la letra ñ

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

Home

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

Instagram Video and the Death of Fantasy

" …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."

(Source: The New York Times)

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.

"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."

El cuerpo en que nací, Guadalupe Nettel.

The best way to ensure you’ll never fail, be ridiculed and mess up is to stay safely home, in bed, under the covers, all the time.
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