“Among the best parts of Beauvoir’s book are those on women artists and intellectuals. Why have women not created art as great as men’s? she asks. Women’s overwhelming desire to please is at fault. The truly original writer is ‘always scandalous,’ and women’s desire to please keeps them from daring to ‘irritate, explore, explode.’”

– From ‘Dispatches From the Other’ by Francine du Plessix Gray, a New York Times review of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (2010)

“Finishing is what you have to do, he thought. If you don’t finish, nothing’s worth a damn.”

– Hemingway’s The Garden of Eden

No. 274

I’m reading A Moveable Feast by Hemingway now. Published posthumously, the title is drawn from words written in a letter to his friend: 

If you are lucky enough to have lived

in Paris as a young man, then wherever you

go for the rest of your life, it stays with

you, for Paris is a moveable feast.

I love Hemingway in terms of his words, and it comes as close to my friend E’s relationship with Murakami—of which I’ve mentioned to him before. And despite him – Hemingway – living and working decades ago, his words find pertinence because the language in which he uses isn’t foreign. It’s immediate, concise, and in the moment. He speaks of feelings and actions—but never thoughts. He doesn’t speak about the thoughts themselves but the feelings and actions that provoke them. And this is what I enjoy about him, the emphasis he places on the moment and not the afterthought, because those are the things reserved for the readers. I think his writing lends itself to timelessness this way.

“I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, ‘Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.’ So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written. Up in that room I decided that I would write one story about each thing that I knew about.”

– Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast

“Given the political controversies around the provision of state support to single parents, two points are worth noting. First, that it seems to be possible to safeguard children against most of the adverse effects brought up by lone parents, and second, that denying state support does not seem to reduce the proportion of single parents.”

– Wilkinson and Pickett’s The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger

No. 272

It’s summer now and it’s easy to forget that. So anything that I think to do I ought to, simply because I have the power and the time to do so. I have it in me to sleep late and wake up late, or stay faithful to my responsibilities. Or both. I mustn’t forget that these things—priorities—are investments in my future, despite how mechanical parts of it can be. I don’t have the finances to live at the standard to which I was when I had financial aid to prop me up, but I have health and time on my side and very, very gracious parents to help me.

I try to remember that times like these are important, taking stock of what I own and the resources I have, and this includes what I know. 

I spoke with an advisor at the beginning of last week about what it would take to apply for a teaching credential. She was selflessly informative in a way that not many people are, and I made it known to her that I noticed. It looks like I’ve got the timing right to have a good shot at being accepted into the program and finish my Associates in Photography before then, but this can only happen if I plan things right—which I plan to, by God.

For those of you who want to know my schedule this upcoming semester, here it is:

ART206 – Intermediate Photography, MW, 12:45-3:35pm

ART156 – History of Photography, T 6-8:50pm

ART159 – Graphic Design Layout, TTH 12-2:50pm

ART206L – Intermediate Photography Lab, TH, 3-6:20pm

ART 208A – Film & Darkroom Photography, F, 9:00am-3:20pm

No. 271

I spent the past five days at home mostly. This is uncommon of me as I usually make it a point to go somewhere; It’s as much of a daily ritual as twisting, eyes closed, to stretch in the morning. It’s only once in a blue moon that I choose to stay, and it really takes a conscientious decision to do so.

I had to stay grounded in my decision due to a sore throat I incurred probably from working out too much. I now know where intensity can interfere with health, and I’ll exercise caution in not exceeding that anymore. When sickness didn’t follow as it usually does, I concluded I could use the recovery time anyway.

I spent the newly acquired time taking naps or reading—which I welcome very much. The threat of illness, regrettably, conflicted with plans to read with her, so I didn’t get a chance to—Hopefully sometime soon.

Now that health is returning, I took a chance and went to yoga today. It’s never easy, but there’s always great effort in making it through, and I draw what satisfaction I can out of it. It’s essential to my personal understanding, I think, to know what my limits are, but they can’t be known until they’re found, and it takes a great effort to find them. It’s also important to know that these limits can be shifted.

I’ve come to understand now that embracing change is easy to do when attention is shifted away from oneself and oriented toward the task at hand. The concept of self dissolves. Hemingway puts it succinctly: “[N]o one knows about himself when he is really involved. Yourself isn’t worth considering.”

“It’s a stupid feeling but it fits on this day so put it on.”

– Hemingway’s The Garden of Eden

“Although racial prejudice is widely condemned, class prejudice is, despite the similarities, rarely mentioned… What Bourdieu is describing is an ‘economy of cultural goods’, and inequalities in that economy affect people almost as profoundly as inequalities in income.”

– Wilkinson and Pickett’s The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger

“Stop a moment. Cease your work. Look around you.”

– Leo Tolstoy