June 16, 2005

the delicate balance has shifted

somewhere between preserved and forgotten, by dronepop.

* From a January 30, 1801 letter from Charles Lamb to Wordsworth:

"Separate from the pleasure of your company, I don't much care if I never see a mountain in my life. I have passed all my days in London, until I have formed as many and intense local attachments, as any of you mountaineers can have done with dead nature. The Lighted shops of the Strand...the innumerable trades, tradesmen and customers, coaches, waggons, playhouses, all the bustle and wickedness round about Covent Garden, the very women of the Town, the Watchmen, drunken scenes, rattles, --life awake, if you awake, at all hours of the night & the impossibility of being dull in Fleet Street, the crowds, the very dirt & mud, the Sun shining upon houses and pavements, the print shops, the old book stalls, parsons cheap'ning books, coffee houses, steams of soups from kitchens, the pantomimes, London itself a pantomime and a masquerade, --all these things work themselves into my mind and feed me, without a power of satiating me. The wonder of these sights impells me into night-walks about her crowded street, and I often shed tear in the motley Strand from fullness of joy at so much Life." (Sir Walter Raleigh, in his 1926 book 'On Writing and Writers' called Lamb "the most perfect letter-writer in our language.")

* Wolcott, talking about watching a Diane Sawyer interview:

"Perhaps what made the interchange so creepy was the intimate way the mother dropped Sawyer's first name into the conversation--'as you know, Diane,' etc--that made it sound as if they were a couple of soulmates having an intimate chat rather than the mother of a missing daughter being interviewed by a supposedly professional journalist. The conversation seemed to take place in the strange cotton-candyland of American unreality where personal confession and media promotion come together for a good cry.

"At some point I switched over to MSNBC's Imus in the Morning where Tucker Carlson was being vilified as a 'skeeter peter titty boy.' That's more like it, I thought. Beats the hell out of Sawyer using language as if it were a signature collection of soothing pastels."

* "It is dangerous to leave written that which is badly written. A chance word, upon paper, may destroy the world. Watch carefully and erase, while the power is still yours, I say to myself, for all that is put down, once it escapes, may rot its way into a thousand minds, the corn become a black smut, and all libraries, of necessity, be burned to the ground as a consequence. Only one answer: write carelessly so that nothing that is not green will survive." -- William Carlos Williams


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