What I Read This Week - 9th September

Indian summer. September's always quiet here, as before a storm. - Tomorrow's rock 'n' roll (David Bowie at The Guardian (in 1999))

At the same time, interaction on the Web is a little like a mirror, like communicating with a manifestation of yourself. Because it is so chaotic, so decentralised, I find that using the Web becomes like communicating with a hardware version of me. It’s not exactly a doppelgänger, but an alternative version of myself.

1999: Bowie nails it.

- Here, but Not Here: Photographs of Families Held Together by Love, Skype (Rebecca J. Rosen at The Atlantic)

Upon reflection, Clang added, "To be able to witness all these technology progress and wondering what the future looks like, which they may not be able to participate brings a tinge of sadness to me. I think maybe I'm the one sensing the sadness."Are they here or not here? Are we together or apart? The photographs answer with the same ambiguity we feel.

- Parvenucracy (Alexander Chee at the Los Angeles Review of Books)

Bady understood what Schama did not: We are watching a historical fiction. In fact, a historical fiction within a historical fiction. And all historical fictions are ruses — to succeed, they all flash a bit of what Genet would call the garter, the anachronism that tells you it's not real — this is what engages the audience.

Chee on Downton Abbey.

- Map Quest (Alice Bolin at The Paris Review)

poetry and geography create more than they record.

- The Art of Fiction No. 28 - Henry Miller (interviewed by George Wickes at The Paris Review)


When I’m revising, I use a pen and ink to make changes, cross out, insert. The manuscript looks wonderful afterwards, like a Balzac. Then I retype, and in the process of retyping I make more changes. I prefer to retype everything myself, because even when I think I’ve made all the changes I want, the mere mechanical business of touching the keys sharpens my thoughts, and I find myself revising while doing the finished thing.


You mean there is something going on between you and the machine?


Yes, in a way the machine acts as a stimulus; it’s a cooperative thing.