Posts in: wastebook

Travel, Winter loop

I am in Vienna on a long weekend vacation with Kim. I picked this city to see the 12 Bruegels, so I thought I’d take a buffet-read at one of my favorite books, Short Life in a Strange World. Here, a passing montage of travel: For the next four days, we will mostly move in international space: trains, stations, hotels, galleries and museums, escalators and lifts, restaurants, bars–places where everyone is welcome, or anyway invisible, if they have a little money.

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Submarine meeting

Though not much of a drinker himself, Clinton expressed amusement over Yeltsin’s alcoholism and noted that Boris was always an affable drunkard. Once, while presumably wasted, Yeltsin randomly called Clinton on the telephone and proposed they meet up for a secret summit on a submarine. — The Nineties: A Book by Chuck Klosterman [a.co/eP8eNtQ](https://a.co/eP8eNtQ)

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After Minimalism

The new lobbies in New York all seem to have the same granite walls, the same glass doors, and the same abstract art in the lobbies. None of them stand for anything and they all share the same Airport-like aesthetic. Unlike Art Deco, they say nothing about the contemporary world or the stories of the people who built them. Original source: After Minimalism

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a strange gig for a press photographer. They are a weird breed, estranged in every way from pointy-headed reporters and editorial writers. If reporters are generally liberal in their thinking, photographers are massively conservative. They are the true professionals of journalism: the End, the photo, justifies anything they have to say, do or think in order to get it. Police brutality, to a good press photographer, is nothing more or less than a lucky chance for some action shots. Later, when his prints are drying in the darkroom, he’ll defend the same cops he earlier condemned with his lens.

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🔗 Fear and Loathing in America, excerpts in The Paris Review, 2000


Photojournalists

a strange gig for a press photographer. They are a weird breed, estranged in every way from pointy-headed reporters and editorial writers. If reporters are generally liberal in their thinking, photographers are massively conservative. They are the true professionals of journalism: the End, the photo, justifies anything they have to say, do or think in order to get it. Police brutality, to a good press photographer, is nothing more or less than a lucky chance for some action shots.

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Joan Didion interview, 1978 - Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 71 theparisreview.org/interview…

I didn’t realize until after I’d written it that it was essentially the same ending as Run River. The women let the men commit suicide.

And:

INTERVIEWER: So the process of writing the novel is for you the process of discovering the precise novel that you want to write.

DIDION: Exactly. At the beginning I don’t have anything at all, don’t have any people, any weather, any story. All I have is a technical sense of what I want to do. For example, I want sometime to write a very long novel, eight hundred pages. I want to write an eight-hundred-page novel precisely because I think a novel should be read at one sitting. If you read a novel over a period of days or weeks the threads get lost, the suspension breaks. So the problem is to write an eight-hundred-page novel in which all the filaments are so strong that nothing breaks or gets forgotten ever. I wonder if García Márquez didn’t do that in The Autumn of the Patriarch. I don’t want to read it because I’m afraid he might have done it, but I did look at it, and it seems to be written in a single paragraph. One paragraph. The whole novel. I love that idea.

Also:

INTERVIEWER: You say you treasure privacy, that “being left alone and leaving others alone is regarded by members of my family as the highest form of human endeavor.” How does this mesh with writing personal essays, particularly the first column you did for Life where you felt it imperative to inform the reader that you were at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in lieu of getting a divorce?

DIDION: I don’t know. I could say that I was writing to myself, and of course I was, but it’s a little more complicated than that. I mean the fact that eleven million people were going to see that page didn’t exactly escape my attention. There’s a lot of mystery to me about writing and performing and showing off in general. I know a singer who throws up every time she has to go onstage. But she still goes on.

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Jack Kerouac interview, 1968

Yes, we’ve all been influenced by movies. Malcolm Cowley incidentally mentioned this many times. He’s very perceptive sometimes: he mentioned that Doctor Sax continually mentions urine, and quite naturally it does because I had no other place to write it but on a closed toilet seat in a little tile toilet in Mexico City so as to get away from the guests inside the apartment. There, incidentally, is a style truly hallucinated, as I wrote it all on pot.

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