J. Ashbery – The New Spirit

“You born today,” he could not resist murmuring although there was no one within earshot, “a life of incredulity and magnanimity opens out around you, incredulity at the greatness of your designs and magnanimity that turns back to support these projects as they flag and fail, as inevitably happens. But draw comfort meanwhile from the fact that the planets have congregated to haruspicate at your birth; they can no longer disentangle themselves but are fixed over you, showering down material and immaterial advantages on whoever has the patience to remain immobile for a while, mindless of the efforts of his coevals to better themselves at the expense of humankind in general.”

T. Pynchon – Sloth: Nearer, My Couch, to Thee

It is of course precisely in such episodes of mental traveling that writers are known to do good work, sometimes even their best, solving formal problems, getting advice from Beyond, having hypnagogic adventures that with luck can be recovered later on. Idle dreaming is often of the essence of what we do. We sell our dreams.

 

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Notes on Birdman

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  • Central problem: modern artists have to fight against the public, media and critics for their authenticity.
  • In 8 ½ Fellini needed an idea for a movie, he fought a much greater fight with himself about the meaning of life than just Birdman’s temptation to go down the easy lane to obtain money and fame. Reporter asking about Barthes is clearly Fellini’s critic he imagined hanging, yet today he gets only few seconds of screen time, he isn’t representing a point of view, not in our times.

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