And what ‘is’ that?

WOOD

Have you felt a kind of religious ecstasy in your life?

KNAUSGAARD

No, but they say one of the main things about religious ecstasy is a feeling of selflessness—that you yourself disappear. I feel that when I read Dostoyevsky. I can have that feeling. I can just disappear. I don’t know why, and I don’t know what it means. It’s the same thing looking at art. I feel so moved by it, but I don’t know why. And what is that?

~ James Wood & Karl Ove Knausgaard, from “Writing My Struggle: An Exchange” (Paris Review, Issue 211, Winter 2014)


Notes: Quote – With gratitude, thank you Sawsan. Photo: Mennyfox55

Flying over I-40 N. With Cotton.

  • 2:38 a.m.  Alarm set for 3:30, Body set to go, Now.
  • 2:40 a.m.  Check Sleep App: 4 hr. 30 min. Could be worse.
  • 3:50 a.m.  “Good morning Mr. Kanigan. You’re off early.” No sh*t.
  • 4:00 a.m.  No car. Check calendar. I’m 30 minutes early. Wow. Nicely done.
  • 4:15 a.m.  I Shazam R&B tune coming thru hotel pipes. Leela James. Swept away.
  • 4:50 a.m.  DFW airport doors open. Insomniacs, airport workers and DK stream in.
  • 5:50 a.m.  Walk concourses. (Yes, Plural.) Fitbit Counter: 4,033.
  • 6:05 a.m.  Board AA# 1150 to NY LGA.
  • 6:25 a.m.  “We’ll be cruising at 31,000 ft.  Flight time: 3 hours. Expect a smooth flight.”
  • 6:37 a.m.  Eye lids heavy. Leela on loop crooning thru the earbuds.
  • 6:40 a.m.  Drifting to Bradbury‘s “country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist.”

I’m flicking thru Netflix and spot him. Ray Liotta (Fields of Dreams / Goodfellas) in a 2016 movie titled Sticky Notes.  Papa Bear writes this on a Sticky Note to his daughter:

Whoever feels it deepest wins.”

I look out the window, and here we are…31,000 ft up and floating on fluffy, mountainous sized cotton balls.

Cotton balls. White. Cotton. Balls.

  • New cotton briefs. Stretch fabric. Contoured to snuggle it/them
  • New, cotton socks. Toes wiggle, happy.
  • Soft cotton twill Chinos, hugging the legs and thighs.
  • A velvety cotton, v-neck t-shirt wraps the chest and back.
  • A cotton button down shirt, hundreds of stitches, fitting just so…smooth.

“Whoever feels it deepest wins.”

Feels it deepest.

Wins.


Notes: Image: Perception is reality, Andrey Kasay

Saturday Morning

There is a wind blowing from the east, in from the sea, and it is laden with rain, pattering against the roof. It is as if a wall were standing open: the long, beautiful summer has ended, and everything rushes towards autumn. The leaves drop from the trees, the colours drift from green towards yellow and brown, the air smells of soil.

It feels good.

~ Karl Ove Knausgaard, from “Lime” in “Autumn


Photo: jerianie with foggy autumn mornings

I just don’t want to dodge any of it. I just want to stand there, shirt open, and take my hits and see, and see

(Many) Excerpts from a remarkable interview where Brad Pitt Talks Divorce, Quitting Drinking, and Becoming a Better Man (GQ: May 3, 2017):

Pitt is the first one to acknowledge that it’s been chaos these past six months…he seems absolutely locked in one moment and a little twitchy and forlorn in the next, having been put on a journey he didn’t intend to make but admits was “self-inflicted.” …Any of my foibles are born from my own hubris… I often say the wrong thing, often in the wrong place and time. Often. In my own private Idaho… I don’t have that gift. I’m better speaking in some other art form. I’m trying to get better. I’m really trying to get better. […]

I can’t remember a day since I got out of college when I wasn’t boozing or had a spliff, or something. Something. And you realize that a lot of it is, um—cigarettes, you know, pacifiers. And I’m running from feelings. I’m really, really happy to be done with all of that. I mean I stopped everything except boozing when I started my family. But even this last year, you know—things I wasn’t dealing with. I was boozing too much. It’s just become a problem…Don’t want to live that way anymore… And I’m really happy it’s been half a year now, which is bittersweet, but I’ve got my feelings in my fingertips again. I think that’s part of the human challenge: You either deny them all of your life or you answer them and evolve…

You strip down to the foundation and break out the mortar. I don’t know. For me this period has really been about looking at my weaknesses and failures and owning my side of the street…I don’t know where it comes from, this hollow quest for justice for some perceived slight. I can drill on that for days and years. It’s done me no good whatsoever. It’s such a silly idea, the idea that the world is fair. And this is coming from a guy who hit the lottery, I’m well aware of that. I hit the lottery, and I still would waste my time on those hollow pursuits. […] [Read more…]

A Letter to Mother that She Will Never Read

That time, at forty-six, when you had a sudden desire to color. Let’s go to Walmart, you said one morning. I need coloring books. For months, you filled the space between your arms with all the shades you couldn’t pronounce. Magenta, vermillion, marigold, pewter, juniper, cinnamon. Each day, for hours, you slumped over landscapes of farms, pastures, Paris, two horses on a windswept plain, the face of a girl with black hair and skin you left blank, left white. You hung them all over the house, which started to look like an elementary-school classroom. When I asked you, Why coloring, why now?, you put down the sapphire pencil and stared, dreamlike, at a half-finished garden. I just go away in it for a while, you said, but I feel everything, like I’m still here, in this room.

Ocean Vuong, excerpt from A Letter to Mother that She Will Never Read


Notes:

  • Don’t miss Ocean Vuong’s full essay in the May 13, 2017th edition of The New Yorker here.
  • Photo: Thank you Dan @ Your Eyes Blaze Out

Unglove Yourself. Can you feel this?

Anne Bancroft at a school for the deaf and blind in Spring Valley, NY, preparing for her role in The Miracle Worker photographed by Nina Leen (1959)


Notes:

  • Photo Source: Annebancrofts
  • Post Title Inspired by: It’s like wearing gloves every time we touch something, and then, forgetting we chose to put them on, we complain that nothing feels quite real. Our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world but to unglove ourselves so that the doorknob feels cold and the car handle feels wet and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being, soft and unrepeatable. ― Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have

Guilty

The same applies when I’m reading for pleasure, too, because reading books as if something were burning, or you were in a contest with someone, doesn’t make sense. That would be like swigging a glass of expensive and fine wine, instead of tasting it and rejoicing in it. For me, reading has all kinds of culinary and sensual connotations, and I feel sad when I see people who read like gluttons, guzzler readers who are vainglorious about their numbers, and quickly forget their feelings, if they get any at all.

~ José Luis Amores, from An Interview with José Luis Amores – The Evan Dara Affinity


Notes:

Take the gloves off

touch, hands,love,feel

We waste so much energy trying to cover up who we are when beneath every attitude is the want to be loved, and beneath every anger is a wound to be healed and beneath every sadness is the fear that there will not be enough time.

When we hesitate in being direct, we unknowingly slip something on, some added layer of protection that keeps us from feeling the world, and often that thin covering is the beginning of a loneliness which, if not put down, diminishes our chances of joy.

It’s like wearing gloves every time we touch something, and then, forgetting we chose to put them on, we complain that nothing feels quite real. Our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world but to unglove ourselves so that the doorknob feels cold and the car handle feels wet and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being, soft and unrepeatable.

― Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

 


Sources: Photo: Inside Silence by Laura Makabresku. Quote: Waves of Beauty

She just couldn’t feel the life she had.

epa-carrie-fisher-main-jef-161227_12x5_1600

She wanted so to be tranquil, to be someone who took walks in the late-afternoon sun, listening to the birds and crickets and feeling the whole world breathe. Instead, she lived in her head like a madwoman locked in a tower, hearing the wind howling through her hair and waiting for someone to come and rescue her from feeling things so deeply that her bones burned. She had plenty of evidence that she had a good life. She just couldn’t feel the life she had. It was as though she had cancer of the perspective.

– Carrie Fisher  (Oct 21, 1956 – Dec 27, 2016) from Postcards From the Edge

From The Honesty of Carrie Fisher by Lawrence Downes:

Who would have predicted that this product of Hollywood inbreeding — Ms. Fisher called herself that — would have turned celebrity dysfunction into such a memorable body of writing? Her semi-autobiographical novel “Postcards From the Edge,” and memoirs like “Wishful Drinking” and “Shockaholic,” are hilarious, bluntly beautiful and deserve as much lasting recognition as her contributions to the “Star Wars” franchise…And when she wrote about depression and addiction, she had a humaneness and directness that feel honest. Like her description of bipolar disorder:

“Imagine having a mood system that functions essentially like the weather — independently of whatever’s going on in your life. So the facts of your life remain the same, just the emotional fiction that you’re responding to differs. It’s like I’m not properly insulated.”

And here’s to her honesty: “I heard someone once say we’re only as sick as our secrets,” Ms. Fisher wrote in “Wishful Drinking.” “If that’s true, then this book will go a long way to rendering me amazingly well.”


Notes: Quote Source – Hidden Sanctuary. Photo: ABCnews.com

How Does It Feel

patti-smith-nobel-prize

This was so (SO) good. I’ve clipped most of her essay below but not all. Here are excerpts from Patti Smith’s How Does It Feel from the December 14, 2016 issue of The New Yorker:


…In September, I was approached to sing at the Nobel Prize ceremony, honoring the laureate for literature, who was then unknown. It would be a few days in Stockholm, in a beautiful hotel, overlooking the water—an honorable opportunity to shine, contemplate, and write. I chose one of my songs that I deemed appropriate to perform with the orchestra.

But when it was announced that Bob Dylan had won the prize and accepted, it seemed no longer fitting for me to sing my own song. I found myself in an unanticipated situation, and had conflicting emotions. In his absence, was I qualified for this task? Would this displease Bob Dylan, whom I would never desire to displease? But, having committed myself and weighing everything, I chose to sing “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” a song I have loved since I was a teen-ager, and a favorite of my late husband.

From that moment, every spare moment was spent practicing it, making certain that I knew and could convey every line. Having my own blue-eyed son, I sang the words to myself, over and over, in the original key, with pleasure and resolve. I had it in my mind to sing the song exactly as it was written and as well as I was capable of doing. I bought a new suit, I trimmed my hair, and felt that I was ready.

On the morning of the Nobel ceremony, I awoke with some anxiety. It was pouring rain and continued to rain heavily…By the time I reached the concert hall, it was snowing. I had a perfect rehearsal with the orchestra. I had my own dressing room with a piano, and I was brought tea and warm soup. I was aware that people were looking forward to the performance. Everything was before me.

I thought of my mother, who bought me my first Dylan album when I was barely sixteen. She found it in the bargain bin at the five-and-dime and bought it with her tip money. “He looked like someone you’d like,” she told me. I played the record over and over, my favorite being “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” It occurred to me then that, although I did not live in the time of Arthur Rimbaud, I existed in the time of Bob Dylan. I also thought of my husband and remembered performing the song together, picturing his hands forming the chords.

And then suddenly it was time. The orchestra was arranged on the balcony overlooking the stage, where the King, the royal family, and the laureates were seated. I sat next to the conductor. The evening’s proceedings went as planned. As I sat there, I imagined laureates of the past walking toward the King to accept their medals. Hermann Hesse, Thomas Mann, Albert Camus. Then Bob Dylan was announced as the Nobel Laureate in Literature, and I felt my heart pounding. After a moving speech dedicated to him was read, I heard my name spoken and I rose. As if in a fairy tale, I stood before the Swedish King and Queen and some of the great minds of the world, armed with a song in which every line encoded the experience and resilience of the poet who penned them.

The opening chords of the song were introduced, and I heard myself singing. The first verse was passable, a bit shaky, but I was certain I would settle. But instead I was struck with a plethora of emotions, avalanching with such intensity that I was unable to negotiate them. From the corner of my eye, I could see the the huge boom stand of the television camera, and all the dignitaries upon the stage and the people beyond. Unaccustomed to such an overwhelming case of nerves, I was unable to continue. I hadn’t forgotten the words that were now a part of me. I was simply unable to draw them out. [Read more…]

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