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The Bookshelf

Doug's bookshelf: read

AntwerpWarsaw BikiniIcelandHow the Soldier Repairs the GramophoneThe Original of LauraBrief Interviews with Hideous Men

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Time Since Reboot

  • 1216 days, 2 hours, 31 minutes, 50 seconds ago

Fayette County, Alabama

Fayette, AL Depot - Mamiya C330f | Kodak Tri-X 400

Fayette, AL Depot – Mamiya C330f | Kodak Tri-X 400


Fayette Mall 1 - Mamiya C330f | Kodak Tri-X 400

Fayette Mall 1 – Mamiya C330f | Kodak Tri-X 400


Caboose - Mamiya C330f | Kodak Tri-X 400

Caboose – Mamiya C330f | Kodak Tri-X 400


Berry, AL Public Library - Mamiya C330f | Kodak Tri-X 400

Berry, AL Public Library – Mamiya C330f | Kodak Tri-X 400


Fayette Mall 2 - Mamiya C330f | Kodak Tri-X 400

Fayette Mall 2 – Mamiya C330f | Kodak Tri-X 400


Sometimes we just pick a road we’ve never been down and start driving.

Quotations Year 2: The Quotationing

Oh, I know what you need today.  You need some random thoughts from great literary, artistic and scientific minds.  The words of the illuminated and the inspired.  I need them too.  Enjoy.


I would burrow into stone. Into iron.
Into the rain to find someone important

there in the dark.

~Jack Gilbert, from “Threshing the Fire”

As bone hugs the ache home, so
I’m vexed to love you, your body

the shape of returns

~Li-Young Lee, from “The City in Which I Love You”

as if I had never walked
except with you, my heart,
as if I could not walk
except with you,
as if I could not sing
except when you sing.

~Pablo Neruda, from “Epithalamium”

So long as the words keep coming nothing will have changed, there are the old words out again. Utter, there’s nothing else, utter, void yourself of them, here as always, nothing else. But they are failing, true, that’s the change, they are failing, that’s bad, bad. Or it’s the dread of coming to the last, of having said all, your all, before the end, no, for that will be the end, the end of all, not certain.

~Samuel Beckett, from Texts For Nothing

I wonder what would happen if
I treated everyone like I was in love
with them, whether I like them or not
and whether they respond or not and no matter
what they say or do to me and even if I see
things in them which are ugly twisted petty
cruel vain deceitful indifferent, just accept
all that and turn my attention to some small
weak tender hidden part and keep my eyes on
that until it shines like a beam of light
like a bonfire I can warm my hands by and trust
it to burn away all the waste which is not
never was my business to meddle with.

~Derek Tasker, “I Wonder”

We are not transparent to ourselves. We have intuitions, suspicions, hunches, vague musings, and strangely mixed emotions, all of which resist simple definition. We have moods, but we don’t really know them. Then, from time to time, we encounter works of art that seem to latch on to something we have felt but never recognized clearly before. Alexander Pope identified a central function of poetry as taking thoughts we experience half-formed and giving them clear expression: “what was often thought, but ne’er so well expressed.” In other words, a fugitive and elusive part of our own thinking, our own experience, is taken up, edited, and returned to us better than it was before, so that we feel, at last, that we know ourselves more clearly.

~Alain de Botton, from Art As Therapy

You think you will never forget any of this, you will remember it always just the way it was. But you can’t remember it the way it was. To know it, you have to be living in the presence of it right as it is happening. It can return only by surprise. Speaking of these things tells you that there are no words for them that are equal to them or that can restore them to your mind. And so you have a life that you are living only now, now and now and now, gone before you can speak of it, and you must be thankful for living day by day, moment by moment, in this presence.
But you have a life too that you remember. It stays with you. You have lived a life in the breath and pulse and living light of the present, and your memories of it, remember now, are of a different life in a different world and time. When you remember the past, you are not remembering it as it was. You are remembering it as it is. It is a vision or a dream, present with you in the present, alive with you in the only time you are alive.

~Wendell Berry

All by myself I have to go,
With none to tell me what to do –
All alone beside the streams
And up the mountain-sides of dreams.

~Robert Louis Stevenson, from The Land of Nod

What an astonishing thing a book is.  It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles.  But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years.  Across the millenia, the author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you.  Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs.  Books break the shackles of time.  A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.

~Carl Sagan

Your iPhone pocket-called me the other day.
You were walking.
I could hear your legs moving.
I was in your pants, after all, with the phone.
Swip swip. Swip swip. Swip swip.
Very rhythmic. Soothing. I listened in for a while. I was hoping for a scrap of inappropriate conversation.
I like to overhear things that hurt me.
I got nothing.
Just legs.
You were just going somewhere.

~Elizabeth Trundle

Denial, Anger, Acceptance

I have no right to call myself one who knows. I was one who seeks, and I still am, but I no longer seek in the stars or in the books; I’m beginning to hear the teachings of my blood pulsing within me. My story isn’t pleasant. It’s not sweet and harmonious like invented stories. It tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves.

~ Hermann Hesse

Do not think me gentle
because I speak in praise
of gentleness, or elegant
because I honor the grace
that keeps this world. I am
a man crude as any,
gross of speech, intolerant,
stubborn, angry, full
of fits and furies. That I
may have spoken well
at times, is not natural.
A wonder is what it is.

~ Wendell Berry

The last act of despondency is, when a man is in the act of putting a period to his own existence.  He should be represented with a knife in one hand, with which he has already inflicted the wound, and tearing it open with the other.  His garments and hair should be already torn.  He will be standing with his feet asunder, his knees a little bent, and his body leaning forward, as if ready to fall to the ground.

~ Leonardo da Vinci

All you can do is sit back and bask in your relevance to the cosmos… When I look up in the universe, I know I’m small, but I’m also big.  I’m big because I’m connected to the universe and the universe is connected to me.

~ Neil deGrasse Tyson

I dream of a grave, deep and narrow, where we could clasp each other in our arms as with clamps, and I would hide my face in you and you would hide your face in me, and nobody would ever see us any more.

~ Franz Kafka

You can’t wait for inspiration.  You have to go after it with a club.

~ Jack London

Through all windows, I see only infinity.

~ Charles Baudelaire, from Les Fleurs du Mal

Our true home is life, our true home is the present moment, whatever is happening right here and right now. Our true home is the place without discrimination, the place without hatred. Our true home is the place where we no longer seek, no longer wish, no longer regret. Our true home is not the past; it is not the object of our regrets, our yearning, our longing, or remorse. Our true home is not the future; it is not the object of our worries or fear. Our true home lies right in the present moment.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

“Remember when” is the lowest form of conversation.

~ Tony Soprano

The fucking scene is fucking sad
The fucking news is fucking bad
The fucking weed is fucking turf
The fucking speed is fucking surf
The fucking folks are fucking daft
Don’t make me fucking laugh
It fucking hurts to look around
Everywhere in Chickentown

The fucking train is fucking late
You fucking wait you fucking wait
You’re fucking lost and fucking found
Stuck in fucking Chickentown

~ John Cooper Clarke, from “Evidently Chickentown”

James Gandolfini... RIP, T.