I now wonder where the idea or of the ideology of creativity started. Shakespeare and company certainly stole from, copied each other’s writings. Before them, the Greeks didn’t both making up any new stories. I suspect that the ideology of creativity started when the bourgeoisie—when they rose up in all their splendor, as the history books put it—made a capitalistic marketplace for books. Today a writer earns money or a living by selling copyright, ownership to words. We all do, we writers, this scam, because we need to earn money, only most don’t admit it’s a scam. Nobody really owns nothing.
— Kathy Acker
My worries concern the increasing marginalization of writers and of their writings in this society. Whenever writers are considered marginal to a society, something is deeply wrong, wrong in that society and wrong with the relations between writing and the society. For to write should be to write the world and, simultaneously, to engage in the world. But the literary industry as it now exists seems to be obfuscating relations between this society’s writers and this society.
— Kathy Acker
We should never look down
on what gives strangers comfort,
on what we learn too late that we might need.
— Stephen Burt
Books Read/Reread, January/February 2014
Walter Benjamin, Berlin Childhood Around 1900 *
Rupert Thomson, Secrecy
W G Sebald, A Place in the Country *
Tonya Hurley, Passionaries
Robert Walser, The Tanners
Robert Walser, The Walk
Eduard Morike, Mozart’s Journey to Prague
Olivia Laing, The Trip to Echo Spring
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Reveries of the Solitary Walker
Jenny Offill, Dept of Speculation
Maria Dhvana Headley, Queen of Kings
David Markson, Wittgenstein’s Mistress
Rachel Cantor, A Highly Unlikely Scenario
Eileen Myles, Snowflake / Different Streets
Frederico Garcia Llorca, In Search of Duende
David Shields, How Literature Saved My Life
Richard Powers, Orfeo
LJ Moore, small fierce things
Karl Ove Knaussguard, My Struggle, Vol. 1
Howard Eiland & Michael W. Jennings, Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life
Peter Brown, Through the Eye of a Needle
Bram Stoker, Dracula *
Pierre Louys, Aphrodite
W. J. Robinson, Birth Control, or The Limitation of Offspring
Henry Reed Stiles, Bundling
Frederic Hauer, Bypaths of Passion
Peter Charles Remondino, Praeputii Incisio
Edouard de Beaumont, The Sword and Womankind
F. M. Rossiter, The Torch of Life: A Key to Sex Harmony
Jack Woodford, White Meat
* = reread
A town that does not keep its dead out of sight, that leaves people where they died, on highways and byways, in parks and parking lots, is not a town but a hell. The fact that this hell reflects our life experience in a more realistic an essentially truer way is of no consequence.
— Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Struggle, Vol. 1
You who will emerge from the flood
In which we have gone under
When you speak of our failings
The dark time too
Which you have escaped.
— Bertolt Brecht, To Those Born Later
The former consul Aviola came back to life on his funeral pyre, but because the flames were very powerful he could not be helped and so was burnt alive…. This is the lot of mortals: we come into the world to face these and similar surprises meted out by Fortune, so that man can place no trust even in death.
— Pliny the Elser
In Italy, during the time of the Civil War [49-44 BCE], people stopped buildings towers between Tarracina and the Temple of Feronia because none escaped destruction by lightning.
— Pliny the Elder, Natural History
There accompanies the walker always something remarkable, something fantastic, and he would be foolish if he wished to let this spiritual side go unnoticed: by no means, however, does he do this, but rather cordially welcomes all peculiar phenomena, becomes their friend, their brother; he makes them into former and substantial bodies, gives them soul and structure just as they too for their part instruct and inspire.
— Robert Walser, The Walk
When fine, outstanding people have, for a short while, enlivened our home with their presence, quickening our spirits with the refreshing breath of their own and enabling us to enjoy to the utmost the pleasure of extending hospitality, their departure invariably leaves an uneasy blank—at least for the rest of the day, supposing, that is, that we are entirely thrown back upon our own resources once more.
— Eduard Mörike, Mozart’s Journey to Prague