One thing you notice very early on is that conversation is how we become human. The word “infant” literally means “without the possibility of phatic expression.” We begin our lives by being spoken to and then slowly by responding. It’s what makes us come together as a kindred species. Without this dialogue, without this possibility of exchange, part of our humanity — that which makes us truly human — is lost. So for me conversation is a way of going back to that initial moment. Conversation is a giving and a taking, back and forth.

Paul Holdengräber, The New York Public Library’s interviewer extraordinaire, on the secrets of great conversation.

Couple with this timeless 1866 guide to the art of conversation

(via explore-blog)


Photographs of writers at work.

Note how many standing desks! See also a great book on the subject, The Writer’s Desk.

Filed under: work spaces

I suspect… that one would not be far wrong in saying that in addition to the people to whom it has never occurred that a novel ought to be artistic, there are a great many others who, if this principle were urged upon them, would be filled with an indefinable mistrust… One would say that being good means representing virtuous and aspiring characters, placed in prominent positions; another would say that it depends for a ‘happy ending’ on a distribution at the last of prizes, pensions, husbands, wives, babies, millions, appended paragraphs and cheerful remarks. Another still would say that it means being full of incident and movement, so that we shall wish to jump ahead, to see who was the mysterious stranger, and if the stolen will was ever found, and shall not be distracted from this pleasure by any tiresome analysis or ‘description.’ But they would all agree that the ‘artistic’ idea would spoil some of their fun. One would hold it accountable for all the description, another would see it revealed in the absence of sympathy. Its hostility to a happy ending would be evident, and it might even, in some cases, render any ending at all impossible.
Henry James, “The Art of Fiction” (via mttbll)
When you have symbols, they are operating on different levels, and I don’t even have to know what the symbols mean, but I have to gravitate toward the ones that feel charged in some way… George Saunders talks about looking for words on the page that have a charge to them and following those words, and there is something where you can train your instincts where you can write a page, and the page has a flatness to it, where there’s almost nothing interesting in it, but there’s one sentence there that you as the writer keep being drawn to. That sentence is a portal, literally, into where the actual story is. And the rest of the sentences were just warmup and can just go… That’s where the work acquires depth.
Aimee Bender (via mttbll)


Underwater Photography by Ed Freeman



Charles A.A. Dellschau. Aeros. 1899-1922.

In the fall of 1899, Charles Dellschau (1830-1923), a retired butcher living in Houston, embarked on a project that would occupy him for more than twenty years, resulting in twelve large, hand-bound books with more than 2,500 drawings related to airships and the development of flight. Dellschau used watercolour, collage and pencil to create a fleet of craft resembling hot air balloons augmented with fantastical details and text.

His work was in large part a record of the activities of the Sonora Aero Club, of which he was a purported member. Dellschau’s writings describe the club as a secret group of flight enthusiasts who met at Sonora, California in the mid-19th century. One of the members had discovered the formula for an anti-gravity fuel he called “NB Gas.” Their mission was to design and build the first navigable aircraft using the NB Gas for lift and propulsion. Dellschau called these flying machines “Aeros”. According to a coded story hidden throughout the drawings which made up his notebooks, the Sonora Aero Club was a branch of a larger secret society known only as NYMZA. Despite exhaustive research, nothing has been found to substantiate the existence of the group. It is speculated that, like Henry Darger’s “Realms of the Unreal”, the Sonora Aero Club is a fiction by Dellschau.

After the artist’s death in 1923, the books were stored in the attic of the family home in Texas where they remained until being discovered in the aftermath of a fire in the 1960s. Like the eccentric outpourings of Adolf Wölfli, Darger and Achilles Rizzoli, these private works were not created for the art world, but to satisfy a driving internal creative force. Dellschau is now considered one of the earliest self taught visionary artists in America, and his work has been shown alongside the likes of Da Vinci. (S. Romano, Wiki)

It seemed like a nice neighborhood to have bad habits in.
Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep (via vintagecrimeblacklizard)
Love demands expression. It will not stay still, stay silent, be good, be modest, be seen and not heard, no. It will break out in tongues of praise, the high note that smashes the glass and spills the liquid. It is no conservationist love. It is a big game hunter and you are the game.
Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body (via malindalo)


Photography by Zak Cassar