Georges Perec - Life a User's Manual (Vintage, 2008)

the woodblock floor with its zigzag moulding to be lifted and replaced by a layer of cement, a felt underlay, and a fitted carpet.

cloisonné floor

lisle-thread shirt

Madame Louvet is a very stylish woman, coming on forty, who likes to wear culottes, yellow check waistcoats, leather belts, and chunky tortoise shell bracelets.

an artist, on the other hands, could never cease to be dependant on middle-class need.

Rippaille, that white wine as light as glacier water, as dry as gun flint

He has a quite stylish way of doing fish and shellfish dishes, and also vegetable starters: raw artichokes in pepper and salt, cucumber in dill, courgettes in turmeric, cold ratatouille with mint, radishes in cream and chervil, capsicum with basil, plum tomatoes in Provençal thyme.

She is a thin little girl with a sad face and gloomy eyes, who spends hours in front of her mirror whispering frightful stories to herself.

His family's original surname, the one which his great-grandfather, a saddler from Szczyrk, had purchased officially from the Registry Office of the County of Krakow

Mayenne linen

She insisted on haiving a window, a stone sink, a real gas cooker with rings, a deep frying pan, a chopping block, and especially a scullery to put her empty bottles in, for her cheese, wickers, crates, potato bags, her buckets for washing vegetables, and her salad bowl.

In her mind's eye she could see the arrival of the old moonshiner, who came from Buzançais, with his red copper still drawn by a little black mare answering to the name of Belle; and the toothpuller with his red bonnet and his multicoloured leaflets; and the bagpipe-player who accompanied him, blowing his pipes as hard and as out of tune as he could so as to cover the cries of the unfortunate patients.

He struck up a conversation with me quickly and we began to drink together, to chat about this and that, about the war, life, death, London, Paris, beer, music, night trains, beauty, ballet, fog and life.

Agen plums

page 44, story of trapeze artist like in short story collection


The Penguin Book of Korean Short Stories, ed. Bruce Fulton (Penguin, 2023)

Lydia Davis The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis (Penguin, 2009)

Filip Springer- 13 pięter (Karakter, 2020)

Edith Wharton - The Age of Innocence (Wordsworth, 1999)

they all lived in a hieroglyphic world, where the real thing was never said or done or even thought, but only represented by a set of arbotrary signs.

an expensive but incoherent education.

Constance de Jong - Modern Love (Primary Information/Ugly Duckling Presse, 2017)

He was holding her in warm sleep.

In the wake of the Armada, an upsurge in national energy expressed itself in an increasing appetite for the elaborate and brilliant. England began to sparkle with a newfangled luxury—glass. This fragile and glittering substance had a precous estimation, approaching that of jewels. Its transparency and color were exciting to people who'd seen little of it. A famous Venetian glass worker was given a monopoly of production, provided he taught his craft to the Queen's natural subjects. Under his supervision, glasshouses were set up all over London.

I begin to consider the possibilities. There are two: Either I stay right here or I go on.

I see more confusion. I have to thinkl Can I? I feel I'd better; I realize I must; I decide I will: won't I taste smell feel better when I can think realize decide? Won't I? Shouldn't I? Mustn't I? Well, I feel I should there I think I am. I mean I think I can. I / My thoughts have gone astray.

I'll write about the past. In the past, everything is immaculately arranged. All things have the same value: people, books, events, chairs, numbers, me, love, New York are of equal value. Are interchangeable. A little of this, a little of that; everything is coincidenta, is interconnected. It's so simple, it all fits: events are things; people are arranged; are simply things following from/leading to other things.

Machado de Assis - Dom Casmurro, trans. Helen Caldwell (Daunt Books, 2015)

Still, a different life does not mean a worse life

My mother was a good example of fidelity to old habits, old customs, old ideas, old-fashioned ways. She had her museum of relics: toothless combs, a bit of a shawl, some copper coins dated 1824 and 1825, and, that everything might be ancient, she tried to make herself old, but I have already mentioned that on this point she did not entirely attain her wish.

Anything is an excuse to a heart in agony

Olga Tokarczuk - The Books of Jacob, trans. Jennifer Croft (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2014)

The tailor, the ropemaker, the furrier in close proximity, all of them Jews; then there's the baker whose last name is Loaf, which always delights the vicar forane because it suggests a sort of hidden order that—were it more visible and consistent—might lead people to live more virtuous lives.

Another woman offers up lumps of cheese on horseradish leaves.

A man in a dusty smock sells eggs by the dozen in little baskets woven out of blades of grass, which he keeps in a box that hangs from his skinny shoulders.

Frank, or Frenk, mean foreign...being foreign is a quality of those who have frequently changed their places of be foreign is to be free.

They rest along the way, in the shade of some olives trees, with a view of Craiova before them. How small this city seems now - like a little handkerchief.

After all it is said: 'He who is full of himself has no space left for God.'

On this we agreed: some plants contain more light than others—the most light being held by the cucumber, and also the eggplant of all types of long melons.

impatience is human, as is believing in chance and hoping for adventure.

It was so generous of You to send Your Wine, and I truly love the Taste of it.

the phantom trains of thought between things that are naturally strangers.

But words and images must be flexible and contains multitudes, they must flicker, and they must have multiple meanings.

already he is entering another country, a different cosmos, in which people are no longer planets that orbit according to established paths, around the market square, the home, the shop or the field, but are instead errant streaks of fire.

herbs in the 1700s

The very city tries to pass itself off as something else, somewhere more populated, more extensive, prettier, when in fact it's just a plain old dump with muddy little roads. Everything is so expensive here that all you can do is window-shop, and it's all imported from elsewhere. Hats from England, French-style frock coats from France, Polish-style fashion from Turkey. And the city itself? Terrible, cold, abysmal, full of empty squares the wind howls down. Magnificent houses are built right in the sand, in the mud, and you see servants transferring ladies from their carriages onto a wooden walkway so that they don't drown in puddles in their thick, fur-lined mantles.

a lofty, cool Polish irony

It's hard to grasp what's going on when you are reading Polish. As a language, it's quite stange.

It is Monday, 10 September 1759...Peasants are selling small, sweet hungarian plums and Wallachian nuts. You can also buy quartered melons laid out on big leaves.

'Shabbitarians,' shout individual voices, but they get tripped up on that difficult word, and so it stays in motion, travelling from mouth to mouth, until its awkawrd angularity softens and straightens out.

Fog hovers every morning in town like thick sour cream.

There is something wonderful in being a stranger, in being foreign, something to be relished, something as alluring as sweets. It is good not to be able to understand a language, not to know the customs, to glide like a spirit among others who are distant and unrecognizable. Then a particular kind of wisdom awakens—an ability to surmise, to grasp the things that aren't obvious. Cleverness and acumen come about. A person who is a stranger gains a new point of view, becomes, whether he likes it or not, a particular type of sage. Who was it who convinced us that being comfortable and familiar is so great? Only foreigners can truly understand the way things work.

In Poland, foreign is always more appealing than domestic

The most melancohly sound in the heard from a distance, crippled by the wooden walls, the buzz of human beings...Soon the sound of distant bells from town will join in and flood the whole area with an unbearable despair.

Poland is the most particular place on earth, at once the worst and the best.

These young friends, poets, philosophers, and God knows what else...are modern, open people...They are eternally exhilirated, in a perpetual state of light elation, delighted with themselves, with their own verses, which teem with allegory and abstraction.

The chocolate unleashes such sensory pleasure that the street outside becomes blurry

Ossolineum in Wrocław.

Italo Calvino - Invisible Cities, trans. William Weaver (Vintage Books, 1997)

Arriving at each new city, the traveler finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places.

Memory is redundant: it repeats so that the city can begin to exist.

The city is redundant: it repeats itself so that something will stick in the mind.

Witold Gombrowicz - Bacacay, trans. Bill Johnston (Archipelago Books, 2004)

The Halifax put into Pernambuco, from where I returned to Poland to take a rest.

But the professor's raised hand dropped back down. And we, the witnesses, were dumbstruck. There was no cheek! I repeat, there was no cheek; there were only two rosebuds and something like a vignette involving doves!

"But, Professor," I cried—and with me Roklewski, who in the meantime had married and started a family on Krucza Street

Marguerite Duras - Practicalities, trans. Barbara Bray (Grove, 1992)

cleanliness is also a kind of superstition.

In most modern houses there are none of the rooms you need to supplment the basics of kitchen and bedrooms. I mean rooms to keep things in. How can you do without them, and where are you supposed to do the ironing and the sewing and store things like nuts and apples and cheese and machines and tools and toys and so on?
And modern houses don't have passages, either, for children to play and run about in, and for dogs, umbrellas, coats and satchels. And don't forget the passages and corridors are where the young ones curl up and go to sleep when they're tired, and where you go and collect them to put them to bed. That's where they go when they're four years old and have had enough of the grown-ups and their philosopy. That's where, when they're unsure of themselves, they go and have a quiet cry.

At certain hours of the day, in those times, a solitary bird would cry out in the luminous dark before night fell. Even then night fell fast or slowly according to the day and the season or the state of the sky, or whether the pain in someone's heart was terrible or only slight.

One reason, perhaps the chief reason, why houses are flooded with material possessions is the longstanding ritual by which Paris is regularly submerged by sales, super-sales and final reductions. White sales, sales of left-over from summer in the autumn and from autumn in the winter - women buy as some people take drugs, not because they need the things but because they're cheap. Then, when they get them home, as often as not they just throw them away. 'I don't know what came over me,' they say. As they might say if they spent a night in a hotel with a stranger.

Home was stimultaneously her and the house - the house around her and her inside the house.

Artur Kiela - Legendy Zydowskiego Krakowa (Wydawnictwo Bona, 2002)

snujących się w tę i z powrotem po zatopionym w mroku cmentarzu

Leo Tolstosy - Anna Karenina, trans. Constance Garnett (Barnes and Noble Classics, 2004)

Sappho Shtoltz was a blonde beauty with black eyes. She walked with smart little steps in high-heeled shoes, and shook hands with the ladies vigorously like a man.

"But what's to be done? What's to be done?" he said to himself in despair, and found no answer.


Katy Bentall - Greenwriting. (Bored Wolves, 2022)

Alaa Abu Asad - Wild Plants of Palestine. (Self-published, 2020)

Constance de Jong - Reader. (Primary Information 2022)

Miron Białoszewski - Obmapoywanie Europy. AAAmeryka. Ostatnie wiersze. (Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 1983)

Dylan Angell - Demanding the Room. (Bored Wolves, 2022)

Haruki Murakami - Kafka on the Shore, trans. Philip Gabriel (Vintage, 2005)

You’re in the middle of something wonderful, something so tremendous you may never experience it again. But you can’t really understand how wonderful it is. That makes you impatient. And that, in turn, leads to despair.

The strength to quietly endure things - unfairness, misfortune, sadness, mistakes, misunderstandings.

The sense of tragedy - according to Aristotle - comes, ironically enough, not from the protagonist’s weak points but from his good qualities….People are drawn deeper into tragedy not by their defects but by their virtues.

Puccini’s music is somewhat - what should I call it? - eternally antagonistic to the times.

Moss has wordlessly covered the rocks.

Our responsibility begins with the power to imagine.

I can feel the limits of what humans are capable of - that a certain type of perfection can only be realized through a limitless accumulation of the imperfect.

A great silence descended on the woods.

Spirit projection…where the soul temporarily leaves the body, goes off a great distance to complete some vital task, and then returns to reunite with the body.

In traveling, a companion. In life, compassion.

Lyn Hejinian - My Life and My Life in the Nineties (Wesleyan Poetry Series, 2013)

If only you could touch, or, even, catch those gray great creatures.

"Everything is a question of sleep," says Cocteau, but he forgets the shark, which does not.

Unhappily, time seems more normative than place.

A German goldsmith covered a bit of metal with cloth in the fourteenth century and gave humankind its first button.

The shadows one day deeper.

had come to believe the lie herself.

I grew stubborn until blue as the eyes overlooking the bay from the bridge scattered over its bowls through a fading light and backed by the protest of the bright breathless West.

This simply means that the imagination is more restless than the body.

The baby is scrubbed everywhere, he is an apple.

A glass snail was set among real camelias in a glass bowl upon the table.

When what happens is not intentional, one can't ascribe meaning to it, and unless what happens is necessary, one can't expect it to occur again.

From here each day seems like a little boat and all the days are swept and tilted back and forth across an immense and distant bay of blue, gray, green.

I would be aloof, dark, indirect, and upsetting or I would be a center of patience and material calm. So that later, playing alone, I could imagine myself developing into a tree, and then I yearned to do so with so much desire that it made me shapeless, restless, sleepless, demanding, disagreeable.

She was a skinny little girl and her bathing suit fit her so loosely that when she sat to play on the beach the sand fell into the crotch and filled it like a little pouch.

I quote my mother's mother's mother's mother's mother: "I must every day correct some fault in my morality and talents and remember how short a time I have to live."

I feel self-sufficient except with regard to my feelings, to which I was always vulnerable, always in relation to someone else.

Running with a herd of deer, then feeling scattered.

Restlessness is a form of doubt as well as a form of curiosity.

One form of shyness is characterized by the fear of making someone else feel awkward or embarrassed, a kind of heightened sensitivty or extreme empathy.

I have learned to be suspicious of those sudden and spontaneous acts of generosity, for it was in such a mood that I gave away the little wicker rocking chair which had been mine throughout my childhood and had belonged to my mother before that, immediately regretting the gesture, so much so that I couldn't bring myself to ask for its return, since I couldn't do so casually and without resentment, a resentment for which I felt guilty, selfish, embarrassed.

The experience of a great passion, a great love, would remove me, elevate me, enable me at last to be both special and ignorant of the other people around me, so that I would be free at last from the necessity of appealing to them, responding to them.

The white legs of the pear trees, protected from the sun.

To do things for the sake of fame or other gain is selfish, but to do them for your own pleasure is to do them generously.

I was experiencing love, immensely relieved.

The coffee drinkers answered ecstatically.

Within walking distance I went to shop to Muzak with its chewy beat between things of the same kind that are separated only by very small amounts of time.

Enzymes participate in the logic of digestion, which is why we eat the cow and not the grass.

Why isn't the reflection in the mirror flat, since the mirror itself is flat. Or cream, when it turns.

Where is the corner that apples turn,

Milk is spilled from the portrait bowl.

Later Death seemed no more and no less imponderably peculiar to me than the pre-life of an individual, though the latter is never personified. In disguise? in resignation? in surprise? "How am I to choose between all the subjects I have remembered because they once seemed beautiful to me, now that I feel much the same about them all," he answered.

The berries are kept in the brambles, on wires on reserve for the birds.

I want to be free of you, in order to do things, things of importance which will impress you, attract you, so that you can be mine and I can be yours, forever.

Shadows "fill" the checkered, vegetable creek.

A somewhat saltier, earthier tomato grows there and is more seductive.

onions make a worst thirst.

When we first moved in, the neighbors on the left complained about the saxophone, but eventually, as we became familiar, they began to feel well-disposed toward us, friendly, until the noise was what they liked most about us, since it proved them tolerant and generous.

A time slowed down, and a distance brought forward — the wave given pause, a rose, something on paper.

As for we who love to be astonished, we close our eyes so as to remain for a little while longer within the realm of the imaginary, the mind, so as to avoid having to recognize our utter separateness from each other, a separateness that is instantly recognizable in your familiar face.

"we should consider a day lost if we have not danced at least once." filip

In such autobiographical writings we can trace the effects of mental operations to their source.

We know "tomorrow we will be here," and "every person has its double" to demand more logic from life.

What is the nature of this strange work — but it has no nature only condition. Dense, animate music, an encircling circle, secret, Magritte. I thought I saw a nurse in white aloft on a potato, but then I saw it was a swan eating a tomato.

We would speak twice of what we see, we would agree and disagree.

Please note that in my attempt to increase the accuracy of these sentences and the persistence and velocity with which they proceed, I'm pursuing change while trying to outrun the change that's pursuing me.

I was on an empty road in an Italian town in front of a yellow villa, having come a long way in a black carriage to visit Flaubert.

Of course it is pointless to say something that can't be understood, and yet, though you cannot understand my love for you, it is not pointless to tell you of it.

When confronted with the challenge of judging the ethicality of another person's actions, it is best to assume that the situation in which they occurred was complicated.

the madness that filled the gap between what I meant to say and what I did say as it widened.

And if the full span of the wind-willed sail that we call our attention were allowed to apread, then the shadow it would cast would so darken the currents into which we drive as to render them impenetrable, before and behind as below.

We know people by the things which cause them to change.

The hummingbirds in my son's garden are still beset by feral cats that come over the wall from the garden of the poet's widow, but the two eagles that have recently appeared in the highest brances of the cypress tree overlooking the neighborhood appear not to be watching with disinterest. Tehre is a vast field in which to practice for anyone wishing to acquire solid knowledge of what matters.

Subjectivity at night must survive hours during which it encounters nothing that is conscious of it and have nothing to judge but itself.

Carson McCullers - The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (Mariner, 2000)

Through the room there was a quiet murmur of agreement

The other all have something they hate. And they all have something they love more than eating or sleeping or wine or friendly company. That is why they are always so busy.

Flora Yin Wong - Liturgy (Primary Information, 2021)

Because of craving, attachment, and ignorance,
Men, gods, animals, hungry ghosts, and hell-beings
Foolishly go round,
Like the turning of a potter's wheel. -Lalitavistara sutra

A painting moves.
Something slowly across the black pines.

Lyn Hejinian - A Thought Is the Bride of What Thinking (Tuumba, 1976)

Where spring is a major distraction, the potatoes rise among the daffodils.

Fiona Alison Duncan - Exquisite Mariposa (Soft Skull Press, 2019)

I thought that if I looked better my life would be better.

Łukasz Łuczaj - Foraging in Eastern Europe (Pietrusza Wola, 2021)

One of the main factors which lessened interest in the use of wild edible plants in Europe was the extension of potato cultivation as an easy and efficient source of calories.

The twentieth century saw not only a regress in the use of wild plants but also periodic fashions occurred for the use of a certain species or group of species, e.g. cornflower in the mid twentieth century, dandelion at the end of the twentieth century, and presently wild garlic. It is also worth mentioning here the appearance of sweet preserves from wild fruits (jams, juices, wine), which were prepared by most of the rural population in the period after the war, yet back in the nineteenth century were only known in manor houses or not at all.

soups made with fruits. These dishes were usually whitened with milk or cream, sometimes boiled potatoes were added.

For example in 1883 Jadwiga Wojniłłowiczówna from the manor in the village of Lipa, in the Rechysta district in the gubernia of Minsk (now Belarus), related to Rostfiński: "The peasants gather young 'śnita' in spring and cook it with fermnted tree sap: maple, birch." This śnitka was ground elder Aegopodium podagraria.

Shephera in the Mount Babia Góra baked dandelion stems, known there as pępawa, on hot stones.

Peach-leaved Bellflower....dzbanek, the Puszcza Kozienicka forest children ate the flowers of this species, while collecting wild strawberries. Similar information is supplied...from Podlasie, where children treated the flowers as 'cups' for the fruits.

Nowadays the beer is fermented in 1.5 l fizzy drink bottles. Originally it was brewed in wooden containers.

in many places all forest berries were gathered only after the festival of Holy Mother of the Berries on the 2nd of July.

Eating a large amount of raw [beech] nuts may cause lightheadedness and a kind of intoxication, caused by the presence of the alkaloid fagin.

[Ground ivy] was completely forgotten after WWII, apart from the area between Kraków and Bielsko-Biała, where it is still quite popular.

Pierogi Ruskie z Miętą

Mallow...Folk names: babi chleb, serek, babie serki, ślaz, świętojański chleb, Boży chleb, babi chleb, bobki, rajski chleb, gomółki, kopytnik, babka, chleb

The wild one is smaller...and its grains are gathered in wet areas, using sieces, in the morning when there is dew.

It is gathered in June with a sieve, just before and after sunrise, and only when the dew dries out do ripe seeds, with the slightest gust of wind, fall.

Common knotgras...common in downtrodden places.

Modest Aleksander Skarżyński

Polypody...The rhizomes also appear in literature, in two nineteenth century poems, as the food of demonic female fairies.

In Poland, European Wild Pear...occurs in the wild, as do some European Pears...which have gone wild.

The 'fruits' of wild rose are in actuality the overgrown, fleshy bottoms of flowers, which surround the true dry fruit.

The respondents sometimes sent him dried plants as well.

So there is no certainty as to what extent the tradition of using a certain species is a fashion which only emerged in the recent past or an ancient tradition.

Are they for personal use of taken to market in the town?

Pierogi, a relatively late medieval import from Central Asia

In the village of Filipy

Jadwiga Wojniłłowiczówna


Haruki Murukami - The Wind Up Bird Chronicles (Knopf, 1997)

LA Warman - Dust (Inpatient Press, 2022)

Ingeborg Bachmann - Malina

Łukasz Ronduda - Polish Art in the 1970s (CSW Zamek Ujazdowski, 2019)

Cristina Peri Rossi, trans. Psiche Hughes - The Ship of Fools (Readers International, 2017)

Georges Perec - Species of Spaces, trans. John Sturrock (Penguin, 1974)

The order of the alphabet is arbitrary, inexpressive, and therefore neutral.

In every enumeration there are two contradictory temptations. The first is to list everything, the second is to forget something. The first would like to close off the question once and for all, the second to leave it open. Thus, between the exhaustive and the incomplete, enumeration seems to me to be, before all thought (and before all classification), the very proof of that need to name and to bring together without which the world (life) would lack any points of reference for us. There are things that are different yet also have a certain similarity; they can be brought together in series within which it will be possible to distinguish them.

There is something at once uplifting and terrifying about the idea that nothing in the world is so unique that it can't be entered on a list. Everything can be listed.

The piece “attempt at an inventory of the liquid and solid foodstuffs ingurgitated by me in the course of the year 1974”.

I wouldn't like to live in America but sometimes I would.

All utopias are depressing because they leave no room for chance, for difference, for the ‘miscellaneous’. Everything has been set in order and order reigns. Behind every utopia there is always some great taxonomic design: a place for each thing and each thing in its place.

Two or three times a year, when I give a party.

Just as we put all the pots of jam into a jam cupboard.

The opposite of the fashionable obviously isn’t the unfashionable. It can only be what is present, what is there, anchored, permanent, resistant, inhabited. The object and its memory, being and its history.
It's not much use going or seeking to go against the fashion. All that we can seek to do perhaps is to be to one side of it, in a place where the exclusions imposed by the very fact of fashion (in fashion/out of fashion) cease to pertain. This could happen simply by the attention we give to a garment to a colour, to a gesture, by the pleasure merely of a shared taste, in the secret serenity of a custom, a history, an existence.

I would liken myself rather to a peasant cultivating several fields, in one he grows beetroot, in another lucerne, in a third maize, etc. in the same way, the books I've written are linked to four different fields, four modes of interrogation that may in the last resort pose the same question, but pose it in a particular perspective corresponding in each instance for me to a different kind of literary work.

Nothing seems easier than to draw up a list, in actual fact it’s far more complicated than it appears; you always forget something, you are tempted to write, etc., but an inventory is when you don’t write, etc.

But one thing alone in this almost limitless range of possibilities was forbidden to me, that of being born in the land of my ancestors, in Poland, in Lubartów, Puławy or Warsaw, and of growing up there in the continuity of a tradition, a language and an affiliation.

A fictive memory, a memory that might have belonged to me.

So it's a work about memory and a memory that concerns us, although it's not ours, but is, how shall I put it, adjacent to ours and almost as determining for us as our own life story. So there are 3 aspects to the work on memorization. First of all, the everyday examined from every angle, next the search by traditional means for my own life story, then finally fictive memory. There even a fourth one, that would lie in the realm, how shall I put it, of the encrypted, of being inscribed completely in code, and that would be the notation of elements of memories in a fiction like Life a User’s Manual, but practically speaking for internal use only.

Lauren Berlant - Desire/Love (Punctum Books, 2021)

Desire visits you as an impact from the outside, and yet, inducing an encounter with your affect, makes you feel as though it comes from within you; this means that your objects are not objective, but things and scenes that you have converted into propping up your world, and so what seems attractive and autonomous in them is partly what your desire has created and therefore is a mirage, a shaky anchor

the idea of love is desire's endurance, and it's most conventional form

an object gives you optimism then it rains on your parade - although that is never the end of the story

when the lover first risked engagement

the vulnerability that comes to anyone who takes the risk of desiring the pleasure of intimacy

aggression - the lover hungers to have her object right where she can love it

loss of continuity with the world is the core motive for the formation of subjectivity
my continuity loss happened early because of illness

identity is a mirage - a mirage of the ego that gives you an "I" and a name to protect you from being overwhelmed by the stimuli you encounter, and/or a mirage of the social order, which teaches you to renounce your desire's excess and ambivalence so that you can be intelligible under the discipline of the norms that make hierarchies of the social value
this makes me laugh idk why

The Real exerts pressure on the drive to find objects to love, but those objects, bound to the Symbolic, are always insufficient to the pressure of fantasy that keeps one driven towards them
& we are al going through this all at once?! how do people manage to cohere with one another?

Fred, objective (Oedipus)
Lacan, more subjective {Symbolic)
Deleuze/Guattari, rhizomatic, flux, system, genitals don't organize our senses, we are formed by our encounters not one event/trauma or losing mother

love is deemed always an outcome of fantasy. Without fantasy, there would be no love.There would be no way to move through the uneven field of our ambivalent attachments to our sustaining objects, which possess us and thereby dispossess us of our capacity to idealize ourselves or them as consistent and benign simplicities

Foucault's vision of a non-institutionalized mode of pleasure untethered to symbolization or norms brings us to a final for desire is said to take in psychoanalytic theory. This is the concept of fantasy.

the model of the subject whose desire is the truth of her identity and whose actions are the expressions of her desire
marie's poetry

Eliot Weinberger - Angels & Saints (New Directions, 2020)

28 is a perfect number: the sum of all its divisors (1, 2, 4, 7, 14).

At seven, Edith Piaf was cured of blindness there.

St. Bernadette of Lourdes, the first extensively photographed saint.

When we draw water from a well it can happen that we inadvertently bring up a frog.

Stanislaus Szczepanowski
(Poland, 1030-1079)
He excommunicated King Boleslaus the Cruel, who then killed him in church with a sword as he was celebrating Mass.

Crabs are easy to catch, for sometimes they walk forward and sometime backward.

Gertrude of Nivelles, patron saint of cats and cat lovers
Sandalphon, whom Moses met, with his 70,000 heads
Radueriel, the angel of poetry
Penemue, who taught mankind the corrupting art of writing
Schrewniel, who can bestow a good memory
Taliahad, the angel of water
Shetel and Anush and Aebel, who roasted meat for Adam and cooled his wine
Melchisedec, who fed the animals on Noah’s ark
Montmartre, the hill of martyrs
Dionysius (now known as Denis)
Eleazar of Worms
Maria Valtorta
Maria Faustyna Kowalska

Increase Mather - the name “Increase”

They [the shedim] help explain the inexplicable: why, for example, the clothes of a scholar who does nothing but read become worn: the shedim are continually rubbing up against him.

Eliot Weinberger - Oranges and Peanuts For Sale (New Directions, 2009)

There is no text that cannot be translated; there are only texts that have not yet found their translator (this whole essay is great).

So let us say that translation is a trade, like cabinet-making or baking or masonry.

Translation liberates the translation-language, and it is often the case that translation flourishes when the writers feel that their language or society needs liberating. One of the great spurs to translation is a cultural inferiority complex or a national self-loathing.

Because a translation will always be read as a translation, as something foreign, it is freed from many of the constraints of the currently accepted norms and conventions in the national literature.

Cultures that do not translate stagnate, and end up repeating the same things to themselves.

In Middle English, blewe is the color of both the sea and of burnt-out ashes.

Kandinsky said that the sound of a flute is light blue, a cello a darker blue, a double bass an even darker blue, and the organ darkest of all.

Transforms the merely strange into mystery.

La luna llorando dice: Yo quiero ser una naranja. The moon weeping says: I want to be an orange.

The orange is not a fruit, but a berry; I don’t know why. La mar no tiene naranjas, the sea has no oranges.

The Romans got them from the Persians, and built the first greenhouses with sheets of mica to protect them: “orangeries”.

Pairs of Mandarin ducks flew, the Chinese symbol for lovers.

What remains is a kind of presence: like most great poetry. Li Shang-yin’s is always on the verge of being understood and is never quite understood.

“China: At the Court of the Emperors”. The installation, created by the fashion designer Romeo Gigli.

But language is more than the meaning of words.

Leven, ‘alive,’ or drawings made from a model. A vrou-wenleven was a female model, and one who, from time to time, while posing, needed to move; a stilleven—fruit, flowers, or fish—remained still.

Zeno: “If anything is moving, it must be moving either in the place in which it is or in the place in which it is not. However, it cannot move in the place in which it is and it cannot move in the place in which it is not. Therefore movement is impossible.”

This was because The New Yorker always viewed the world through the screen of its cleverness, and never could bear those chunks of life that could not be refracted into its witty prose.

It is permanently fixed in an air of bemused detachment, which it expresses in a style whose sentences are pathologically rewritten by its editors, “polished” (as they call it) until every article, whether a report from Rwanda or a portrait of a professional dog-walker, sounds exactly alike, driven by domestic similes and clever turns of phrases that mix colloquial speech with unexpected synonyms.

Eliot Weinberger - 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei (New Directions, 1987)

Translators usually assume that only one reading of a foregin word or phrase may be presented, despite the fact that perfect correspondence is rare.

Great poetry lives in a state of perpetual transformation, perpetual translation: the poem dies when it has no place to go.

The original is lost, and the earliest surviving copy comes from the 17th century: Wang’s landscape after 900 years of transformation.

Again context is all. Of particular difficulty to the Western translator is the absence of tense in Chinese verbs: in the poem, what is happening has happened and will happen. Similarly, nouns have no number: rose is a rose is all roses.

In its way a spiritual exercise, translation is dependent on the dissolution of the translator’s ego: an absolute humility toward the text. A bad translation is the insistent voice of the translator--that is, when one sees no poet and hears only the translator speaking.

Joris-Karl Huysmans - À rebours, trans. Robert Baldick (Penguin, 1959)

Of all the forms of literature, that of the prose poem was the form Des Esseintes preferred.

The rue Monsieur-le-prince.

The taking of the veil at Sacre-Coeur.

But it suddenly seemed to him that the breeze brought in a vague tide of bergamot with which jasmine and rose water were blent.

A nervous, unbalanced woman who loved to steep the nipples of her breasts in perfumes, but who never really experienced a delicious and overwhelming ecstasy save when her head was scraped with a comb or when she could inhale, amid caresses, the odor of perspiration, or the plaster of unfinished houses on rainy days, or of dust splashed by huge drops of rain during summer storms.

The perfumed Louis XIII style, composed of elements highly prized at that time, of iris powder, musk, chive and myrtle water already designated under the name of “water of the angels”.


De viribus herbarum, the poem of macer floridus.

Saint Severin.

Turtle soup and… Russian rye bread, ripe Turkish olive, caviar, smoked Frankfort black pudding, game with sauces that were the color of licorice and blacking, truffle gravy, chocolate cream, puddings, nectarines, grape preserves, mulberries and black-heart cherries; they had sipped, out of dark glasses, wines from Limagne, Roussillon, Tenedos, Val de Penas and Porto, and after the coffee and walnut brandy had partaken of kvas and porter and stout.

Nancy Princenthal - Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art (Thames and Hudson Limited, 2015)

I lived so far away that by the time anybody got there they’d have to go home.

The first thing she got rid of was obsessive thinking. Then she dropped the things that she did not like about herself.

If you try to drag understanding back by force, you lose your power over it.

Leaving New York has become as much a ritual exodus as going to new is a ritual initiation.

A form that's neither geometric nor organic would be a great discovery.

The works present have an almost incredible air in themselves of being culminations.

Life, according to zen, ought to be lived as a bird flies through the air.

Clarice Lispector - The Passion According to G.H., trans. Idra Novey (New Directions, 2012)

Between me and the green, the water of the air. The green water of the air. I see everything through a full glass.

The witty elegance of my house comes from everything here being in quotes.

Like me, the apartment has moist shadows and lights, nothing here is abrupt; one room precedes and promises the next.

My tragedy was somewhere. Where was my greater destiny? One that wasn't just the story of my life.

What others get from me is then reflected back onto me, and forms the atmosphere called: “I”.

Kirsten Swenson - Irrational Judgments: Eva Hesse, Sol Lewitt, and 1960s New York (Yale University Press, 2015)

They were not intended as saleable objects. The price list alone indicates something of the degree to which LeWitt’s wall drawings represented a critique of the economies of art by rendering the art commodity inseparable from the artist’s time, measured and compensated for “per hour”. There was no longer an object apart from the artist for hire.

Elaborate systems based on arbitrary measurements, burying a box filled with “something of importance but little value”--these were gestures based on an absurd logic and hence intrinsically destabilizing, producing novel experiential situations for viewer and artist alike.

It is a table, yet its oddly low height discourages the tactile, anthropomorphic associations of furniture that correspond to expectations of use.

She employed craft techniques conjuring forms of domestic labor alongside factory production, and used experimental polymers for hand-formed sculptures.

Variations on a theme, finding endless permutations within narrow formal territory.

Collage offered a way around painting.

The serial artist does not attempt to produce a beautiful or mysterious object but functions merely as a clerk cataloguing the results of a premise.

“The aim of the artist would not be to instruct the viewer but to give him information.”

Clarice Lispector - The Besieged City, trans. Johnny Lorenz (New Directions, 2019)

Hearing a knock at the door amounted to the almost same thing as music.

What rotting in the wet leaves.

Placing his hand on the trunk of the chestnut… then Lucrecia placed her hand on the trunk of the chestnut. Through the tree Lucrecia was touching him. The indirect world.

On a sharp stained-glass tone.

When it comes to love it’s undignified to ask for so little.

Lucrecia Neves looked at it and made with her face, imperceptibly, the expression of the chair. Her thought just then was after all very innocent and visible: a thought with four legs, a seat and a back. With this reflection she seemed to have grasped to the very end the perfection of things.

The curtain advancing to the middle of the room.

You could think everything as long as you didn't know it.

One more minute has already transformed it: now the previous way of seeing was no use.

The angel who blows on the doors of churches.

Shuddering beneath the mechanism she herself had unleashed.

Ennobled by patience.

The girl with four shoes was watching.

The flower was showing off.

When a thing didn't think, the form it had was its thought.

And to be enthralled: because behold the table in the dark, raised above itself by its lack of function.

Those long years that were passing through scattered moments.

And right there was her room. Like a piano left open.

The house immersed in the silence of electricity.

It was a patience of constructing and demolishing and constructing again and knowing she might die one day right when she’d demolished in the process of building.

And little by little, as if they'd fallen asleep, it got very late, and transformed.

Eventually she wasn't sure if she was looking at the image or if the image was staring at her because that's how things had always been and you couldn't be sure if a city has been made for the people or the people for the city - she was looking.

The clock struck four. For a moment it seemed to wait for an answer.

Her hats seemed to be made of hats.

She was making herself inexpressive and with empty eyes as if this were the most real way to see herself. She couldn't quite reach herself however, charmed by the deep unreality of her image.

Finally the choice of a hat made her concentrate letting her catch up with the room.

Also in the room the objects, in a constant way, had become unbearable beyond a few seconds -- the girl always had her back turned to some thing; the heavy room had already rushed ahead, heavy with ornaments.

In the meadow a sheet of old paper was vibrating.

“My punctuation is my breath” CL

Lucrecia found herself so close to a fact it laughed at her.

The girl seemed to have rung the bell of another city.

The sun instead of revealing things would hide them with light.

Clarice Lispector - Hour of the Star, trans. Benjamin Moser (New Directions, 2011)

When she was little, since she didn’t have anyone to kiss, she kissed the wall.

You accept anything because you’ve kissed the wall.

Carioca, native of rio

What can you do with the truth that everyone’s a little sad and a little alone.

She knew what desire was — though she didn’t know she knew. IT was like this: she was starving but not for food, it was a kind of painful taste that rose from the pit of her stomach and made her nipples quiver and her arms empty without an embrace. She got all dramatic and living hurt. That’s when she got a little nervous and Glória gave her sugared water.

On Sundays she got up early in order to have more time to do nothing.

She needed others in order to believe in herself, otherwise she’d get lost in the successive and round emptiness inside her.

Whereas the silence of the night was scary: as if it were about to say a fatal word.

Sometimes before falling asleep she was hungry and got a little giddy thinking about a side of beef. The thing to do then was to chew paper into a pulp and swallow.

Someone who has words at his disposal but who feels that words, in all their uncertainty and shiftiness, will dispose of him.

Truth is always an interior and inexplicable contact. My truest life is unrecognizable, extremely interior and there is not a single word that defines it.

Amina Cain - Indelicacy (Macmillan, 2020)

Again the music rose up to the ceiling and went out into the rest of the room. The violin was much more precise that I was or would ever be. Compared to it, I would always be dull and general. Still, it seemed to cut through something inside me and then soothe what it had cut.

I walked to the reading, and when I looked at the streets, I saw a city filled with people I didn’t know, would probably never know. It didn't bother me; it's the same for everyone. When people look at me, they also see a stranger. In a way it is good, and I smiled at the thought of being a stranger walking down the street.

In the afternoons there’s a spaciousness larger than I've ever wanted.

Not radiantly, but with a half radiance.

Jean Genet - Our Lady of the Flowers, trans. Bernard Frechtman (Grove Press, 1963)

A gesture is a poem and can be expressed only with the help of a symbol, which is always, always the same.

My head was covered with dandruff that formed a crust which i would scrape off with my nail and then knock from my nail with my teeth, and which i sometimes swallowed.

She is present wherever the inexplicable arises.

The trousers of the colonists have only one pocket: that is something else that isolates them from the world. A single pocket, on the left side. A whole social system is upset by this simple detail of dress. Their trousers have only one pocket, as the skin-tight breeches of the devil have none, as those of sailors have no fly, and there is no doubt but that they are humiliated by this, as if someone had amputated a male sexual attribute-which is really what is involved. Pockets, which play so simple a role in childhood, are to us a sign of superiority over girls (the colonists being his colleagues at boarding school, or kids prison? Cant remember)

The sky descended upon the earth like a blue power in a glass of water.

The sitting posture of Michaelangelo’s Moses is said to have been necessitated by the compact form of the block of marble he had to work with.

How are we to explain that Divine is now thirty and more? For she really must be my age so that I can appease my need to talk about myself, simply.

When I said that Divine was composed of a pure water, I ought to have made clear that she was hewn of tears.

Nijinsky (the rise of the N, the drop of the loop of the j, the leap of the hook on the k and the fall of the y, graphic form of a name that seems to be drawing the artist’s elan, with its bounds and rebounds on the boards, of the jumper who doesn't know which leg to come down on.

I have spent whole nights at the following game: working up sobs, bringing them to my eyes, and leaving them there without their bursting, so that in the morning my eyelids ache, they feel hard and stony, as painful as a sunburn. The sob at my eyes might have flowed into tears, but it remains there, weight against my eyelids like a condemned man against the door of a cell. It is especially then that I realize how deeply I suffer.

Divine: “my hearts in my hand and my hand is pierced and my hands in the bag and the bag is shut and my hand is caught.”

Jean genet loves the ballet russes

In town, women in mourning are very smartly dressed (first line of something)

A fist, that began as a bow, opens, alights, and slides into gentleness.But one day there would be within arms reach a phial of poison and i would have only to put it to my mouth; and then wait. To wait, with unbearable anguish, for the effect of the incredible act and marvel as the wondrousness of an act so madly irremediable, that brings in its wake the end of the world which follows from so casual a gesture
amazing desc of drug taking, also “on the mantelpiece, a tube of phenobarbital lying on a small painted wooden frigate is enough to detach the room from the stone block of the building, to suspend it like a cage between heaven and earth”

I am forced to use words that are weighed down with precise ideas but I shall try to lighten them with expressions that are trivial, empty, hollow and invisible. - my poetry

Now I am exhausted with inventing circumstances in which he loves me more and more.

From the church to the cemetery, the road was long (good opening line)

Poetry can not totally be a melody of curves (after jean genet) “poetry is something other than a melody of curves”

When standing he would tend to make the basket movement we see Nijinsky making in the old photos where he is dressed in shredded roses (about Darling)

Indifferent and bright as a slaughterhouse knife he passed by cleaving them all into two slices which came noiselessly together again, though emitting a slight scent of hopelessness which no one divulged (I want to be like Darling).

John Waters inspo

Little bouquets of violets - violets everywhere here, is violet a mourning flower, re: gertrude abercrombie

The black velvet rug of the Hotel Crillon, where lay the silver and ebony coffin containing the embalmed body of the Princess of Monaco, was strewn with Parma violets.

Beneath the black haloes of the tiny flat umbrellas which they are holding on one hand like bouquets - like Le mystère Koumiko

The words which compose this book are those that a prisoner said to himself while panting with excitement, those with which he loaded himself, as with stones, in order to sink to the bottom of his reveries, those which were born of the dream itself and which are dream-words, dreams of words.

French prison authorities, convinced that “work is freedom” give the inmates paper from which they are required to make bags. It was on this brown paper that Genet wrote, in pencil, Our Lady of the Flowers. One day while the prisoners were marching in the yard, a turnkey entered the cell, noticed the manuscript, took it away, and burned it. Genet began again. Why? And for whom?

Eva Hesse - Diaries (Hauser & Wirth, 2020)

I felt safe and firm as I was buying something.

The Mimi in Hesse’s diaries. Didn’t my Mimi work in Eva Hesse’s old building? Or for someone named Eva?

Lettered list on 30, Hesse on modern art.

Page 47, 56, 63, 75-80, 96, 139, 248, 316, 409, 734, 742, 745, 834, 837, 840, 843

I have a personality…[which] has been described as spiritual, beauty, enthusiasm, aliveness, childishness, mannerisms all plus a seriousness to achieve something always ahead of me.

Only in accepting and respecting oneself can one respond similarly to others.

He is at a happening in Wuppertal.

Roberto Bolaño - Last Evenings on Earth, trans. Chris Andrews (New Directions, 2007)

What colour is the desert at night? A stupid rhetorical question, yet somehow i felt it held the key to my future, or perhaps not so much my future as my capacity for suffering.

They are dressed as people dress in Mexico City, in clothes that seem to belong to some endless dream.

Lewis Thomas - Lives of a Cell (Viking Press, 1977)

The families of weaver ants engage in child labor, holding their larvae like shutters to spin out the thread that sews the leaves together for their fungus gardens.

Termites make percussive sounds to each other by beating their heads against the floor in the dark.

Borrowed from music by way of mathematics.

Cells communicate with each other by simply touching.

I doubt if I would ever be able to think up my own thoughts.

Whoever sees dead birds, in anything like the huge numbers stipulated by the certainty of the death of all birds.

The Memoirs of Giorgio de Chirico (Peter Owen, 1971)

Before i was 20 years old i had already understood the whole of classical music and classical literature, all philosophy, ancient and modern, but it was only much later that i really began to understand the mystery of great painting.

I had been born (in 1888) at Volos, the capital of Thessaly, on a torrid july say, while the candles melted in their candlesticks and the heart of the summer was intensified by a hot wind blowing over the city.

Which in the salty twilight and cold dawns flew heavily with fleshy wings over warm lakes whose surface boiled and emitted puffs of sulphorous vapour.

A father who encourages a child to draw badly and go from bad to worse, hoping that in this way he will one day become a matisse and earn fame and fortune .

A person in costume needs a painted sky, trees, waters.

Vallombrosa, Italy - always rain, sheets dripping wet, mushrooms growing on the floor

Titian’s ‘blind cupid’ has been discovered after the removal of a picture which had been painted over it a long time after, the death of titian, the said painting represented a swan hunt.

Carria stole his ideas in Ferrara

De Chirico disdain on modernization of art market, 115 and onwards

He wants to restore the nobility and dignity of painting as a man born rich with resources

He hates surrealists and breton and eluard, but eluard has bought his paintings back in 1923 - 1117

He dislikes that people are getting rich of paintings, not the artists

Surrealists are consumerists and posers

Many of his paintings are explorations into technique

The land of dollars and canned food - de chirico on the usa

Renoir with his brush tied to his hand which was deforned with arthritis

Others I remember, in vaguely reverse order

Mikhail Bulgakov - The Master and Margarita
Georges Perec - The Art and Craft of Approaching Your Head of Department to Ask For a Raise
Joy Williams - 99 Stories of God
Cristina Peri Rossi - The Ship of Fools
Cristina Peri Rossi - The Museum of Useless Efforts
Jacqueline Caux - Almost Nothing With Luc Ferrari
Paige Walton - Meter Wide Button
Atul Gawande - Being Mortal
Jane Rule - Desert of the Heart
Helen Dewitt - The Last Samurai
Sayaka Murata - Earthlings
Jean Genet - A Thief’s Journal
Toni Morrison - Beloved
John Ashbery - The Tennis Court Oath
Anthony Bourdain - Typhoid Mary
Haruki Murukami - Sputnik Sweetheart
Kazuo Ishiguro - Remains of the Day
Elena Ferrante - The Neapolitan novels
Marlon James - A Brief History of Seven Killings
Victor Hugo - Les misérables
Chris Kraus - Aliens and Anorexia
Sayaka Murata - Convenience Store Woman
Ling Ma - Severance
Sally Rooney - Conversations With Friends
Sally Rooney - Normal People
Ottessa Moshfegh - My Year of Rest and Relaxation