“There is a kind of voracious reading that happens between the ages of seven and 17 that I thought was reserved only for, well, children. Sometimes I wonder if all my reading since has been a secret attempt to get close to that experience of sustained absorption.”—adapted from Jane Hu
“It’s this feeling that you want to love strangers, that you want to kiss the man at the post office, or the woman at the dry cleaners—you want to wrap your arms around life, life itself, but you can’t, and this feeling wells up in you, and there is nowhere to put this great happiness—and you’re floating—and then you fall down and become unbearably sad. And you have to go lie down on the couch.”—"Melancholy Play", Sara Ruhl
“When we took Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” into a maximum security woman’s prison on the West Side…there’s a scene there where a young woman is told by a very powerful official that “If you sleep with me, I will pardon your brother. And if you don’t sleep with me, I’ll execute him.” And he leaves the stage. And this character, Isabel, turned out to the audience and said: “To whom should I complain?” And a woman in the audience shouted: “The Police!” And then she looked right at that woman and said: “If I did relate this, who would believe me?” And the woman answered back, “No one, girl.” And it was astonishing because not only was it an amazing sense of connection between the audience and the actress, but you also realized that this was a kind of an historical lesson in theater reception. That’s what must have happened at The Globe. These soliloquies were not simply monologues that people spoke, they were call and response to the audience. And you realized that vibrancy, that that sense of connectedness is not only what makes theater great in prisons, it’s what makes theater great, period.”—Oskar Eustis on ArtBeat Nation (he told the same story on Charlie Rose)
“Does such thing as ‘the fatal flaw,’ that showy dark crack running down the middle of a life, exist outside literature? I used to think it didn’t. Now I think it does. And I think that mine is this: a morbid longing for the picturesque at all costs.”—Donna Tartt, The Secret History
“If you learn something beautiful at 28, you will remember it for 30 years!”—My Alexander Technique teacher last night, after realizing she knew all the lines of a Shakespeare monologue a student was working on.
“In 1865, when she was fifty, her son’s gift of a camera gave her at last an outlet for the energies which she had dissipated in poetry and fiction and doing up houses and concocting curries and entertaining her friends. Now she became a photographer. All her sensibility was expressed, and, what was perhaps more to the purpose, controlled in the new born art. The coal-house was turned into a dark room; the fowl-house was turned into a glass-house. Boatmen were turned into King Arthur; village girls into Queen Guenevere. Tennyson was wrapped in rugs: Sir Henry Taylor was crowned with tinsel. The parlourmaid sat for her portrait and the guest had to answer the bell.”—Virginia Woolf on Julia Margaret Cameron
“I am really interested in silence. In inarticulacy also, which isn’t the same as silence. As a performer I like looking at the gaps between what people want to communicate and what they can communicate. I love good filmmaking that isn’t just about really proficient writers of dialogue, who think that everybody’s really articulate and everybody can hear each other really well. That doesn’t feel true to me, actually. I mean, that’s a fantastical universe.”—Tilda Swinton
When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
If they say We should get together
It’s not that you don’t love them anymore.
You’re trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.
When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven’t seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don’t start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.
Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.