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A scrapbook of stuff I'm reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about...



Posts tagged "notknowing"

Jul 28, 2014
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The only lyrics I’m really interested in are the lyrics I find, not the ones I invent… You just have no idea that’s a thought that you had. It surprises you. It can make me laugh or make me emotional. When it happens and I’m the audience and I react, I have faith in that because I’m already reacting. I don’t have to question it. I’ve already been the audience. But if I make it up, knowing where it’s going, it’s not as much fun. It may be just as good, but it’s more fun to discover it.
Paul Simon, quoted in Songwriters on Songwriting

Jul 23, 2014
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He picked up a pebble
and threw it into the sea.

And another, and another.
He couldn’t stop.

He wasn’t trying to fill the sea.
He wasn’t trying to empty the beach.

He was just throwing…

Jul 18, 2014
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A short film on Maira Kalman

Daydreaming is a function of the brain that’s an uncensored exploration, without controlling it, of ideas and emotions. Often, the best ideas, the smartest ideas, the most amazing ideas come from those moments when you’re not trying.

Filed under: Maira Kalman

Jun 19, 2014
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9 good bits from Adam Phillips’ Paris Review interview

1) “I had never had any desire to be a writer. I wanted to be a reader.”

2) “One thing you discover in psychoanalytic treatment is the limits of what you can change about yourself or your life. We are children for a very long time.”

3) “Fortunately, I never recovered from my education, I’ve just carried on with it. If you happen to like reading, it can have a very powerful effect on you, an evocative effect, at least on me. It’s not as though when I read I’m gathering information, or indeed can remember much of what I read. I know the books that grip me, as everybody does, but their effect is indiscernible. I don’t quite know what it is. The Leavisite position, more or less, is that reading certain sentences makes you more alive and a morally better person, and that those two things go together. It seems to me that that isn’t necessarily so, but what is clear is that there are powerful unconscious evocative effects in reading books that one loves. There’s something about these books that we want to go on thinking about, that matters to us. They’re not just fetishes that we use to fill gaps. They are like recurring dreams we can’t help thinking about.”

4) “You can only recover your appetite, and appetites, if you can allow yourself to be unknown to yourself.”

5) “That’s what a life is, it’s the lives you don’t have.”

6) “I hope you read one of my books because it gives you pleasure or because you hate it—you read it for those sorts of reasons—and then you discover what you find yourself thinking, feeling, in the reading of it.”

7) “You can’t write differently, even if you want to. You just have to be able to notice when you are boring yourself.”

8) “Anybody who writes knows you don’t simply write what you believe. You write to find out what you believe, or what you can afford to believe.”

9) “[I]f you live in a culture which is fascinated by the myth of the artist, and the idea that the vocational artistic life is one of the best lives available, then there’s always going to be a temptation for people who are suffering to believe that to become an artist would be the solution when, in fact, it may be more of the problem. There are a number of people whom you might think of as casualties of the myth of the artist. They really should have done something else. Of course some people get lucky and find that art works for them, but for so many people it doesn’t. I think that needs to be included in the picture. Often one hears or reads accounts in which people will say, Well, he may have treated his children, wives, friends terribly, but look at the novels, the poems, the paintings. I think it’s a terrible equation. Obviously one can’t choose to be, as it were, a good parent or a good artist, but if the art legitimates cruelty, I think the art is not worth having. People should be doing everything they can to be as kind as possible and to enjoy each other’s company. Any art, any anything, that helps us do that is worth having. But if it doesn’t, it isn’t.’

Such a good read.

(Update: my friend Mark Larson has a great AdamPhillips tag.)

May 02, 2014
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I’m an entertainer, first and foremost, but there’s art involved. And an artist has an obligation to be en route — to be going somewhere. There’s a journey involved, and you don’t know where [it’s going] and that’s the fun. So you’re always going to be seeking and looking and going and trying to challenge yourself. So, without sitting around thinking of that a lot, it drives you and it keeps you trying to be fresh, trying to be new, trying to call on yourself a little more.

Apr 25, 2014
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I like to see wet ink. A computer leaves me unable to do what I live for: to find something unexpected.

Apr 20, 2014
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Letter from Sol Lewitt to Eva Hesse, April 14, 1965

Hesse had written to her friend Lewitt about being blocked. My favorite parts from what Lewitt wrote back:

Try and tickle something inside you, your “weird humor.” You belong in the most secret part of you. Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool. Make your own, your own world… You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to DO…

Try to do some BAD work—the worst you can think of and see what happens but mainly relax and let everything go to hell—you are not responsible for the world—you are only responsible for your work—so DO IT.

In other words: MAKE BAD ART.

You can read the whole letter in this PDF.

The letter is also included in Shaun Usher’s great collection Letters Of Note, coming out in the states in May. (Lucky me, I have a dee-lux UK edition.)

Apr 11, 2014
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There’s about a million miles between saying ‘I have no idea what I’m doing,’ and ‘I’m making it up as I go.’

Feb 01, 2014
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thenearsightedmonkey:

Dearest Students,

This is my own composition notebook homework assignment in progress. Professor Chewbacca reflects on the crayon experience. I’ve inked it and now I’m coloring it in

I like to figure out problems in my composition notebook using drawing and slow writing and non-photo blue pencil to help me with certain problems that defy being approached head on. I’ve found there is something to moving ones hand in a certain way — like a coloring way— while filling in a space and half thinking and half not-thinking about this something you are trying to figure out that invites possible answers to present themselves..

Sincerely,

Professor Chewbacca

Jan 27, 2014
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All drawing is process. You make some marks on paper. Those marks help guide you to make other marks. You frequently don’t know where you are going until you get there.
— Bert Dodson, Keys to Drawing (via)

(Source: thinkprocessnotproduct)

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