Scene: small desk at the crux of sunlight.
Lack of sleep or an unscrupulous seething faint
irritation niggling her caught trachea, cold hands
uselessly restless at her chin in preoccupation,
the window mocks a painting in twitches, limbs
fluttering without accord, annoying as a cat’s whiskers
tickling your upper lip, assaulting your cheek at five
in the morning. Does she make life a poem, live words,
breathe symphonic adjectives, or die,
shielded yet pummeled, trampled underfoot?
She neither avoids nor obeys sins; previously
fascinating populations of brown thrashers
and titmice, yellow-green butterflies lazy along
splayed, bright Gaia’s effusing back
now infest her yard, and she’s scolding a cat
for her gifted meal.
Excerpt of “La Gioconda,” from Walter Pater’s Studies in the History of the Renaissance, describing Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa
Never have I loved a piece of criticism as much as Pater’s. Beautifully written as to give justice to great works of art. I may not agree with Oscar Wilde on some things, but Pater’s great decadent essays should be savored.
- Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
- Never use a long word where a short one will do.
- If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
- Never use the passive where you can use the active.
- Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
- Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
From Politics and the English Language
Does this make anyone else want to write something horrendous just to see how terrible your writing would be in opposition to these?
Here’s a look at IC’s funding, just in case you haven’t seen it. If you don’t like their use of funding, don’t donate.
Wish I could say the same about taxes…
Just wanted for everyone to know that I had the most amazing meal at 3:00 A.M.
- It was just a burger and fries
- Oh, and a vanilla malted milkshake
- The burger was so amazing that my poultry-and-fish-only friend reverted to eating meat again
- I’m either the greatest influence or a terror to vegetarians everywhere
- This was a meal worth sharing, so everyone had to have a bite
- You should be insanely jealous
- I’m saddened by the fact that I haven’t had this delicious meal before
- It might also have to do with the fact that I haven’t had a burger in months
- Now, my roommates and I exclaim every thirty minutes, reminiscing about that fantastic burger
- I wrote ten things about a burger and thick-cut fries
I was reading a draft, one of 44 I have hiding under my ass for what good they do me. Suddenly, I read a description of what made a supporting character unique, and said, literally said this to myself, “Heeeey! I’m kind of like that!”
HEAD ON DESK.
Apparently I forgot that I was reading my own material.
We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.
All art is quite useless.” —Oscar Wilde, preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray in reference to the criticism of art and literature
Do doubts inhibit success or merely propel one further toward achieving their goals?
No matter how much I write, I can’t get my mind to shut up with doubts and worries. Not about myself so much, as I know I’m fucking amazing (everyone should think that about themselves because we are all amazing works-in-progress as human beings), but more to do with my capabilities as a writer and completely to do with how I treat others or affect them. These are the moments I wish I was a hermit.
Taking another break. I don’t know how long, exactly. I need less time sitting in front of a screen and screaming mentally at myself (harsh, right?) and more time in the sun. I wish I had woods to run to like I did in elementary school. Just me, a couple of country dogs, and the creek behind our trailer. Oh, and a tom cat named Peter Rabbit that followed us around as well. Just thinking about running my hands along the bark of a pine and slowly, leisurely finding animal paths to wander along as the dogs followed curious scents further away, but always coming back to my side, makes me sigh while itching to dip a hand down into a creek—embracing the sensations of the natural world.
I never felt unwanted nor “not enough” out there, sitting on a creek bank, drawing figures into the sand with a stick and listening to the stream trickle along like the passing of time.
I actually felt like part of the world, that I belonged there—discovering the secrets of wildlife. I still can’t believe my parents let me roam around the forest by myself when I was only seven years old. After watching countless episodes of Criminal Minds, the idea seems positively crazy.
Well, back to my cooped up life where my imagination takes the place of any wilderness. Back to doodling in my margins as I imagine life elsewhere. Back to living in my dreams as opposed to reality.
At least my imagination is hilarious and wild, so I’ll have a good time.
Curtains, walls, doors, and a fan,
give me something to touch besides the back
of your shirt. Aimless. Our conversation
sticking amongst shifting gears—accelerating
to cusps we can’t bear. Ferocious even
in the quiet, unbounded requests.
You speak to a marble, unguarded pouting face.
Isolation protects unhappy me, despite means,
or ceasing matter, laying glistening stepping stones
in cascades I once gleefully threw my
bottom and spine to slip n’ slide downward.
Only the careless
truly respect the careful.
I’ll sleep tomorrow. I’ll sleep when I’m still
and slumber graces me with restless dreams
always visiting the lectures, readings:
zombie apocalypses, cast of the Jersey Shore,
fighting off monkeys in canopies balconied
above a river of flowing continental plates,
but, then—most terrifyingly—my house… realistic.
All safety, love and comfort strained from
its foundation, replaced with concentrated tragedy;
I stoop with sorrow. You approach,
close, the bricks I crumbled.
Within your softly held words, I wake.
Your grandfathers paced the rows of olive trees,
acrid and fresh in the dry breeze,
and I wonder whether this dirt remembers their
laughter as well as their instep, heavy with rich
succor of their pranzi and the deep intonations
rolling, weaving voices into a battered, vivacious
song. Lazy paradiso—where every joy falls
straight down the sepia hillside onto ruggedly
manicured villas spiraling outward, sprawling into wilderness.
You stretch to receive life
as Dionysus devours sweet, crisply harvested grapes.
La mezzanotte di Firenze, an anthem of ticking bicycle spokes
and Milan stiletto heels on cobblestones,
stirs the ragazzi mingling in piazzas—lounging,
leaning on historically darkened sandstone steps—
To my family, the less I say
the more condemned.
To everyone else, every word
So, I ask,
bite my tongue and
still my fingers,
or brave the language
never fully conveying truth?