In addition to my usual San Francisco wanderings and adventures, I actually had time to go through all my blogs and news feeds last weekend and found some great stories and things to share. Here are a few:
Life Lessons from Roald Dahl
from Green Apple Book’s blog
Roald Dahl’s birthday was September 13th and there’s a new biography out about him so he’s gotten more attention than usual lately. Green Apple’s list is delightful and brings back some favorite moments from his books. I love, “It’s okay to make your grandmother disappear if she’s really unpleasant,” and “Never let your guard down around an adult with power and a sharp object.” Here are some additional lessons I learned:
- Never trust a woman in square-toed shoes.
- It’s okay to steal from rich people as long as they’re mean.
- If you have super powers, it’s best to use them for revenge.
- Not all giants are bad.
Fun side note: Roald Dahl’s official website farts.
The Greenwich Village Bookshop Door
This particular door has been signed by 242 writers, artists, and publishers and now they have this great online exhibit where you can explore all of them. I love thinking of writers and artists gathering in the same physical space. It seems almost magic how these communities get formed. It’s like Stein’s house in Paris. And it makes me wonder if there are any of these places around right now that I just don’t know about. Are all the future masterminds at some random coffee shop signing the back of a bathroom stall? I dunno, but it’s a fun thought. I wish I could get a poster or a print of the door.
Mysterious Paper Sculptures Found in Scottish Libraries
from the Central Station Blog
This is great. Someone is leaving random, beautiful, intricate paper sculptures all over Scottish libraries. My favorite is probably the coffee cup one:
But I love the quote from the dragon:
Once upon a time there was a book and in the book was a nest and in the nest was an egg and in the egg was a dragon and in the dragon was a story…
Sigh. How lovely. I wish all mysteries were about the origin of art and words. People do nice things sometimes. It’s good to be reminded.
Surfers in Gaza. (I thought this was sweet.)
Hot guys reading books. (I thought this was the stuff of dreams.)
What the fuck should I eat for dinner? (I thought this was funny.)
Songs with spelling. (I thought this was fun.)
Google trying to save newspapers? (I thought this was interesting—especially on page two where the author admits a close relationship to Eric Schmidt.)
Millennials! (I thought this was interesting too. Especially because it’s about me.)
Write a letter to your favorite character. (I thought this was a cool promotion, as far as promotions go. And I’ve read Ben Greenman’s Superbad and liked it so I’m curious.)
Cigarette dispenser turns into a book vending machine. (Have you seen this yet? Awesomeness. I think every public space should have one–especially schools.)
These are some very sensitive robots, but I like their faces.
(By the way, when he puts his plug in her do you think it represents sex? I’m just saying… I bet it does. I bet that’s what robot sex is.)
Everyone’s dog should have this ball
This is kind of interesting if you’re into David Foster Wallace. (And kind of interesting even if you’re not.)
So, I have to admit that I haven’t made it through one of David Foster Wallace’s books yet. I started The Broom of the System but only got through a few chapters before I moved on to something else. But he fascinates me for some reason. I love reading about him more than I love reading him. I know that’s horrible to say and I’m sure he’d probably hate that. (Actually, I’m not sure. I’m just guessing because I would hate that.) But check out this link and see how much he writes in his books. It’s crazy. Almost sacrilege. I mean, he put glasses on Cormac McCarthy!
Folded paper is cool.
A fun article on opening lines in literature.
A shoebox art auction that is freakin’ rad.
God made me link to this.
Actually it was Marc Johns but you get the idea.
When did summer turn into such a busy time of life? I remember summers being slow–how a week could pass with absolutely nothing taking place, how I could spend an entire day without talking to a single person, or how on certain evenings it seemed like it took forever just to get the sun to go down.
Wasn’t that great?
Hmm… Well, in some ways I suppose it was. But now that I’m over the age of 17 beautiful, simplistic, and yes, boring summers are a thing of the past. Now that I have more power over my life and time and how I spend both, my summers tend to be packed–packed with friends, family, the outdoors, and plenty of good times but packed nonetheless. As a result something has to suffer.
And all too often, that something is this blog.
(I’m sorry to say that the entire semi-nostalgic opening to this post was really just my excuse for not writing in here enough.)
Now that I’ve got those apologies out of the way, lets get to it shall we. Here are some things I stumbled across over the past couple of weeks.
- A Frieze of Girls, by Allan Seager
I found this little scrap of paper today on which I wrote down mystery, vanquish death, The Street, and Allan Seager. I’m not sure what I was trying to remember so I looked up Mr. Seager and I’m not sure why I wrote that. However, the book A Frieze of Girls , that he authored sounds interesting. It wasn’t described as a mystery so I’m thinking maybe one of the stories in the book (it’s a collection of stories) must be called The Street and maybe there’s a mysterious vanquished death in there.
- Everything Bad is Good for You, by Stephen Johnson
I was reading an article where someone referred to this book and how Johnson had coined the phrase, “long form reading.” Apparently long form reading is when you actually sit down and read an entire book. (You know, as opposed to just reading a silly girl’s blogs or your friends facebook updates.) I thought this might be worth looking into.
New Words and Phrases (or old words and phrases made new):
- codex: a quire of manuscript pages held together by stitching: the earliest form of book, replacing the scrolls and wax tablets of earlier times.
I find it pretty crazy to think that books haven’t been around forever. That someone actually had to invent them and that putting pages together with a cover on top of them was once a revolutionary idea. It does make me step back and think about how I make fun of the Kindle so much. I definitely think the Kindle is crap but I wonder how those scroll lovers felt about this new crazy codex thing when it first came out.
- master narrative: the story that generates all other stories
Though there are a lot of different definitions of master narratives and metanaratives I found this explanation/interpretation kind of cool and quasi-poetic.
- righteous gleeThis just sounds cool. I have no anecdote for it.
- “It’s not simply bad poetry; it’s quote-unquote bad poetry written by people who know how to write poetry.”
- “Monotype Caecilia was grim and Calvinist, it had a way of reducing everything to arbitrary heaps of words. “
- “If you betray your friend, you are a sinner, no matter how foreordained or collaterally beneficial your sin.”
- “It’s bleak, all bleak, even the hope seems bleak.”
- I ran across a story about the Flarf Movement of Poetry. Not only does it have an awesome name (which I think sounds like some kind of alien barf or maybe a bad pet name) but it’s this thing where poets surf the internet and take random phrases then put them together to make purposefully bad poetry. (See the quote above.) It’s always interesting to see what people come up with when they’re purposefully trying to write badly.