I’m lost by life. I don’t know anything about life. If I make a movie, I don’t even understand why I’m making the movie. I just know that there’s something there. Later on, we all get to know what it’s about through the opinions of others. If you make a film, it might as well be as important as be nonsense. You can’t go for ten cents and expect to come up with a million. You have to go for everything. Whether you fail or don’t fail, you have to go for what will make us better when we’re finished. I like to work with friends and for friends on something that might help somebody. Something with humour, sadness; simple things. The artist really is a magical figure whom we would all like to be like and don’t have the courage to be, because we don’t have the strength to be obsessive. Film is an art, a beautiful art. It’s a madness that overcomes all of us. We’re in love with it. Money is really not that important to us. We can work thirty-six, forty-eight hours straight and feel elated at the end of that time. I think film is magic! With the tools we have at hand, we really try to convert people’s lives! The idea of making a film is to package a lifetime of emotion and ideas into a two-hour capsule form, two hours where some images flash across the screen and in that two hours the hope is that the audience will forget everything and that celluloid will change lives. Now that’s insane, that’s a preposterously presumptuous assumption, and yet that’s the hope.
— John Cassavetes (via bbook)
(Source: herewithmyabsentfriend, via unmondesanspitie-deactivated201)
A Woman Under the Influence, 1974 [dir. John Cassavetes]
April 19, 2014 at 1:44pm
Talking Heads, “The Great Curve,” from The Name of This Band is Talking Heads 
I found out Monday that an acquaintance of mine just won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. The Graywolf Press site has a few poems from the collection posted, and you can buy the book there as well.
Congratulations to Vijay, as modest and genuine a guy as I ever met.
March 21, 2014 at 8:33pm
Ike Quebec, “Blues For Charlie” from Blue And Sentimental 
The Third Man [dir. Carol Reed, 1949]
If, after a walk, which is when I meditate and gather ideas, I turned to go home, overwhelmed with ideas, every word ready to be written down, and in a certain sense so weak that I could scarcely walk (ah, the person who has dealt with ideas will know about this), if then, along the way some poor person addressed me, and if in my excitement over my ideas I had no time to talk with him, then when I reached home it would be as if everything had disappeared, and I would sink into the most frightful spiritual trial at the thought that what I had done to that person, God could do to me. If, on the other hand, I took the time to talk with the poor person and listen to him, this never happened to me, and everything would be ready when I arrived home.
Soren Kierkegaard, from Journals [NB7 1848]
Much of Kierkegaard’s authorship overflows with doubt and despair, but I seem to have read those books already. What’s left for me is the prose filled with enormous compassion and generosity, and not the bland, edge-less optimism of most uplifting philosophy. Kierkegaard is still relentless in his self-criticism, but in the lesser known works (and the journals especially) he’s much more at peace with his circumstances: philosophizing in a world designed to thwart, rather than facilitate, extended contemplation. The journals are frank in their observations of the thinker in the public sphere. From about 1846 onward, his alienation from contemporary society seems to have infected his narrative tone; for whatever pseudonym he employs, he is sharing with the reader something beyond the heightened intellectual curiosity that functioned as showmanship in his earlier works.
I read recently that 1.3 million people were living in Denmark in 1840 (near the beginning of Kierkegaard’s authorship), and 75-80% of them lived in rural areas. Most were engaged in agriculture. The population of Copenhagen in 1840 was 120,000, a little smaller than Stamford, CT or Topeka, KS. His potential readership consisted of probably no more than 200,000 people. If we consider the number readers interested in existential philosophy and theology critical of the Danish state church, each of the 30-35 books Kierkegaard published in his lifetime (all written in Danish) would have been consistently targeted at… maybe 5,000 potential readers? He was firmly aware of this, and I think that’s why there’s a certain conversational agelessness in the journals. He is speaking to concerns far beyond his present, and probably ours as well.
March 11, 2014 at 1:08am
Citizen Kane 
Billie Holliday, “Time On My Hands” 
Marvin Gaye, “Without You” [single, 1967]
I’m not going to jot down like a list of unfinished chores all the Marvin Gaye albums I’ve purchased in the last few years, the compilations offering me a rare single or two, the re-releases baiting me with bonus tracks. I don’t know why “The Master” box set hasn’t been recommended to me before. This is primary among the tracks that matter most to me. The sense of urgency that drives the song is something rare and quite beautiful.
February 13, 2014 at 2:25pm
From My Library 001
near Avalon, MS [08.04.06]
February 6, 2014 at 9:51pm
But hey, I’m a realistic person. I know it’s an election year, and when it comes to certain divisive issues like gun rights or a path to citizenship, I can certainly understand engaging in a swift back-and-forth volley of forehand loops, alternating serve every two points. But on issues of immediate and grave national importance, like raising the debt ceiling or reaching a budget deal, I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to grab Congressional leaders by the shoulders and shout, “Put down your regulation Yasaka and Killerspin fast-blade paddles and think about working Americans for a change!”
— The Onion, “Congress Is Playing Professional Tournament-Level Ping-Pong With This Nation’s Future”