"In the late 1920s, Nikola Tesla composed a poem—’Fragments of Olympian Gossip’—for his friend, George Sylvester Viereck, an illustrious German poet and mystic. It poked fun at the scientific establishment of the day. For example, he derided Albert Einstein for claiming that matter and force are transmutable (Mass–energy equivalence), even though Archimedes and Isaac Newton had stated that they are not."
“But not everyone is familiar with those surroundings, just like I’m not familiar with building a stoic fence out of snow or whatever they do in Robert Frost poems. Granted, the world Lockwood portrays is a great deal weirder than Frost’s, but I don’t think it actively excludes anyone (though perhaps it seems that way to people who aren’t used to being passively excluded).”
I shall tell you now about something most miraculous and thundering and terrifying and wish you to think on it and share some of it. It is this man, this poet, this Ted Hughes. I have never known anything like it. For the first time in my life I can use all my knowledge and laughing and force and writing to the hilt all the time, everything, and you should see him, hear him!
He has a health and hugeness … the more he writes poems, the more he writes poems. He knows all about the habits of animals and takes me amid cows and coots. I am writing poems, and they are better and stronger than anything I have ever done.
(a letter from Sylvia Plath via Janet Malcolm’s The Silent Woman)
For nearly two thousand years, Japanese women living in coastal fishing villages made a remarkable livelihood hunting the ocean for oysters and abalone, a sea snail that produces pearls. They are known as Ama. The few women left still make their living by filling their lungs with air and diving for long periods of time deep into the Pacific ocean, with nothing more than a mask and flippers.
In the mid 20th century, Iwase Yoshiyuki returned to the fishing village where he grew up and photographed these women when the unusual profession was still very much alive. After graduating from law school, Yoshiyuki had been given an early Kodak camera and found himself drawn to the ancient tradition of the ama divers in his hometown. His photographs are thought to be the only comprehensive documentation of the near-extinct tradition in existence
As you may have noticed, I really love this book. Idiots will try to tell you that it is “just” “chick-lit” or whatever, and one of the many reasons they are idiots is that this book is sort of the opposite of dating-driven narratives. This book is entirely about the inner lives and creative ambitions and life decisions of women. The men are there but they are so peripheral in the face of friendship and identity and figuring out your own choices as to turn invisible by the end of the story. And I love it.
A striking entry in the women-processing-their-shit canon. Enjoy!
"The hostility directed at writers who cover minority beats in America is solid proof that those people are doing important work. But that work can be exhausting. It’s exhausting to always be writing and thinking about a new person being racist or sexist or otherwise awful. It’s exhausting to feel compelled on a consistent basis to defend your claim to dignity. It’s exhausting to then watch those defenses drift beyond the reaches of the internet’s short memory, or to coffee tables in dentists’ offices, to be forgotten about until you link to them the next time you need to say essentially the same thing.” The Racism Beat by Cord Jefferson
When I find myself in a homogeneous phase of my life, I like to have a caption for it. Guilty Repose is what I came up with for my caesura in Gaborone, which softens it: I went slightly decadent. It only lasted a couple of months.