Ice Friday: Francis Bacon on Form

I work on what’s called the given form. If you look at forms, they’re extremely, in a sense, unrepresentational. One of the things I’ve always tried to analyze is why it is that, if the formation of the image that you want is done irrationally, it seems to come from the nervous system much more strongly than if you knew how you could do it. Why is it possible to make the reality of an appearance more violently in this way than by doing it rationally? Perhaps it’s that, if the making is more instinctive, the image is more immediate.

(From Interviews with Francis Bacon, David Sylvester)

The Special Age Calculator

I recently calculated my 1,000th blog to have been posted on my 1,991st day of blogging, which led me to wonder how many days I have been doing many things, including living, which led me to The Special Age Calculator. How many days have you lived in your home? How many hours were you married? When will experience your 2,000,000,000th second?

Yes, it’s just another way to waste your time and count doing it.

Ice Friday: Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn”

I took the paper up and held it in my hand. I was a trembling, because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, holding my breath, and then I says to myself, “All right then, I’ll go to hell” – and tore it up. It was awful thoughts and awful words, but they was said. And I let them stay said, and never thought more about reforming. I shoved the whole thing out of my head, and said I would take up wickedness again, which was in my line, being brung up to it, and the other warn’t. And for a starter, I would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery again. And if I could think up anything worse, I would do that too, because as long as I was in, and in for good, I might as well go the whole hog.

Blog #1,000

My first blog post, 1,790 days ago, was on Christian Marclay’s The Clock.I have posted 999 times since, each somehow related to “my writing process”. Notes on The Bachelor and Hurricane Sandy drew the most traffic. Details of my actual process attracted the least. What’s next?Another 1,000, I guess.

Lady Smashes Cell With Old-School Receiver

She didn’t look that mad as she turned toward the phone booth, cell phone in hand, and then placed it on the dirty metal grill where the phone books used to be. That’s when she let it have it – one phone on the other – bringing the pay-phone receiver down like a hammer, once and again, until her cell toppled to the ground, appropriately smashed. She wasn’t done. The pay-phone receiver still swinging, useless, she picked up her cell, and walked ahead, muttering, all the way to the corner, and carefully, angrily, shoved it down between the grill of the storm sewer. “Try calling me again! You try that!” She vanished, phone-less, into the subway station.

This Thing Called Race: Adichie’s “Americanah”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah is a long and winding love story, unavoidably about race:

“I mean ‘nigger is a word that exists. People use it. It is part of America. It has caused a lot of pain to people and I think it is insulting to bleep it out. (168) Ifemelu wanted, suddenly and desperately, to be from the country of people who gave and not those who received, to be one of those who had and could therefore bask in the grace of having given, to be among those who could afford copious pity and empathy. (209)

One of Adichie’s devices, which works to varying effect, is the citation of Ifemelu’s blog: Dear Non-American Black, when you make the choice to come to America, you become black. Stop arguing. Stop saying I’m Jamaican or I’m Ghanian. America doesn’t care. (273) Later, on the train to Essex, he noticed that all the people around him were Nigerians, loud conversations in Yoruba and Pidgin filled the carriage, and for a moment he saw the unfettered non-white foreignness of this scene through the suspicious eye of the white women on the tube. (320)

Ice Friday: Oscar Wilde’s “Dorian Gray”

I never approve or disapprove of anything now. It is an absurd attitude to take toward life. We are not sent into the world to air our moral prejudices. The reason we all like to think so well of others is that we are all afraid of ourselves. The basis for optimism is sheer terror. We think that we are generous because we credit our neighbor with the possession of those virtues we are likely to be of benefit to us. As for a spoiled life, no life is spoiled but one whose growth is arrested.