“You think out what actually happened, you tell friends long stories about it, you mull it over in your mind, you connect it together at leisure, then when the time comes to pay the rent again you force yourself to sit at the typewriter, or at the writing notebook, and get it over with as fast as you can … and there’s no harm in that because you’ve got the whole story lined up. Now how that’s done depends on what kind of steel trap you’ve got up in that little old head. This sounds boastful but a girl once told me I had a steel-trap brain, meaning I’d catch her with a statement she’d made an hour ago even though our talk had rambled a million light-years away from that point … you know what I mean, like a lawyer’s mind, say.”—Jack Kerouac, on how to write. From The Paris Review (http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4260/the-art-of-fiction-no-41-jack-kerouac)
“Time: what a fickle lover! No sooner do we arrive at a perfect moment than she has to be on her way. With her it’s always something: a new day, a new decade. There’s nothing she can do about it, Time insists as she slips out the door. ”—Sy Safransky
“The reason I harass my dinner guests is that our stories have consequences, that our beliefs often matter more than the grapes. The question is what those stories are. If the only story we can tell about wine is its price, then our pleasure will always linked to cost, even though this link doesn’t exist in most taste tests. A much better (and more cost-effective) idea is to find some other narrative, to focus on aspects of wine that don’t require a big expense account. Knowledge is free.”—Should We Buy Expensive Wine?
"So Sorry - I tried to make an online purchase recently from a Canadian company, and somehow the Canadian SPAM artists got ahold of my e-mail address. I have learned that Canada is a hotbed for SPAMMERS.” Mass email sent from a woman I taught sailing to this summer. I smell CANUCKOPHOBIA.
“Your numbness,” my mother cries softly, “is something perhaps you cannot help. It is what the world has done to you. But your coldness. That is what you do to the world.”—Lorrie Moore (What is Seized)
“Bliss—a-second-by-second joy and gratitude at the gift of being alive, conscious—lies on the other side of crushing, crushing boredom. Pay close attention to the most tedious thing you can find (Tax Returns, Televised Golf) and, in waves, a boredom like you’ve never known will wash over you and just about kill you. Ride these out, and it’s like stepping from black and white into color. Like water after days in the desert. Instant bliss in every atom.”—David Foster Wallace’s proposed overview for his next novel, The Pale King (via unknownvariable)
“To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering, one must not love. But, then one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer, not to love is to suffer, to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love, to be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy, therefore, to be unhappy one must love, or love to suffer, or suffer from too much happiness — I hope you’re getting this down.” - Woody Allen
“We live in the time of the hyperniche. All this liking and information spreading has led us to build more paths that are all less taken.”—Alexis Madrigal explains why Facebook might not be the worst thing since MIDI music.
“There is an element of uncertainty in every complicated engineering endeavor. "In July 2003, in the Pacific, a Japanese fishing boat was sunk by a flying cow," Robert Bea told me. Bea is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Berkeley and a leading scholar of risk; he also spent many years working in research and management at Shell. The cow, it turned out, was part of an illegal cattle shipment bound from Alaska to Russia; as the plane approached its destination the smugglers became nervous about their cattle and began shoving it off the plane. "No risk analysis can ever be complete. No one can predict a flying cow.”—
For years, we’ve heard about this chemical that seems to magically turn us into a better version of ourselves: more loving, more trusting, more human. And yet, all those emotional benefits come with some pretty devastating fine print. We might feel closer to our friends and family, but we are farther away from everyone else.