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Daily Quote

May 24, 2024

Our past is written on our bodies.

May 23, 2024

The pleasure in the moment of us believing and not believing at the same time is a jolt of self-assertion. This split, believer and disbeliever, becomes a crack in Plato's edifice. (William Kentridge, Six Drawing Lessons, p.16)

May 22, 2024

Chuvaru irunthalthan chithrangalum padamum poda mudium (Tamil saying: You can't hang a picture without a wall)

May 20, 2024

Humor is relief at having found sense in nonsense. (Sue Parman in reaction to Winfried Menninghaus, In Praise of Nonsense: Kant and Bluebeard)

May 19, 2024

She could get high C out of a potato. (Kay Ryan about Annie Dillard, Synthesizing Gravity, p.214)

May 17, 2024

The best preparation for an adventure is to pack a gargoyle. (Sue Parman)

May 15, 2024

The fact that the mind can move around in a poem—is asked to do this—is why poetry is considered the supreme art. Poetry is the shape and size of the mind. It works the way the mind works. It is deeply compatible with whatever it is we are. We dissolve in it; it dissolves in us. (Kay Ryan, Synthesizing Gravity, p.229)

May 5, 2024

Saint: A sinner whose life story has been edited and revised. (The Devil's Dictionary)

May 3, 2024

In the land of the one-eyed, the two-eyed are freaks. (Katy Tur, MSNBC)

May 2, 2024

Silence is a luxury of the rich. (Alex Ross, "What is Noise?" The New Yorker, April 22 & 29, 2024: p. 23)

April 30, 2024

Embrace your inner sloth.

April 29, 2024

Dicktionary: a book containing a collection of misogynist terms; Inciteful: the ability to always come up with the right quote; Stillable: segments of speech produced without moving your lips.

April 27, 2024

Fire-fang: to lay hold of fire; fire-fanged, singed by fire

April 26, 2024

In a world where time is money, traders of the I6th and 17th centuries invented their most colorful terms for the frustrating regions of calm. Between the trades and the westerlies that offered speedy return were the "horse latitudes" in which no steady wind blew, under the influence of semi-permanent high pressure. Sailors dumped overboard the horses that died in the scorching heat as food supplies dwindled. And between the trades of each hemisphere, nothing seemed to move at all, so sailors called them the "doldrums." (Winds of the world, Weatherwise, Jan Null, May/Jun 2000)

April 25, 2024

An eschar of ashes (John Fowles, The Magus)

April 24, 2024

"Away, you starvelling, you elf-skin, you dried neat's-tongue, bull's-pizzle, you stock-fish!" (Shakespeare, Henry IV Part 1)

April 23, 2024

An Eats Shoots and Leaves moment (Mary Norris, the comma queen): "I would like to thank my parents, Ayn Rand and God."

April 22, 2024

"This woman's an easy glove, my lord, she goes off and on at pleasure." Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well

April 20, 2024

A virtue of poetry is that a little goes a long way, and Marianne Moore's poetry is especially virtuous. (Kay Ryan, Synthesizing Gravity, p.157)

April 19, 2024

May the curse of Mary Malone and her nine blind illegitimate children chase you so far over the hills of Damnation that the Lord himself can't find you with a telescope. (Irish curse)

April 17, 2024

Saltpeter, also called niter, potassium nitrate, or nitrate of potash, probably originated from the ashes of wood fires.  It melts at 642 degrees Fahrenheit and decomposes to give potassium nitrite and oxygen.  It is used to make gunpowder, pyrotechnics, and matches, and in the preservation of hams gives lean meat its bright red color.

April 16, 2024

Never complain, never explain.

April 15, 2024

A great society is born when old women plant trees in whose shade they will never sit.  (Greek proverb)

April 14, 2024

Science is built up with facts, as a house is with stones.  But a collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house.  (Jules Henri Poincare)

April 12, 2024

"It's one of her strange ways, that she'll never tell the names of these birds if she can help it, though she named 'em all….Hope, Joy, Youth, Peace, Rest, Life, Dust, Ashes, Waste, Want, Ruin, Despir, Madness, Death, Cunning, Folly, Words, Wigs, Rags, Sheepskin, Plunder, Precedent, Jargon, Gammon, and Spinach…." "This is a bitter wind!" muttered my guardian. (Charles Dickens, Bleak House)

April 11, 2024

"To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world. You are surrounded by adventure. You have no idea of what is in store for you, but you will, if you are wise and know the art of travel, let yourself go on the stream of the unknown and accept whatever comes in the spirit in which the gods may offer it. For this reason your customary thoughts, all except the rarest of your friends, even most of your luggage - everything, in fact, which belongs to your everyday life, is merely a hindrance. The tourist travels in his own atmosphere like a snail in his shell and stands, as it were, on his own perambulating doorstep to look at the continents of the world. But if you discard all this, and sally forth with a leisurely and blank mind, there is no knowing what may not happen to you." (Freya Stark, Baghdad Sketches)

April 10, 2024

The last temptation is the greatest treason:

To do the right deed for the wrong reason.

(T.S. Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral)

April 9, 2024

Once a life becomes text, it no longer has a body. But it can live forever. (Leslie Jamison, The New Yorker 9/12/22, "Object Lessons," p. 73)

April 6, 2024

KRYMPIRUMPA: Faroese, literally "shrinking asshole" (plural, KRYMPINUPAR). Used to refer to hens too old to lay eggs, or to prudish old ladies. (Susanne Barding)

April 5, 2024

When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know your name is safe in their mouth. (4-year-old; Children Define Love)

April 4, 2024

Envy is the religion of the mediocre.  It comforts them, it soothes their worries, and finally it rots their souls, allowing them to justify their meanness and their greed until they believe them to be virtues.  Such people are convinced that the doors of heaven will be opened only to poor wretches like themselves who go through life without leaving any trace but their threadbare attempts to belittle others and to exclude—and destroy if possible—those who, by the simple fact of their existence, show up their own poorness of spirit, mind, and guts.  Blessed be the one at whom the fools bark, because his soul will never belong to them (Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Angel's Game p. 13)

April 3, 2024

Overheard on the MAX train headed into Portland:

     "Because todos cambiar" (because everything changes)

     "I'm on Craig's List in India"

     "Oregonians get crabby when the sun shines"

April 2, 2024

I can suck melancholy out of a song as a weasel sucks eggs. (Shakespeare, As You Like It)

April 1, 2024

"A poem, even if it comes up out of the darkest, saddest waters, will be a flung thing, a halo of prisms, the undoing, the dissolution of weight." (Kay Ryan, Synthesizing Gravity, p. 108)

March 31, 2024

Story is what happened. Plot is the order in which it's revealed to the reader. (Walter Mosley)

March 30, 2024

I love the waltz of the heart and the mind. The pessimism of the mind and the optimism of the heart, as Gramsci would say. (Elif Shafak, NYTBR, December 29, 2019, p. 8)

March 29, 2024

[There are some writers] "who find themselves and their reactions so far outside the conventional that they have no such tools but those they construct for themselves for knowing anything, for finding their bearings. They must synthesize gravity, direction, time, substance. They can't use anyone else's." (Kay Ryan, Synthesizing Gravity, p. 77)

March 28, 2024

Through crimes and acts of kindness we build our future (David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas)

Anyone who has tried to write an artful sentence knows that it involves fastening the known to the unknown by some mysterious process that takes place "at the roots of thinking," where the brain wrests an idea from an inchoate mass of sensory data and encodes it in parts of speech that another mind can decrypt. (Judith Thurman writing about Alice Oswald, 8/24/20)

March 26, 2024

"…thinking wants only the tiniest bit of novelty, the tiniest little bit of new per old." (Kay Ryan, Synthesizing Gravity, p. 101)

March 25, 2024

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not to their own facts.  (Moynihan)

March 24, 2024

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. (Mark Twain)

March 22, 2024

Savage of heart then was the dragon of the barrow, and cast forth deadly fire.   (Beowulf)

March 20, 2024

Mr. Tulkinghorn, sitting in the twilight by the open window, enjoys his wine….pondering, at that twilight hour, on all the mysteries he knows, associated with darkening woods in the country, and vast blank shut-up houses in town… (Charles Dickens, Bleak House)

March 19, 2024

Light griefs can speak. Deep sorrows are dumb. (Montaigne)

March 18, 2024

I am acutely aware when I am being watched, a sensitivity born from absence, a grain of salt on the tongue of a man who has tasked only bitter.  (Monique Truong, The Book of Salt p. 37)

March 17, 2024

He who lives everywhere lives nowhere. (Montaigne)

March 16, 2024

The nasib: the name of a scene in Arabic classical poetics in which a nomad-poet halts at an abandoned desert campsite and, while figuratively sifting the ashes through his fingers, recalls the good times he once had there. (Parul Sehgal quoting Robyn Creswell)

March 15, 2024

"The crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead."

W.H. Auden

March 14, 2024

Illegitimi non carborundum: Don't let the bastards grind you down.

March 13, 2024

In this vale of tears we must take what we're sent,

Feathery, leathery, lovely, or bent

(Nancy Willard, Pish Posh said Hieronymous Bosch)

March 12, 2024

May the spirits of the wind and sea shield you from harm

with a guiding star above, a keen eye behind

(Sue Parman, Ridge Walker)

March 11, 2024

"The goal is to break without being broken." (Peter S. Ungar, Teeth: A Very Short Introduction, quoted in Kathryn Schulz, "Know it All: What you learn from the Very Short Introduction Series," The New Yorker, October 16, 2017)

March 10, 2024

"I think it's good to admit what a wolfish thing art is; I trust writers who know they aren't nice." (Kay Ryan, Synthesizing Gravity, p. 68)

March 9, 2024

Possible Pub Names


The Fetid Oyster

The Cerulean Corpse

The Random Sandwich

 The Ironic Alibi

Aubergenes for Jesus

 Trampled Turtles and Tasty Mice



March 6, 2024

Kintsugi: the Japanese process of highlighting cracks by mending them with gold.

March 5, 2024



Art is accident, angle, an inward

explosion like a lightbulb, a forward

impulse, a meeting

of your own mind, suddenly,

as if you'd met a stranger,

a body naked seen from behind—

a fresh view, a new knowing,

an idea on its way to becoming

itself, only more intensely,

more fraut with the inwardly.


Art is the making of a riddle from a solution,

like a ball turned constantly in the hand

as if each turn brought to view a new land, a key

to the cabinet of curiosity

in which reside the bits and pieces of the self--

those jeweled splinters encased in the pitch of a chaotic sea,

all shimmer and float.  Art coats

a bird with incandescent plumage,

digs gold in the cloister with koi, and even

in the shadowy soil of dishwater shows us Eden.

March 4, 2024

Stories can be like a house, somewhere you can inhabit for a while. The best kind leave behind a room inside you. (Lauren Beukes, New York Times Book Review, January 21, 2022)

March 3, 2024

The moment of change is the only poem. (Adrienne Rich)

March 2, 2024

"You look like the kind of person who carries a pen." (Comcast store assistant)

March 1, 2024

The difference between the right word and an almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. (Mark Twain)

February 29, 2024

If in Doubt, stay there.