:::: David Foster Wallace, whom I bumped into at O’Hare (he was flying east; I was flying west; we had one of those affable five-minute catch-up conversations until I asked him what he was working on, at which point he mumbled something I couldn’t understand and began looking down at his sneakers a lot) the spring before he bound his wrists with duct tape, kicked over the lawn chair he was standing on, and hanged himself with a black belt nailed into a patio rafter in back of his home in Claremont, California: you have decided being scared is caused mostly by thinking.
— Lance Olsen, [[ there. ]] ‎- religion-neutral stethoscope
:::: Not-knowing is crucial to art, is what permits art to be made. Without the scanning process engendered by not-knowing, without the possibility of having the mind move in unanticipated directions, there would be no invention. Observed Donald Barthelme, winner of the 1972 National Book Award.  In the category of Children’s Books. ‎- religion-neutral stethoscope
:::: Watching a clip of Bush speaking on the German news, I notice the person creating the German subtitles is quietly correcting the President’s bad grammar and providing him with coherent thoughts. ‎- religion-neutral stethoscope
:::: No wonder we cannot appreciate the really central Kafka joke, David Foster Wallace advanced: that the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from the horrific struggle.  Our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home. ‎- religion-neutral stethoscope
:::: Nassim Nicholas Taleb coined the term narrative fallacy to refer to the common intellectual blunder of forcing chaos into cosmos in an attempt to account for what eventuates around us.  We are natural story generators, pattern recognition machines, designed to narrate what the world has done to us, whether what the world has done makes sense or not. Give us an incident, no matter how enigmatic, indeterminate, or tenuous its causes, and we will tell in order to generate the impression of coherence. We strong-arm links, invent causal chains. ‎- religion-neutral stethoscope
:::: Because people still read books on trains in Berlin. Fat books. O. can’t make out the titles, but the very fact makes him secretly happy. Several nights ago the filmmaker Su Friedrich revealed to him over dinner this is no longer the case in New York. Everyone on the subway is thumbing his or her smart phone or iPad or iPod instead. You don’t know what those around you are reading, she said. You no longer have any idea who forms the community in which you’re traveling. Fuck that. ‎- religion-neutral stethoscope
:::: How Hemingway turned himself into a character in one of his books and shot himself in the head. How Hunter Thompson turned himself into a character in one of his books and shot himself in the head. How Richard Brautigan turned himself into a character in one of his books and shot himself in the head. How Breece D’J Pancake turned himself into a character in his only book and shot himself in the head. How Yukio Mishima turned himself into a character in one of his books and committed seppuku. Publicly. In 1970. ‎- religion-neutral stethoscope
:::: It should be obvious, said Sukenick, that there is no intrinsic virtue in a quantity of readers. ‎- religion-neutral stethoscope
:::: Trying to reach the castle hovering on the hill above Prague through the city’s winding medieval lanes, you realize the great mistake is to fail to realize Kafka has always been a realist. ‎- religion-neutral stethoscope
:::: Kienholz bought the small town in northern Idaho called Hope. The next town up the road from Kienholz’s is named, perfectly, Beyond Hope. ‎- religion-neutral stethoscope
:::: Maybe life is a process of trading hopes for memories.  Conjectured William T. Vollmann. ‎- religion-neutral stethoscope
How the aim of Wittgenstein’s work is to show us—by making us aware of the bottle’s presence, and thus its inherent limitations into which we are forever bumping our foreheads—the means by which to get out, or, perhaps closer to the point, the means by which we can’t get out, no matter what we do, because the top is sealed, because we can’t think beyond language’s glass grammars, because our perceptions are mediated by what we imagine verbs, nouns, and the rest can do. How one gets out (by not getting out), not through applying a single philosophical method to all the linguistic knottinesses, but by moving from topic to topic every which way in an ongoing calisthenics of inquisitiveness and alertness. ‎- religion-neutral stethoscope
Inclusion body myositis eventually makes swallowing impossible, and next breathing. Ron had lost the use of his fingers, so had bought himself voice-recognition gear. He wrote by means of it. First thing he did when I showed up was to lead me into his study to show off his new gadget, with which he was wrapping up _Last Fall_, his 9/11 novel. (He didn’t know it would be his 9/11 novel. He’d been writing what he believed was a different book entirely when he looked up that glistening morning and saw the first plane explode into the World Trade Center.) (The very next sentence he composed reconceived what he was doing and why.) (His novel changed course in a breath of white space.) ‎- religion-neutral stethoscope
:::: Everybody is identical in their secret unspoken belief that way deep down they are different from everyone else. Apothegmed David Foster Wallace. ‎- religion-neutral stethoscope
:::: During the Cold War, a friend explains to me over dinner at Mao Thai in the gentrification creep of Prenzlauer Berg, those living in West Berlin were exempt from the Federal Republic’s compulsory military service, and so young radical artists, writers, and musicians spewed into the city. Being a brief parable about how Berlin, a country subsisting inside another country, has happened for more than 100 years. With, of course, a handful of notable exceptions. ‎- religion-neutral stethoscope
:::: If man were immortal he could be perfectly sure of seeing the day when everything in which he had trusted should betray his trust, and, in short, of coming eventually to hopeless misery. He would break down, at last, as every good fortune, as every dynasty, as every civilization does. In place of this we have death. Posited Charles Sanders Peirce, the father of modern pragmatism, who during the last two decades of his life couldn’t afford heat in winter and was forced to subsist on old bread donated by the local baker. ‎- religion-neutral stethoscope
:::: Assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case. What could you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality? Queried Annie Dillard. ‎- religion-neutral stethoscope

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