Archives for posts with tag: Thoughts

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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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I AM WAITING (Excerpt)
Poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I am waiting for the Great Divide to be crossed
and I am anxiously waiting
for the secret of eternal life to be discovered
by an obscure general practitioner
and I am waiting
for the storms of life
to be over
and I am waiting
to set sail for happiness
and I am waiting
for a reconstructed Mayflower
to reach America
with its picture story and tv rights
sold in advance to the natives
and I am waiting
for the lost music to sound again
in the Lost Continent
in a new rebirth of wonder.

Photo: Holly Northrop, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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Haiku 
by Jack Kerouac

Birds singing
in the dark
rainy dawn.

Photo: J. Gregory Barton, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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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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“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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We continue our tribute to The Great Gatsby — our favorite novel and the reason we started this blog in June 2012 — with the cover from a Swedish edition of the book. In Sweden, F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s novel is called En Man Utan Skrupler, which translates as A Man Without Scruples.

I’m guessing that people in Sweden like to know something about a book before deciding to read it — and, I’ll admit, The Great Gatsby isn’t a descriptive title like, say, the Swedish blockbuster The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Set in 1922, The Great Gatsby tells the story of post-WWI America, the Roaring Twenties, when Prohibition —  a national ban on the sale, production, and transportation of alcohol, in effect from 1920-1933 — was the law of the land,  setting the stage for gangsters, bootleggers, and other nefarious types who were ready, willing, and able to give the people what they wanted.

While Jay Gatsby made his money through the illegal sale and transportation of alcohol, I’ve never thought of him as “a man without scruples.” That’s the point of the novel, isn’t it?  In the end, it was Daisy and Tom — the rich — who really had no scruples.

I did a search for quotes about “scruples” and found the following, which speaks to to Gatsby’s approximate time and place.

“The late 1920s were an age of islands, real and metaphorical. They were an age when Americans by thousands and tens of thousands were scheming to take the next boat for the South Seas or the West Indies, or better still for Paris, from which they could scatter to Majorca, Corsica, Capri or the isles of Greece.

Paris itself was a modern city that seemed islanded in the past, and there were island countries, like Mexico, where Americans could feel that they had escaped from everything that oppressed them in a business civilization.

Or without leaving home they could build themselves private islands of art or philosophy; or else – and this was a frequent solution – they could create social islands in the shadow of the skyscrapers, groups of close friends among whom they could live as unconstrainedly as in a Polynesian valley, live without moral scruples or modern conveniences, live in the pure moment, live gaily on gin and love and two lamb chops broiled over a coal fire in the grate. That was part of the Greenwich Village idea, and soon it was being copied in Boston, San Francisco, everywhere.”

MALCOLM COWLEY, Exile’s Return: A Literary Odyssey of the 1920s. 

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This post is for people who really love books, especially WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE by Maurice Sendak

“Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and a drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, ‘Dear Jim: I loved your card.’ Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, ‘Jim loved your card so much he ate it.’ That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.” MAURICE SENDAK

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And to celebrate the free spirit of Maurice Sendak, we include in this post another entry in The Cecilia Prize, a contest that honors the creativity of the average everyday “restorer” — named in honor of Cecilia Gimenez, the  amateur art restorer who has gained international fame for her unsolicited restoration of “Ecce Homo,” a fresco on the wall of her church in Borja, Spain. This entry, “Ecce Sendak,” is by Twitter @dairoberts.

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FIRST WRITING JOB

by Henry Miller

The constant battle to stay alive to stay fed, that’s what made me. I wouldn’t let it destroy me; I couldn’t let it get the best of me.

Jesus! When I think of what June and I went through to make a few lousy bucks – it was nightmarish.

We printed some of my poems and June went from bar to café selling them while I waited outside. We knew she’d make more money if I wasn’t around. Sometimes she wouldn’t come out of a bar for a couple of hours. She’d sit and talk to some guy who’d buy her drinks and even pay her just to listen to him. She’d come out with maybe only fifty cents, once in a while she’d show up with fifty dollars and there I’d be, huddled in a doorway freezing to death with a valise of printed poems in my hand…

June was such a beauty. She usually went with me when I’d ask for writing jobs. We got sympathy and favors more often than if I went alone.

One day we met the head of Liberty magazine. I asked him for a job as assistant editor. He looks June and me over very carefully and he says, “Write me an article on words!” I jumped at the chance to prove myself to someone who could give me a good job, and it was a broad subject – I could write just about anything I felt like…

Well, it took a long time for Liberty to pay me. They didn’t know whether or not to use the article because, as they explained to me, it was “too good,” “too high brow.” That bucked me up tremendously. The recognition and encouragement was extremely important to me. Eventually they did pay me, though the article never was published. Three hundred dollars was a windfall in those days.

June was with me when I went to pick up the check. On the way to the elevator the editor shook my hand, wished us luck, and pressed a twenty-dollar bill into my hand. It was people like that who bolstered my efforts, encouraged me to forge ahead. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today. 

Excerpted from Reflections by Henry Miller (Capra Press, 1981), Edited by Twinka Thiebaud

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HOW POETRY COMES TO ME

by Gary Snyder

It comes blundering over the

Boulders at night, it stays

Frightened outside the

Range of my campfire

I go to meet it at the

Edge of the light

Photo: Eugene Dodonov

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Haiku (Birds singing)

by Jack Kerouac

Birds singing

in the dark

rainy dawn.

Photo: J. Gregory Barton, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED