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.
🔗 Fear and Loathing in America, excerpts in The Paris Review, 2000
Joan Didion interview, 1978 – _Paris Review_ – The Art of Fiction No. 71
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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. No pun intended. Ho ho.
> The part of Zen that’s influenced my writing is the Zen contained in the haiku, like I said, the three-line, seventeen-syllable poems written hundreds of years ago by guys like Bashō, Issa, Shiki, and there’ve been recent masters. A sentence that’s short and sweet with a sudden jump of thought in it is a kind of haiku, and there’s a lot of freedom and fun in surprising yourself with that, let the mind willy-nilly jump from the branch to the bird.
> I know a lot of stories about Buddha, but I don’t know exactly what he said every time. But I know what he said about the guy who spit at him. He said, “Since I can’t use your abuse you may have it back.” He was great. [Kerouac plays piano. Drinks are served.]
> Oh the Beat generation was just a phrase I used in the 1951 written manuscript of On the Road to describe guys like Moriarty who run around the country in cars looking for odd jobs, girlfriends, kicks. It was thereafter picked up by West Coast Leftist groups and turned into a meaning like “Beat mutiny” and “Beat insurrection” and all that nonsense; they just wanted some youth movement to grab on to for their own political and social purposes. I had nothing to do with any of that. I was a football player, a scholarship college student, a merchant seaman, a railroad brakeman on road freights, a script synopsizer, a secretary … And Moriarty-Cassady was an actual cowboy on Dave Uhl’s ranch in New Raymer, Colorado … What kind of beatnik is that?
🔗 [Jack Kerouac, Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 41](https://theparisreview.org/interviews/4260/the-art-of-fiction-no-41-jack-kerouac)
> They are sporting bureaucrats: diligent, methodical, unflappable, mildly sinister, like secretarial assassins.
“a very pleasant and rewarding but nonetheless insane digression”
[Early Polyphony and the Failed Life](http://thedabbler.co.uk/2012/04/early-polyphony-and-the-failed-life/) 🗃
“There was no need to actually have those tastes, provided, one talked enough about them.”
Chapter 12, [_Remembrance of Things Past_](https://www.audible.com/pd?asin=B002V9ZH3S&source_code=AIPORWS04241590BD), Marcel Proust
> I remember that George Eliot talked somewhere or other (in her letters? in an essay? perhaps in one of the novels) about tiredness, listlessness; about how, in order to do anything, you have to build and maintain a mental bridge of energy over the abyss of physical and intellectual tiredness.
> I don’t know about a bridge of energy – it sounds exhausting before you even start – but that sense of conscious focus in performance unites Bruegel’s beggars and Degas’s dancers. It is something we all do, perhaps especially as we age – drag ourselves up by our bootstraps, up to the vertical, on a more or less daily basis. We drape our necessary roles over a concealed (or ill-concealed) core of ennui, of exhaustion.
[Norbiton and the Bridge of Energy](http://thedabbler.co.uk/2012/06/norbiton-and-the-bridge-of-energy/)