A scrapbook of stuff I'm reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about...
Posts tagged "autobiography"
Nov 19, 2012
My autobiography would consist almost entirely of chapters about me sitting alone in a room looking at a typewriter.
Jun 03, 2012
Whatever we say, we’re always talking about ourselves.
Apr 05, 2012
Autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful. A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats.
Jan 19, 2012
Saul Steinberg, Autogeography, 1966 (via)
From “Descent from Paradise: Saul Steinberg’s Italian Years”:
For most of his adult life, Saul Steinberg (1914-1999) drew maps—maps of real or imaginary locations, maps of words and of concepts. Often the maps are of actual places refracted through the artist’s mental constructs, as in View of the World from 9th Avenue, his famous March 29, 1976 New Yorker cover, which, reprinted as a poster, copied, and appropriated for many other cities of the world, became his personal nightmare; even today, it remains the icon that most easily identifies him. There is, however, another splendid map, completed ten years earlier; although intended for The New Yorker, it was never fully published in Steinberg’s lifetime. Entitled Autogeography, it is a bird’s-eye view of a green territory dotted with the names of many locales, large and small, from every corner of the world. A very blue, winding river flows through the territory, and on the bottom right it skirts a small lake with an island. On the island is the word “Milano,” while on the shore northeast of the island we find a locality named “Tortoreto (Teramo).”
Jul 17, 2011
Some of the best writing about music and art I’ve read in a while. (Read Mark Larson’s review— he gets it right: “I started off a little skeptical, just skimming for pictures and quotes and anecdotes, but then I just had to start over and read it straight through.”) I like what Jay-Z himself has to say about it:
When you’re famous and say you’re writing a book, people assume that it’s an autobiography—I was born here, raised there, suffered this, loved that, lost it all, got it back, the end. But that’s not what this is. I’ve never been a linear thinker, which is something you can see in my rhymes. They follow the jumpy logic of poetry and emotion, not the straight line of careful prose. My book is like that, too.
I tweeted some quotes, but my favorite is probably this one, which I quoted in Steal Like An Artist:
We were kids without fathers…so we found our fathers on wax and on the streets and in history, and in a way, that was a gift. We got to pick and choose the ancestors who would inspire the world we were going to make for ourselves…Our fathers were gone, usually because they just bounced, but we took their old records and used them to build something fresh.
Also, this section on Basquiat really impressed me.
Aw hell, the whole book is good. Read it!
Jun 08, 2011
If I had had to write only about imaginary people, I would have had to close up my typewriter. I wrote about my life in less and less disguise as I grew older, and finally with no disguise — except the disguise we create for ourselves, which is self-deception.
Nov 15, 2010
Start at no particular time of your life. Wander at your free will all over your life; talk only about the thing that interests you for the moment; drop it at the moment its interest starts to pale.
Jul 13, 2010
Apr 05, 2010
» John Lennon, The Rolling Stone Interview, 1971
Wonderful interview from after the release of Plastic Ono Band
“I’m a Loser,” “Help,” “Strawberry Fields,” they are all personal records. I always wrote about me when I could. I didn’t really enjoy writing third person songs about people who lived in concrete flats and things like that. I like first person music. But because of my hang-ups and many other things; I would only now and then specifically write about me. Now I wrote all about me and that’s why I like it. It’s me! And nobody else. That’s why I like it. It’s real, that’s all.
I don’t know about anything else, really, and the few true songs I ever wrote were like “Help” and “Strawberry Fields.” I can’t think of them all offhand. They were the ones I always considered my best songs. They were the ones I really wrote from experience and not projecting myself into a situation and writing a nice story about it. I always found that phony, but I’d find occasion to do it because I’d be so hung up, I couldn’t even think about myself.
Reminds me: I gotta read that David Shields book.
Feb 01, 2010
From hieroglyphics to Isotype: a visual autobiography by Otto Neurath
Holy freaking crap, Isotype boner:
Otto Neurath wrote From hieroglyphics to Isotype during the last two years of his life: this is the first publication of the full text, carefully edited from the original manuscripts. He called it a ‘visual autobiography’, documenting the importance of visual material to him: from his earliest years to his professional activity with the picture language of Isotype. Neurath draws clear links between the stimulus he received as a boy from illustrated books, toys, exhibitions, to the considered work in visual education that occupied him for the last twenty years of his life. This engaging and informal account gives a rich picture of Central-European culture around the turn of the twentieth century, seen through the eyes of Neurath’s insatiable intelligence, as well as a detailed exposition of the technique of Isotype. The edition includes the numerous illustrations intended by Neurath to accompany his text, and is completed by an extensive appendix showing examples from the rich variety of graphic material that he collected.