“its purpose how dark, yet have we ever sought to produce these thin Sheets innumerable, to spread a given Volume as close to pure Surface as possible, whilst on route discovering various new forms […] Contrivances which, like the Lever or Pulley, quite multiply the apparent forces, often unto disproportionate results…”

-Thomas Pynchon, Mason & Dixon


theoretically life is beautiful, theoretically life is glorious, and I don’t want to get out

-Heinrich Boll, The Train was on Time


-David Sylvian, Orpheus




The apparently unimpaired ability … of everyday language to go on functioning as usual raises doubts of the authenticity of the experiences they record. [my ellipses]

– W. G. Sebald, On the Natural History of Destruction


…the longer i think about it the more it seems to me that we who are still alive are unreal in the eyes of the dead, that only occasionally, in certain lights and atmospheric conditions, do we appear in their field of vision. [my ellipses]

– W. G. Sebald, Austerlitz

more on the dead


“The peal of bells, Monsieur, …that is the real music of the church!” [my ellipses]

-J-K Huysmans, La-Bas


Russell Hoban, through Fremder, leads me back to Lee Smolin, and further to Lawrence Durrell:

Being is not a steady state but an occulting one:  we are all of us a succession of stillnesses blurring into motion on the wheel of action… The flickering of a film interrupts the intolerable contiuity of apparent world; subliminally it gives us those in-between spaces of black that we crave.  [my ellipses]

Later, Hoban returns to the black in Amaryllis Night and Day:

…those of us who think about the empty spaces tend to paint pictures, write books or compose music.  There are many talented people who never will become painters, writers, or composers; the talent is in them but not the empty spaces where art happens.  [my ellipses]

and Fremder again:

More and more I find that life is a series of disappearances followed usually but not always by reappearances; you disappear from your morning self and reappear as your afternoon self; you disappear from feeling good and reappear feeling bad.  And people, even face to face and clasped in each other’s arms, disappear from each other.

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