“Hannah had a near-death kind of experience right around the time I knew him and he told us that he found Jesus in that time. I think I remember him saying that Jesus actually came into to the hospital and sat with him. He wrote in one of my books: ‘Christ is the strength that you do not have to pray for. Thereness, my lass.’”
“I fear someday soon people will be the largest animals on the planet. Imagine living without the African elephant or the humpback to remind us of our scale, our relative size. What a place this would be without anything of such great weight and girth.”—
“From there, Saban wound into a story that centered on an old Martin Luther King sermon about a shoeshine man who took pride in his work, and he said something about being the best street sweeper you could be, and… I hurried back toward my hotel room, all fired up to be the best damned street sweeper I could be, just as soon as I stopped at Starbucks and checked Twitter and Facebook and watched a few minutes of CNN and ESPN and stared out at the pool seven stories below my window and let another hour of my life pass me by without accomplishing much of anything except the completion of this sentence.”—Nick Saban’s Alabama wins the BCS National Championship again - Grantland
ON WRITING; or, also, ON GOOD INTENTIONS
“Novels are fantasies of powerlessness and power—among the zillion other things they are—and I feel like we should at least be conscious of what’s happening to our minds as we are reading. How we deal with power is a serious moral question; counting how many times that we go awwww is not… These days, people seem to feel that art should be uplifting, like art owes it to them, in a customer-service type-way. Have you been to Kinko’s, or excuse me, FedEx Office, lately? It is not a happy place. Novels used to to give the reader the truth in ways no other social narratives would. I’m pretty sure I’m not just being sentimental. There used to be a social lie which said the world was making progress and ascending, but this reversed like fifteen years ago and now we all feel doomed. We need books to tell us how we got here, not to lie about how meaningful our journeys are or however we say it these days. Of course our lives are meaningful, but such a narrow focus on making folks feel better is superficial and disempowering. Our emptiness and dread are trying to tell us something.”—Adam Novy (via mttbll)
“Earlier, I wrote of the things that I’ve suffered while in pursuit of a lifestyle that makes sense to me. Things such as cold, hunger, loneliness, and fear. What I failed to mention are the ways in which I’ve been blessed through that same pursuit. While hunting, I’ve cried at the beauty of mountains covered in snow. I’ve learned to own up to my past mistakes, to admit them freely, and then to behave better the next time around. I’ve learned to see the earth as a thing that breathes and writhes and brings forth life. I see these revelations as a form of grace and art, as beautiful as the things we humans attempt to capture though music dance, and poetry.”—
Steven Rinella, Meat Eater
I’m not a hunter, but I love the outdoors and just finished Rinella’s new book, and loved it, and loved this passage, near the end, especially.
"Oh, goodness," she said, "everybody was feeling pretty high. You were all right."
"Yeah," he said. "I must have been dandy. Is everybody sore at me?"
"Good heavens, no," she said. "Everyone thought you were terribly funny. Of course, Jim Pierson was a little stuffy, there for a minute at dinner. But people sort of held him back in his chair, and got him calmed down. I don’t think anybody at the other tables noticed at all. Hardly anybody."
"He was going to sock me?" he said. "Oh, Lord. What did I do to him?"
"Why, you didn’t do a thing," she said. "You were perfectly fine. But you know how silly Jim gets when he thinks anybody is making too much fuss over Elinor."
"Was I making a pass at Elinor?" he said. "Did I do that?"
“Only those who are capable of silliness can be called truly intelligent.”—
“Only those who are capable of silliness,” wrote Christopher Isherwood, “can be called truly intelligent.” Palin quotes this maxim in his Diaries, with approval. Python’s silliness was extreme, all right, but it was balanced by the men’s wit and education. They did physical gags that could amuse a preverbal child, but they also employed language so vivid that intellectuals quote it as if it were poetry. When Christopher Hitchens spoke at the Sydney Opera House a couple years before his death, the audience demanded an encore. Hitchens obliged by reciting the whole of Python’s drunken-philosophers song from memory (“John Stuart Mill of his own free will / On half a pint of shandy was particularly ill …”).
“The staleness of my house would lead me to the windows. I smeared the yard’s colors through the bubbled glass. Things then were not substance, but the beauty children hide from the bones of adulthood.”—Dylan Nice, thin enough to break (via cinemaissatanschurch)
Barrelhouse and Hobart: These are two different journals with different values and aesthetics, but, as they started around the same time and have both done a lot to remove the highbrow and the stuffy from new literature, I’m grouping them together. If you like reading elegant prose about first generation role-playing games, the Jersey Shore, or the Three Stooges Museum, these are two journals you’re going to enjoy. Barrelhouse and Hobart publish surprising, often funny pieces of writing that people tend to mislabel “quirky” or “weird” but that we here at Treehouse prefer to call “pleasingly unusual.” The mainstream is finally starting to recognize the awesomeness of these two mags, as the latest Best American Short Stories featured two stories from Hobart (which is to say, 10% of the “best” stories of 2012 were from a single issue of Hobart).
“I’ve been a book editor for thirty-plus years, and I am well aware that in the author-editor nexus I have much the easier time of it. Nobody’s mental health has ever improved by the process of publishing a book. I see my task as guiding the author through the sometimes bewildering and occasionally infuriating maze of the publication process, explaining it as best as it can be explained and managing realistic expectations (without being condescending in the process). It’s a complicated transaction, to say the least. One of my bottom lines is to deliver unto the author a book that when he or she gets his or her first look at it, he or she (sheesh, gender pronouns!) just plain feels good about it — the cover, the jacket copy, the interior design, the feel of the book in the hand, and of course the contents. These are things I can influence, if not precisely control; the rest of it requires lots of prayer, fasting and magical thinking.”—
Fast Machine by Elizabeth Ellen is one of those rare collections – one that I cannot stop reading. Normally I struggle to find the energy for short stories, but each of these connects, refracts or sparks the rest, and I felt like I was in a workshop for what this form can do.