There was a moment in which he knew he could not go on. He had begun at the wrong pace, another and better man’s pace, had seen the man come almost at once to the top of his strength, hitting his stride without effort, unlimbering and lining out and away. And like a fool he had taken up the bait, whole and at once, had allowed himself to be run into the ground. In the next instant his lungs should burst, for now they were burning with pain and the pain had crowded out the last and least element of his breath, and he should stumble and fall. But the moment passed. The moment passed, and the next and the next, and he was running still, and still he could see the dark shape of the man running away in the swirling mist, like a motionless shadow. And he held on to the shadow and ran beyond his pain.
Dypaloh. There was a house made of dawn. It was made of pollen and of rain, and the land was very old and everlasting. There were many colors on the hills, and the plain was bright with different-colored clays and sands. Red and blue and spotted horses grazed in the plain, and there was a dark wilderness on the mountains beyond. The land was still and strong. It was beautiful all around.
There is a kind of life that is peculiar to the land in summer—a wariness, a seasonal equation of well-being and alertness. Road runners take on the shape of motion itself, urgent and angular, or else they are like the gnarled, uncovered roots of ancient, stunted trees, some ordinary ruse of the land itself, immovable and forever there. And quail, at evening, just failing to suggest the waddle of too much weight, take cover with scarcely any talent for alarm, and spread their wings to the ground; and if then they are made to take flight, the imminence of no danger on earth can be more apparent; they explode away like a shot, and there is nothing but the dying whistle and streak of their going. Frequently in the sun there are pairs of white and russet hawks soaring to the hunt. And when one falls off and alights, there will be a death in the land, for it has come down to place itself like a destiny between its prey and the burrow from which its prey has come; and then the other, the killer hawk, turns around in the sky and breaks its glide and dives. It is said that hawks, when they have nothing to fear in the open land, dance upon the warm carnage of their kills. In the highest heat of the day, rattlesnakes lie outstretched upon the dunes, as if the sun had wound them out and lain upon them like a line of fire, or, knowing of some vibrant presence in the air, they writhe away in the agony of time. And of their own accord they go at sundown into the earth, hopelessly, as if to some unimaginable reckoning in the underworld. Coyotes have the gift of being seldom seen; they keep to the edge of vision and beyond, loping in and out of cover on the plains and highlands. And at night, when the whole world belongs to them, they parley at the river with the dogs, their higher, sharper voices full of authority and rebuke. They are an old council of clowns, and they are listened to.
Social networks give you the right to speak to legions of idiots who previously spoke only in the bar after a glass of wine, without harming the community. They were then quickly silenced, but now have the same right to speak as to a Nobel Prize. It is an invasion of imbeciles.
From Prospero’s Books Kansas City, The Dusty Bookshelf Lawrence, KS, and my Library of America subscription. The James Corey is a gift from my daughter Marilyn because she knows The Expanse is my favorite TV show.
The best way I can think of to describe the current status of the GOP is “malevolent inanity.”
The elevation of nonsensical, yet still hateful, rhetoric whose sole intention is to rile up the aggrieved, while not new, is now the primary (only?) strategy of the GOP’s desperate attempt to maintain relevance and cling to power.
You can see a good example of the result by watching the New Yorker video of the invasion of the senate chamber at the U.S. Capitol. President Trump, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, et al. managed to animate a cadre of pathetic golems taking the form of giant toddlers. Overgrown preschool escapees whose power resides in falling on the floor and shitting themselves.
Remember when your kids first discovered that pushing a plate of food off the high-chair tray resulted in all kinds of excitement and chaos? That’s these guys.
The bar for becoming a freedom fighter is now low enough to step over. You just have to be willing to zip-tie the constitution to a chair.
“I was stunned by Mary Karr’s memoir, The Liars’ Club. Not just by its ferocity, its beauty, and by her delightful grasp of the vernacular, but by its totality—she is a woman who remembers everything about her early years.”
I found a copy of this book at The Dusty Bookshelf here in Lawrence, KS today. It’s reputation proceeds it but I would have purchased it on the strength of the epigram alone.
“When someone is honestly 55% right, that’s very good and there’s no use wrangling. And if someone is 60% right, it’s wonderful, it’s great luck, and let him thank God. But what’s to be said about 75% right? Wise people say this is suspicious. Well, and what about 100% right? Whoever says he’s 100% right is a fanatic, a thug, and the worst kind of rascal.”
—An old Jew of Galicia
It was only toward the middle of the twentieth century that the inhabitants of many European countries came, in general unpleasantly, to the realization that their fate could be influenced directly by intricate and abstruse books of philosophy. Their bread, their work, their private lives began to depend on this or that decision in disputes on principles to which, until then, they had never paid any attention. In their eyes, the philosopher had always been a sort of dreamer whose divagations had no effect on reality. The average human being, even if he had once been exposed to it, wrote philosophy off as utterly impractical and useless. Therefore the great intellectual work of the Marxists could easily pass as just one more variation on a sterile pastime. Only a few individuals understood the causes and probable consequences of this general indifference.