Archive for July, 2007


“An artist doesn’t tell people things, he expresses himself.  If the self is unusual his work shocks or excites people…it forces his personality on them.” (my ellipses)

-Alasdair Gray, Lanark


A name can be a curse.  Some are dragged along by their name, like muddy river waters after a heavy shower, however much they may resist they’re propelled towards their destination…Others, on the contrary — their names are like masks that hide them, that deceive.  Most have no power at all, of course.

– Jose Eduardo Agualusa, The Book of Chameleons (originally published in Portuguese as O vendedor de passados)


…by the word “true” we are eventually in the habit of designating always the correspondence with a “real” object…[my ellipses]

-Albert Einstein, Relativity


He spoke often of the ‘false hands that reach out to one while one is writing’…(my ellipses)

-Max Brod, epilogue to Franz Kafka’s The Trial


“Are there a lot of poetesses?””It’s lame to call them poetesses,” said Pancho.

“You’re supposed to call them poets,” said Barrios.

“But are there lots of them?”

“Like never before in the history of Mexico,” said Pancho.  “Lift a stone and you’ll find a girl writing about her little life.”

-Roberto Bolaño, The Savage Detectives

…the idea that light goes in a straight line is a convenient approximation to describe what happens in the world that is familiar to us; it’s similar to the crude approximation that says when light reflects off a mirror, the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection.

-Richard Feynman, QED:  The Strange Theory of Light and Matter


“You idiot!  I stood for this program.  A majority elected me because of it.  It doesn’t matter what I think.  I have my mandate — unrestricted investment, more weapons, good private schools.”

“You’re not in it for yourself, then.”

“Of course not.  I serve!”

 -Ian McEwan, The Child in Time


‘…writing well is the opposite of writing pretty phrases.  No pretty phrase is capable of expressing truth.  Probably no phrase is capable of capturing truth…’

-Javier Cercas, The Speed of Light