This is not boring in the way bad narrative is boring; it is boring in the way life is boring, and somehow, almost perversely, that is a surprising thing to see on the page.
Michael Vagnetti vagnetti
@MonacelliPress || frontiers in publishing, social reading, discovery || alumnus @SterlingBooks, B&N Publishing, @Rizzoli_Books || about.me/mvagnetti || medium.com/@vagnetti
I think the smile belongs only to human beings.
I kept hearing myself think, I see dead art: Work that looks and behaves like it is supposed to look and behave but that doesn’t make us see differently, that doesn’t rethink form, reimage structure, or explore material, color, or new orders.
"A lot of them [students] don't really understand," said Kureishi. "It's the story that really helps you. They worry about the writing and the prose and you think: 'Fuck the prose, no one's going to read your book for the writing, all they want to do is find out what happens in the story next.'"
To read Lispector is to watch a sleepwalker with eyes open groping towards an unknown destination, or a woman at a seance practising automatic writing in order to discover what she actually thinks.
I've noticed now that we live in a period of some sort of denial: you can see it in photography, in painting, suddenly everything is abstract, everything is conceptual. Even when work is politically motivated or about identity, it’s all disguised, it’s all smoke and conceptual mirrors. If we were lying to ourselves about the situation before 2008, it’s become even more frustrating in the current... economic and political situation with these interminable wars. People in the world that consume and appreciate art are in complete denial: they are as bad as any politician and I hate to say that but it’s so tiring to see the same old stuff.
Instead they are, upon inspection, just the fairly straightforward qualities of persons with more financial or cultural or physical power who exercise that power over people with less.
"How very hard it is to talk about music in words. It is the most concrete and, simultaneously, the most abstract art. That sounds contradictory, but it's true. "Music is like one's subconscious mind... "
I also felt the double equal could do a lot of expository work for me. So it was many things: reticent yet visible, a sign that did away with explication. In fact, the initial impulse was to create a sign that suggested a specific exposition (most broadly the power of the background) without resorting to words.
When someone between twenty and forty says, apropos of a work of art, 'I know what I like,' he is really saying 'I have no taste of my own but accept the taste of my cultural milieu', because, between twenty and forty, the surest sign that a man has a genuine taste of his own is that he is uncertain of it.
Borges calls himself a “hedonic” reader—he seeks pleasure in books, and beyond that, a “form of happiness.” He advises his students to leave a book if it bores them: “that book was not written for you,” no matter its reputation or fame. As a reader, he hunts for specific passages, or even just phrases, that move him. “One falls in love with a line, then with a page, then with an author,” he says. “Well, why not? It is a beautiful process.”
Think of it this way: there is a vast unwritten book that the heart reacts to, that it races and skips in response to, that it believes in. But it’s the heart’s belief in that vast unwritten book that brought the book into existence; what appears to be exclusively a response (the heart responding to the book) is, in fact, also a conjuring (the heart inventing the book to which it so desperately wishes to respond).
Rather there is a collision between the sweetness of the sound and the emptiness of the music.
The Soviet mathematician Lev Mazel likened Shostakovich's work to algebra in which formulae containing several unknowns can have various solutions. More than one thing is happening at once, and not necessarily logically.