Literally “the pathos of things”, and also translated as “an empathy toward things”, or “a sensitivity to ephemera”, is a Japanese term for the awareness of impermanence, or transience of things, and both a transient gentle sadness (or wistfulness) at their passing as well as a longer, deeper gentle sadness about this state being the reality of life. 物の哀れ
James Gibbons:Do you write with a sense of your audience? Or is it more like Gertrude Stein said, that you write for yourself and strangers?
Jeffrey Eugenides:I tell my students that when you write, you should pretend you’re writing the best letter you ever wrote to the smartest friend you have. That way, you’ll never dumb things down. You won’t have to explain things that don’t need explaining. You’ll assume an intimacy and a natural shorthand, which is good because readers are smart and don’t wish to be condescended to. I think about the reader. I care about the reader. Not “audience.” Not “readership.” Just the reader. That one person, alone in a room, whose time I’m asking for. I want my books to be worth the reader’s time, and that’s why I don’t publish the books I’ve written that don’t meet this criterion, and why I don’t publish the books I do until they’re ready. The novels I love are novels I live for. They make me feel smarter, more alive, more tender toward the world. I hope, with my own books, to transmit that same experience, to pass it on as best I can.
“I do the best I can, honey. I know it’s not enough, and I’m sorry.
But that’s what you get in life, you know? You get whoever you end up with. Whoever is willing to stick by you, and fight for you, when everyone else is gone.
And it ain’t always who you expect. But you just have to make do.”—[Boys on the Side, 1995]
Never want to come down, never want to put my feet back down on the ground
Summer. Time of downpours and gigs. A cloudburst in the afternoon can make you panic and feel nostalgia, if other than hail it’s raining memories and regrets. 15 June 1988, a lifetime ago, more or less. In Pasadena there’s Depeche Mode’s show, hundred-and-first of their still short career. The next year “101” will be the title of the live and of the VHS that document the evening. I’ve literally wore out the album and the videocassette. The only survivor, now somewhere at my parents’ home, a wonky audio cassette with the number in plain sight, written in black marker. Faithful companion of endless nights spent under the sheets, with the walkman on my belly and the headphones stuck to my ears. From that very concert comes the idea of the *wheat field* of “Never Let Me Down Again”, or that’s what people say: Dave Gahan spots in the audience a small group of people with their hands in the air, exactly at the climax of the track, then he incites the crowd by letting himself go to the rhythm and the (over) eighty thousand of the Rose Bowl follow him, creating an incredible emotion. One of the few things that still affect my tear ducts, no matter what. It’s one of those scenes filed under “shivers of excitement”, but this time watching it again was different. Tonight I thought back at the time when those images were an absolute novelty, about how much joy they’ve given me through the years, about how young Martin, Alan, Andy and Dave were. And so was I. About how much far we were from hell, having still few scars. About how easy it seemed to fly high, waiting to grow up. Without knowing that from those heights you can ruinously fall.
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life.
But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”—[John Keating, Dead Poets Society]
"Failure is just another name for much of real life: much of what we set out to accomplish ends in failure, at least in our own eyes. Who set the bar so high that most of our attempts to sail gracefully over it on the viewless wings of Poesy end in an undignified scramble or a nasty fall into the mud? Who told us we had to succeed at any cost?” [Margaret Atwood]
“Se siamo fortunati, non importa se scrittori o lettori, finiremo l’ultimo paio di righe di un racconto e ce ne resteremo seduti un momento o due in silenzio. Idealmente, ci metteremo a riflettere su quello che abbiamo appena scritto o letto; magari il nostro cuore e la nostra mente avranno fatto un piccolo passo in avanti rispetto a dove erano prima. La temperatura del nostro corpo sarà salita, o scesa, di un grado. Poi, dopo aver ripreso a respirare regolarmente, ci ricomporremo, non importa se scrittori o lettori, ci alzeremo, e, “creature di sangue e nervi”, come dice un personaggio di Cechov, passeremo alla nostra prossima occupazione: la vita. Sempre la vita.”—[Raymond Carver]
"Family pictures are the most precious. I have a set of prints I carry around in my wallet of my kids, my husband and my parents. I look at those rather than writing a diary: they’re very evocative and textural and emotional, and take you back to specific moments. I change them every so often, after they get worn out. The picture I carry of my parents is a little old colour print of them hugging in the 70s, which is sweet. The one of my husband and me was taken in a photobooth a friend rented for a birthday party. I love the old-fashioned booths where you get four different shots; they feel unique because you’ve got the only version that will ever exist. I also have a great photobooth strip of my son when he was really young. He’s crying at the beginning – then in the next photo my hand’s in there, giving him an ice-cream." (Mary McCartney)
“A volte è come se la vita cogliesse uno dei suoi giorni e gli dicesse:
“A te darò tutto! Tu sarai uno di quei giorni rosso fuoco che brillerà nel ricordo quando tutti gli altri saranno dimenticati”.
Questo è uno di quei giorni. Non per tutto il genere umano, naturalmente.
Molti, moltissimi stanno piangendo in questo istante e ricorderanno questo strano giorno come un giorno di disperazione. A pensarci è strano. Ma per noi, per i Melkerson della Casa del Falegname dell’Isola dei Gabbiani, questo giorno trabocca talmente di gioia e allegria e splendore e contentezza che non so dove andremo a finire.
Nemmeno Melker lo sapeva. Sedeva su di uno scoglio al Capo delle Cornacchie con i piedi immersi nell’acqua per rinfrescarsi le galle. E intanto pescava. Pelle e Ciorven lo stavano a guardare, lì vicino. Pelle con Jum-Jum sulle ginocchia e Ciorven con Nostromo accanto.
- Non hai lo strappo giusto, zio Melker - disse Ciorven - In questo modo non prendi neanche un pesce di sicuro.
- No, non voglio prendere un pesce - disse Melker sognante.
- Allora perché te ne stai seduto qui? - chiese Ciorven.
E Melker, con la stessa espressione sognante, le recitò:
Perché doveva calare il sole in quell’istante
e ne voleva vedere il fuoco sfolgorante…”—[da “Vacanze all’isola dei gabbiani” di Astrid Lindgren]
Over the period of more than two decades, Wolfgang Tillmans has explored the medium of photo-imaging with greater range than any other artist of his generation. From snapshots of his friends to abstract images made in a darkroom without a camera or works made with a photocopier, he has pushed the photographic process to its outer limits in myriad ways. For this collection of photos, his fourth book with TASCHEN, Tillmans turned away from the self-reflexive exploration of the photography medium that had occupied him for several years by focusing his lens on the outside world—from London and Nottingham to Tierra del Fuego, Tasmania, Saudi Arabia, and Papua New Guinea. He describes this new phase simply as “trying out what the camera can do for me, what I can do for it.” The result is a powerful and singular view of life today in diverse parts of the world, seen from many angles. Says Tillmans, “My travels are aimless as such, not looking for predetermined results, but hoping to find subject matter that in some way or other speaks about the time I’m in.”