawater. Cautious, modern inhabitants of cities thus assure one another that it’s safe to go in the water, they won’t be stunned by its arctic cold. But in its essence this cry affirms the world, nature. Elle est bonne.

~ Adam Zagajewski, Slight Exaggeration: An Essay (April 4, 2017)


Photo: South of France via Oliver’s Travels. Related Posts: Adam Zagajewski

 

How to describe the way these two waves of reality, the world and dreams, meet, do battle

Gosia-janik

How to describe the way these two waves of reality, the world and dreams, meet, do battle, fail to reach agreement, conclude short-lived treaties that are immediately broken, how at dawn they stare at one another incomprehendingly, begin to build bridges again by evening, and then once more turn furiously upon each other, with a passion mixing love and hate, and afterward, drift to sleep by the side of a highway leading nowhere, on an embankment where weeds grow with their heady scent.

~ Adam Zagajewski, Slight Exaggeration: An Essay (April 4, 2017)


Notes:

And I could never understand how these two forces, the light element of music and history’s heavy breath, coexisted.

Only what isn’t real. Sometimes I thought you could only really love what isn’t real: poems, paintings, the sounds of a piano drifting from the music academy, where a pianist, no longer young, a maestro, a stranger from another town, showed students how to play Chopin’s Fourth Ballade. Love only what isn’t real, but reality always resurfaced, in the shape of a trivial question about what to make for dinner (the ham’s gone, we’re out of tea), or in the form of menacing history: war’s broken out, mass demonstrations have paralyzed the city, inflation has imperceptibly changed the appearance of shops and streets (though it left Beethoven’s sonatas unscathed). And I could never understand how these two forces, the light element of music and history’s heavy breath, coexisted. I’ve tried to write about it more than once, but even the most dedicated readers have delicately hinted that they’ve had enough, let’s move on to something new, since these two worlds still cannot be reconciled or fused, they remain completely indifferent to my questions, they mock my inquiries, my worries, they likewise dismiss the protests of my scattered readers.

~ Adam Zagajewski, Slight Exaggeration: An Essay (April 4, 2017)


Notes:

Sunday Morning

Except for Aunt Maria. Unlike her father, my grandfather, she belonged not among the Enlightenment’s disciples, but with the deeply religious, the deeply silent. I know she read serious works on theology, I would guess that she knew how to pray (an ability far rarer than it seems), but she was a quiet person, like all in my family…Aunt Maria’s silence, it seems to me, grew from her religion—I sensed her conviction that things linked to faith must be left unexpressed, that they’re lost when spoken, they become banalities. I admired her for being different, for the deep devotion that she wouldn’t, couldn’t share with us—she was the opposite of those pious hypocrites who place their religious fervor on public display…Maria kept silent for different reasons. Perhaps those who pray truly and deeply inevitably watch their words around others.

~ Adam Zagajewski, Slight Exaggeration: An Essay (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, April 4, 2017)


Notes: Image – Farm Hands, via Mennyfox55

Lightly child, lightly.

Peace

#13
Light on the walls of old houses,
June.
Passerby, open your eyes.

— Adam Zagajewski, excerpt from “En Route” from Eternal Enemies.


Notes:

  • Sources: Poem – Whiskey River.
  • Photo – “Peace” by  Douglas Bruce Clement – a Korean Dancer at the Mayor of London’s Thames River Festival 2007 (via Your Eyes Blaze Out)
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”
%d bloggers like this: