“People aren’t either wicked or noble. They’re like chef’s salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.”—Lemony Snicket, The Grim Grotto (via supprosetry)
What’s this? Something that I’m going to save and explore more in the second draft? Wait, what? There’s going to be a second draft? And a third? Wait, just how long am I going to be working on this thing, anyway?
five forty-two and i’ve not written a word worth capitalization, not a sentence worth remembering nor a collection of decipherable letters, which is to say, i’ve written nothing, not to be vain, but the time will come (now, or sooner, or later) when it seems i will dive back into my notes, into these pages rendered in pixels so small i cannot see (i cannot see where i am going), into this story that has perhaps haunted me since i found that ache in my intestines both too long and not long enough ago to try and say something and discover all of these things, and i pray someone (god let it be oh lady, oh lady ella, o first lady of song) will tell me what is this thing, called love?
“(The introduction of this quotation [above] is very interesting, for it shows that our literature of to-day has a circulation in heaven–pirated editions, no doubt.–M.T.)”—Mark Twain, Queen Victoria’s Jubilee
It is a hard and lengthy task to become acquainted with the vagaries of the language, not to mention the forgotten or altered meanings of many words. Some of these vagaries are aptly illustrated by the story of the Frenchman who said to an American:
I am going to leave my hotel. I paid my bill yesterday, and I said to the landlord, ‘Do I owe anything else?’ He said, ‘You are square.’ ‘What am I?’ He said again, ‘You are square.’ ‘That’s strange,’ said I. ‘I lived so long that I never knew I was square before.’ Then, as I was going away, he shook me by the hand, saying, ‘I hope you’ll be round soon.’ I said, ‘I thought you said I was square; now you hope I’ll be round.’ He laughed and said, ‘When I tell you you’ll be round, I mean you won’t be long.’ Then, seeing me count my change twice over, he said, ‘Are you short?’ I did not know how many forms he wished me to assume: however, I was glad he did not call me flat.
– William S. Bridge, “The English Language,” in The Typographical Journal, March 15, 1902
Two of my favorite poets, Ishon Hutchinson and John Murillo, are recommended by Phillip Levine, U.S Poet Laureate. I’ve also met both of them, had a workshop with Murillo, sat in on a lovely lecture or two by Hutchinson, and can attest to their brilliance and character. Check ‘em out!
“So this is a record of hate far more than of love, and if I come to say anything in favor of Henry and Sarah I can be trusted: I am writing against the bias because it is my professional pride to prefer the near-truth, even to the expression of my near-hate.”—"The End of the Affair" by Graham Greene