Best thing about this photo is what I found written on the back:
“This picture was taken in front of Lucy’s (Paul’s wife) parents’ place in Boundbrook N.J. The Maid-of-Honor is an Aunt of Lucy’s who is from the South and has a decided accent. She is now working in Washington, D.C. where a lot of other people are doing likewise. Lucy wore a light blue dress with pink accessories in case you are interested. I don’t want to sound like a newspaper man now after sounding like a news commentator to you previously.”
It is the place where nothing happens, the place of perfect peace; it is itself not another world but an unending expanse of trees and small ponds, each pond like a looking glass you can go through to another world. It is a portrait of a library, just as all the magic portals are allegories for works of art, across whose threshhold we all step into other worlds.
—Rebecca Solnit, describing “The Wood Between the Worlds” in C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books. Via Guernica.
We read with horror of terrorist attacks around the world, mostly in far-flung places that regularly endure suicide bombings, improvised explosive devices, and the like. We breathe a sigh of relief that we don’t have to live with such violence, while we spend billions of dollars annually to prevent such attacks occurring here. But every year, about twice as many people are killed in the United States by guns than die of terrorist attacks worldwide. Americans face a one in 3.5 million chance of being killed in a terrorist attack, but a one in 22,000 chance of being murdered.
“The water was cruelly cold there, as it always was, and when it got up to her knees she dropped his hand and dived. She had been taught to swim a crawl but she had never unlearned a choppy, hurried stroke and with her face half buried in the green she headed out to sea for ten feet, turned, surface-dived, shouted with pain at the cold and then raced toward the beach. The beach was sunny and the cold water and the heat of the sun set her up. She dried herself roughly with a towel, snatched off her cap and then stood in the sun, waiting for its heat to reach her bones. She dried her hands and lighted a cigarette and he came out of the sea then, dried only his hands and dropped down beside her.”
The informal way of getting by does not tide you over when you are sick and it does not let you raise kids and it does not let you grow old. It is not biologically real.
—Jaron Lanier talking about his new book, “Who Owns the Future?” at Salon (and sounding slightly more formal than he does in the interview because this particular template does not allow for apostrophes in quotations)
He felt that in this crisis his laws of life were useless. Whatever he had learned of himself was here of no avail. He was an unknown quantity. He saw that he would again be obliged to experiment as he had in early youth.
—Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage (Picked up a copy of this at the Met, where I saw the excellent new exhibit, “Photography and the American Civil War.”)
A writer can be seen clumsily learning to walk, to tie his necktie, to make love, and to eat his peas off a fork. He appears much alone and determined to instruct himself. Naive, provincial in my case, sometimes drunk, sometimes obtuse, almost always clumsy, even a selected display of one’s early work will be a naked history of one’s struggle to receive an education in love and economics.
—John Cheever, from the introduction to his collected short stories (the perfect book to read in the summer with a gin & tonic nearby)