17 August 2010

something i read in harper's

[click image, video playlist that may or may not be missing some parts, couldn't find them....]


Can't find it on the tubes, and dumbly just ripped out the paragraph so can't even cite the author.
Let's lie and say there are only two kinds of writers I like, the caffeinated and the sleepy. Balzac exemplifies the the caffeinated. He drank coffee to the point of a trembling hand—something like thirty cups a day—and then he'd masturbate to the very edge of orgasm, but not over, and that state—agitated, excited to the point of near madness—was Balzac's sweet spot, in terms of composing. Then there's the sleepy: De Quincy with his opium, Milton waking up his red-slippered daughters to take down verses that had come to him in a dream. We might also think of the method by which Benjamin Franklin purportedly came up with inventions: he'd deprive himself of sleep, then, exhausted, sit in an uncomfortable chair while holding a heavy metal ball in each hand so that when he'd nod off a hand would go limp and its ball fall, making a sound that would wake him from his dreams. That was how he came up with his best ideas for inventions, basically asleep—just not so asleep that he couldn't take down a few notes.
We don't push ourselves, and we don't get outside the box enough to produce our best stuff.

Useless, and venal, pursuits take up all our excuse generation capabilities, being safer and maybe even profitable.

I'm a little worried about being both caffeinated and sleepy, here, but comforted that the same issue informed me that "neon on Jupiter is absorbed into raindrops of helium."



  1. Off topic but you might want to check the story on perfect glass here.

  2. Thanks for thinking of me, Jo.


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