"Garbo is lonely, she always has been and she always will be. She lives in the core of a vast aching aloneness. She is a great artist, but it is both her supreme glory and her supreme tragedy that art is to her the only reality; the figures of living men and women, the events of everyday existence, move about her; shadowy, unsubstantial. It is only when she breathes the breath of life into a part, clothes with her own flesh and blood, the concept of a playwright, that she herself is fully awake, fully alive."
— Marie Dressler on Greta Garbo (via professorowenaravenclaw)
"There is a King,
who is aware of every mask
you put on."
— Rumi (via thefreenomad)
"There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one."
— Kazuo Ishiguro
from David Markson’s Reader’s Block
- Before Sylvia Plath turned on her oven to commit suicide, she left bread and butter and milk in the bedroom where her two children were sleeping.
- Boethius was executed by having a thong inexorably tightened about his temples.
- According to medieval legend, his pupils stabbed John Scotus Erigena to death with their pens.
- At twenty, Bach made a pilgrimage of more than two hundred miles, on foot, to hear Buxtehude play the organ.
- Not one of Thomas Hardy’s first three novels sold more than twenty copies.
- Matisse, questioned about green flesh: I am not painting a woman. I am painting a picture.
- Horace dictated that a writer should set aside a finished poem for nine years. And only then decide if it’s worth publishing.
- Catherine Blake: “I have very little of Mr. Blake’s company. He’s always in Paradise.”
- Bertrand Russell, re having contemplated suicide at sixteen: “I did not, however, commit suicide, because I wished to know more about mathematics.”
- Legend says that Hesiod was murdered because of seducing a friend’s daughter, who had then hanged herself. And that when his corpse was discarded at sea it was brought back by dolphins.
- Seneca, Lucan and Petronius were all ordered to commit suicide by Nero. Each opened a vein. Lucan was twenty-five. He recited his own verses as he bled to death.
- “I do not believe in God, though I believe in Picasso,” said Diego Rivera.
- From Rabelais’s will: “I have nothing. I owe much. The rest I leave to the poor.”
- In the decade before his death, Ad Reinhardt painted nothing but black canvasses.
- Franz Marc was killed by a grenade at Verdun.
- “Though I never saw him, or had any personal communication with him, now that he is suddenly dead I realise that he was nearer, dearer, and more important to me than anyone else,” said Tolstoy of Dostoevsky.
- Oscar Wilde said that Henry James composed novels as if it were a painful duty.
- The poems of Catullus were lost for a millennium. Tradition has it that the single manuscript discovered in Verona in the fourteenth century had been used to stop a bunghole.
- “It is my general impression that the editors of the Partisan Review are capable, educated, intelligent, but have nothing to say,” said Leon Trotsky.
- “I couldn’t read it. The human mind isn’t that complex,” said Einstein, returning a Kafka to Thomas Mann.
- According to legend, Li Po drowned when he fell out of a boat, drunk, leaning to kiss a reflection of the moon.
- Nirvana means without wind, or blown out. In the sense that desire no longer exists.
- Ancient rumour insisted, seemingly wrongly, that Euripdes was killed by dogs set at him by a rival playwright.
- Avicenna studied Aristotle’s Metaphysics so exhaustively and for so long that when he believed he finally understood it he handed out gifts to the poor in celebration.
- Tertullian has it that Democritus deliberately blinded himself in old age by staring into the sun. So as not to suffer the sight of beautiful women he could no longer possess.
- Thomas Mann’s definition of a writer: Someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
- “A person who has not made his great contribution to science before the age of thirty will never do so,” Einstein said.
- “I guess maybe there are two kinds of writers, writers who write stories and writers who write writing,” said Raymond Chandler.
- “Sculpture is what you bump into when you back up to look at a painting,” said Barnett Newman.
- Lucia Joyce, institutionalized, when told of her father’s death: “What’s he doing underground, that idiot?”
- Matthew 27:3-5 says Judas hanged himself.
- Was Peter Warlock the only serious composer who ever committed suicide? Tchaikovsky and Schumann and Hugo Wolf having tried, but unsuccessfully.
- Van Gogh shot himself in the chest. And then walked home and took two days to die.
"Anne Sexton sometimes seemed like a woman without skin. She felt everything so intensely, had so little capacity to filter out pain that everyday events often seemed unbearable to her. Paradoxically it is also that skinlessness which makes a poet. One must have the gift of language, but even a great gift is useless without the other curse: the eyes that see so sharply they often want to close."
— Erica Jong on the poet Anne Sexton (via cameliaoaks)
"The miracle arrived
without display. He held a book, and as he read
he found the very thing he’d sought. Just that."
— Scott Cairns (via cameliaoaks)
"In my experience poetry speaks to you either at first sight or not at all. A flash of revelation and a flash of response. Like lightning. Like falling in love."
— J.M. Coetzee, from Disgrace (via youreyeslooklikeblueberries)
"The assumption that the rich have achieved their wealth through merit is one of the great lies of all time."
— http://vic-the-perp.tumblr.com/ (via zeitgeistmovement)