Month: October 2013

Mashup Experiment

This is just an idea I’ve had percolating so I decided to run with it – it’s a slightly heavy-handed mash-up of some of Neruda’s Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair and Stabbing Westward’s “So Far Away”. I think it’s interesting to cross-compare mediums so similar and so different (and I figured, why not share it? Even if I’m not sharing my own personal writing, this was an interesting experiment for me). I’m not entirely sure it worked – “So Far Away” is a pretty different style, even if it’s about the same thing. I wonder if it would have worked better to incorporate more rock songs, and granted I used several Neruda poems. Thoughts?

The memory of you emerges from the night around me.
There were thirst and hunger, and you were the fruit.
There were grief and the ruins, and you were the miracle.

Each night I felt the distance that grew between us
Open up as lonely as the space between the stars
You heard me from far away, and my voice could not reach you;
Silence defined us.
How terrible and brief was my desire of you!

And every time that you reached out, you felt me pull away.
How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me,
my savage, solitary soul.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.
I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

So I call out your name;
It is the hour of departure, oh deserted one! Oh, abandoned one.

Stabbing Westward song:
Neruda poems:  Unfortunately, I can’t find the full collection online.



I’ve always made a habit of carrying a notebook around with me for thoughts I wanted to capture. But I recently bought a notebook dedicated to quotes and ideas I wanted to remember from the books I’m reading. It seemed a bit luxurious – all that paper and ink – but I retain things, and process them, by writing. So for me, writing is an intrinsic part of learning and enjoying what I read.

Not every book I read gets into the notebook, but so far it has things from:

  • Brave New World
  • The End of Your Life Book Club
  • Nudge
  • Finny
  • … and His Lovely Wife
  • Affliction
  • No Exit
  • Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer
  • The Flies (amazing play)
  • Dirty Hands
  • The Rose and the Beast (an utterly depressing book)
  • The Complete Poems of Walt Whitman
  • Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity

Here are some of my favorite of the favorites so far. This doesn’t reflect which books/plays were my favorite, though at times it does sum up why I liked a particular book:

“They’re about God hundreds of years ago. Not about God now.”

“But God doesn’t change.”

“Men do, though.”

“What difference does that make?”

“All the difference in the world.”

– Brave New World

“…Books are the most powerful tool in the human arsenal, that reading all kinds of books … is how you take part in the human conversation.” – quoted in The End of Your Life Book Club

“… Having the people you love tell you they love you and mean it … it never goes out of style. Since we’re made in God’s image, this must be from Him, so even God must need an ‘atta-boy,’ an out-loud, in-your-head, ‘Thank you, great job on that sunset, and the platypus was a brilliant fun idea.’ Maybe that’s why we’re supposed to pray the way we do, because without it God would be lonely.” – Affliction

“One always dies too soon – or too late. And yet one’s whole life is complete at that moment, with a line drawn neatly under it, reading for the summing up. You are – your life, and nothing else.” – No Exit

“The junk piles became so bad that at one point there were billboard ads urging people to DUMP BOYFRIENDS, NOT APPLIANCES. It was a strange campaign – stranger when half the lights on the billboard went out, leaving only the illuminated command DUMP BOYFRIENDS.” – Farm City

“I suddenly saw my neighborhood for what it was: an artifact, an abused landscape. But it could morph again.” – Farm City

“They knew that the passing is a reflection of the lasting, that tables in our humble homes may become sacred altars, that a single deed of an individual man may decide the fate of all mankind.” – “No Time for Neutrality” in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity

“… she felt his strong heart beating like the sound of all the stories she could ever hope to tell.” – “Glass” in The Rose and the Beast

“And I will not make a poem nor the least part of a poem but
has reference to the soul,
Because having look’d at the objects of the universe, I find
there is no one nor any particle of one but has reference
to the soul. – “Starting from Paumanok” by Walt Whitman