Monday 10 August 2015


  • COCA COLA. No Coke, said mother. I solemnly promised myself, electrified by the self-consciousness of oath taking, that, once I became an adult, I would drink Coke with impunity.
  • PAUL CLAUDEL, poet and collaborator with the Nazis. Auden said: Time will pardon him for writing well. Was time so free with memory, so generous with pardons, that writing well could come to stand in the place of an ethical life?
  • MUNKACSI PHOTOGRAPHS. One moment, in all of history, was captured, but the moments before and after it disappeared into the onrush of time.
  • MUGGED IN NEW YORK. I had accepted the next blow and the next? No, I hadn’t. I had felt only the fear of pain and the love of being free of pain. But how could I have missed this! I’d thought, lying in the dirt. How could I have been less than completely aware of how good it was to be injury-free?
  • THE FUNERAL. My father was buried on a particularly hot day, an unfunereal day. My new clothes, which were dark blue, not black, chafed, at the neck especially…The crowd jostling at Atan Cemetery was large, a somber crowd but, on account of its size, not without a touch of festivity.
  • CHILDREN AT A FUNERAL.They fell into a laughing fit. No amount of shushing or threats was sufficient to make them stop, and their laughter rose and bubbled across the somber gathering…Once or twice, the sound subsided, but then one of them would begin again, and the others would not be able to resist joining in, and their raucous, heaving laughter went on for minutes.
  • WHAT IS NORMAL? Each person must, on some level, take himself as the calibration point for normalcy, must assume that the room of his own mind is not, cannot be, entirely opaque to him. Perhaps this is what we mean by sanity.
(From Teju Cole, Open City)

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