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Shirley Jackson, Francine Prose
No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs
Naomi Klein
Progress: 158/528 pages
"I want to perform an unnatural act."

- Lenny Bruce

"I get a kick out of being an outsider constantly. It allows me to be creative. I don't like anything in the mainstream and they don't like me."

- Bill Hicks

"I don’t like ass kissers, flag wavers or team players. I like people who buck the system. Individualists. I often warn people: “Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, ‘There is no “I” in team.’ What you should tell them is, ‘Maybe not. But there is an “I” in independence, individuality and integrity.’” Avoid teams at all cost. Keep your circle small. Never join a group that has a name. If they say, “We’re the So-and-Sos,” take a walk. And if, somehow, you must join, if it’s unavoidable, such as a union or a trade association, go ahead and join. But don’t participate; it will be your death. And if they tell you you’re not a team player, congratulate them on being observant."

-George Carlin

"The more I see, the less I know for sure."

- John Lennon

A few bursts of brilliance, but mostly dull.

Winter Hours: Prose, Prose Poems, and Poems - Mary Oliver

There are writers who are clearly talented and intelligent, with something to say, but their writing is so clinical that it's difficult to stay engaged. For me, Mary Oliver is one of those writers. I found her poetry to be far more arresting than her essays, which tended to be long-winded and full of navel-gazing. 


Once in a while I found bits of genius on Oliver's layers of sentences, like this:


It is supposed that a writer writes what he knows about and knows well. It is not necessarily so. A writer's subject may just as well, if not more likely, be what the writer longs for and dreams about, in an unquenchable dream, in lush detail and harsh honesty.


This is probably a personal preference, but I also enjoyed Oliver more when she was being a bit random rather than when she was utterly focused on a subject. Cases in point:


There are as many worlds as there are imaginers.


In order to be the person I want to be, I must strive, hourly, against the drag of others.


I can think for a little while; then, it's the world again.


This isn't to say Oliver is outright unbearable when she's focused. When she is passionate, her gift for poetry emerges:


Now comes a peaceful day, all day long. Then comes evil, crossing the street, going out of its way with determined steps and a face like a nail - invasive, wanting to molest, to hurt, to stain, to dismay, to dishearten.


I only wish that gift would come out more in her writing.