February 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

I ran yesterday, last night, first time since December. I put on Max Richter’s recomposed Four Seasons and I ran slow and I realised: I could go on, and on. Thought checked across my head: read: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Murakami. I thought: the age has dawned and I could run marathons maybe now. Time has grown shorter. When I was a kid I was a sprinter. Hard and fast. Now I can draw it out.

from message to Krista


February 27, 2014 § Leave a comment

February 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

Anais Nïn by Carl Van Vechten

Alice Munro in the words of Jonathan Franzen

February 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

This is not a golfer on a practice tee. This is a gymnast in a plain black leotard, alone on a bare floor, outperforming all the novelists with their flashy costumes and whips and elephants and tigers.

— from essay What Makes You So Sure You’re Not The Evil One Yourself? on the short story writer Alice Munro

“The complexity of things–the things within things–just seem to be endless,” Munro told her interviewer.


February 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

Sounds like you really enjoyed the ballet!

22/02/2014 21:46
Lucie Verver

yeah, quite incredible


acting on the subconscious

that coupled with this music, tonight


22/02/2014 21:46
Nicholas Day

Is the story hard to follow when watching?  Or is that even important?

22/02/2014 21:48
Lucie Verver

I didn’t know the story previously

so I simply let it wash over me: watched

and I woke with the story, this morning

most interesting

I think that the story IS important, yes

but that it is communicated by the best choreographers

almost to the subconscious

came up through my dreams

22/02/2014 21:50
Nicholas Day


My mother used to take ballet very seriously.

22/02/2014 21:50
Lucie Verver



I never did before

not really

22/02/2014 21:50
Nicholas Day

As in she performed.

22/02/2014 21:50
Lucie Verver

this is the first ballet performed by adults that I saw

22/02/2014 21:50
Nicholas Day

Not sure how much she watched

22/02/2014 21:50
Lucie Verver

oh wow


how wonderful

I like…

I love the purity of it

the precision

and seeming simplicity. Timeless

22/02/2014 21:52
Nicholas Day

I’ve been to one performance before when I was younger.  I think I may have been too young.

I can definitely admire the ridiculous athletic ability it requires.

22/02/2014 21:53
Lucie Verver

yes, me too

and to begin with, watching this, I thought that that was all I was doing (and getting from it)

and I concluded, prematurely, that it was not quite worth it. Human feat, decoration.

But this was, evidently, more than that

I went to an opera, too, very young — too young

I think maybe we read many books too young too

go to art galleries as kids, exhausted, complaining… I used to get so drained in exhibitions, trying to commit concentration to each piece

22/02/2014 21:55
Nicholas Day

I’m not sure I’d want to attend opera still.  I’m don’t think I could ever understand it.

I usually found as a kid in art galleries, I wouldn’t pay attention to most of the pieces.  There would just be occasional ones that really caught my attention.

22/02/2014 21:58
Lucie Verver

I’m not sure that I would understand the opera either.


you were smarter than me.

do you go to galleries now?

22/02/2014 21:59
Nicholas Day

Not often.

Never in London.  It’s something I occasionally do in foreign cities.

22/02/2014 22:00
Lucie Verver

there are a few pictures that I liked, in London

I went to a few great exhibitions at the Tate/Tate Modern

quite nice sometimes just to go to a particular room in a particular gallery and sit

22/02/2014 22:02
Nicholas Day

To think?  Or take in all the pieces?

22/02/2014 22:03
Lucie Verver


and not take in all the pieces at all

sometimes to write

23/02/2014 15:20
Nicholas Day

So after we spoke yesterday, I spent some time thinking about art and what types of art I enjoy.  I came to the conclusion that one thing I really love is “clever” art.  It’s a theme that runs through many of my favourite books/movies/pieces.

(Maybe in my favourite music too?  But that’s not so clear.)

23/02/2014 15:20
Nicholas Day

It’s one reason that Shigeo Fukuda is one of my favourite artists.  As well as his fantastic posters, he made a lot of awesome illusions.  Sculptures that seem to defy reality.

You look at it and think “how could anyone think of that?”.

23/02/2014 15:21
Nicholas Day

I think it’s also why I really love magic.  Magic is a mix of art, cleverness, technical skill and the ability to defy reality.  It’s often up close and personal yet still so impossible.  Stuff like this is just so beautiful:

24/02/2014 09:48
Lucie Verver

Magic — my brother loves magic, too. The tricks. The performance. The illusion.

Clever art…. mm.

I like the kind of art that moves me, I guess, profoundly — lengthily. That will actually develop within me, once I’ve understood it (an ongoing process, sometimes). That will enable me to develop my thought, in relation to it and beyond it, and that will allow me a different perspective. I appreciate art for beauty of course, too. But beauty that moves — beauty simply being a way in which art may move.

Nicholas Day

Do you have any good examples of art that has moved you once you’ve understood it?  I often feel that some pieces of art are too hard for me to understand.  I’m not sure I could ever decipher the author’s original intent when creating a piece…

I guess I sometimes just judge art externally, and that is why I often find my self drawn to clever art.  It has another dimension so to speak for me to appreciate it (externally) from.

Lucie Verver

Good example: the ballet that we saw last week.

As for deciphering the author’s original intent, I don’t tend to worry too much about that. Take the work from the author, so to speak.

Alice Munro (short story writer, Nobel 2013) in an interview:

“Because there is this kind of exhaustion and bewilderment when you look at your work….All you really have left is the thing you’re working on now. And so you’re much more thinly clothed. You’re like somebody out in a little shirt or something, which is just the work you’re doing now and the strange identification with everything you’ve done before. And this probably is why I don’t take any public role as a writer. Because I can’t see myself doing that except as a gigantic fraud.”

— I quote her there because I think the quote points to the difficulty in trying to pin a piece to its author: the author constantly altering, in flux, but the work too once it becomes a text (is published and read and interpreted, consumed subjectively).

I hated watching the recent documentary of J. D. Salinger because it did injustice to his stories, tainted them, somehow, presenting a ‘biography’ (whilst failing to quote a single line of course, of the prose). And I love those stories — quite apart from the man who wrote them.

How many authors know the precise reason for their creating what they create? And if not the reason, the intent with which they create the works, as you say. Well: perhaps some projects do start off like science experiments; with their objective. No doubt. And of course, many artists will wish, for their own reasons, to convey particular things and messages through their works — the extent to which art is didactic varies widely. Ultimately, what you receive; what you understand, is their achievement. An individual reception. An individual instance. Subjective.

I like to wander about galleries without “knowing” the painters, the sculptors. To know of them adds something, certainly, but to walk in in ignorance and to appreciate just the product, externally, may be a wonderful thing too (and results in a different sort of criticism).

Lucie Verver

** and then, on a greater scale, there are great works (those that make the canon?) that will have a larger and more important effect upon many — leave an imprint upon a period, even alter it.

Lucie Verver

Take music, for example. It does not ask to be understood — you just listen. It may move you without you knowing precisely why.


February 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

“Leonard is far and away my least favorite relative, and I have no clue why I call him one night, collect, very late, and give him an involved and scrupulously fair edition of the whole story. We end up arguing. Leonard maintains that I am just like our mother and suffer from an unhappy and basically silly desire to be perfect; I sat that this has nothing constructive to do with anything I’ve said, and furthermore I fail to see what’s so bad about wishing to be perfect, since being perfect would be…well, perfect. Leonard invites me to think about how boring it would be to be perfect. I defer to Leonard’s extensive and hard-earned knowledge about being boring, but do point out that since being boring is an imperfection, it would by definition be impossible for a perfect person to be boring. Leonard says I’ve always enjoyed playing games with words in order to dodge the real meanings of things; this segues with suspicious neatness into my intuitions about the impending death of lexical utterance, and I’m afraid I indulge myself for several minutes before I realize that one of us has severed the connection. I curse Leonard’s pipe, and his wife with a face like the rind of a ham.”

― David Foster Wallace, Girl With Curious Hair

Reading Franzen essays lately has certainly got me thinking more about David Foster Wallace, and more about addiction (though I quote the passage above more for its neatness, its brilliance, than on that topic). My head’s left Franzen space and is considering a third attempt at Infinite Jest, though my copy, irritatingly, is in England.

Read addiction in I J :

“twenty-one other newly detoxed housebreakers, hoods, whores, fired execs, Avon ladies, subway musicians, beer-bloated construction workers, vagrants, indignant car salesmen, bulimic trauma-mamas, bunko artists, mincing pillow-biters, North End hard guys, pimply kids with electric nose-rings, denial-ridden housewives and etc., all jonesing and head-gaming and mokus and grieving and basically whacked out and producing nonstopping output” (24-7-365)

Consider that addiction might not be so far from habit, might not be so far from some of the basic actions we perform daily — just at an extreme. How often we drug ourselves, and really, how endless the variety of “drug”.

Walking down a burnt summer street one early London afternoon I consider maybe we’ve got some kind of responsibility to drug ourselves, to survive ourselves. To exit a little our heads and lessen raw sensation. Thinking along a line of functionality. Work and routine may desensitise you too, sufficiently perhaps.

And then: what are you doing desensitising yourself? Camel head in the fucking sand. What are you doing to make the world a better place? (And how quickly is that last sentiment dismissed as “naive” — and why is that?) What do you care?

Matthew 7:7-8

February 23, 2014 § Leave a comment

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:


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