The summers were so long that they gradually grew longer than the whole year, they stretched out slowly beyond the edges of our lives, but at every moment of their vastness they were drawing to an end, for that’s what summers mostly did: they taunted us with endings, marched always into the long shadow thrown backward by the end of vacation.
Steven Millhauser, "Flying Carpets." The Paris Review, Issue 145, Winter 1997.
*"There are occasional moments when one feels a full affinity with a piece of art in this way, feels taught by it, deeply, in the moment, in a way that changes, and this would turn out to be one of those for me." — Aimee Bender on Jane Campion's "The Piano" and Kazuo Ishiguro's Klara and the Sun.
Pulling a book from my shelf, it isn’t the flow or obstruction of its plot that comes to mind, but rather a representative image that has somehow absorbed the mysterious energies of that particular novel. (A serious reader submits to synecdoche. No one can remember everything.) This image I’m describing seems to float free of the novel that contains it. It becomes the novel, at least insofar as one’s private experience is concerned.
Dustin Illingworth, "The Luminous Wheel: On Fictions and Images." Obstructive Fictions, June 28, 2021.
Several of her friends were writers, too, and they talked about the body. Where is the body when you write? You are always writing from the body, they said. But we can’t really feel the body in your work. We don’t believe in the bodies in your stories. Your stories are all words. Bring the body into your writing, they said.
She wasn’t sure.
Danielle Dutton, "Acorn." The New Yorker, 8/26/2021.
If states could learn to read novels as a kind of literary seismograph, Wertheimer argues, they could perhaps identify which conflicts are on the verge of exploding into violence, and intervene to save maybe millions of lives.
It’s really clever to see how the kids are growing up on TikTok. The kids are understanding the reality they’re in. I guess that’s always shocking to every generation—how much the kids actually get the world they live in.
Shayne Oliver, interviewed on Platform.
What it looks like to leave social media: "I love people to think that I'm dead."
*On lying flat: "From my view down here on the carpet, I see a system that, even if it bounces back to 'normal,' I have no interest in rejoining, a system that is beginning to come undone." (NYT)
The revolutions of the future will appear in forms we don’t even recognise—in a language we can’t read. We will be looking out for twists on the old themes but not noticing that there are whole new conversations taking place. Just imagine if all the things about which we now get so heated meant nothing to those who follow us—as mysteriously irrelevant as the nuanced distinctions between anarcho-syndicalism and communist anarchism. At least we can hope for that. As the cybernetician Stafford Beer once said to me: “If we can understand our children, we’re all screwed.” So revel in your mystification and read it as a sign of a healthy future. Whatever happens next, it won’t be what you expected. If it is what you expected, it isn’t what’s happening next.
Brian Eno, "What Happens Next?" Prospect, November 26, 2010.