robertogreco + odyssey   14

OCCULTURE: 66. Gordon White in “Breaking Kayfabe” // Ursula Le Guin, Dragons & the Story Shape of the 21st Century
"If ya hit the ol’ play button on this one, it’s probably because of the name in the title. Gordon White is in the house. Mr. White as he’s known in the metafiction that is our current cultural narrative. But Mr. White is no reservoir dog in this story. He’s the Humphrey Bogart of High Magic, the main mage behind the oh-so-popular Rune Soup blog and podcast. You’ve read it, you’ve heard it. And if ya haven’t, well, you’re in for quite the trip on this here starship.

Gordon’s mind is a cabinet of curiosities and we pull out quite a bit of them here, including how we can rearrange our reality, the magic of fiction, artistic impulses, Game of Thrones, a game of tomes, and if ya ever wanted to hear Gordon White speak in pro wrestling terminology, well, there’s a bit of that too.

So let’s do this damn thing already and cast this pod off deep into the primordial chaos, where the protocols of the elder scrolls read more like a legend on a map of Middle Earth than they do a plan of global domination."
gordonwhite  fiction  fantasy  novels  art  makingart  magic  myth  mythology  belief  creativity  ryanpeverly  nonfiction  stories  storytelling  change  homer  bible  truth  ursulaleguin  2018  occulture  westernthought  carljung  josephcampbell  starwars  culture  biology  nature  reality  heroesjourney  potency  archetypes  dragons  odyssey  anthropology  ernestodimartino  religion  christianity  flow  taoism  artmagic  artasmagic  magicofart  permaculture  plants  housemagic  love  death 
february 2018 by robertogreco
OCCULTURE: 67. Carl Abrahamsson & Mitch Horowitz in “Occulture (Meta)” // Anton LaVey, Real Magic & the Nature of the Mind
"Look, I’m not gonna lie to you - we have a pretty badass show this time around. Carl Abrahamsson and Mitch Horowitz are in the house.

Carl Abrahamsson is a Swedish freelance writer, lecturer, filmmaker and photographer specializing in material about the arts & entertainment, esoteric history and occulture. Carl is the author of several books, including a forthcoming title from Inner Traditions called Occulture: The Unseen Forces That Drive Culture Forward.

Mitch Horowitz is the author of One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life; Occult America, which received the 2010 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for literary excellence; and Mind As Builder: The Positive-Mind Metaphysics of Edgar Cayce. Mitch has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Salon, Time.com, and Politico. Mitch is currently in the midst of publishing a series of articles on Medium called "Real Magic".

And it is that series paired with Carl’s book that lays the foundation for our conversation here."
carlabrahamsson  mitchhorowitz  occult  culture  occulture  magic  belief  mind  ouijaboard  astrology  mindfulness  buddhism  religion  academia  antonlavey  materialism  mainstream  intellectualism  elitism  mindbodyspirit  2018  esotericism  authority  norms  nuance  change  enlightenment  popculture  science  humanities  socialsciences  medicine  conservatism  churches  newage  cosmology  migration  california  hippies  meaning  psychology  siliconvalley  ingenuity  human  humans  humannature  spirituality  openmindedness  nature  urbanization  urban  nyc  us  society  santería  vodou  voodoo  voudoun  climate  light  davidlynch  innovation  population  environment  meaningmaking  mikenesmith  californianideology  thought  thinking  philosophy  hoodoo  blackmetal  norway  beauty  survival  wholeperson  churchofsatan  satanism  agency  ambition  mysticism  self  stories  storytelling  mythology  humanism  beinghuman  surrealism  cv  repetition  radicalism  myths  history  renaissance  fiction  fantasy  reenchantment  counterculture  consciousness  highered  highereducation  cynicism  inquiry  realitytele 
february 2018 by robertogreco
Ask Dr. Time: Orality and Literacy from Homer to Twitter
"So, as to the original question: are Twitter and texting new forms of orality? I have a simple answer and a complex one, but they’re both really the same.

The first answer is so lucid and common-sense, you can hardly believe that it’s coming from Dr. Time: if it’s written, it ain’t oral. Orality requires speech, or song, or sound. Writing is visual. If it’s visual and only visual, it’s not oral.

The only form of genuine speech that’s genuinely visual and not auditory is sign language. And sign language is speech-like in pretty much every way imaginable: it’s ephemeral, it’s interactive, there’s no record, the signs are fluid. But even most sign language is at least in part chirographic, i.e., dependent on writing and written symbols. At least, the sign languages we use today: although our spoken/vocal languages are pretty chirographic too.

Writing, especially writing in a hyperliterate society, involves a transformation of the sensorium that privileges vision at the expense of hearing, and privileges reading (especially alphabetic reading) over other forms of visual interpretation and experience. It makes it possible to take in huge troves of information in a limited amount of time. We can read teleprompters and ticker-tape, street signs and medicine bottles, tweets and texts. We can read things without even being aware we’re reading them. We read language on the move all day long: social media is not all that different.

Now, for a more complicated explanation of that same idea, we go back to Father Ong himself. For Ong, there’s a primary orality and a secondary orality. The primary orality, we’ve covered; secondary orality is a little more complicated. It’s not just the oral culture of people who’ve got lots of experience with writing, but of people who’ve developed technologies that allow them to create new forms of oral communication that are enabled by writing.

The great media forms of secondary orality are the movies, television, radio, and the telephone. All of these are oral, but they’re also modern media, which means the media reshapes it in its own image: they squeeze your toothpaste through its tube. But they’re also transformative forms of media in a world that’s dominated by writing and print, because they make it possible to get information in new ways, according to new conventions, and along different sensory channels.

Walter Ong died in 2003, so he never got to see social media at its full flower, but he definitely was able to see where electronic communications was headed. Even in the 1990s, people were beginning to wonder whether interactive chats on computers fell under Ong’s heading of “secondary orality.” He gave an interview where he tried to explain how he saw things — as far as I know, relatively few people have paid attention to it (and the original online source has sadly linkrotted away):
“When I first used the term ‘secondary orality,’ I was thinking of the kind of orality you get on radio and television, where oral performance produces effects somewhat like those of ‘primary orality,’ the orality using the unprocessed human voice, particularly in addressing groups, but where the creation of orality is of a new sort. Orality here is produced by technology. Radio and television are ‘secondary’ in the sense that they are technologically powered, demanding the use of writing and other technologies in designing and manufacturing the machines which reproduce voice. They are thus unlike primary orality, which uses no tools or technology at all. Radio and television provide technologized orality. This is what I originally referred to by the term ‘secondary orality.’

I have also heard the term ‘secondary orality’ lately applied by some to other sorts of electronic verbalization which are really not oral at all—to the Internet and similar computerized creations for text. There is a reason for this usage of the term. In nontechnologized oral interchange, as we have noted earlier, there is no perceptible interval between the utterance of the speaker and the hearer’s reception of what is uttered. Oral communication is all immediate, in the present. Writing, chirographic or typed, on the other hand, comes out of the past. Even if you write a memo to yourself, when you refer to it, it’s a memo which you wrote a few minutes ago, or maybe two weeks ago. But on a computer network, the recipient can receive what is communicated with no such interval. Although it is not exactly the same as oral communication, the network message from one person to another or others is very rapid and can in effect be in the present. Computerized communication can thus suggest the immediate experience of direct sound. I believe that is why computerized verbalization has been assimilated to secondary ‘orality,’ even when it comes not in oral-aural format but through the eye, and thus is not directly oral at all. Here textualized verbal exchange registers psychologically as having the temporal immediacy of oral exchange. To handle [page break] such technologizing of the textualized word, I have tried occasionally to introduce the term ‘secondary literacy.’ We are not considering here the production of sounded words on the computer, which of course are even more readily assimilated to ‘secondary orality’” (80-81).

So tweets and text messages aren’t oral. They’re secondarily literate. Wait, that sounds horrible! How’s this: they’re artifacts and examples of secondary literacy. They’re what literacy looks like after television, the telephone, and the application of computing technologies to those communication forms. Just as orality isn’t the same after you’ve introduced writing, and manuscript isn’t the same after you’ve produced print, literacy isn’t the same once you have networked orality. In this sense, Twitter is the necessary byproduct of television.

Now, where this gets really complicated is with stuff like Siri and Alexa, and other AI-driven, natural-language computing interfaces. This is almost a tertiary orality, voice after texting, and certainly voice after interactive search. I’d be inclined to lump it in with secondary orality in that broader sense of technologically-mediated orality. But it really does depend how transformative you think client- and cloud-side computing, up to and including AI, really are. I’m inclined to say that they are, and that Alexa is doing something pretty different from what the radio did in the 1920s and 30s.

But we have to remember that we’re always much more able to make fine distinctions about technology deployed in our own lifetime, rather than what develops over epochs of human culture. Compared to that collision of oral and literate cultures in the Eastern Mediterranean that gave us poetry, philosophy, drama, and rhetoric in the classical period, or the nexus of troubadours, scholastics, printers, scientific meddlers and explorers that gave us the Renaissance, our own collision of multiple media cultures is probably quite small.

But it is genuinely transformative, and it is ours. And some days it’s as charming to think about all the ways in which our heirs will find us completely unintelligible as it is to imagine the complex legacy we’re bequeathing them."
2018  timcarmody  classics  homer  literature  poetry  literacy  orality  odyssey  walterong  secondaryorality  writing  texting  sms  twitter  socialmedia  technology  language  communication  culture  oraltradition  media  film  speech  signlanguage  asl  tv  television  radio  telephones  phones 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Wendell Berry in California – Boom California
“We ought to love our own states and our own home places better than any others. That is our duty. But to love our own places is to recognize—or it ought to be—that other people love their places better than they love ours. This, too, is our duty. If we love our places, if we recognize that other people love their places, then maybe it is also our duty to refrain from bombing or in any way harming any place. Our own or anybody else’s. So I am speaking here as a Kentuckian, as I should.”

—Wendell Berry, The Land Institute, Salina, Kansas, 25 September 2010

"In a national literature marked prominently by restlessness, roads, and waterways, Berry has written eloquently about placed people, about those who have returned home or never left. Some American escapes have been romantic adventures, some desperate necessities, and some have been both.[3] If the American past has encouraged and even demanded a national literature filled with stories of escape, at times making a romance out of a necessity, Berry has tried through his writing to open up possibilities for an American future that includes not just escapes but returns.[4] Escapes may be riveting, but, whether the perception is accurate or not, an escape implies something deficient about the place and people that caused it. Escapes are not just adventures but fractures."



"The fact remains that Berry spent a meaningful part of his life in California, and we might not have Wendell Berry, Kentuckian, without Wendell Berry, Californian. This suggestion requires some extrapolation and we need to pry a little. It is true that he has lived most of his life in Kentucky and written almost all of his published work there. He has been reluctant to write extensively about other places.[7] In the context of his lifelong endeavor to know and belong to his place, this reluctance to write about other places is consistent. He has refused literary tourism and travel writing. He has also refused the notion that travel is essential for broadening horizons: “I myself have traveled several thousand miles to arrive at Lane’s Landing, five miles from where I was born, and the knowledge that I gained by my travels was mainly that I was born into the same world as everybody else.”[8]

But there are exceptions to this. He wrote parts of his first novel, Nathan Coulter, while on fellowship at Stanford from 1958-1960. He wrote an extended essay, The Hidden Wound, over the winter of 1968-1969 while a visiting professor at Stanford, and he wrote his short novel Remembering during winter 1987 while writer-in-residence at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.[9]

It seems fitting that of the other places he has lived, California is the place where he has spent the most time. He lived in the place that has sung the sirens’ song for so many migrants’ hearts for over two centuries, and is the place that represents American wanderlust more than any other. It is an exaggeration, but still illuminating to compare Berry’s return to Kentucky after tasting California’s sweet shores to Odysseus’ choice to return to Penelope and to Ithaca, made more poignant by the choice’s being resolved on Calypso’s island with a goddess, an island, and immortality on offer."



"Berry describes the incidents that motivated him to write The Hidden Wound in the book’s “Afterword,” written for the 1989 edition. While at Stanford, Berry witnessed several outdoor meetings called by black students for the purpose of establishing a Black Studies program on campus. In Berry’s recollection, the meetings were what historian Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn has called a “harangue-flagellation” ritual in which the black students condemned the white students and faculty for their racism and the whites in attendance nodded in agreement mixed with occasional applause.[30] In another situation on campus, Berry found himself in the middle of a civil rights protest. When a student in the protest heard Berry ask his companion a question in his Kentucky drawl what was going on, his accent prompted the response, “You damned well better find out!”[31]

Berry thought there was no way for him to speak meaningfully in that context, and so The Hidden Wound is what he would have said had the moment allowed it. He wrote it during the winter break in the Bender Room at Stanford University’s Green Library. The essay was motivated by the feeling that the civil rights milieu at the time was at a stalemate and would stay there if the focus on power eclipsed other possible ends. Though Berry agreed that racism was a moral evil and political problem, he thought the most visible sentiments guiding these events were dangerous. Just as in his writing about agriculture, nature, and land—and in his, “A Statement Against the War in Vietnam,” delivered at the University of Kentucky the winter before—he fought abstractions and the separations that oversimplify: of means and ends, of thought and emotion, intentions and actions.[32]

He wrote that the “speakers and hearers seemed to be in perfect agreement that the whites were absolutely guilty of racism, and that the blacks where absolutely innocent of it. They were thus absolutely divided by their agreement.”[33] In his interview with hooks he said more simply: “I thought guilt and anger were the wrong motives for a conversation about race.” People can be more “dependably motivated by a sense of what would be desirable than by a sense of what has been deplorable.”[34] By arguing that power is a necessary part of the discussion, but no more necessary than love, Berry refused the false dichotomy between structure and personal responsibility. During the demonstrations, in contrast, “one felt the possibility of an agreement of sorts, but nowhere the possibility of the mutual recognition of a common humanity, or the possibility of forgiveness and reconciliation, or the possibility of love.”[35]

Berry’s essay was an attempt to acknowledge but transcend the double-binds that choke so many discussions of race, both then and now, by eschewing abstractions and turning to actual people and actual places. His thought was grounded in the assumption that “it is good for people to know each other.” [36] Berry’s essay includes an extended reflection of his love for a black man, Nick Watkins, and a black woman, Aunt Georgie, both of whom he knew in his childhood. He acknowledged that his relationship to them, including an understanding of their perception of and care for him, was always limited by segregation but also by difference in age, as well as the amount of time that had passed since they’d known each other. He had no way of knowing what they thought as he wrote the essay and was responsible in acknowledgement of his limitations, but he also knew that he loved them and that their example in his life was a “moral resource.”[37]

For hooks, this is one of the most important insights of the essay, the acknowledgement that “inter-racial living, even in flawed structures of racial hierarchy, produces a concrete reality base of knowing and potential community that will simply be there.” These relationships can then serve to challenge the more common reality in which “all that white folks and black folks know of one another is what they find in the media, which is usually a set of stereotypical representations of both races.”[38] What both Berry in the essay and hooks in her appreciation of it emphasize throughout is that places need holistic care: the inhabitants need to be open to each other and to strangers, and need to be sensitive to the limitations of the cultures and the flora and fauna that sustain it.

Berry’s reflections on his experiences in California are notable for what they are not and might very well have been—an exercise in distancing himself from his home for its racism or a rejection of the metropolis and retreat into jingoistic provincialism. Many in this situation choose, and then despise the rejected option. Berry chose Kentucky, but he chose a Kentucky that he both loved and sought to improve. He looked for his own native resources and tried to use them to their full potential.

If Berry’s return from California is more significant than his time in California, his call to make ourselves and our places worthy of returns and open to them is one abstraction that should not be limited by place. Berry has helped us imagine these returns as possibilities, and as possibilities that are meaningful and good. Not all of us can or even should return to our places of birth. But all of us—Californians, Kentuckians, Americans—should build places that make returns welcome, joyful possibilities."
wendellberry  california  place  location  matthewstewart  tanyaamyx  wallacestenger  writing  place-based  odyssey  kentucky  travel  race  racism  bellhooks  slavery  place-basededucation  place-basedlearning  place-basedpedagogy 
september 2017 by robertogreco
Inspiration Information: “The Whispering Muse” - The New Yorker
"At the beginning of my novel “The Whispering Muse,” the two main narrators meet for the first time in the mess room of a freighter on its maiden journey from Denmark to the Black Sea. As the octogenarian racial theorist/fish enthusiast Valdimar Haraldsson sizes up the ship’s muscular second mate, a man of the hesitant, storytelling type, he is surprised to see that his rival uses a primitive gadget to help him tell his tale:
Before embarking on his tales the mate had the habit of drawing a rotten chip of wood from his pocket and holding it to his right ear like a telephone receiver. He listened to the chip for a minute or two, closing his eyes as if in sleep, while under his eyelids his pupils quivered to and fro.

When the ship’s captain sees how flabbergasted old Haraldsson is by the second mate’s pantomime with this piece of wood—which looks like nothing so much as the rotten driftwood that used to wash up on the shores of his youth, “bored by worms, gnawed by insects, polished by wind and water, hammered by rocks”—he leans in and whispers, “That’s where he gets the story from … ”

The chip of wood turns out to be a splinter from the bow timber of the great ship Argo, the famous vessel steered through the Mediterranean Sea by the legendary Jason, the son of Aeson, and powered by his crew of heroes, the Argonauts. Because the bow of the Argo was fashioned from one of the talking oaks of Zeus, the splinter keeps a spark of its old power, a whisper of its original voice. It carries across the millennia the tales of its travels and the adventures of its crew:
At first it is wordless, like crooning over a cradle, then it swells into a song. The singer is a woman.

Just as the second mate relies on his instruments of wood and words to inspire his narration, so did I use a handful of metaphorical whispering devices to inspire and inform my writing of the novel: five books made from tree pulp, their pages sprinkled with letters.

The first of these was “Innan lands og utan” (“Home and Abroad”), a suspiciously boring book of travel stories written by my great-grandfather, Matthías Þórðarson frá Móum, an avid but forgotten author of books about the fish trade and himself. In it, he tells three stories: the first about his return to Iceland from Copenhagen after years abroad; the second about a visit to the Setes Valley, in Norway; and the third about a sea journey in the late nineteen-forties from Copenhagen to the Mediterranean.

Each story has its particular charm. In the first, he describes how happy and honored his countrymen were to see him again after all his years away; in the second, he is captivated by the traditional costumes and rhymed poetry of the Setes Valley people, their pale skin color, ruddy cheeks, and fine body postures; and, in the third, he is more occupied with the inside of the ship than anything that happens outside it—even when he steps ashore, in Morocco, and visits one of its Grand Bazaars, the narration falls flat compared to his enthusiastic descriptions of his cabin. It was this third story that caught my eye as possible material. Its “anti-narration” had the flavor of modernist writing in its main character’s insistent refusal to engage with what is supposed to be noteworthy in a story. Yet it wasn’t enough to sustain a whole novel.

Then I came across a two-part essay that my great-grandfather published in an Icelandic journal in 1936. It is called “Fiskur og menning” (“Fish and Culture”), and, while I read it, the image that I had had of him as a rather amusing but boring old fart got both weirder and darker. In the essay, he proposes, in all seriousness, a theory about the relationship between fish consumption and the superiority of the Nordic race. With its overt agenda of genetic purity, it’s quite an unsavory piece of writing. I figured that enough shadows had now been added to the old man’s character to keep a writer and his reader busy for at least a hundred and fifty pages. But the thought of being locked up for weeks on end on a ship with my fish-obsessed, racist great-grandfather instantly brought on an intense feeling of suffocation. I had to find a way to make it bearable.

Aboard his freighter, my great-grandfather had mentioned a crew member who continually told stories. He could be my ally against boredom! But, because my great-grandfather had found the sailor’s tales too cheap and dirty to record, I had to look elsewhere for tales from the salty seas. Two years earlier, at the annual used-book market in Reykjavík, a book had caught my eye by virtue of its ridiculous cover. It was garishly bedecked with photographs of a sturdy man in situations that clearly showed that he had sailed the seven seas, had feasted in many a harbor, and flexed his muscles both fighting and embracing. Of course, I had brought it home. The book, “Enn sigli ég minn sjó” (“More Life on the Ocean Wave”), was the seafaring memoirs of Hrafn Valdimarsson, and it was a horn of plenty when it came to tales of hardship on the seas and adventures in faraway lands. To my joy, I soon discovered that it was the sequel to “Ég sigli minn sjó” (“Life on the Ocean Wave”), in which the events described so shamelessly were even more delectable.

I had definitely found a figure strong enough to counter the lectures on racial superiority and seafood. But, as I started pitching him against the old man in my novel, who by now had acquired the name Valdimar Haraldsson, I realized that even these tales left no bigger mark on my fictional character than they had on my great-grandfather. I needed something that would clash like a titan’s shield against the overwhelming banality of one of the poorest excuses for a myth in modern times: the myth of the Nordic Übermensch.

The year before, I had traveled to Greece to be at the opening ceremony of the 2004 Olympic Games, in Athens, where Björk sang the song that she and I had written for the occasion. The lyrics had been inspired by the Greek myths, with their cycles of metamorphosis and their complicated interactions between man and the superior powers that surround him, and so I made a point during my stay to visit the ruins of the great Temple of Poseidon, at Sounion. There, I discovered that Poseidon had never left the dilapidated temple, that in fact he still lay, in his magnificent blueness, at the bottom of the cliffs that supported this structure that men had so long ago built in his honor. With the memory of that year’s Indonesian tsunami fresh in my mind, I knew that, although he was calm and beautiful on the day of my visit to his temple, Poseidon remained an uncontrollable, unpredictable force. He and his fellow gods from Mount Olympus had not forsaken us, even if we had forsaken them.

Now I turned to them for help.

After a short search through my library that included quickly rejecting the Odyssey (for the obvious reason that it has already been used with good results by diverse novelists and poets, such as James Joyce and Derek Walcott, to name but two), I found a story, a setting, and a character that matched the journey I had already set out on. The story was the Argonautica, by Appollonius of Rhodes. It was a story that I thought I knew well from repeated viewings of the Ray Harryhausen film “Jason and the Argonauts” at the Sunday matinées of my childhood. But now I discovered an episode in the original that takes place well before the Argo sails through the Symplegades in search of the Golden Fleece, a tale of how the fearless captain and his crew of mighty heroes become trapped on Lemnos, an island of women who take the Argonauts on as lovers/sex slaves while they repopulate their nation. It is a gem of a seafaring tale—the germ of a tale—that has been told in an endless variety of ways ever since. And it was a tale that I knew a sailor like Hrafn Valdimarsson would have loved, and would have loved to tell.

From the crew list of the Argo (as it is proposed by Robert Graves), I hired a little-known hero who, I believed, brought the most interesting point of view on the situation of a group of men held captive by their lust for womanly flesh: Caeneus, who had been born a girl but metamorphosed into an invincible man after being raped by Poseidon; after life as a soldier, he transformed into a bird in a battle with the centaurs. Now he could take on the unlikely guise of the second mate aboard my novel’s merchant ship.

That is how an alliance was made between the ancient hero Caeneus and the Icelandic seaman Hrafn Valdimarsson, how their voices, their fates, were joined to fight the intolerable drone of my great-grandfather. But even great men like those two need an amazing tool to help them to tell their tale: a talkative, rotten chip of wood that came from the great ship Argo itself. At the end of “The Whispering Muse,” the old man does indeed learn a lesson, but the cost to his rival storyteller is dear.

My great-grandfather died in 1959, having completed his magnum opus, “Síldarsaga Íslands” (“The History of Herring Fishing in Iceland”). It is said that Hrafn Valdimarsson spent his last years in Greenwich Village. Caeneus is eternal and flying around the world on his seagull’s wings.

As I walked through the Village during my stay in New York for the World Voices Literary Festival, I heard a seagull’s scream: “ARRK! ARRK!”

That is a tale for another day, but now you know where I got my story."
sjón  2014  iceland  writing  literature  howwewrite  research  storytelling  odyssey  ancientgreece  combinatorywriting  fish  culture  history  argonautica  appollonius  rayharryhausen 
december 2014 by robertogreco
The Keyboard Collector of Santiago | PRI's The World
"Miguel Castillo left Chile when Augusto Pinochet seized power in Chile.

Castillo, a professor of Greek language and literature, lived in exile in Venezuela for 13 years.

Now back in Santiago, he dedicates himself to poetry, music, and to a remarkable collection of arcane keyboard instruments."
chile  organs  music  musicalinstruments  2013  miguelcastillo  pinochet  pipeorgans  poetry  odyssey 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Hero’s Welcome, The Big Hairy Edition « Snarkmarket
"Like Auerbach, by returning to every document within his tradition, uprooting them, jointing them, and flinging them across the room to find the lived reality beneath, he makes them his own. And there he is home."

[Shorter, edited version referenced within is here: http://www.magcloud.com/browse/Issue/109244 ]

[This post resurfaced today due to a new one: http://snarkmarket.com/2012/8039 ]
longshot  expression  language  howwewrite  understanding  reality  meaningmaking  aggregation  piecingtogether  pieces  nostalgia  creativity  whatweknow  history  music  jerryleelewis  literature  erichauerbach  odysseues  odyssey  2012  timcarmody  from delicious
december 2012 by robertogreco
Fiction Writers Review » Magic and Music Steer this Vessel: On Jorge Luis Borges’s This Craft of Verse
"In this lecture, Borges famously declares that laziness kept him from writing novels. I wonder if this is the same “happy indolence” that Billy Collins has described as his modus operandi. Borges, like the ancients, defines the poet as “‘a maker’—not only as the utterer of those high lyric notes, but also as a teller of a tale."

"“Thought and Poetry” finds Borges asserting over and over again that metaphors should both resonate and unsettle."

"Borges’s humility should be admired but what must also be considered here is the incredible challenge—one may even describe it as a daunting, accusing mountain—that faces the writer. Those “tolerable” pages arrive from labored and conscientious output, through the uncertain process of trial and error, and through the making of, the awareness and recognition of, as well as the correction and ultimate learning from, mistakes."
cervantes  donquixote  bible  beowulf  wittgenstein  2009  books  writing  novels  johnmadera  music  odyssey  homer  poetry  classics  literature  borges  from delicious
january 2012 by robertogreco
Map Tales
"EASILY CREATE AND SHARE MAP-BASED STORIES…
and embed them into your website for free

Journalists, teachers, bloggers and storytellers (to name a few) use Map Tales to chronicle news events, scrapbook holidays, describe walks, plan campaigns, illustrate literature, recount journeys, and bring historical events to life."
maps  storytelling  tools  onlinetoolkit  maptales  mapping  narrative  odyssey  aroundtheworldin80days  julesverne  homer  hackfarm  classideas  location  literature  history  travel  from delicious
december 2011 by robertogreco
The primes of the story « Snarkmarket
The Lost Books of the Odyssey manages a pretty impossible mix; …it’s both mathematically precise and completely wacky. Like, you start reading it &, especially if you know its reputation (a combinatorial exploration/explosion of the classic myth, written by a computer scientist, etc.) you expect this cold, hard Borgesian puzzle-box. And the book does, in face, tickle your brain in that way, and with no word wasted in the process… but then it also surprises you with warmth, and real sadness, and a terrific storyteller’s voice all throughout. It’s one of my absolute favorites of the past few years…

…When I think back to the books I’ve read over the past few years, I don’t really remember a lot of plot details—what happened when and to who. Instead, I remember images…

So increasingly, this is how I judge a book: does it leave me with at least one truly durable image? Is there one moment I can see again in sharp detail two months or two years later? If so, I call that success…"
reading  culture  books  robinsloan  lostbooksoftheodyssey  odyssey  durableimages  primesofthestory  storytelling  imagery  classideas  memory  experience  zacharymason  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco
n+1: N1BReading, Part 2
"The Lost Books of the Odyssey by Zachary Mason—that book was awesome. It came out in 2007 from a tiny publisher & was republished by FSG last year, at which point my esteemed friend Mansbach gave it a review…I think he was less enthusiastic than I have since become. The book is not just a game w/ the Odyssey…but a genuine rewriting of it. For what was the thing about Odysseus? He was crafty; he was smarter than everyone else. But what did it mean to be smarter than a bunch of peasants; what did it mean to be a logician 600 years before the birth of Pythagoras? Mason puts the ingeniousness, the cleverness, & the math back into Odysseus & back also into contemporary literature. It’s interesting that, according to the jacket copy, Mason in his day-to-day life works on AI: Computers too are pre-logical, full of force but lacking reason. Working with computers all those years, Mason must himself have come to feel like Odysseus among the Agamemnon-era Greeks." —Keith Gessen
books  odyssey  lists  n+1  zacharymason  math  ai  literature  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco
Angela Ritchie's Ace Camps - Why We Travel - Pico Iyer
"We travel…to lose ourselves…to find ourselves…to open our hearts & eyes & learn more…to bring what little we can, in our ignorance & knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed…to become young fools again—to slow time down & get taken in, & fall in love once more…

…travel…is just a quick way to keeping our minds mobile & awake. As Santayana…wrote, “There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar; it keeps the mind nimble; it kills prejudice, & it fosters humor.” Romantic poets inaugurated an era of travel because they were the great apostles of open eyes. Buddhist monks are often vagabonds, in part because they believe in wakefulness. And if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end."

[Wayback: http://web.archive.org/web/20110526050656/http://www.ritchieacecamps.com/why-we-travel-pico-iyer ]
picoiyer  travel  learning  identity  glvo  self  knowledge  tcsnmy  ignorance  slow  time  love  santayana  thoreau  ralphwaldoemerson  wakefulness  awareness  noticing  observation  familiarity  transformationcompassion  empathy  work  life  freedom  proust  language  camus  fear  disruption  odyssey  grahamgreene  dhlawrence  vsnaipaul  brucechatwin  samuelbutler  paultheroux  oliversacks  petermatthiessen  marcelproust  albertcamus  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco

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