Here Bracquemond rendered a veiled criticism of critics. The squawking magpie holds a plume and straddles a globe ... Bracquemond underscored his commentary with a reference to Ovid’s description of magpies in "Metamorphoses", citing in the lower margin: "Raucaque garrulitas studium que immane loquendi," which translates to "their hoarse garrulity, their boundless passion for talk."
Skull of a crowned athlete, ca. 300 BCE. Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos, Crete. Per The Greek Reporter: "Inside the mouth, a silver coin was found as a token to Charon, who in Greek mythology was the ferryman of Hades who carried the souls of the newly deceased to the underworld."
As usual, what “we” could be presumed? Numbers spiked and dropped; outrage and numbness set in. Imaginations stopped trying or got massively creative. Many of us burst into demands for an economic and procedural reboot of safety, security, and community, which included defacing the image of the police as the ideal local military. Meanwhile, mental health crises that faced life as well as death expanded into a pandemic with their own structural bases, their own hotlines, their own everydayness, and their own appearance as intimate partner violence and as police actions, where qualified immunity protects them from the consequences of spraying out their own roiling emotions onto other vulnerable bodies. Like dust bouncing off a trampoline, active counter-dominant solidarity on multiple and conflicting fronts induced pervasive and desired atmospheres, with their uneven rhythms of efficacy. The inconvenience of other people became a pragmatic political topic: With whom can you imagine sharing the world’s sidewalk? What do you do with the figures of threat and dread that your own mind carries around?
Lauren Berlant, from the introduction to The Inconvenience of Other People.
About the hermits’ lives, little is known. They appear rarely, and only then to those with the eyes of faith, yet their presence in these forests is undisputed. They might accept an offering of dried chickpeas or a handful of roasted barley left in a clearing, but mostly they subsist on leaves, bitter roots, and prayer. They wear shabby clothes, unkempt beards, dreadlocks. Only the holiest of them achieve a state of invisibility. When someone manages to see them and attempts to take their picture, it is said, their image will not appear in the photograph. A hermit might live in a particular forest for years, going about his hidden work of intercession, and then one day someone walks by a juniper tree and discovers a pile of his bones.
Fred Bahnsen, "The Church Forests of Ethiopia: A Mystical Geography." Emergence, 1/11/2020.
For her, fixity and separateness are deadening specters. The very act of naming arrests and asphyxiates true freedom: as she warns, “don’t identify yourself with your description of yourself.” Dualisms which others might see as contradictions or mutual exclusivities—self/other, individual/collective, moral/theological, earthly/cosmic, work/art—manifest for Howe as uncannily interpenetrative possibilities. She is one of the twentieth century’s great epistemologists, principally through her refusal of discursive tidiness and her magnification of such concerns through indeterminate lenses. Thomas Aquinas thought it a grave failure to confuse knowing and believing. Howe’s is a corpus entrenched in unknowingness.
Reading about a young girl wandering through shipwrecks and dodging American soldiers in The Prowler, I thought of a professional wrestler adjusting their story to allow more truth into the performance. That sounds off, frankly, considering how restrained and briny [Kristjana] Gunnars’s writing is. But what feels similar is that alternation between calling attention to the scaffolding, and then leaping from it. The leap is always real, even if the wins and losses are imaginary.
Sasha Frere-Jones, "The Scent of Light." 4Columns, 5/20/2022.
Very early on in my “career,” an editor said to me, “You do something that we don’t really do here. I noticed that in your sentences, the word that comes next isn’t exactly the word you’d expect to come next.” And I remember thinking: of course it fucking isn’t. Otherwise why would I write it?
Let’s hope that—at least—we can be in touch through words. I
remember many beautiful moments in your study, with leafless trees
or spring trees.
I watched the trees gradually recede, waving their despairing arms, seeming to say to me: ‘What you fail to learn from us today, you will never know. If you allow us to drop back into the hollow of this road from which we sought to raise ourselves up to you, a whole part of yourself which we were bringing to you will vanish for ever into thin air.’ And indeed if, in the course of time, I did discover the kind of pleasure and disquiet which I had just felt once again, and if one evening—too late, but then for all time—I fastened myself to it, of those trees themselves I was never to know what they had been trying to give me nor where else I had seen them.
Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time, Volume 2: Within a Budding Grove, trans. by C. K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin.