“…he knew what every artist should know: as Garp put it, ‘You only grow by coming to the end of something and by beginning something else.’ Even if these so-called endings and beginnings are illusions.”—John Irving, The World According to Garp
And Yet Another Reason Why I Love David Foster Wallace:
"As of 2003, misusing that for who or whom, whether in writing or speech, functions as a kind of class-marker - it’s the grammatical equivalent of wearing NASCAR paraphernalia or liking pro wrestling.”
"Maybe, though, the relation of contemporary view to contemporary television is less a paradigm of infantilism and addiction than it is of the U.S.A.’s familiar relation to all the technology we equate at once with freedom and power and slavery and chaos. For, as with television, whether we happen personally to love technology, hate it, fear it, or all three, we still look relentlessly to technology for solutions to the very problems technology seems to cause…"
“Art, after all, is supposed to be a kind of communication, and “personal expression” is cinematically interesting only to the extent that what’s expressed finds and strikes chords within the viewer. The difference between experiencing art that succeeds as communication and art that doesn’t is rather like the difference between being sexually intimate with a person and watching that person masturbate. In terms of literature, richly communicative Expressionism is epitomized by Kafka, bad and onanistic Expressionism by the average Graduate Writing Program avant-garde story.”—David Foster Wallace, David Lynch Keeps His Head (1995)
“It’s so magical - I don’t know why - to go into a theater and have the lights go down. It’s very quiet, and then the curtains start to open. Maybe they’re red. And you go into a world. It’s beautiful when it’s a shared experience. It’s still beautiful when you’re at home and your theater is in front of you, though it’s not quite as good. It’s best on a big screen. That’s the way to go into a world.”—David Lynch, Catching the Big Fish
"It’s not that students don’t ‘get’ Kafka’s humor but that we’ve taught them to see humor and something you get - the same way we’ve taught them that a self is something you just have. No wonder they cannot appreciate the really central Kafka joke: that the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggle. That our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home. It’s hard to put into words, up at the blackboard, believe me. You can tell them that maybe it’s good they don’t ‘get’ Kafka. You can ask them to imagine his stories as all about a kind of door. To envision us approaching and pounding on this door, increasingly hard, pounding and pounding, not just wanting admission but needing it; we don’t know what it is but we can feel it, this total desperation to enter, pounding and ramming and kicking. That, finally, the door opens…and it opens outward- we’ve been inside what we wanted all along. Das ist komisch.”
David Foster Wallace, Consider the Lobster: And Other Essays
“The once plentiful herds of magazine writers would continue to be culled—by the Internet, by the recession, by the American public, who would rather watch TV or play video games or electronically inform friends that, like, rain sucks! But there’s no app for a bourbon buzz on a warm day in a cool, dark bar. The world will always want a drink.”—Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
"Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled as morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them - if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry. “
“She looked nice, smoking. She inhaled and all, but she didn’t wolf the smoke down, the way most women around her age do. She had a lot of charm. She had quite a lot of sex appeal, too, if you really want to know.”—J. D. Salinger
"In any case civilisation has made mankind if not more bloodthirsty, at least more vilely, more loathsomely bloodthirsty. In old days he saw justice in bloodshed and with his conscience at peace exterminated those he thought proper. Now we do think bloodshed abominable and yet we engage in this abomination, and with more energy than ever. Which is worse? Decide that for yourselves."
-Dostoevsky, Notes from the Underground
I’ll read an uplifting book one day I promise but probably not really.
“God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables, slaves with white collars, advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.”—Chuck Palahniuk
I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent, starving I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disquiets me,
I search the liquid sound of your steps all day.
I hunger for your sleek laugh,
For your hands the color of the wild grain,
I hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.
I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your loveliness,
The nose, sovereign of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,
And I walk hungry, smelling the twilight
Looking for you, for your hot heart,
Like a puma in the barren wilderness.
“I try to watch her, to isolate elements of that stunning sexuality, but it’s like memorizing the reflections of a diamond. The slightest movement and an entirely different brilliance appears.”—A Sport and a Pastime, James Salter (via sunlightthroughblinds)
"A Radically Condensed History of Postindustrial Life"
When they were introduced, he made a witticism, hoping to be liked. She laughed extremely hard, hoping to be liked. Then each drove home alone, staring straight ahead, with the very same twist to their faces.
The man who’d introduced them didn’t much like either of them, though he acted as if he did, anxious as he was to preserve good relations at all times. One never knew after all, now did one now did one now did one.
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings.
They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that’s what you’re doing.
And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the centre of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving…. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.
That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.”—David Foster Wallace, This is Water
"Pretty?" he echoed. "Mister, when I see my first lady angel, if God ever sees fit to show me one, it’ll be her wings and not her face that’ll make my mouth fall open. I’ve already seen the prettiest face that ever could be."