Musings & Meditations

What is it to be?

Posted in Books by Pam Keesey on June 25, 2008

So what is it to be? Banality of convention, or banality of individuation? Shall I choose society’s cliches, or my own?
     Is it a step forward to have understood that there is no real difference between them?

— Jeanette Winterson, “A Green Square,” The World and Other Places

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Man in the Moon

Posted in Books by Pam Keesey on June 20, 2008

Under the night rug, the star rug, moon as lantern, man in the moon watching over us, dog star at his heels, we lay.
     The planets are bodies in the solar system and so are we. You and I in elliptical orbs circling life. It is life we want, but we daren’t come too close for fear it might burn us away, this life in its intensity.

— Jeanette Winterson, “Disappearance I,” The World and Other Places 

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Reading is Not for Everyone

Posted in Books, Reading by Pam Keesey on January 25, 2008

In its silence, a book is a challenge: it can’t lull you with surging music or deafen you with screeching laugh tracks or fire gunshots in your living room; you have to listen to it in your head. A book won’t move your eyes for you the way images on a screen do. It won’t move your mind unless you give it your mind, or your heart unless you put your heart in it. It won’t do the work for you. To read a story well is to follow it, to act it, to feel it, to become it — everything short of writing it, in fact. Reading is not “interactive” with a set of rules or options, as games are; reading is actual collaboration with the writer’s mind. No wonder not everybody is up to it.

 — Ursula K. Le Guin
“Staying Awake: Notes on the Alleged Decline of Reading”
Harper’s Magazine, February 2008

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The Love Affair with Life

Posted in Books by Pam Keesey on January 14, 2008

The great affair, the love affair with life, is to live as variously as possible, to groom one’s curiosity like a high-spirited thoroughbred, climb aboard, and gallop over the thick, sun-struck hills every day. Where there is no risk, the emotional terrain is flat and unyielding, and, despite all its dimensions, valleys, pinnacles, and detours, life will seem to have none of its magnificent geography, only length. It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between.

 — Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses

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On Boxing

Posted in Books by Pam Keesey on December 13, 2007

Men and women with no personal or class reason for feeling anger are inclined to dismiss the emotion, if not piously condemn it, in others. Why such discontent? why such unrest? why so strident? Yet this world is conceived in anger — and in hatred, and in hunger — no less than it is conceived in love: that is one of the things that boxing is about. It is so simple a thing it might be overlooked.

— Joyce Carol Oates, On Boxing

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