Archives for category: Inspiration

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“I happened to pick up Moby Dick, and I haven’t thought about Melville ten times in the last thirty years. Picked up the first page of Moby Dick and read it, and I realized my style was formed by Melville. I’m not saying that I write as well as Melville, but my style was absolutely shaped by his love of long, rolling sentences that contain inversions and reverses and paradoxes and ironies and exclamation points and dashes.” NORMAN MAILER, from a 1990 interview published in Esquire

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“Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.” 

FRANZ KAFKA

Artwork: “Flowers” (1964) by Andy Warhol

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ODE TO THE PRESENT
by Pablo Neruda

This
present moment,
smooth
as a wooden slab,
this
immaculate hour,
this day
pure
as a new cup
from the past–
no spider web
exists–
with our fingers,
we caress
the present;we cut it
according to our magnitude
we guide
the unfolding of its blossoms.
It is living,
alive–
it contains
nothing
from the unrepairable past,
from the lost past,
it is our
infant,
growing at
this very moment, adorned with
sand, eating from
our hands.
Grab it.
Don’t let it slip away.
Don’t lose it in dreams
or words.
Clutch it.
Tie it,
and order it
to obey you.
Make it a road,
a bell,
a machine,
a kiss, a book,
a caress.
Take a saw to its delicious
wooden
perfume.
And make a chair;
braid its
back;
test it.
Or then, build
a staircase! Yes, a
staircase.
Climb
into
the present,
step
by step,
press your feet
onto the resinous wood
of this moment,
going up,
going up,
not very high,
just so
you repair
the leaky roof.
Don’t go all the way to heaven.
Reach
for apples,
not the clouds.
Let them
fluff through the sky,
skimming passage,
into the past.You
are
your present,
your own apple.
Pick it from
your tree.
Raise it
in your hand.
It’s gleaming,
rich with stars.
Claim it.
Take a luxurious bite
out of the present,
and whistle along the road
of your destiny.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) was the pen name of the Chilean poet, diplomat and politician Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He chose his pseudonym after Czech poet Jan Neruda. In 1971, Pablo Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Neruda often wrote in green ink because it was his personal symbol of desire and hope. Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez called him “the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Illustration: “Apple Abstract” by Susana Fernandez, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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THE DOGS AT LIVE OAK BEACH, SANTA CRUZ
by Alicia Ostriker

As if there could be a world
Of absolute innocence
In which we forget ourselves
 
The owners throw sticks
And half-bald tennis balls
Toward the surf
And the happy dogs leap after them
As if catapulted—
 
Black dogs, tan dogs,
Tubes of glorious muscle—
 
Pursuing pleasure
More than obedience
They race, skid to a halt in the wet sand,
Sometimes they’ll plunge straight into
The foaming breakers
 
Like diving birds, letting the green turbulence
Toss them, until they snap and sink
 
Teeth into floating wood
Then bound back to their owners
Shining wet, with passionate speed
For nothing,
For absolutely nothing but joy.

“The Dogs at Live Beach, Santa Cruz” appears in Alicia Ostriker’s collection The Little Space: Poems Selected and New, 1968-1998 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998), available at Amazon.com.

Photo: “Retriever at Live Oak Beach, Santa Cruz” by Christopher Matthews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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GOLDEN RETRIEVALS
by Mark Doty

Fetch? Balls and sticks capture my attention
seconds at a time. Catch? I don’t think so.
Bunny, tumbling leaf, a squirrel who’s—oh
joy—actually scared. Sniff the wind, then

I’m off again: muck, pond, ditch, residue
of any thrillingly dead thing. And you?
Either you’re sunk in the past, half our walk,
thinking of what you never can bring back,

or else you’re off in some fog concerning
—tomorrow, is that what you call it? My work:
to unsnare time’s warp (and woof!), retrieving,
my haze-headed friend, you. This shining bark,

a Zen master’s bronzy gong, calls you here,
entirely, now: bow-wow, bow-wow, bow-wow.

“Golden Retrievals” appears in Mark Doty’s collection Sweet Machine: Poems, available at Amazon.com.

PAINTING: “Corbi,” watercolor by Susan Crouch.

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“A very little key will unlock a very heavy door.” CHARLES DICKENS

Photo: Joyce 445, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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“Keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.” GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

Photo: “Window washing, New York City” by Eric Hancock, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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“Whatever I do is done out of sheer joy; I drop my fruits like a ripe tree. What the general reader or the critic makes of them is not my concern.” HENRY MILLER, American writer (1891-1980)

Painting: Henry Miller portrait, watercolor by Fabrizio Cassetta. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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“…at birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow the child with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.”

ELEANOR ROOSEVELT

Photo: This 1919 photo shows future president Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945; in office from 1933-1945), wife Eleanor, and five of their six children, along with Roosevelt’s mother Sara.

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“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” STEPHEN KING

“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.” PETER DE VRIES

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” JACK LONDON

Painting: “Lightning” by Kevin Gritzke