EppsNet Archive: Literature

Sad, Tumultuous Middle-Age Years

 

Divorce, abandonment, the unacceptable and the unattainable, ennui filled with action, sad. tumultuous middle-age years shaken by crashings, uprootings, coups, desperate renewals. — Elizabeth Hardwick, Sleepless Nights Read more →

That Is the Way to Get Attention

 

Divorces and separation — that is the way to get attention. Everyone examines his own state and some say: Strange, they were much happier than we are. There are streets in the East 90’s where youngish couples on the wave of success buy town houses and do them over at great expense, uncovering old wood, taking off the stoop so that drunks cannot loiter, making a whole floor for the children to be quiet on. The strain and the cost and the house, a mausoleum with both names on it waiting for the dates to be filled in, drives the couple to separation. The streets are called Death Row. — Elizabeth Hardwick, Sleepless Nights Read more →

Why People Are So Messed Up

 

When I was a kid, I had a cousin Kathy, who liked to eat meals one item at a time. For example, if she had what I had last night, which was salmon, spinach and brown rice, she’d eat all of the salmon, then all of the spinach, then all of the rice. Not necessarily in that order but you get the idea. Some adults in our family would get mad that she ate meals that way and would yell at her to stop doing it. Like, what difference could it possibly make to anyone in what order she eats portions of food? Mind your own goddamn business. Bad parenting is probably my hottest of hot buttons. Or as Philip Larkin used to say: They fuck you up, your mum and dad.     They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had     And add… Read more →

EppsNet Book Reviews: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

 

This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war. Mission accomplished! Remarque was a German author born Eric Paul Remark, changed his last name to a French spelling and adopted his mother’s middle name, Maria, as his own. It says on the cover “The GREATEST WAR NOVEL of ALL TIME.” I can’t think of a better one. The Red Badge of Courage is really good. The Emigrants is remarkable but I’d have to put it in a different category, a post-war novel. Regeneration is very good. Catch-22 and From Here to Eternity I couldn’t even get all the way through either one of… Read more →

The Doors of Perception

 

We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. — Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception Read more →

Wild Geese

 

You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting– over and over announcing your place in the family of things. — Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese” Read more →

God Cannot Feel Disappointment or Pain

 

“Your god must feel a bit disappointed,” Doctor Colin said, “when he looks at this world of his.” “When you were a boy they can’t have taught you theology very well. God cannot feel disappointment or pain.” “Perhaps that’s why I don’t care to believe in him.” — Graham Greene, _A Burnt-Out Case_ Read more →

Incompetents

 

Politics and political office are not and never have been the method and means by which we can govern ourselves in peace and dignity and honor and security, but instead are our national refuge for our incompetents who have failed at every other occupation by means of which they might make a living for themselves and their families; and which as a result we would have to feed and clothe and shelter out of our own private purses and means. — Faulkner, The Mansion Read more →

I Am in the Herd, and a Coward

 

And he who is not sufficiently courageous even to defend his soul — don’t let him be proud of his ‘progressive’ views, don’t let him boast that he is an academician or a people’s artist, merited figure, or a general — let him say to himself: I am in the herd, and a coward. It’s all the same to me as long as I’m fed and warm. — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago Read more →

Orwell: “You Can’t Say I Didn’t Warn You F*ckers”

 

Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building had been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right. — George Orwell, 1984 According to KMOX radio in St. Louis, a petition has been started with hopes of changing the city’s name and — wait for it — taking down a statue of Saint Louis IX in Forest Park. The petition creators say the city’s name is “outright disrespect” to Jewish and Muslim residents. A statue of Christopher Columbus in Tower Grove Park was taken away last week. Read more →

Happy Mothers Day

 

I have so many dreams of my own, and I remember things from my childhood, from when I was a girl and a young woman, and I haven’t forgotten a thing. So why did we think of Mom as a mom from the very beginning? She didn’t have the opportunity to pursue her dreams, and all by herself, faced everything the era dealt her, poverty and sadness, and she couldn’t do anything about her very bad lot in life other than suffer through it and get beyond it and live her life to the very best of her ability, giving her body and her heart to it completely. Why did I never give a thought to Mom’s dreams? — Kyung-sook Shin, Please Look After Mom Read more →

Rascals

 

LYSISTRATA There are a lot of things about us women That sadden me, considering how men See us as rascals. CALONICE As indeed we are! — Aristophanes, Lysistrata Read more →

Long have I longed, till I am tired
  Of longing and desire;
Farewell my points in vain desired,
  My dying fire;
Farewell all things that die and fail and tire.
— Christina Rossetti, “Till Tomorrow”

SAT to Give Students ‘Adversity Score’

 

SAT to Give Students ‘Adversity Score’ to Capture Social and Economic Background The Wall Street Journal We’re not even done reviling everyone involved in tilting the academic scales based on students’ social and economic background when the College Board announces a plan to . . . tilt the academic scales based on students’ social and economic background. Read more →

W.S. Merwin, 1927-2019

 

I think there’s a kind of desperate hope built into poetry that one really wants, hopelessly, to save the world. One is trying to say everything that can be said for the things that one loves while there’s still time. W.S. Merwin RIP W.S. Merwin Also . . . “Yesterday” by W.S. Merwin How Can You Ever Be Sure? Read more →

Mary Oliver, 1935 – 2019

 

Mary Oliver was an American poet who won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. She died today of lymphoma at the age of 83. The Poetry Foundation has a biography and a selection of poems, although I prefer the selection at the Peaceful Rivers site. Her work had a Whitmanesque love of life. I’ve included one of my favorites here: The Journey One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice — though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. “Mend my life!” each voice cried. But you didn’t stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full… Read more →

EppsNet at the Movies: The Garden of Words

 

The Garden of Words is a beautiful short film about loneliness and love and longing, inspired by verses from the Manyoshu, an anthology of ancient Japanese poems: A faint clap of thunder Clouded skies Perhaps rain will come If so, will you stay here with me? A faint clap of thunder Even if rain comes or not I will stay here Together with you. Rain is a central motif in the film. Like the force of love, it can’t be controlled or stopped. Highly recommended! Rating:     Director: Cast: IMDb rating: ( votes) Read more →

2018: The Year in Books

 

These are the books I read in 2018, roughly in the order listed. The ratings are mine. They don’t represent a consensus of opinion. Books of the Year: Middlemarch by George Eliot (fiction), Lincoln in the Bardo by George Sanders (contemporary fiction) and Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling (non-fiction). My Library at LibraryThing Read more →

To Make the Accusation is to Prove It. To Hear the Allegation is to Believe It.

 

Simply to make the accusation is to prove it. To hear the allegation is to believe it. No motive for the perpetrator is necessary, no logic or rationale is required. Only a label is required. The label is the motive. The label is the evidence. The label is the logic. Why did Coleman Silk do this? Because he is an x, because he is a y, because he is both. First a racist and now a misogynist. It is too late in the century to call him a Communist, though that is the way it used to be done. . . . That explains everything. — Philip Roth, The Human Stain Read more →

First Lines

 

Newest addition to Lit Quizzes. identify the source and author. Hazel Motes sat at a forward angle on the green plush train seat, looking one minute at the window as if he might want to jump out of it, and the next down the aisle at the other end of the car. Read more →

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