To read a novel requires a certain amount of concentration, focus, devotion to the reading. If you read a novel in more than two weeks you don’t read the novel really. So I think that kind of concentration and focus and attentiveness is hard to come by — it’s hard to find huge numbers of people, large numbers of people, significant numbers of people, who have those qualities.
Ernest Hemingway's 1923 passport picture has been put on flickr by the Us National Archives. Just sayin'.
(Can't put a link but it's currently their most recent flickr post. also, my most recent tumblr post.)
The real question is whether or not he’s wearing shorts.
“If what I heard in your voice persists, will you drop everything and come to New York and settle down in the back room and let us hang garlands of love around your neck, day after day, until you are feeling yourself again?”
— William Maxwell to Eudora Welty, in a letter dated January 24, 1967
“The advantage to writing this slack is that the writer can’t hang himself with any length of it.”—To Flavorwire’s list of 30 Harshest Author Insults, I’d like to add this one—William Gass on Jay McInerney.
“Interactivity sabotages storytelling. There is no longer any use arguing to the contrary.”—Tom Bissell, over at Grantland, reviewing L.A. Noire. His book Extra Lives, which is about video games and is great, is just out in paperback.
“Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
He who warned and, uh, the arms,
And bells were rung out as alarms
To tell the British we were there,
And had our guns, and to beware.”—Sarah Rides with Paul : The New Yorker (via nickdouglas)
“We need a sympathetic community within which to realize our individuality. Social media tends to turn that effort to preserve that community into the pursuit of fame. And when we pursue fame, our behavior devolves into the familiar forms of self-commodification. We replace the pleasure of what we do with fantasies about the measurable notoriety we imagine we’ll reap. Social-media companies don’t facilitate community any more than fast-fashion companies elevate style; they cater to the fantasy of being a celebrity, the impossible dream of a mass audience for everyone. With that we either beat a retreat into vicarious fantasy or end up squarely in the realm of the creative class and its fiefdom of cool.”—From “The Accidental Bricoleurs,” Rob Horning’s essay on fast fashion (H&M, Uniqlo, Zara, etc.) and the internet, for n+1.
Edna O’Brien on whether or not you can go home again—she was here on Monday talking to Gabriel Byrne about Saints and Sinners. Many thanks to the redoubtable Jenn from the redoubtable WORD for recording this.