30 August 2006

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29 August 2006

The joys of hardcore sf

"All the inner planets are eggs," he continued, flattening Drea's interjection like a Hummer ironing out a motorbike.
Fantasy & Science Fiction, Oct/Nov 2006, 12.

20 August 2006


In the linear life we lead, as opposed to the multivalent life we dream and remember, whenever you take a step in the wrong direction, you have to take two more just to stay in the same place.

17 August 2006


Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. W e might expect if the death is sudden to feel shock. We do not expect the shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe that their husband is about to return and need his shoes. In the version of grief we imagine, the model will be "healing." A certain forward movement will prevail. The worst days will be the earliest days. We imagine that the moment to most severely test us will be the funeral, after which this hypothetical healing will take place. When we anticipate the funeral we wonder about failing to "get through it," rise to the occasion, exhibit the "strength" that invariably gets mentioned as the correct response to death. We anticipate needing to steel ourselves for the moment: will I be able to greet people, will I be able to leave the scene, will I be able even to get dressed that day?We have no way of knowing that this will not be the issue. We have no way of knowing that the funeral itself will be anodyne, a kind of narcotic regression in which we are wrapped in the care of others and the gravity and meaning of the occasion. Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief as we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself.

— Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking, 188-189.

08 August 2006

From The Great Fire

Isolation had made me arrogant, too. I wasn't prepared for the quality of thought in others.
— Shirley Hazzard, The Great Fire, 124.

When we're indecisive, yes, the wishes of others gain.
Ibid., 146.

There can be danger in supplying what people say they want...

"The illusory quiet of the world": small flaring hubbub of humanity, and the encompassing night. That ancient balance had tipped long since.
Ibid., 147.

When a life goes off the rails, the casualties are many. One grows by turns patient, even saintly, and furiously resentful. These fluctuations occur in rapid succession or simultaneously, and the habit of abnegation loses its interest. Like others, I turn to my work, which occasionally palls.
Ibid., 312.

One wants, of course, to simply copy out the whole thing.

05 August 2006


I should know better than to derive satisfaction from experience.
— J. Nathan Matias, in his blog Notebook of Sand, 27 Jul 2006.

04 August 2006

Tragedy in life

...in life, tragedy is not one long scream.
— Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin, 417.

03 August 2006

The universe

Why is the universe so complicated? Why is it so over our heads?
— Martin Amis, interviewed by Bill Moyers on NOW.

01 August 2006

The only way you can write the truth

The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it.

Impossible, of course.

— Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin, 283.