9 June 2014 8:17 pm

The ways we miss our lives are life

Tim Carmody on linked to an interview with writer and psychoanalyst Adam Phillips in The Paris Review, quoting from the part about the need to not know yourself. Also interesting is the exchange concerning a quote from Randall Jarrell in his book Missing Out: “The ways we miss our lives are life.”

I don’t know what it’s about, but it strikes me as true, and painful because it’s true.

What’s painful about it? It could be extremely comforting, couldn’t it? It could be a way of saying, Actually, that’s what a life is, it’s the lives you don’t have. As if to say, Don’t worry, because that’s what a life is. Or just that missing all our supposed other lives is something modern people are keen to do. We are just addicted to alternatives, fascinated by what we can never do. As if we all had the wrong parents, or the wrong bodies, or the wrong luck.

Are you telling me not to worry?

I’m saying there could be a comfort in that line. And the comfort would be something like, You don’t have to worry too much about trying to have the lives you think you’re missing. Don’t be tyrannized by the part of yourself that’s only interested in elsewhere.


Well, you could just think it’s terrible, and start believing that mourning is the realest thing we ever do. But one is going to feel different things at different times. As Emerson said, “Our moods do not believe in each other.”

There’s a mood in which you’ll feel, This is a terrible fact about life. We’re always going to be preoccupied by what we’re missing, by what we’ve lost, and there’s no way around it. And in other moods we can think, Well, that’s what it is to live a life, so get used to it, that’s the point. That’s not a problem, it’s the point.

6 June 2014 7:40 pm

Bookstores of New York, the first in a series

1 June 2014 11:47 am 12 April 2014 4:23 pm

What is it for you then, the insistent now that baffles and surrounds you in its loose-knit embrace

Aerial photographs of Iceland by Emmanuel Coupe-Kalomiris. Text from John Ashbery’s “The Recital.”

(via but does it float)

“Adele with Friend, c. 1947” / “Sailors, c. 1952”

from this post on Saul Leiter’s black and white photography

4 April 2014 4:31 pm 19 March 2014 9:15 am

A Seasonal Dwelling

The thinking soul is conducting an experiment. The method
of investigation: as soon as you have felt something,

throw it away.

She has discarded several
large cities. There are porches
she refuses to return to.

Rivers and dresses
already seen-through.

Rows of almond trees.

She has never seen the Southern Plains.
Has never dived for memories into a swimming hole
or an ocean. Tomorrow night she hopes
to be lifted once again by a painfully clear sky.

To be disappointed once again by aurora borealis.

—Olena Kalytiak Davis

27 February 2014 9:56 am

Isabel Urbina Peña designs lovely covers and photographs them excellently.

(via quipsologies)