Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries

May 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

Moody was not unaware of the advantage his inscrutable grace afforded him. Like most excessively beautiful persons, he had studied his own reflection minutely and, in a way, knew himself from the outside best; he was always in some chamber of his mind perceiving himself from the exterior. He had passed a great many hours in the alcove of his private dressing room, where the mirror tripled his image into profile, half-profile, and square: Van Dyck’s Charles, though a good deal more striking. It was a private practice, and one he would likely have denied—for how roundly self-examination is condemned, by the moral prophets of our age! As if the self had no relation to the self, and one only looked in mirrors to have one’s arrogance confirmed; as if the act of self-regarding was not as subtle, fraught and ever-changing as any bond between twin souls. In his fascination Moody sought less to praise his own beauty than to master it. Certainly whenever he caught his own reflection, in a window box, or in a pane of glass after nightfall, he felt a thrill of satisfaction—but as an engineer might feel, chancing upon a mechanism of his own devising and finding it splendid, flashing, properly oiled and performing exactly as he had predicted it should.

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Anais Nin:

May 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.

A City Afternoon, by John Ashbery

May 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

A veil of haze protects this 
Long-ago afternoon forgotten by everybody 
In this photograph, most of them now 
Sucked screaming through old age and death.

If one could seize America 
Or at least a fine forgetfulness 
That seeps into our outline 
Defining our volumes with a stain 
That is fleeting too

But commemorates 
Because it does define, after all: 
Gray garlands, that threesome 
Waiting for the light to change, 
Air lifting the hair of one 
Upside down in the reflecting pool.

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