And amid all this confusion I, what’s truly I, am the centre that exists only in the geometry of the abyss: I’m the nothing around which everything spins, existing only so that it can spin, being a centre only because every circle has one. I, what’s truly I, am a well without walls but with the walls’ viscosity, the centre of everything with nothing around it.
— Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet. (Penguin Classics; New Ed edition, December 31, 2002) Originally published 1982.Fernando Pessoa — The Vale of Soul-Making
I see the insipid flesh blossoming and palpitating with abandon.
― Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea. (New Directions Publishing Corporation January 1, 1975) Originally published 1938.
The Bard of Hollywood
By Marcus D. Niski
He was a tough motherfucker
at least he’d like to have
us think that he was.
Everyday he’d get up
And start drinking and writing
Writing and drinking.
Yet under that
beer barrel chest
lay the heart of a lion,
a heart of gold
He gave us his best stuff
Fresh from the suburbs, the factories
the pool halls, the wastelands, the racetracks, the detritus
of urban life.
He never gave up
gave in until
he gave his last
which as good as his best
He never understood
the human condition
because he was always striving.
‘He didn’t think much of them’
The Humans that is.
One of the most acute observers,
He laid his soul bare
And he told of the blood, the puss
the stink, the shit, the beauty, the horror
and the mundanity of life.
He lived life
To its fullest
despite his own queer
was a one-shot deal
An original even if it’s a clique
To suggest it.
His writing lives on
To grace us with its realness,
And its beauty.
[MN] 15 January 2020
Dedicated to Charles Bukowski (1920–1994) – one of my great literary heroes.
If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.
― Ray BradburyRay Bradbury — The Vale of Soul-Making
Understand me. I’m not like an ordinary world. I have my madness, I live in another dimension and I do not have time for things that have no soul.
― Charles BukowskiCharles Bukowski — The Vale of Soul-Making
In Vienna there are shadows. The city is black and everything is done by rote. I want to be alone. I want to go to the Bohemian Forest. May, June, July, August, September, October. I must see new things and investigate them. I want to taste dark water and see crackling trees and wild winds. I want to gaze with astonishment at moldy garden fences, I want to experience them all, to hear young birch plantations and trembling leaves, to see light and sun, enjoy wet, green-blue valleys in the evening, sense goldfish glinting, see white clouds building up in the sky, to speak to flowers. I want to look intently at grasses and pink people, old venerable churches, to know what little cathedrals say, to run without stopping along curving meadowy slopes across vast plains, kiss the earth and smell soft warm marshland flowers. And then I shall shape things so beautifully: fields of colour…
— Egon Schiele, as quoted by Reinhard Steiner in Egon Schiele, 1890-1918: The Midnight Soul of the Artist. (Taschen; Revised edition May 17, 2000) Originally Published February 1st 1994.
“You can’t have it all [in life] where would you put it…”
– Lemmy Kilmister, Lead Singer Motörhead
O my poor words, bear with me.
— Theodore Roethke, Straw for the Fire: From the Notebooks of Theodore Roethke, ed. David Wagoner (Copper Canyon Press November 1, 2006)Theodore Roethke — The Vale of Soul-Making
I write by the light of what is not revealed in what I express.
— Edmond Jabès, The Book of Questions, II. The Book of Yukel, III. Return to the Book] trans.by Rosmarie Waldrop (Wesleyan University Press, 1983)
“The sea holds an abundance of comfort and inspiration and danger, all that a person needs in order to rise to the full largesse of beauty… If you allow this beauty to become a blank, if you turn your back to the blues and deny your dependence on them, you might lose your place in…Water as a Portal to Transcendence — Brain Pickings