Links of the month:
With My Own Two Wheels — The bicycle as a vehicle for change around the world.
Shrine Down The Hall
How Real Does It Feel
Quotations of the month:
“It is easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.”
“Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.”
_Bertolt Brecht (German poet and playwright, 1898–1956)
The Optimism of Uncertainty
“An optimist isn’t necessarily a blithe, slightly sappy whistler in the dark of our time. To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places–and there are so many–where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
Howard Zinn (August 24, 1992 — January 27, 2010 — R.I.P.)
Readings of the month:
“Making their way to the inmost chambers of caves, bypassing other interiors that seem to us just as suitable, our ancestors covered walls with their paintings. We’ve little idea what purposes (social? religious?) the chambers served, all those detailed renderings, those grand animals. But there in privacy a few invented, for us all, the entire vocabulary of our arts: image, narrative, celebration, form. They speak to us still: We were here. This is what we saw. This is how we experienced our world.
So it is with each individual writer or artist today.
Style is not about word choice, cadence, sentence structure, point of view, momentum; finally, it’s not even about writing well.
Style is, finally, the direct reflection of how the writer connects with his or her world, the way in which he or she lets us see our world anew, new perspectives, new visions, new glimmers of comprehension here in darkness.”
James Sallis, L. A. Times Book Review, July 13, 2008