The Vulnerability of Sensitivity

It seems that the most sensitive souls are able to find the most beautiful things about the world, but that sensitivity is a tremendous vulnerability that many great writers have been unable to live with. Breece D’J Pancake was one of them. This story of his life from The Millions is both a sad and beautiful reminder of the terrible price of open eyes and an open heart. I can assure you, Pancake’s only book, The Stories of Breece D’J Pancake, pictured above, is worth a lifetime of re-readings.

The Writer Can Xue

I just finished Frontier after reading about it and Can Xue in this article, which I can say is very accurate when it comes to the book. This is some of the most mysterious, difficult fiction I’ve ever read, and I adore it. Writing like this is a welcome reminder that not all books need to be nascent little movies, some books can be much better: they can be half-remembered, fading fast like the infuriating whisper of a dream just passed.

– via Numero Cinq

The American Fate

yet there is no avoiding time, the sea of time, the sea of memory and forgetfulness, the years of promise, gone and unrecoverable, of the land almost allowed to claim its better destiny, only to have the claim jumped by evildoers known all too well, and taken instead and held hostage to the future we must live in now forever. May we trust that this blessed ship is bound for some better shore…where the American fate, mercifully, failed to transpire…

– Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice

History’s Fiction

History, really, is fiction – not because it is made up of invented facts, for the facts are real, but because in the organization of those facts there is much fiction.

– José Saramago, The Paris Review, “The Art of Fiction No. 155”

Storytelling and Memory

It is the storyteller… who makes us what we are, who creates history. The storyteller creates the memory that survivors must have — otherwise surviving would have no meaning… This is very, very important… Memory is necessary if surviving is going to be more than just a technical thing.

Chinua Achebe, as quoted by the imitable Brain Pickings

Prophecy

What prophecy actually is is not that you actually know that the bomb will fall in 1942. It’s that you know and feel something that somebody knows and feels in a hundred years. And maybe articulate it in a hint — a concrete way that they can pick up on in a hundred years.

– Allen Ginsberg, Paris Review, “The Art of Poetry No. 8”