Quote of the Day: Erling Kagge

  • The secret to walking to the South Pole is to put one foot in front of the other, and to do this enough times.

— Erling Kagge, Silence in the Age of Noise

Explorer Monday: National Geographic, April 1987

Robert Falcon Scott to his wife, last instructions (found on his body eight months later):

Make the boy interested in natural history, if you can; it is better than games; they encourage it at some schools. I know you will keep him in the open air.

Above all, he must guard and you must guard him against indolence. Make him a strenuous man. I had to force myself into being strenuous, as you know — had always an inclination to be idle.

Robert Falcon Scott “and two companions made it to within 11 miles of safety — a depot of supplies known as One Tom Camp some 150 miles from their base camp. They had walked more than 1,600 miles, to the Pole and almost back.”

— Sir Peter Scott, The Antarctic Challenge, National Geographic, April 1987

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

More From Rosario Ferré’s Essay, The Writer’s Kitchen

  • Any writer or artist, women or man, has a sixth sense which indicates when the goal has been reached, when what she or he has been molding has acquired the definitive form it must have. Once that point has been reached, one extra word (a single note, a single line) will irreversibly extinguish that spark or state of grace brought about by the loving struggle between the writer and his or her work. That moment is always one of awe and reverence: Marguerite Yourcenar compares it to the mysterious moment when the baker knows it is time to stop kneading the dough; Virginia Woolf defines it as the instant in which she feeks the blood flow from end to end through the body of the text.

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The Sensible Mrs. Morland

Northanger Abbey, p. 273:

Mrs. Morland addresses Catherine’s seeming dejection after the abrupt end of her visit with the Tilneys:

“. . . you are fretting about General Tilney, and that is very simple of you; for ten to one whether you ever see him again. You should never fret about trifles.” After a short silence — “I hope, my Catherine, you are not getting out of humor with home because it is not so grand as Northanger. That would be turning your visit to an evil indeed. Wherever you are you should always be contented, but especially at home, because there you must spend the most of your time.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

John Thorpe, Villain: NORTHANGER ABBEY, pp. 48 – 49

Self might as well tell you who the villain is; you will enjoy this novel so much more as you read: That is, you will be so much more aware of the dangers posed by hypocrisy, and insincere flattery, carelessness and a sense of entitlement. Self advises all blog readers to take notes, in case any of your acquaintance or any members of your immediate family exhibit similar behavior (Every family has its own villains, don’t deny it):

“Ah, mother! How do you do?” said he, giving her a hearty shake of the hand: “where did you get that quiz of a hat, it makes you look like an old witch. Here is Morland and I come to stay a few days with you, so you must look out for a couple of good beds some where near.”

This address seemed to satisfy all the fondest wishes of the mother’s heart, for she received him with the most delighting and exulting affection. On his two younger sisters he then bestowed an equal portion of his fraternal tenderness, for he asked each of them how they did, and observed that they both looked very ugly.

You can always tell who the shallowest men are in a Jane Austen novel because they pass the silliest judgments on women’s appearance.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Kenan Malik in The Observer, 21 April 2019 (Easter Sunday)

Self arrived in London several hours ago. So most of her quotes (for the next couple of weeks) will be from British or Irish papers, like The Observer.

“The problem is not fierce argument, but a rush to damn our opponents.”

Self wishes she could quote every sentence of this piece. Here’s the opening, including the header:

Robust debate is evidence of a healthy society.

But it is not debate America is having right now. Those who cite “freedom of speech” to bash others are not really open to freedom of speech, and they prove it by coming up with labels like “socialists” or “the extreme left” or “crazy liberals.”

And BTW, can self just say that Meghan McCain is almost unwatchable. Every episode of The View now, she has to say something like “those on the left” or “the extreme left.” Self would like to send her a link to the Kenan Malik piece. It is NOT helpful to bandy about labels like these, which sound altogether too neat (as if she really knows what “the extreme left” is. You know how self knows Meghan doesn’t know what an “extreme left liberal” is? Because self doesn’t know herself. It’s a label that was born with this White House. And she doesn’t trust it. Because it sounds like a label concocted purely for political purposes. Which means the very label itself is a lie.)

In contrast, self is 100% sure when she says “the GOP is no longer a credible political party.” You will never find self saying “The GOP is not a credible political party because they are made up of rightists.” No, she’ll say “the GOP is no longer a credible political party because they fronted us Donald Trump.” And even now they can’t admit it. Self knows they can’t admit it because they keep coming up with more ridiculous labels.

We in America (and self knows this, since she lives there) are driving ourselves crazy trying to parse stupid statements like “I’m not a robot” — endlessly.

Or, “rake the forest floor.” And when we defend ourselves, the White House will bring up “crazy liberals.” Which the base seems to accept as fact.

Self would just like to say that pairing “crazy” with anything is the surest way to kill debate. Something America so desperately needs.

Here’s some advice: When a person brings up “crazy liberals” in a conversation with you, you should stop speaking to that person. Immediately. Because you’re having a fake conversation. And those are the worst kinds. Absolutely the worst. Because the person’s just using you as an excuse to air a platform.

Which was the case with Sarah Sanders and George Stephanopoulos last week.

Also BTW (this post is so full of them, apologies), Sarah Sanders took a page right out of the Justin Bieber playbook: his “sorry I make mistakes but I’m not a robot.”

Yes, Sarah, you have just followed in the footsteps of a twenty-something pop star. High Fives!

 

Gender Politics

It is so mysterious to want to suppress women. It is even more mysterious when women want to suppress women. I can only think we are so very powerful that we need to be suppressed all the time.

— The Cost of Living, p. 49

The Writing Life, from Deborah Levy

  • The writing life is mostly about stamina. To get to the finishing line requires the writing to become more interesting than everyday life . . .

The Cost of Living: A Working Autobiography, p. 36

Re-reading Robert E. Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power

An emotional response to a situation is the single greatest barrier to power, a mistake that will cost you a lot more than any temporary satisfaction you might gain by expressing your feelings. — Robert Greene


Plus, from one of her old journals:

  • Today I had a massage . . . lol

Written, of course, in Bacolod. In Bacolod, self was always so mellow. She was never angry. A one-hour massage averaged 500 pesos, about $9. She had daily massage, over there. Heck, she could even have had two massages daily, if she felt like it. All the masahistas had strong, unerring hands. They seemed to know by instinct. Only once did self ever have a bad message in Bacolod: the woman just moved her hands skimmingly over the skin, didn’t really knead it. Ugh, self felt she’d spent a full hour just being tickled.

One night, during a massage, self kept hearing the distant, popping sounds of what she thought were gunshots. It made her so uneasy. The masahista said it was Firecrackers. Oh, it was New Year’s Eve? It had completely slipped self’s mind.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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