From An Island
Fogged in all day, the long, low horns announcing
the passing of another ghostship.
But we see nothing. It’s as if a curtain had been dropped.
Go back into yourself, it says. None of this matters
to you anymore. All that drama, color, movement —
you can live without it. It was an illusion,
a tease, a lie. There is nothing out here but smoke
from the rubble that was everything,
everything you wanted, everything you thought
you needed. Ships passing, forget it.
Children bathing, there’s no such thing.
Let go, your island is a mote of dust.
But the horns of the ghostship say, remember us,
we remember you.
~ James Tate
Conducted and controlled from afar, ships at sea will sound their horns to a musical score, that will take into account atmospheric conditions, landscape and the physical distance of sound. The composition, performed live to audiences on the coastal cliffs, will be played across a space of several miles around Souter lighthouse.
Heard at great distances, the sounds of foghorns are generated by their interaction, reverberation and echoing with the landscape, literally capturing the landscape into the sound. Foghorn Requiem is an attempt to incorporate space and reverberation of the landscape directly into the musical composition. Sound-influencing factors, such as atmospheric conditions, tide, distance and the sonic impact of the landscape, are calculated to position vessels off the coast and programme their horns to perform along with conventional brass instruments on-shore and the Souter Foghorn.
(via Some Landscapes)
If it gets to be too much, I turn it all off, but the silence makes me feel even more lonely than long stretches at the desk usually make me feel. Right now I’m in Iowa City, where I have a few friends who will occasionally stay up all night with me, working in the same room, and I like that better than the running music. One friend plays Hyderabad musicals all night, and that’s fine with me. Other friends demand absolute silence, and that’s okay with me, too.
~ Kyle Minor @ Identity Theory
Looking at music one could ask why it is that a composer like Haydn could write a hundred symphonies and only a few years later a composer no less gifted, no less industrious, Beethoven, could write only nine. The answer, quite simply, is that Haydn didn’t feel he needed to start from scratch each time. Haydn is the last major composer to work as Dürer showed St Jerome working: at ease within a tradition. What he had to do, to put it schematically, was to fill in a form. That he filled it in supremely well, far better than any of his contemporaries except Mozart, is neither here nor there.
~ Gabriel Josipovici, What Ever Happened To Modernism?
But a lot of producers, studio executives and major film financiers disagree. Already they have quietly hired Mr. Bruzzese’s company to analyze about 100 scripts, including an early treatment for “Oz the Great and Powerful,” which has taken in $484.8 million worldwide.
Mr. Bruzzese (pronounced brew-ZEZ-ee), who is one of a very few if not the only entrepreneur to use this form of script analysis, is plotting to take it to Broadway and television now that he has traction in movies.
“It takes a lot of the risk out of what I do,” said Scott Steindorff, a producer who used Mr. Bruzzese to evaluate the script for “The Lincoln Lawyer,” a hit 2011 crime drama. “Everyone is going to be doing this soon.” Mr. Steindorff added, “The only people who are resistant are the writers: ‘I’m making art, I can’t possibly do this.’ ”
~ New York Times
That night I had a dream, a rather mournful one, of one of my children writing a story that began: Long after he died — for weeks, for months — we kept receiving postcards from Dad because he had traveled so far and to such small and insignificant places.
~ Paul Theroux
Katelyn holds the instrument out at arm’s length. It’s interesting, in a purely scientific sense, to listen to this minuscule being gabbling mindlessly inside the little box she’s holding in her hand. Are there many of these creatures? Were they human once, like she is? Did they once have normal bodies, before they decided to live inside phones? Do they find these plastic exoskeletons more durable and convenient than ordinary flesh, blood, and bones? She conveys the handset slowly toward her ear, wincing as the pleading sounds get louder. For a disembodied ball of noise, this critter can kick up a fuss.
~ Stephen Guppy, Like I Care
On the outskirts of the city over which this drone is today validating its performance parameters, a crowd is gathering at a graveyard. Two vehicles stand out among those parked nearby. One is a van, emblazoned with the name and phone number of a commercial spray painter, possibly even belonging to the deceased, for it is being used as a hearse to transport his white-shrouded body. The other is a luxury automobile from which emerges a pale of male figures in suits, a man in his sixties and a slender, teenage boy, perhaps his grandson. These two are conspicuously well dressed, contrasting with most of the other mourners, yet they must be closely related to the fellow who has died, since they lend their shoulders to the task of bearing his corpse to the fresh-dug pit. The elder of them now commences to sob, his torso flexing spasmodically, as though wracked by a series of coughs. He looks up to the heavens.
The drone circles a few times, its high-powered eye unblinking, and flies observantly on.
~ Mohsin Hamid, How To Get Filthy Rich In Rising Asia
“As a society we’re used to logging onto the Internet and using computer technology. That’s spilled over into the funeral service.”
Savino-Weissman co-owner Mark Weissman said it’s not only out-of-town friends and family who use the service; he once hooked up an elderly person confined to a hospital bed up to watch their spouse’s service.
“It actually connects families at the worst possible time,” said Weissman, who is also a Parkland, Fla., city commissioner.
In most funeral homes, only the service is broadcast because the camera is affixed to the chapel; the burial is not available online.
This is what the Last Ones left us.
After the Era of Flood and after the Era
of Fire, we creep into the Central Clusters
and rifle through the rubble. From the top
of a cliff, two pink eyes and one pale ear beckon.
The Wordsplitter names the creature
Kangamouse, Male. It is not one of their BeWiths,
which were almost universally furred,
nor a ListenTo, since he makes no sound,
nor is there a mention of Kangamouse
in the Aesop’s Fables found in a Ziplock
in Zone Twelve some twenty years ago.
We still cannot make a Ziplock, but we know
all about Morals—try before you trust and
might makes right. We try to tease one out…
~ Matthea Harvey @ Underwater New York
Then he consoles himself by going to feed the pigeons of Reservoir Park, which no longer even bears that name: rebaptized Bryant Park, it’s near where the great public library will soon rise. Gregor goes to that park every day now. Reducing his social life more and more, he seems to have transferred it to these wretched birds, for which he has lost none of his affection.
He enters the park, and even before he takes from his pockets the bags of seeds he’s brought for their Christmas presents, the abject birds recognize and pounce upon him, cooing horribly by the dozens as they cover him entirely, pecking frenetically and convulsively into pockets that are coming undone. Enveloped head to toe in this blanket of small creatures, barely breathing so as not to disturb them, Gregor stands motionless near the park gate, through which passersby, who have stopped with their large beribboned packages in the lengthening shadows, stand staring at him and shaking their heads.
~ Jean Echenoz, Lightning
Garbage is the formlessness from which form takes flight, the ghost that haunts presence. Garbage is the entrails, the bits or scraps, the mountain of indistinguishable stuff that is in its own way affirmed by resolute dismissal: it is refuse-d (not accepted, denied, banished). Garbage is the tat, the lowly that has sunk to the depth of a value system that is present (so far as as we are aware) simply as a clean surface — mask-like — much as the gleaming interiors of a thousand catalogue bathrooms […] garbage is the mucky handprint of a being that carries on regardless, a dirty trace, the wreck of beauty, and in the most recognizably banal sense, the excrement of a body. Garbage indicates the removal of qualities (characteristics, or distinguishing features) and signals the return of everything to some universal condition […]
~ John Scanlan, On Garbage
Once part of a hazardous grey economy, the people who pick over rubbish in the Philippine capital are now an organised and recognised force @ Guardian
There are those who believe that somewhere in the vast blackness of space, about nine billion miles from the Sun, the first human is about to cross the boundary of our Solar System into interstellar space. His body, perfectly preserved, is frozen at –270 degrees C (–454ºF); his tiny capsule has been silently sailing away from the Earth at 18,000 mph (29,000km/h) for the last 45 years. He is the original lost cosmonaut, whose rocket went up and, instead of coming back down, just kept on going.
~ Kris Hollington @ Fortean Times
What happens when we do not come in from the cold? I propose a frosty thought experiment: to speak for, with, and through the icy world in order to (i) recognize our complex co-implication with icy stuff and (ii) realize the desires in these connections. ‘It is time to compose – in all meanings of the word, including to compose with, that is to compromise, to care, to move slowly, with caution and precaution’ (Latour, 2010, 487). How does ice remind us that we slowly compose with and are composed by the rimy world? And, what new futures, collectives and joys may come of it? To look forward we must paradoxically move backward.
~ Lowell Duckert @ Postmedieval
Sometimes I feel I am swinging between the works of two poets whose writing seems ideal to me, whose directions feel ideal to me, whose control and vision are what I aim for, whose responsibility to the world is present in their poems and other writings.
Evening with music: two guitars and one voice.
~ Éireann Lorsung
Researchers have long known the coyote as a master of adaptation, but studies over the past few years are now revealing how these unimposing relatives of wolves and dogs have managed to succeed where many other creatures have suffered. Coyotes have flourished in part by exploiting the changes that people have made to the environment, and their opportunism goes back thousands of years. In the past two centuries, coyotes have taken over part of the wolf’s former ecological niche by preying on deer and even on an endangered group of caribou. Genetic studies reveal that the coyotes of northeastern America — which are bigger than their cousins elsewhere — carry wolf genes that their ancestors picked up through interbreeding. This lupine inheritance has given northeastern coyotes the ability to bring down adult deer — a feat seldom attempted by the smaller coyotes of the west.
~ Sharon Levy @ Nature
Now, if nothing else goes wrong, he expects it will be three more years before he will be able to live in the same house as his children, send them to school in the city, and end his family’s peasant history forever. When work slows, he grasps the worn and creased photo of his son, Ming Lin, 6, and daughter, Dong, 4, and quietly whispers to them. He aches for their presence. “I hope the kids will understand someday — understand why we were away so much, understand why we were never there for them when they were learning about the world, and understand the sacrifice we made. I believe we can make it up to them. We want to provide them with a better future than we’ve experienced. “For now,” he says, using a Chinese phrase that is almost a mantra in the arrival city, “we will have to eat the bitterness.”
~ Doug Saunders, Arrival City
If you take this admittedly large leap – that there is no such thing as the you that ‘you’ imagine yourself to be – then what? Then ‘you’ at the deepest level are simply one particular expression of everything else that is going on. Or as the Zen writer Alan Watts put it: ‘Will and fate are two aspects of the same thing. Life lives you, you do not live life. Everything that happens is “of itself so”.’
What you do is what the whole universe is doing now. In the same way, a single wave is something the whole ocean is doing — you cannot point to a discrete end or beginning of a wave. You are experiencing different aspects of one thing happening, not separate events linked by cause and effect. Imagine a dance between two people that looks so seamless you can’t tell who’s leading and who’s following. Is it the ‘you’ who is called ‘Tim Lott’ or ‘Joe Doakes’ or whatever, or is it the sum total of everything that’s going on? Ultimately, what’s the difference?
~ Tim Lott @ Aeon Magazine