07 December 2007

Unearthed Arcana

[The title of this post is from a memory. There's a long lost childhood friend of mine who I recently became "facebook" friends with. And his brother was a D&D "Dungeonmaster." So he had these pricy hardcover game supplement books and I somehow, through the years, remember that one of them was called "Unearthed Arcana."]

That last post about shitting required me digging out an old leatherbound journal which I kept up for a couple years once upon a time. Because that whole scene with my boss really took place and I really wrote about it then and I wanted to consult it. But in its pages I also found some quotations that had moved me to transcription somewhere between like 1999 and maybe 2002 or so.

No doubt there are better ones that I've come across since. But I thought I'd share some of these and invite you to contribute some of your favorite quotations, if you have them handy. Predictably in those years (21-24) I seem to have been preoccupied with love, sex, the meaning of life, and my notion of poetry.

"But what did Zdena mean by accusing him of making love like an intellectual?" - Milan Kundera

"The blood was coming. The blood stank terribly."
"Her face was like a cup of milk dashed with coffee in the sweet warm emptiness."
"I feel like a wet seed wild in the hot blind earth."
- William Faulkner

"All those mint-julep swelling gentlemen confused the spiritual butt-rape of other races and sexes with gallantry" - Tim Sandlin

"It no longer avails to start with creatures and prove God. Yet it is impossible to rule God out. The only possible starting point: the strange fact of one's own invincible apathy - that if the proofs were proved and God presented himself, nothing would be changed." - Walker Percy

"Yesterday upon the stair
I saw a man who wasn't there
He wasn't there again today
How I wish he'll go away!" - Hughes Mearns

"You came down here to murder love and call the murder love" - Salman Rushdie

"But what I really want is just to swim around in a warm baby pool of these friends, jump in their dry leaf pile - to rub them all over myself, without words and clothes" - Dave Eggers

"Let spirit wet you like a hose."
"I put my small penis in her. Only the chair was moved. And I came like an ad in the mail." - William Gass

"The apparent ambivalence of Rennie's feelings about me. I'm afraid, like the simulataneous contradictory opinions that I often amused myself by maintaining was only a pseudo-ambivalence whose source was in the language, not in the concepts symbolized by the language ... it was both single and simple, like all feelings, but like all feelings it was also completely particular and individual, so the trouble started only when she attempted to label it with a common noun such as love or abhorrence ... it is merely a matter of x's being part horse and part grammar book, and completely neither ... Assigning names to things is like assigning roles to people: it is necessarily a distortion but it is a necessary distortion ... Rennie loved me, then, and hated me as well. Let us say she x'ed me and know better than to smile."
"There's little need for weakness, reader: you are freer, perhaps, than you'd be comfortable knowing." - John Barth

"There are no atheists in foxy holes." [a play on the maxim "there are no atheists in foxholes" ... sorry for explaining]
"Nouns verbed by, adverbially adjectival." - David Foster Wallace

"The sixth grade at Horace Greeley Elementary is a furnace of love, love, love ... the distinction between children and adults, while probably useful for some purposes, is at bottom a specious one, I feel. There are only individual egos, crazy for love." - Donald Barthelme

"How strange it is to be anything at all."
"I just want to dance in your tangles." - Jeff Mangum (Neutral Milk Hotel)

"She kept crying on my shoulder about somebody; I finally persuaded her to settle for my shoulder." Michael Ondaatje and Anthony Minghella (The English Patient)

"We demand something more from artists than this facile affirmation that the existent also means, that things are also symbols." - Frederic Jameson

"I remember the first time we took off our clothes in front of each other. It was like unwinding bandages."
"So do boys and men announce their intentions. They cover you like a sarcophagus lid. And call it love." - Jeffrey Eugenides

"What draws the reader to the novel is the hope of warming his shivering life with a death he reads about." - Walter Benjamin

"The more a man cultivates the arts, the less often he gets an erection ... only the brute gets really good erections, and fucking is the lyricism of the people." - Charles Baudelaire


Adam said...

In response to the last two posts I dug 'round my reading journal and found this:

"Excrement may be regarded as the corpse of nourishment, what remains when the vital elements in food have been exhausted. In this respect excrement is a representation of death that we ourselves produce...Perhaps it is for making death intimate that we find excrement so repulsive"

from "On Bullshit" by Harry G. Frankfurt

kris said...

This post started me off on a quest for quotes; first to find notebooks from college, which only yielded lines of scribbled crap poetry, and then to stare at my bookshelves, willing the bound pages to give up their best sentences. I started to reread, randomly, from A to Richard Brautigan. Why the hell don't I underline?

But I have to say, I love the quotes, especially the William Gass and the Donald Barthelme.

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