“A literary monthly once posed a question to several writers: “If your house were burning down and you could take one thing, what would it be?” “I’d take the fire,” answered Jean Cocteau.”—from composer Ned Rorem’s introduction to Jean Cocteau’s book The Difficulty of Being
“But he [John Henry Newman] also saw that a love of truth and therefore of argument was part of what characterized and formed the heart. The heart, let me emphasize, that speaks to other hearts. The man who loves something wants to know about it. He wants, as far as the subject allows, to think about it, to analyze it, to understand it deeply. He will use that knowledge to come to its defense when it is misunderstood or misinterpreted or publicly derided or denied. This is even truer when he loves someone. If he doesn’t want to know, he doesn’t truly love.”—
“But why do you give it to Sofia Coppola? Why? Because you want to encourage her, I think. I think that’s the real reason. Look at her. Look at her! She comes from a family, mother and father both very successful, creating entertainments, amusements and thought-provoking work. She wrote a spec script for The Virgin Suicides. The ambition of these young people! Can you believe it? The ambition! She got the job as the director. She directed Lost in Translation in another country in another language, and got a prize for it. [Pause.] God, this is a hot, hot Red Hot. But I’m not going to quit on you people, because I’ve got another half in my pocket. [Pulls out of pocket and puts in mouth.] I got one-and-a-half in my mouth right now. [Mumbling.]”—
“To any writer: Teach yourself to work in uncertainty. Many writers are anxious when they begin, or try something new. Even Matisse painted some of his Fauvist pictures in anxiety. Maybe that helped him to simplify. Character, discipline, negative capability count. Write, complete, revise. If it doesn’t work, begin something else.”—
“A schoolmaster’s calling is usually but poor and very painful, requiring much close attendance; but yet it is of so great use to the common good, and alloweth the mind so much leisure and advantage to improve itself in honest studies, that it is fitter to be chosen and delighted in by a well-tempered mind, than richer and more honoured employments. It is sweet to be all day doing so much good.”—Richard Baxter. Preach it, brother. (via ayjay)
A viral video vaulted Ted Williams and his golden voice to fame, but the real hero of this story is the woman he left behind.
Patricia Kirtley raised four daughters alone after Williams split 23 years ago and dove down the rabbit hole of drugs.
Not only that, Kirtley took in the baby boy the radioman had with another woman and raised him as her own.
Oh, and by the way, she’s partially blind.
"We survived," Kirtley said Thursday in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. "My children are survivors. They know if we get a little bit that God provides, we make it into a lot. I’m a soup maker. I make potato soup and throw in a lot of vegetables and a little meat. We always ate."
Except that Williams, who seems to be a nice guy, just wasn’t strong, wasn’t around and wasn’t contributing financially.
Kirtley had to go on the dole. “I still remember my case number,” she says ruefully. She eventually went to school and got licensed as a blind vendor.
"My mother and sisters pitched in and drove me because I can’t see to drive," said Kirtley, now 58, over a din of some of her 16 grandchildren playing.
As if that weren’t enough, Kirtley said two of her sisters and a cousin each took in a child Williams and his druggie girlfriend couldn’t, or wouldn’t, care for.
"I didn’t want to see those children in no foster home," she said.
Exactly. It’s an all-too-familiar story to the strong members of poor communities - usually women. They are the ones who must provide the backbone, as well as the hugs, for children whose parents get hooked on drugs.
“I have been studying this stuff for more than 20 years. I still find it amazing. As scientist Lewis Thomas put it in Lives of a Cell: “The mere existence of such a cell should be one of the great astonishments of the earth. People ought to be walking around all day, all through their waking hours calling to each other in endless wonderment, talking of nothing except that cell.” Go ahead, call your neighbor; I’ll wait.”— John Medina on the embryonic cell that divides and develops into the human brain, Brain Rules for Baby
LONDON — “Brace yourself for five piping-hot minutes of inertia,” said William Barrett. Then he began reciting the names of every single one of 415 colors listed in a paint catalog: damson dream, dauphin, dayroom yellow, dead salmon…and on and on and on.
Mr. Barrett’s talk was titled, “Like Listening to Paint Dry,” and to judge from the droopy faces in the audience, it was a hit. He was speaking, after all, at a conference of boredom enthusiasts called Boring 2010, held here Dec. 11.
For seven hours on that Saturday, 20 speakers held forth on a range of seemingly dreary diversions, from “The Intangible Beauty of Car Park Roofs” and “Personal Reflections on the English Breakfast,” to “The Draw in Test Match Cricket” and “My Relationship With Bus Routes.” Meanwhile, some of the 200 audience members—each of whom had paid £15 (about $24) for a ticket—tried not to nod off.
Not many did, surprisingly. “It is quintessentially English to look at something dull as ditchwater and find it interesting,” said Hamish Thompson, who runs a public-relations firm and was in the audience.
Headphones work best for people who need or want to hear one sound story and no other; who don’t want to have to choose which sounds to listen to and which to ignore; and who don’t want their sounds overheard. Under these circumstances, headphones are extremely useful — and necessary for sound professionals, like intelligence and radio workers — but it’s a strange fact of our times that this rarefied experience of sound has become so common and widespread. In the name of living a sensory life, it’s worth letting sounds exist in their audio habitat more often, even if that means contending with interruptions and background sound.
Make it a New Year’s resolution, then, to use headphones less. Allow kids and spouses periodically to play music, audiobooks, videos, movie, television and radio audibly. Listen to what they’re listening to, and make them listen to your stuff. Escapism is great, and submission and denial, too, have their places. But sound thrives amid other sounds. And protecting our kids’ hearing is not just as important as protecting their brains; it is protecting their brains.
What? A homeless man who might actually be worth something?!
If you’re online this morning, you’ve probably seen the viral-video overnight sensation.
Apparently humankind has been paralyzed with astonishment because some homeless dude has a great voice.
America is shocked to learn that one of those guys asking for money on a street corner might actually have a redeeming quality.
Now, TV shows are clambering over each other to get him to say the name of their TV show on the air.
I hope somebody is writing the script for the movie. And it had better be a dark comedy. “Look! One of them can do a trick!”
What other hidden talents might we find among the homeless that might earn some of them our attention and encouragement? Maybe some of them are actually worth something!
I anticipate a new surge of interest in the guys holding signs on street corners. “What? You played basketball in high school?” “What? You can draw?”
American Idol - The Homeless will probably go live next season.
I think I’m going to be sick.
It is good to love what a person does well.
It is even better to love a person for who he is, not what he does.
When the network morning shows start investing in outreach to homeless people who don’t have sensational live-broadcast talents that, when spotlighted, will improve the show’s ratings, well… then we’ll have a reason to be inspired.