Reading very hard

"Books are good enough in their own way, but they are a mighty bloodless substitute for life. It seems a pity to sit, like the Lady of Shalott, peering into a mirror, with your back turned on all the bustle and glamour of reality. And if a man reads very hard, as the old anecdote reminds us, he will have little time for thought.


Many who have 'plied their book diligently,' and know all about some one branch or another of accepted lore, come out of the study with an ancient and owl-like demeanour, and prove dry, stockish, and dyspeptic in all the better and brighter parts of life."

- Robert Louis Stevenson, An Apology for Idlers

I am trying not to read too hard. As February thaws out, I am trying to move more slowly, be less "stockish" (what does that mean?), let more bustle into my life.

First step: changing my morning routine. Usually monopolized by headlines (Le Monde, New York Times, Libération, L'humanité), rarely by the actual content of articles, my mornings are undergoing an overhaul, inspired by Günter Grass:

"Between nine and ten o’clock I have a long breakfast with reading and music."
(courtesy of Daily Routines)

Reading a few pages, with tea, is more efficient in waking me up to the day than a frantic search across news websites that basically only ensure to me that the world has not blown up, but has maintained a certain status quo of ignominy and suffering.



"I don't want to read. I don't want to write. I don't want to do anything but be here. Doing something will take away from being here. I want to make being here enough. Maybe it's already enough. I won't have to invent enough. I'll be here and I won't do anything and this place will be here, but I won't do anything to it. I'll just let it be here. And maybe because I'm here and because the me in what's here makes what's here different, maybe that will be enough, maybe that will be what I'm after. But I'm not sure. I'm not sure I'll be able to perceive the difference. How will I perceive it? I need to find a way to make myself absolutely not here but still be able to be here to know the difference. I need to experience the difference between being here and not changing here, and being here and changing here.

I set up camp early for the night. It's a beautiful, unlikely evening after a long rainy day. I put my tent down in an El Greco landscape: the velvet greens, the mottled purples, the rocky stubble.

But El Greco changes here, he makes being here not enough. I am here and I can't be here without El Greco. I just can't leave here alone."

Roni Horn, "Making Being Here Enough"


Geologie Poésie

"Lorsque nous arriverons au degré de science qui nous permettra de faire une histoire naturelle des coeurs, de les nommer, de les classer en genres, en sous-genres, en familles, en crustacés, en fossiles, en sauriens, en microscopiques, en... que sais-je? alors, mon bon ami, ce sera chose prouvée qu'il en existe de tendres, de délicats, comme des fleurs, et qui doivent se briser comme elles par de légers froissements auxquels certains coeurs minéraux ne sont même pas sensibles.

- Oh ! de grâce, épargne-moi ta préface, dit Émile d'un air moitié piteux, en prenant la main de Raphaël."

(Balzac, La Peau de chagrin)