"A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination. On a cold, rainy island, they are the only sheltered public spaces where you are not a consumer, but a citizen, instead. A human with a brain and a heart and a desire to be uplifted, rather than a customer with a credit card and an inchoate "need" for "stuff." A mall—the shops—are places where your money makes the wealthy wealthier. But a library is where the wealthy’s taxes pay for you to become a little more extraordinary, instead. A satisfying reversal. A balancing of the power."
- Caitlin Moran, Libraries: Cathedrals of Our Souls
“En griego, «regreso» se dice nostos. Algos significa “sufrimiento”. La nostalgia es, pues, el sufrimiento causado por el deseo incumplido de regresar. La mayoría de los europeos puede emplear para esta noción fundamental una palabra de origen griego (nostalgia) y, además, otras palabras con raíces en la lengua nacional: en español decimos “añoranza”; en portugués, saudade. En cada lengua estas palabras poseen un matiz semántico distinto. Con frecuencia tan sólo significan la tristeza causada por la imposibilidad de regresar a la propia tierra. Morriña del terruño. Morriña del hogar. En inglés sería homesickness, o en alemán Heimweh, o en holandés heimwee. Pero es una reducción espacial de esa gran noción. El islandés, una de las lenguas europeas más antiguas, distingue claramente dos términos: söknudur: nostalgia en su sentido general; y heimfra: morriña del terruño. Los checos, al lado de la palabra “nostalgia” tomada del griego, tienen para la misma noción su propio sustantivo: stesk, y su propio verbo; una de las frases de amor checas más conmovedoras es styska se mi po tobe: “te añoro; ya no puedo soportar el dolor de tu ausencia”. En español, “añoranza” proviene del verbo “añorar”, que proviene a su vez del catalán enyorar, derivado del verbo latino ignorare (ignorar, no saber de algo). A la luz de esta etimología, la nostalgia se nos revela como el dolor de la ignorancia. Estás lejos, y no sé qué es de ti. Mi país queda lejos, y no sé qué ocurre en él. Algunas lenguas tienen alguna dificultad con la añoranza: los franceses sólo pueden expresarla mediante la palabra de origen griego (nostalgie) y no tienen verbo; pueden decir: je m’ennuie de toi (equivalente a «te echo de menos» o “en falta”), pero esta expresión es endeble, fría, en todo caso demasiado leve para un sentimiento tan grave. Los alemanes emplean pocas veces la palabra “nostalgia” en su forma griega y prefieren decir Sehnsucht: deseo de lo que está ausente; pero Sehnsucht puede aludir tanto a lo que fue como a lo que nunca ha sido (una nueva aventura), por lo que no implica necesariamente la idea de un nostos; para incluir en la Sehnsucht la obsesión del regreso, habría que añadir un complemento: Senhsucht nach der Vergangenheit, nach der verlorenen Kindheit, o nach der ersten Liebe (deseo del pasado, de la infancia perdida o del primer amor).”
“We are the girls with anxiety disorders, filled appointment books, five-year plans. We take ourselves very, very seriously. We are the peacemakers, the do-gooders, the givers, the savers. We are on time, overly prepared, well read, and witty, intellectually curious, always moving… We pride ourselves on getting as little sleep as possible and thrive on self-deprivation. We drink coffee, a lot of it. We are on birth control, Prozac, and multivitamins… We are relentless, judgmental with ourselves, and forgiving to others. We never want to be as passive-aggressive as our mothers, never want to marry men as uninspired as our fathers… We are the daughters of the feminists who said, “You can be anything,” and we heard, “You have to be everything.”—Unknown (via thatkindofwoman)
Beauty is often treated as an essentially feminine subject, something trivial and frivolous that women are excessively concerned with. Men, meanwhile, are typically seen as having a straightforward and uncomplicated relationship with it: they are drawn to it. The implication is that this may be unfortunate—not exactly ideal morally—but it can’t be helped, because it’s natural, biological. This seems more than a little ironic. Women are not only subject to a constant and exhausting and sometimes humiliating scrutiny—they are also belittled for caring about their beauty, mocked for seeking to enhance or to hold onto their good looks, while men are just, well, being men.
“Everything is biography, Lucien Freud says. What we make, why it is made, how we draw a dog, who it is we are drawn to, why we cannot forget. Everything is collage, even genetics. There is the hidden presence of others in us, even those we have known briefly. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border we cross.”—Michael Ondaatje, “Divisadero” (via lifeinpoetry)
“I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience.”—David Foster Wallace (via amandaonwriting)
“In the economy of the body, the limbic highway takes precedence over our neural pathways. We were designed and built to feel, and there is no thought, no state of mind, that is not also a feeling state.
Nobody can feel too much, though many of us work very hard at feeling too little.
Feeling is frightening.
Well, I find it so.”—
— Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, Jeanette Winterson
The Romanian philosopher Mircea Eliade talks about home - ontological as well as geographical home - and in a lovely phrase, he calls home ‘the heart of the real’.
Home, he tells us, is the intersection of two lines - the vertical and the horizontal. The vertical plane has heaven, or the upper world, at one end, and the world of the dead at the other end. The horizontal plane is the traffic of the world, moving to and fro - our own traffic and that of teeming others.
Home was a place of order. A place where the order of things come together - the living and the dead - the spirits of the ancestors and the present inhabitants, and the gathering up and stiling of all the to-and-fro.
Leaving home can only happen because there is a home to leave. And the leaiving is never a geographical or spatial separation; it is an emotional separation - wanted or unwanted. Steady or ambivalent.
For the refugee, for the homeless, the lack of this crucial coordinate in the placing of the self has severe consequences. At best it must be managed, made up for in some way. At worst, a displaced person, literally does not know which way is up, because there is no true north. No compass point. Home is much more than shelter; home is our centre of gravity.
A nomadic people learn to take their homes with them - and their familiar objects are spread out or re-erected from place to place. When we move house, we take with us the invisible concept of home - but it is a powerful concept. Mental health and emotional continuity do not require us to stay in the same house or the same place, but they do require a sturdy sturcutre on the inside - and that structure is built in part by what has happened on the outside. The inside and the outside of our lives are each the shell where we learn to live.
— Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, Jeanette Winterson
So when people say that poetry is a luxury, or an option, or for the educated middle classes, or that it shouldn’t be read in school because it is irrelevant, or any of the strange and stupid things that are said about poetry and its place in our lives, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy. A tough life needs a tough language – and that is what poetry is. That is what literature offers – a language powerful enough to say how it is.
It isn’t a hiding place. It is a finding place.
”—Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, Jeanette Winterson
“In fact, there are more than two chances - many more. I know now, after fifty years, that the finding/losing, forgetting/remembering, leaving/returning, never stops. The whole of a life is about another chance, and while we are alive, till the very end, there is always another chance.”—Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, Jeanette Winterson
" …because Instagram isn’t about reality – it’s about a well-crafted fantasy, a highlights reel of your life that shows off versions of yourself that you want to remember and put on display in a glass case for other people to admire and because Instagram isn’t about reality – it’s about a well-crafted fantasy, a highlights reel of your life that shows off versions of yourself that you want to remember and put on display in a glass case for other people to admire and browse through."
“It took a while for memoirs and autobiographies to become honest: shedding their armor of artifice and objectivity. Perhaps self-portraits will do the same. Soon our photographs may be as honest and unadorned as our words—the pictures we take of ourselves as authentic as the pictures we take of others. However “uncharted, / Desolate, [and] reluctant” the present is, it’s worth documenting, not only for others, but for ourselves.”—In Praise of Selfies: From Self-Conscious to Self-Constructive (via inspiracioh)
"Quizás en eso radique la verdadera conservación de la especie, en perpetuar hasta la última generación de humanos las neurosis de nuestros antepasados, las heridas que nos vamos heredando como una segunda carga genética."
“One of the interesting things about success is that we think we know what it means. A lot of the time our ideas about what it would mean to live successfully are not our own. They’re sucked in from other people. And we also suck in messages from everything from the television to advertising to marketing, etcetera. These are hugely powerful forces that define what we want and how we view ourselves. What I want to argue for is not that we should give up on our ideas of success, but that we should make sure that they are our own. We should focus in on our ideas and make sure that we own them, that we’re truly the authors of our own ambitions. Because it’s bad enough not getting what you want, but it’s even worse to have an idea of what it is you want and find out at the end of the journey that it isn’t, in fact, what you wanted all along.”—Alain de Botton (via inspiracioh)
n. the realization that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense to you anymore—that although you thought you were following the arc of the story, you keep finding yourself immersed in passages you don’t understand, that don’t even seem to belong in the same genre—which requires you to go back and reread the chapters you had originally skimmed through to get to the good parts, only to learn that all along you were supposed to choose your own adventure.
“La experiencia, la posibilidad de que algo nos pase, o nos acontezca, o nos llegue, requiere un gesto de interrupción…: requiere pararse a pensar, pararse a mirar, pararse a escuchar, pensar más despacio, mirar más despacio y escuchar más despacio, pararse a sentir, sentir más despacio, demorarse en los detalles, suspender la opinión, suspender el juicio, suspender la voluntad, suspender el automatismo de la acción, cultivar la atención y la delicadeza, abrir los ojos y los oídos, charlar sobre lo que nos pasa, aprender la lentitud, escuchar a los demás, cultivar el arte del encuentro, callar mucho, tener paciencia, darse tiempo y espacio.”
“The more closely we analyze what we consider ‘sexy,’ the more clearly we will understand that eroticism is the feeling of excitement we experience at finding another human being who shares our values and our sense of the meaning of existence.”—Alain de Bottonon sex (via explore-blog)
Tal vez fuese entonces cuando descubrí que la Travessera de Dalt tiene una compensación celeste para su fealdad y son las puestas de sol más bonitas de la ciudad, que comparte con otras calles muy feas de idéntica orientación, Aragó y General Mitre, y es como si los hados quisieran compensar a sus habitantes de la perversidad municipal y el horror constructivo.
“Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but Cabbage with a College Education.”—Mark Twain, The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson and the Comedy of the Extraordinary Twins
No amo mi patria. Su fulgor abstracto es inasible. Pero (aunque suene mal) daría la vida por diez lugares suyos, cierta gente, puertos, bosques de pinos, fortalezas, una ciudad deshecha, gris, monstruosa, varias figuras de su historia montañas -y tres o cuatro ríos.
a bouquet of clumsy words: you know that place between sleep and awake where your still dreaming but it`s slowly slipping? i wish we could feel like that more often. i also wish i could click my fingers three times and be transported to anywhere i like. i wish that people didn`t always say ‘just wondering’ when you both know there was a real reason behind them asking. and i wish i could get lost in the stars.
listen, there`s a hell of a good universe next door, let`s go
“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.”—F. Scott Fitzgerald