Monday, July 04, 2011


At the end of March, I lost both my parents. Both passed away within a day and a half of each other. I'm still reeling from the shock and the psychological trauma. Due to these events, I'm pretty well devoid of thoughts nowadays. Also pretty well without energy or desire to do much . . . of anything. The out-of-context quotes below represent (maybe) my hope to one day be able to think again. Right now my "specks of ink" are few and far between and everything seems unusually . . . fragmental. So while I'm trying to find my way again, here are some quotes worth thinking about.

From Steve Almond's This Won't Take But a Minute, Honey (from his essay "This Is Just My Bullshit"):

"We are living in an era of screen addiction and capitalist pornography. As a species, we are squandering the exalted gifts of consciousness, losing our capacity to pay attention, to imagine the suffering of others. You are a part of all this. It involves you. This is the hard labor we're trying to perform: convincing strangers to translate our specks of ink into stories capable of generating rescue."

On the Fragment: from The Art of Brevity (Per Winther, Jakob Lothe, Hans H. Skei, eds.) from the essay "Aspects of the Fragment in Joyce's Dubliners and Kafka's The Trial" by Jakob Lothe:

As Valierie Shaw has noted, Kafka insisted that his short story "The Stoker" be subtitled "A Fragment" (241). One one level, there is an appealing modesty about this kind of insistence. But why? It is perhaps because we tend to think of the fragment as somehow subordinate or inferior in relation to the novel? The thrust of this essay has been to suggest that it is not. Rather, like the short story (which in one sense it metonymically represents), the fragment compresses literary meaning into a short segment of text, yet by doing so it also extends meaning by drawing attention to the incomplete and fragmentary nature of verbal representation. As a variant of the short story, the fragment is semantically "loaded" in a way the novel is not. Considered from this angle, the fragment is reminiscent of the genre of poetry, and it is by no means coincidental that the German Romantics wrote both poems and fragments. Better than most literary tests, the font fragments considered here illustrate how intertwined are the temporal and spatial aspects of narrative. As Novelis writes in his fragment 492, "A penetrated space is a time space. A penetrated time [is] a space time."

Screen addiction, hard labor, paying attention, loss . . . and so many fragments to deal with. Such is life, I guess.

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