hollowing out reality

Marty told me that soon people would only read books electronically. “This is so crap,” I said. “Stuff like that is hollowing out reality. Books and records and films are being thrown away and digitized into a world you can never physically enter. The children of the future will just sit around in empty white rooms.” “White Wall Kids,” my brother interjected. “Good name for a band.” I frowned. “You used to have to wait for a film to be developed. But it wasn’t just the photos we loved, it was the anticipation of finally holding them in your hands.”

Benedict WellsThe End of Loneliness: A Novel (Penguin Books, January 29, 2019)


Photo: Developing Photograph is a photograph by Victor De Schwanberg

 

Truth. Taste it. No, savor it.

You cannot be grateful without possessing a past. That is why children are incapable of gratitude and why night prayers and dinner graces are lost on them. “Gobbles Mommy, Gobbles Grandpa …” George races through it. She has no reference points. As I get older the past widens and accumulates, all sloppy landlessness like a river, and as a result I have more clearly demarcated areas of gratitude. Things like ice cream or scenery or one good kiss become objects of a huge soulful thanks. Nothing is gobbled. This is a sign of getting old.

~ Lorrie Moore, from “Anagrams


Notes: Quote – Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels. Photo: Korean froyo. by Jennifer Nguyen

That’s when you want something a little milder, don’t you?

I’m not very interested in my school days and feel no special nostalgia for them. But I remember Sixth Form. In those days, we imagined ourselves as being in a holding pen, waiting to be released into our lives. And when that moment would come, we would be at university. How were we to know that our lives had already begun, and our release would only be to a large holder pen. And in time, a larger holding pen. When you were young, you want your emotions to be like the ones you read about in books. You want them to overturn your life and create a new reality. But as that second hand insists on speeding up and time delivers us all to quickly into middle age, and then old age, that’s when you want something a little milder, don’t you? You want your emotions to support your life as it has become. You want them to tell you that everything is going to be ok.

And is there anything wrong with that?

~ Tony (Jim Broadbent), A Sense of An Ending (2017)


Notes:

T.G.I.F.

Photo by Caitlin May


Photo by Caitlin May (via Banished Again)

 

Driving I-95 S. With Little Lights.

martin-stranka-birds-road-silence

6:14 am. 28° F. Friday morning.

You push the start button, the engine fires.  The heater begins to blow.  The wipers clear the morning dew. The transmission slides into reverse.  Sirius beams down from the satellite circling, silently, way above.  You turn the dial and it’s Seals & Crofts. “Summer Breeze” fills the cabin and you mouth “makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.”  It fills you like Guskin’s current of heat running through your body, as if you’ve swum into a warm patch in a cold lake.  Your eyes scan the traffic in the right lanes, orderly, flowing. They shift to the horizon, the sunrise burns amber into the light cloud cover.

And there it comes. Heart-side. A morning rush of sorts.  The cables affixed to the poles – a mild current jumps and sparks, stops and starts up again. This continues for two to three minutes, a morning call in recent weeks.  This intermittent squeeze, a crack in the earth, the bedrock shivers. [Read more…]

Driving I-95 N. With Too Much Candy.

highway-stream-lights-driving

Thursday night ride home, up I-95 N on dry roads and heavy traffic.
My right hand rests on the dial.

So, DK, what’s it gonna be?
Radio, with its 50+ stations?
Sirius, with its 100 channels?
iPhone playlists, with 5437 tunes?
Or, Pandora streaming, with its infinite candy?

So much candy, yet never satisfied, yearning for the familiar grooves.

McEwen answers in World Enough & Time“Intake, for example: how much is enough?”

And Simon Reynolds follows: “Complaining that there’s too much good art and entertainment being made at the moment seems churlish — how could that be a problem? Yet it’s undeniable that there is something curiously oppressive about the current bounty, something paralyzing about our ease of access to it. keeping up with what’s good gets to seem like a chore. If anything, the overload in music feels even more unmanageable.”

And in flows nostalgia. An ache… [Read more…]

Driving I-95 S. With A Distant Fire.

driving-lights-highway

6:28am.
I hit the ignition, the middle aged lady groans but fires.
It’s 23°F and she’s not liking it.
You and me girl, still firin’. Going down with our boots on. Till death do us part.

’70s on 7 are spinning on Sirius.
Drums and Horns lead – and then the band comes in.
YOU only need a FEW bars, and you can feel it: HIT IT.

And I’m off…
Foot leans in on the accelerator.
Traffic in speed lane clears for the DK Express.
Head’s bobbin’. Shoulders’ rockin’. Karaoke winds up.

And here she comes… [Read more…]

In Celebration of Modest Christmases Past

christmas-holiday-lights

A long time ago in a country far, far away, America had less of everything and holidays were easier and more modest.

Only 50 and 60 years ago, well within human memory, Christmas was a plainer, simpler affair. Everyone—even the rich, but certainly the poor and in-between—had less. Because America had less. You’d get a sweater and socks instead of five toys, or five toys instead of 10. Technology was something that existed at places like NASA. No one’s wish list had a hoverboard, an iPad, or a brightly wrapped drone. There were more big families, whose children understood that even Santa couldn’t cover them all.

You could make gifts. Or you could buy one after saving up, and the recipient could guess the sacrifice involved. And because there were fewer gifts, the one you got made a big impression.

And so a nod to the more modest Christmases of years past. These memories came with a declared or implied, “We didn’t have much, but . . .” And this was said not with resentment or self pity but a kind of pride and wistfulness. […] [Read more…]

Saturday Matinee

movie-theatre
The movies on allowance day.

Queues winding round corners, making the feast inside even more fantastic because access to it was so difficult. I no longer remember everything I saw, but the emotions, the excitement, the smell are still vivid. The sound of a bell, the light slowly dimming. Eyes tight shut, the more so for the hands pressed against them; and when finally you looked again, the miracle was already there on the screen. The pictures, the flight from reality, the world of dreams: experiences and people I believed would become part of my everyday life in the future. Tragedies so great that there was still a lump in the throat many hours later. Wonders so great that my feet did not touch the ground all the way home.

~ Liv Ullman, Changing (Knopf, 1976)


Notes:

Anemoia: So clear and still you can see your own reflection.


anemoia – n. nostalgia for a time you’ve never known

Imagine stepping through the frame into a sepia-tinted haze, where you could sit on the side of the road and watch the locals passing by. Who lived and died before any of us arrived here, who sleep in some of the same houses we do, who look up at the same moon, who breathe the same air, feel the same blood in their veins—and live in a completely different world.

Don’t miss full transcript below…
[Read more…]

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