Thursday, January 21, 2010

i&p 1/21: quote day

i think my topic is going to be (to put it as vaguely as possible): humans & animals.
to be more specific: the way human life effects animal life and vice versa, the way humans view and respond to animals, the struggle as a human of coming to terms with being both an animal and something entirely different, etc.

this may manifest in something that attempts to directly address one or more of these themes in a serious way, or i may end up mostly doodling adorable animals.

i obsessively collect quotes, which i feel inform all of my work. due to the openness of this project right now, these quotes are threatening to appear all too often in my posts, which i'd prefer to be more visual, so i think i will instead get them off my chest all at once.
here's everything that i feel even loosely relates to my topic.
(it feels strange to post something this personal. i'm not sure whether it's therapeutic or just a little embarrassing.)

"The horse at the bottom of the river, shrouded by the sunken night sky, closed its heavy eyes. The prehistoric ant in Yankel's ring, which had lain motionless in the honey-colored amber since long before Noah hammered the first plank, hid its head between its many legs, in shame." jonathan safran foer, everything is illuminated, 11

"You will remember when a bird crashed through the window and fell to the floor. You will remember, those of you who were there, how it jerked its wings before dying, and left a spot of blood on the floor after it was removed. But who among you was first to notice the negative bird it left in the window? Who first saw the shadow that the bird left behind, the shadow that drew blood from any finger that dared to trace it, the shadow that was better proof of the bird's existence than the bird ever was?" jonathan safran foer, everything is illuminated, 38

"We consider the animals to be lower, and to me, that makes no sense at all. If you look at a tree or a mushroom or a squirrel, it's perfectly in tune with itself. It has no problem being exactly what it is, and it does what it's meant to do without any complaints or problems. Because we create all these problems in being, we think we're somehow higher than the animals. But it's we humans who have a difficult time even caring for our children, or anything."
-jeff mangum

"It's everybody, I mean. Everything everybody does is so--I don't know--not wrong, or even mean, or even stupid, necessarily. But just so tiny and meaningless--and sad-making. And the worst part is, if you go bohemian or something crazy like that, you're conforming just as much as everybody else, only in a different way." - JD Salinger, Franny and Zooey

"The human voice conspires to desecrate everything on Earth." - JD Salinger, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters

"there was no such thing as society and even if there was, i most certainly had nothing to do with it." -trainspotting

"Somewhere in the far north of Canada there would be snow, falling soundlessly over the Beaufort Sea, falling over the Arctic without a soul to see it. What kind of weather was that, Samson wondered, and how was one to use such information except as proof that the world was too much to bear?" -nicole krauss, man walks into a room

"Would the last animal, eating garbage and living on the last scrap of land, his mate dead, would he still forgive you?" - barry lopez, emory bear hands' birds, a convergence of birds, 21

"Or maybe what he fears is just the opposite: that nobody is looking; that his death, like his life, is without purpose; that there is neither greater good nor evil--only people living and dying because their bodies function and then do not; that the universe is a rip." - Jonathan Safran Foer, If the Aging Magician Should Begin to Believe, a convergence of birds, 217

"Someday you will die somehow and something's gonna steal your carbon." - Modest Mouse, Parting of the Sensory, We were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

"Our laughter kept the feathers in the air. I thought about birds. Could they fly if there wasn’t someone, somewhere, laughing?” (78) Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

"There's even a moment when it becomes exhilarating to realize just how little needs to stay the same for you to continue the effort they call, for lack of a better word, being human." - Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

"The person you love is 72.8% water." - Alan Fletcher

"What lingered after them was not life, but the most trivial list of mundane facts: a clock ticking on a wall, a room dim at noon, and the outrageousness of a human being thinking only of herself." - the virgin suicides

"An average of seventy-four species become extinct every day, which was one good reason but no the only one to hold someone's hand."
— Nicole Krauss (The History of Love: A Novel)

"The breeze is keening in the high trees but this is nothing personal. The time draws close and it's all coming to a head but this is nothing personal." - tMG mini-site

"somehow the blood-rich light has drained away from it and you realize that things don't make bad scenes, people do." -john darnielle

"Don’t eat meat. Be as passionate as you can all the time. Work for social justice. Cuddle your beloved more than seems reasonable. Write. Give money to charity as often as you can, and give a little more than you’re comfortable giving. Remember the homeless always and everywhere. Thank whatever God you worship for your inestimable good luck in being loved, and if you are not loved, love someone as best you can." darnielle

"I had a teacher who said the moment when man wrote things down, life becomes a production instead of pure." - darnielle

"i'm struck with a terrible feeling this morning--terrible! wonderful!--that this is basically as good as it gets. to want anything more is greedy, to buck the fact that orange trees and their ilk are pretty much always going to make me crumble for obtuse poetic reasons is, well, a spit in the face of something much larger, much more inert, and much wiser than me." -ek

"When buck fever struck,
you stood stiff, unable
to pull the trigger while the herd
crashed past you and
into the woods.

Your cousins - who, one night
when you were all boys, scared
you in a pine grove with a candle
in a cow skull - carried
you to a clearing; they loosened
your hunting vest,
gave you a flask of Jack Daniel's,
and you remembered nothing.

* * *

Last night you dreamt of a room -
a room full of fish,
and a swimming pool
where you waded knee-deep
and hauled them all in

except for one, already dead,
a large bluefish wedged
into a corner, its back stiff.

You remember it later: its eye
like a button,
a button on another person's coat."

-- You Don't Know What Happened When You Froze, Talvikki Ansel

"Whales fall slowly to the ocean floor
after dying and feed the vertical nation
for years, Like Christ, who feeds us still
they say, though I don't know.
But imagine it:
fish chasing through the bones
or nibbling what's left, the whale,
when it finally touches bottom,
an empty church.
Forget all that,
it's intended to soften
the skin, like apricot seeds and mud, or boredom.
The drift of worlds in a given day
can turn a telephone to porcelain,
open graves in the sidewalk. So that
who knows why thinking about thinking
leads to new inventions of grace
that never take, never lead to, say, what to do
with Grandmother, who is determined to live
"beyond her usefulness," which is fine,
but why won't she relax and watch the sea with me?
I wish someone would intrude on all this.
People grow tired
explaining themselves to mirrors,
to clerks administering the awful perfume.
I ask a Liberace look-alike,
"Why do you dress that way?"
"What way?" he says,
and he's right.
Who taught us to bow our heads
while waiting for trains? to touch
lumber without regret and sing privately
or not at all? To invest the season
with forgiveness and coax from it
a hopeful omen? Lord knows
the hope would heal this little fear.
But who taught us to fear?
Soon branches crackle in the windy heat
like something cooking too quickly,
dogwood lathering the empty woods
and everyone looking for a commitment
of permanence, from summer, from someone else.
Two deer the color of corn disappear
into an empty field, and I wait beside the road
for them to move. I want to see them again."

-James Harms, The Joy Addict

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