If I wait for this spider to crawl out of this room, then maybe I can go after her. And on the other side of the wall there’ll be this underwater world and I’ll swim to the deep end and float next to the one of those electrical fish that light up in the dark.
– Loteria, Mario Alberto Zambrano
I don’t know how this moved from spiders to water, but I do like a book built on a frame, and Loteria is that. Especially, seeking as I am the frame for a novel, picking up pieces and setting the thing up to see if it needs another leg, and yes, it does. I am still at least two legs short on mine.
“Once you get into it, you’re too interested in what you’re writing to waste time comparing.”
– The Mandarins, Simone de Beauvoir
There are more interesting and more erotic parts of this book– funnier ones, too, but this bit is sweet, and true. Several times the book swings around, why are you a writer? And for a bunch of people who had lived through times when politics meant your neighbors were either in their cozy homes or in concentration camps, politics were pretty important.
You stop comparing? Yeah, I caught myself using the word “competitive” to describe the sensation I wanted, the sensation of living somewhere where many more people are artists. It wasn’t competition at all, but comfort.
As in a college town, reading serious books and writing is not a strange thing here, and it makes me feel a little less lonely. If I were younger maybe I would feel bad about not being a great success as a writer. As it stands I will often settle for feeling less lonely because wanting to be an artist isn’t so strange, and being strange no longer comforts me.
The dismay felt from a dream when you suddenly meet the brother you forgot you had or remember the infant you left on the hillside miles away, hours ago, because somehow you were distracted and somehow you came to believe in a different life and your shock at these terrible recollections, these sudden reunions, comes as much from your sorrow at what you have neglected as it does from dismay at how thoroughly and quickly you came to believe in something else.
– Tinkers, Paul Harding
One of those dream books, indeed, written more by the subconscious and the images than anything else, sometimes I get lost in those books, and sometimes I just want some straight up action for a minute. The whole thing is like a dream you remembered you had, though, which is the point.
I’ve only once here dreamed my teeth-are-falling-out dream, and more often, the sensation of “how quickly you came to believe in something else” is that when I am barely awake here, I still have to think of where I am, not in the carriage house, where the wall would be on the other side, and not at my dad’s, where there would be no wall by the bed, but in a place where the sounds come from past the foot of the bed, and are locks turning or the refrigerator opening, and the light comes from behind my head.
The process of intimacy therefore involved the opposite of seduction, for it meant revealing what risked rendering one most open to unfavourable judgment, or least worthy of love. Whereas seduction was founded on the display of one’s finest qualities and dinner jackets, intimacy entailed a complex offer of both vulnerability and toenails.
-Kiss & Tell, Alain de Botton
After finishing this, I wasn’t sure if it was a joke or not. I think it is a joke. It is a framed book, too, in a deliberate and almost insulting way. A joke about biographies. If it didn’t feel so thin at the end, I could have forgiven it.