“About all I can do is confess that while I myself devoured classics in my teens and 20s – even 30s, come to think of it – I now read contemporary fiction almost exclusively. I feel ambivalent about this evolution, but between reviewing, blurbing occasionally, and keeping up with what’s out there on general principle I don’t often get around to touching base with the literary canon. When I have tried to, say, reread a Dostoevsky novel, I’ve discovered that I don’t have the patience any longer – for the long philosophical digressions, for example. I bet I’m not alone in this reduced tolerance for the stylistic traditions of the past.”—Lionel Shriver, quoted here. A writer reading only her contemporaries is no better off than a white American male writer who only reads other white American male writers. We have come to think of diversity almost wholly as a matter of ethnicity, but the past really is another country, and the experience of temporal diversity is essential to a well-equipped mind. (via ayjay)
“People say, ‘Oh, Mr. Sendak. I wish I were in touch with my childhood self, like you!’ As if it were all quaint and succulent, like Peter Pan. Childhood is cannibals and psychotic vomiting in your mouth! I say, ‘You are in touch, lady—you’re mean to your kids, you treat your husband like shit, you lie, you’re selfish… That is your childhood self!”—Maurice Sendak, on what childhood means. (via theatlantic)
…a classic study from 1943 confirmed the rather unsurprising fact that at least half of all adolescent boys can develop erections from nonsexual experiences, especially when those experiences inspire excitement, fear, or another strong emotion. (Among the examples given in that paper: “Being late to school,” “Fast elevator rides,” “Finding money,” and “Long flight of stairs.”)
Villian ties woman to railroad tracks. Speeding train on tracks. Activity in train. Villian hides in tree. Sleeping hero falls in mud. Woman uses whistle to call for dog. Dog jumps out of apartment window. Woman chained to tracks calls for dog. Speeding train. Dog finds woman and barks for help. Dog runs for help, gives hero note from woman tied to tracks. Man on bicycle races to save woman. Dog jumps into river. Man falls off bicycle. Man runs to woman. Dog jumps into train. Engineers stop train. Train runs over woman, cuts chains, woman rescued. Train rushes toward woman tied to tracks, stops just short of hitting her. Villian tells henchmen to tie woman to train tracks. Woman chained to train tracks. Woman calls for help. Speeding train. Men in car rush to save woman. Woman struggles with chains. Men on handtruck. Men unchain woman from tracks just in time.
“The term “depressive realism” was coined by researchers back at the end of the 1980s as a way of describing the surprising phenomenon that claims that people with depression have a more accurate perception of reality, especially in terms of their own place in the world and their ability to influence events. How true it is that the sadder you are, the wiser you are.”—