Tag Archives: Writers

Horace Walpole

Longreads

Carrie Frye | Longreads | December 2014 | 16 minutes (4,064 words)

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As a child, Horace Walpole frequently heard it said of himself that surely he would die soon. Born in England in 1717, the last of his mother’s six children, he was fragile and prone to illness from birth. Two siblings before him had died in infancy, and so in the family order it went: three older children, loud, healthy and opinionated; two grave markers; and then young Horace toddling up behind—half child, half potential grave marker.

Naturally, his mother, Catherine, spoiled him. His father, Sir Robert Walpole, was the King’s prime minister. This often kept him away from home, as did a long-time mistress who acted, more than his wife did, as his hostess and companion. For her part Catherine had her own dalliances. It was that sort of marriage. The Walpoles…

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The Body Language of Poetry (Djelloul Marbrook)

Typewriter

Vox Populi

Don’t gesticulate with your hands or make faces when speaking, the teachers at my British boarding school told me. It’s vulgar. I’m sure that this enjoinder at such an impressionable age imbued my poems with reticence and austerity.

But poetry has a body language. The poet’s way of breathing supplies oxygen to the body and to the poem. The poet’s way of walking and talking is inherent in the poem. I knew a poet who walked like the prow of a ship cutting through waves, the bone in its teeth, as sailors say, and that how her poems walked and talked.

The body language of a poem is also shaped by the script used in its writing. If it was first written by hand the poet’s hand, the stops and starts, the way I’s are dotted and t’s crossed, lives in the poem. If the poem was first typed, the…

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Why We Need Nomads

Vanessa Runs

Jamming and bumming around on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska

I recently stumbled on a Quora question in which the writer was thinking about quitting his job and selling his possessions to travel the world. He gave a brief description of himself (single, in his 20s, a job but no career), and asked whether he should go for it.

The resounding answer was yes, but not necessarily because it was a respectable lifestyle. Rather, because he was young enough to get away with it. Because he still had time to build a career, a family, and a real life. Because now was the time to get the travel bug out of his system.

I was glad to read the encouragement and travel tips he received, but couldn’t help wonder: what if a 40-something man with three young children also wanted to become a nomad?

A nomad is someone who travels extensively, with no real home to speak of other than…

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interlude (meditations): the date prep (anxiety remix)

You did it. You did it, dude. You, after all the nerves and the vomiting and the potent, possibly psychotic self-hatred, finally – FINALLY – worked up the courage to ask her out on a date, and now here you are: in your car and on your way towards picking her up; you’re driving the speed limit & music down low, even though feel your heart pumping? You’re going to fail, dude, you’re going to fail, you’re going to fail, you’re going to going to going to fail, dude you can feel your heart beating in your chest, pumping hard enough to keep a steady beat on your ribcage like a demon playing a xylophone, and music might be a good way to cover up that horrible melody. You’re going to be just fine, dude. You did it. You did it, dude. You walked right the hell up to the girl at the bookstore – fiction section, third shelf, near Pynchon – and you asked her out on what will probably be an anticlimactic, awkward romp through the movie theater. But you did it, dude. You showed confidence and you showed courage and chutzpah and dude, you’re going to be just fine. There is no doubt about this at all. Don’t worry about it. Oh-ho-ho, you are so fucked. You’re going to trip and fall and break your teeth, my awkward friend. It’s only a matter of time. You’re going to burn like the Hindenburg and ohhhhh the humanity, this is going to horrible and you’re going to look like a goddamn idiot, dude. That voice you hear is just your self-esteem screaming out in terror before being drowned in a bathtub. But it doesn’t matter. Look at you: you’re on your way to pick up the most beautiful girl you’ve ever seen. Of all the girls in all the bookstores in this little blue world of ours, it had to be her, you know? She’s perfect: long brown hair, soft eyes, kind smile, a button with “Trystero” emblazoned beneath a muted horn. She’s perfect. Perfect. Stunning and smart and kind. And you worked up the nerve, my god. That’s a rarity & you know it. That long brown hair, that red lipstick, that wit, that grace, those breasts which, I might add, is precisely why you’re going to fuck this up. You ever look at yourself in the mirror? The glasses, the tired eyes. Your awful, coffee-and-cigarette-stained teeth. You’re a mess. Oh, and P.S.: nice shirt, douche. Don’t listen to that voice. Stop listening. Pay attention to the road – that was a pedestrian, dude. Don’t kill a pedestrian listening to that awful little voice in your head. That would probably be a bad move in the long run – like, if the date went well, would she really come and visit you in prison? “Baby, baby, I accidentally ran someone over on the way to your place. Romantic, right?” And she would laugh and twirl her beautiful hair around her long fingers and then oh god, this is going to be such a goddamn nightmare. How far away am I from her place? It has to be soon, right? Oh god, oh god, oh god, I’m going to vomit, I think feel your heart pumping? You’re going to fail, dude, you’re going to fail, you’re going to fail, you’re going to going to going to fail, dude and oh, how beautiful she is.

There’s the door.

Shit.

“Take Me to the River” (Talking Heads)

Don’t know why I love her like I do
All the changes you put me through
Take my money, my cigarettes
I haven’t seen the worst of it yet

I wanna know can you’ll tell me
I love to stay

Take me to the river, drop me in the water
Take me to the river, drop me in the water, water

Don’t know why you treat me so bad
Think of all the things we could have had
Love is an ocean, I can’t forget
My sweet sixteen I would never regret

I wanna know that you’ll tell me
I love to stay

Take me to the river, drop me in the water
Take me to the river, push me in the water

Hold me, squeeze me, love me, tease me
Till I can’t, till I can’t, I can’t take no more of it

Take me to the river, drop me in the water
Take me to the river, push me in the water

J.W.

interlude (meditations): window at night

playing with the moon by laurent laveder (6)As my depression grows and dips and sways and blossoms until it reaches its truest, angriest form — a black hole — I find myself with my head through the first-floor window of my bedroom, breathing in the night air, trying to stop myself from spinning and spiraling into the angry black hole, as if the night air is the only thing stopping me from falling into the molecule-blasting black vortex. (It’s darker in there than it is outside my window, the night more inviting than anything; out there is my beautiful Oregon green and big and charmingly sleepy, the air tinged with the smell of wet Earth and the rain that is always five minutes away — or five minutes past, whichever way you wish to look at it.) I admit it wholeheartedly, mostly if you didn’t know it before by reading this simple blog: I have clinical depression. The angry, sad, paralyzing kind; the kind that appears from nothing and will only go back after pulling me into nothing. That kind that strikes a relative of yours, but never you. The kind you fear. The kind I fear. That kind. And tonight I’m dealing with it in the simplest way possible: two joints, a notebook, and an open bedroom window. I can breathe by this window. I often feel like I can’t breathe anywhere else. Outside the little first-floor bedroom window of my apartment is a small pine tree, discarded packs of cigarettes surrounding the trunk like the remnants of a religious ceremony put on by some lonely band of roaming heathens; when the weather is nice during the spring and summer I get to sit beneath its branches and read in the morning and early afternoon. I live for those happier times. The angry, sad, paralyzing kind; the kind that appears from nothing and will only go back after pulling me into nothing. That kind that strikes a relative of yours, but never you. The kind you fear. The kind I fear. That kind. Tonight my beautiful little tree has a strange blue glow about it, an ornament two weeks past Christmas. It glows as if inviting me to come outside and join the rest of the big, dumb world. (But I can’t: my ego is still too large, my depression too unique and special for anyone else to truly understand. I can’t, I can’t, I will tell myself in the wee small hours of the morning, the prospect of a new day ahead, the air chilled before the rising of a new (and still same old) Sun. But the evening is still young and I am just one more writer cast in a shadow, trying to escape the misery of “what’s next? What is next, what is next, what is NEXT?”

Jackson Williams.

Sweet Humble Pie.

sweet humble pie chart

An explanation:
I want to, but it’s hard to tell a lie;
by the crumbs on my shirt,
and the feeling that I’m made of dirt,
I think we both know what happened:
I absolutely demolished your pie.
There, in the fridge, I caught a glimpse
of that pie; was it apple? I can not tell.
I just dove right in, gave my stomach hell.
Do I regret this?
Absolutely not.
It was delicious, sweet, full of bliss;
why was it so good?
I think I know why:
it was yours, it was not mine,
and since I do not like you,
that pie became divine.

Jackson Williams.

“If You Forget Me” (Pablo Neruda)

if you forget me.

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

Pablo Neruda.

Jackson Williams.