Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Readings: The Way It Is

Some gravid excerpts entered in my notebook during the months of June and July:

"She thought that the hovering possible presence of God was the thing that created loneliness and doubt in the soul and she also thought that God was the thing, the entity existing outside space and time that resolved this doubt in the tonal power of a word, a voice.
"God is the voice that says, 'I am not here.'
She was arguing with herself but it wasn't argument, just noise the brain makes."

--Don DeLillo, The Falling Man

"A sign at the foot of the bridge said this: You are now entering the City of Brotherly Love.
"As a younger man, Trout would have sneered at the sign about brotherhood -- posted on the rim of a bomb crater, as anyone could see. But his head no longer sheltered ideas of how things could be and should be on the planet, as opposed to how they really were. There was only one way for the Earth to be, he thought: the way it was.
"Everything was necessary. He saw an old white woman fishing through a garbage can. That was necessary. He saw a bathtub toy, a little rubber duck, lying on its side on the grating over a storm sewer. It had to be there."

--Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions

"Ritualized drama, as in ancient Greece or China, is anti-natural, but so minutely controlled as to seem full of necessity; inevitable. Anti-natural and like nature."

--Leonard Michaels, Time Out of Mind

"...The True, the Good, the Beautiful. They're just around the corner, in the next corridor; they are in the next book, the one you haven't read, or in the next stack, the one you haven't got to. But you'll get to it some day. And when you do -- when you do -- "

--John Williams, Stoner

"Augustine...has made the soul climb seven steps. He names them in order, from lowest to highest, Vitality, Sensation, Art, Virtue, Tranquility, Approach, Contemplation. In its progress, the location of the soul and the center of its attention may be described in seven phases as 'of the body,' 'through the body,' 'about the body,' 'toward itself,''toward God,' 'in God.'"

--E.K. Rand, Founders of the Middle Ages

"Everything here below is necessity, defiled by force, and consequently unworthy of love.
"This world is the closed door. It is a barrier, and at the same time it is the passage-way."

--Simone Weil, Notebooks, Vol. 2