More specifically concerning: twitter
26 September 2020, around 10.12.
A class of small children were being asked if they liked to watch programmes which had lots of violent action in them. One small boy’s eyes lit up as he told the reporter how exciting he found it, how it made him feel that he wanted to be strong like that, to run in and […]
28 September 2020, around 19.44.
Life is always in excess of the stories we tell about it – to others, to ourselves. Always the awkward relation is a sign of more to come; the stories which don’t fit; the lives lived in parallel universes, intersecting, overlapping, together and apart. A real life includes conflict, anger, mistakes; it spills over into […]
13 October 2020, around 14.11.
Uncanny walk through the woods, jumpy at the metallic rattle of leaves, the tinny sound of rain, the echo of my own footsteps, the distant yip of a dog. At each step the sensation of being watched, perhaps only by a wren, but watched – and warily.
15 December 2020, around 17.56.
‘In the art of not living one is not ephemerally permanent but permanently ephemeral.’ —Laura (Riding) Jackson (Anarchism Is Not Enough)
16 December 2020, around 12.05.
‘The conversion of nothing into something is the task of criticism. Literature is the storehouse of these rescued somethings.’ —Laura (Riding) Jackson (Anarchism Is Not Enough)
19 December 2020, around 14.24.
‘I read all the time: newspapers, magazines, fiction, nonfiction, but it’s important for me to feel interpolated; to feel like the thing I am reading will lead to another and another…’ —Moyra Davey (‘Opposite of Low Hanging Fruit’, in Index Cards)
4 January 2021, around 13.01.
‘The language of birds is very ancient, and, like other ancient modes of speech, very elliptical; little is said, but much is meant and understood.’ —Gilbert White, The Natural History of Selborne, letter xliii to the hon. Daines Barrington, 9 September 1778
21 January 2021, around 8.09.
‘A State is never a utilitarian institution pure and simple. It congeals on the surface of time like frost-flowers on a windowpane, and is as unpredictable, as ephemeral and, in its pattern, as rigidly causal to all appearances as they.’ —Huizinga, Homo Ludens
21 January 2021, around 8.19.
‘The periwig constitutes a chapter by itself not only in the history of dress but in the history of civilization.’ —Huizinga, Homo Ludens
12 February 2021, around 6.24.
‘They were old maids. They weren’t cranky because they hadn’t had a man but because they’d had too many old books.’ —the gravedigger, qtd. in Ronald Blythe, Akenfield
16 February 2021, around 11.50.
‘Think in moderation. Remain on your bed. Contemplate on the wall the daylight vanishing, and the balance of light and shadow pursuing one another insensibly towards the night. Simple time is a great remedy.’ —Paul Valéry, Dialogues (trans. W.M. Stewart)
16 February 2021, around 12.00.
‘Unravel me that miserable mixture of equivalent sensations, of memories without employment, dreams without credit, conjectures without consistency…Summon and rally all those little unfocused forces which are adrift in your fatigue. Your weakness is simply their confusion.’ —Paul Valéry, Dialogues (trans. W.M. Stewart)
22 February 2021, around 12.30.
I remember reading something about a chatterbox in a coach who left himself open to some devastating wit by asking his fellow passengers if he wasn’t a coxcomb and I have no idea where I read it but it was about a sixth of the way down a verso. I think. The witticism involved repeating […]
24 February 2021, around 17.25.
‘What would all knowledge of the present be without a divine remembrance of the past, and without an even more fortunate intimation of the future, as Socrates owed to his daemon?’ —Johann Georg Hamann, A flying letter to nobody, the well known (trans. K. Haynes)
29 March 2021, around 8.26.
It is, somewhat unexpectedly, snowing. It is quite beautiful.1I am no longer sure what the definition of beauty is, as I have been reading too much philosophy, but by this statement I mean to indicate that the visual perception of the falling snow creates in me a sense of gratification and appreciation, this sense being […]
13 April 2021, around 12.56.
But already we may speak of the body as an ever advancing boundary between the future and the past, as a pointed end, which our past is continually driving forward into our future. —Henri Bergson, Matter and Memory (trans. N.M. Paul & W.S. Palmer)
24 April 2021, around 21.22.
Near the end of the road.
29 May 2021, around 18.10.
‘But come a little closer, darlings, that I may kick you a little harder.’ —Laura Riding, Anarchism Is Not Enough
29 May 2021, around 18.21.
The impossibility of satisfying even oneself; or, on having no clean linen in which to wrap things: Yes, I once knew a woman who spent all her time washing her linen, in order to be always fresh and sweet smelling. But as she was always washing dirty linen and thus making the linen she wore […]
10 July 2021, around 5.45.
‘The superiority of intellectual to sensual pleasures consists rather in their filling up more time, in their having a larger range, and in their being less liable to satiety, than in their being more real and essential.’ —Malthus, in the midst of being cranky about Godwin
11 July 2021, around 13.23.
‘The moment we allow ourselves to ask why some things are not otherwise, instead of endeavouring to account for them as they are, we shall never know where to stop; we shall be led into the grossest, and most childish absurdities’ —Malthus, ray of sunshine ‘Leisure is, without a doubt, highly valuable to man; but […]
25 October 2021, around 6.08.
‘Good carpentry can make a secret door in any wall.’ —William James, from Essays in Psychical Research
24 November 2021, around 9.10.
Snow on the distant ridge (not shown).
9 January 2022, around 12.08.
‘There are, first of all, people who have homes without offices: these are, paradoxically, either the very rich or the very poor.’ —Fredric Jameson, Raymond Chandler: The Detections of Totality
8 March 2022, around 16.38.
‘Besides, there is nothing so plain boring as the constant repetition of assertions that are not true, and sometimes not even faintly sensible’ —J.L. Austin, Sense and Sensibilia, explaining why no one reads novels.
20 March 2022, around 9.21.
‘…it is true that I long syth haue redde and herde that the beste clerkes ben not the wysest men’ —Reynard the Fox (Caxton trans.)
27 March 2022, around 13.55.
‘Nothing whatever, except a harsh and dismal superstition, prohibits enjoyment.’ —Spinoza, Ethics, pt.IV, Prop. 45, Schol. 2 (trans. George Eliot)
21 July 2022, around 8.57.
‘Arthur Symons was talking of some foreign city, carrying in his waistcoat pocket, as it were, the genius loci, anon to be embalmed in Pateresque prose. I forget whether this time it was Rome or Seville or Moscow or what…’ —Max Beerbohm, ‘First Meetings with W.B. Yeats’
31 July 2022, around 17.41.
‘It is not just a matter of music but of how to live: it is by speed slowness that one slips in among things, that one connects with something else. One never commences; one never has a tabula rasa; one slips in, enters in the middle….’ —Deleuze, Spinoza: Practical Philosophy
5 August 2022, around 6.05.
‘All genuine thought and art is to a certain extent an attempt to put big heads on small people: so it is no wonder the attempt does not always come off.’ —Schopenhauer
19 August 2022, around 9.12.
From the morning walk.
4 September 2022, around 17.10.
‘…if one finds an absolutely comfortable sitting place in a spot not designed for sitting, one is taken over by a mystical happiness, one of life’s most profound, most agreeable joys.’ —Miklós Szentkuthy, on windowsills, Towards the One & Only Metaphor (trans. Tim Wilkinson)
6 October 2022, around 16.38.
‘In their doctrine freedom of spirit is taken from man in the name of his own happiness; social eudaemonism is set up against liberty. If truth does not exist, then nothing is left but this compulsory organization of social happiness.’ —Berdyaev, Dostoevsky (trans. Attwater)
words of note
31 December 2022, around 4.52.
One encounters so many interesting words while reading, some of which are unfamiliar, some of which – though tantalizing – send one to the dictionary immediately, and some of which linger in the mind even if already known. I used to gather such things elsewhere in bits and pieces, but it seems amusing to collect […]
11 January 2023, around 11.45.
‘His desire for a career as a man of letters was not matched by his ability as an editor or as a writer of verse or prose’ —Dorothy Thompson, The Dignity of Chartism
18 April 2023, around 8.50.
Collected over time and extracted from elsewhere:1 immunogoblins explainatory weekend immune system bears withness ‘tights’ for ‘ties’ ‘sawn’ for ‘sewn’ maniacal pencil Beowful ‘fastened’ for ‘expedited’* ‘mezzo’ for ‘meso’ proprosed thoughs ‘to don’ for ‘do not’ ‘plaid’ for ‘played’ armhold clearify* trail and error ‘Ministory’ for ‘Ministry’ ‘tenants’ for ‘tenets’ ‘famine’ for ‘feminine’ ‘phycological’ for […]