A scrapbook of stuff I'm reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about. Ask me anything you can't Google.
Posts tagged "mary karr"
Nov 10, 2013
Working on poems is like cheating on your husband: It’s what I really want to do but they won’t pay me for it.
Sep 11, 2013
I’ve been meditating every day and I’ve always been interested in prayer, so when Mary Karr tweeted, “I started praying every day and my life got better. [It’s] a personal practice,” I asked her if she had any good book recommendations on the subject. She was good enough to give me a list, which I wanted to share here with links (for my own reference, more than anything):
Oh, she also had a film recommendation: Into Great Silence
Here’s a great interview with Karr talking about prayer, poetry, and her faith.
If you’re unfamiliar with Karr’s work, do seek out Lit and her other books.
Filed under: religion
Jul 02, 2013
May 15, 2013
As a parent, your job from the minute your child is born is to create an exit ramp away from you.
Jan 23, 2013
The reader’s been left behind. Everybody talks about the writer’s feeling and the writer’s expression and the writer’s experience, and, you know, I don’t give a fuck how the writer feels. I want a fucking book that I can be in love with. I want a book that I’ll reread seventeen times. That’s what I want. And that has nothing to do with how I fucking feel. If I cared about how I felt I wouldn’t have written this fucking book in the first place. It was too hard to write. I needed the money or I wouldn’t have done it. Swear to God, I would not write these books if they didn’t pay me. But that said, once I’m committed to it and once I’m going to put my name on it, I feel like I ought to try not to bore the dog fuck out of people. If people are nice enough to buy my book, it’s like, let’s just try not to make them pitch forward with boredom. I’m so sick of reading boring books.
Apr 06, 2011
I don’t have a copy of my books, and the degree to which I never read them is profound. I never look. I’m repelled by them. It feels scatological to me, like a turd you just left.
Jul 31, 2010
Lit by Mary Karr
First line: “Any way I tell this story is a lie…
Devoured this on my recent trip home to Ohio. I underlined a lot of sentences. Here are a few:
- If I were a real poet, I’d be composing a sonnet about the fairy mist in yon oak.
- My mother taught me to seek external agents of transformation—pick a new town or man or job.
- …humming through me like a third rail was poetry, the myth that if I could shuffle the right words into the right order, I could get my story straight, write myself into an existence that included the company of sacred misfit poets whose pages had kept me company as a kid. Showing up at a normal job was too hard.
- Count yourself lucky, she said. You’re still promising until your first book’s out.
- Where I come from, house guests have to know you’ve sweated over a stove, for sweat is how care is shown.
- I’d spent way more years worrying about how to look like a poet—buying black clothes, smearing on scarlet lipstick, languidly draping myself over thrift-store furniture—than I had learning how to assemble words in some discernible order.
- The whole city is so profoundly Caucasian.
- Every asshole I know has published a book.
- …a woman whose third eye has begun to stare at some invisible baby is incapable of dropping the subject.
- He tells me the story of a writer who—on finding his own first book remaindered in a used bookstore—opened to the flyleaf only to discover his own signature about the note To Mum and Dad…
- I get so lonely sometimes, I could put a box on my head and mail myself to a stranger.
- How much smaller the large places are once we’re grown up, when we have car keys and credit cards.
Recommended. Also of interest:
Karr’s Paris Review interview
Karr’s Twitter feed: @marykarrlit
Jul 28, 2010
"Work," by John Engman, from Temporary Help
I wanted to be a rain salesman…but…I am paid
to make the screen of my computer glow
Mary Karr on John Engman (she excerpted “Work” in her great memoir, Lit):
In prosperous America, the poet’s economic reality usually involves working a crap job while scribbling nightly in a cheap apartment. Before my pal John Engman suffered a brain aneurysm in his 40s, he toiled in such obscurity. He lived in Minnesota, bussed tables, did standup comedy for a while, taught a class or two at a local community center, but only published two books. From his long-time job as an aide in an adolescent psych ward came poems rich in pathos, each tinged with his signature irony.
Jun 25, 2010
» Mary Karr's list of the top non-fiction of the 20th century
It would take me most of the 21st century to read all these.
A few of the books I love:
- Bettleheim, Bruno—Uses of Enchantment
- Orwell, George—Such, Such were the Joys and other essays
- Hyde, Lewis—The Gift
- Wolff, Tobias—This Boy’s Life
A few of the books on my list/bookshelf to-read:
- James, William—Varieties of Religious Experience
- Nabokov, Vladimir—Gogol
- Nabokov, Vladimir—Lectures on Literature
- Nabokov, Vladimir—Speak, Memory
- Larkin, Philip—Required Writing
- Hemingway, Ernest—A Moveable Feast
- Hemingway, Ernest—Death in the Afternoon
- Orwell, George—Homage to Catlonia
- Herr, Michael—Dispatches
Feb 23, 2010
People who didn’t live pre-Internet can’t grasp how devoid of ideas life in my hometown was.
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