follow your bliss


Thomaz Farkas/Acervo Instituto Moreira Salles, Mulher em mesa de bar, Rio de Janeiro, 1947

Thomaz Farkas/Acervo Instituto Moreira Salles, Mulher em mesa de bar, Rio de Janeiro, 1947

(Source: killerbeesting, via pyotra)

Full disclosure; most of the time I don’t find it easy to love my fellow humans. I’m still that solipsistic twenty-one year old. But the time I’ve been able to get over myself and get involved at whatever level, those have proved the most valuable moments of my life. (…) And the thing is, it’s not even a question of ethics or self sacrifice or moral high ground; it’s actually totally selfish. Being with people, doing for people; it’s going to bring you joy. Unexpectedly, it just feels better. It feels good to give your unique and prestigious self a slip every now and then and confess your membership in this unwieldy collective called the human race. For one thing, it’s far less lonely. And for another, contra Mrs. Thatcher, some of the best conversations you’ll ever hear will be on public transport. If it weren’t for the New York and London subway systems, my novels would be books of blank pages. (…) Hold on to that desire for human connection. Don’t let anyone scare you out of it. Walk down these crowded streets with a smile on your face. Be thankful you get to walk so close to other humans; it’s a privilege. Don’t let your fellow humans be alien to you. And as you get older and perhaps a little less open than you are now, don’t assume that “exclusive” always and everywhere means better. It may only mean lonelier. There will always be folks hard selling you the life of the few. The private school, private planes, private islands, private life. They’re trying to convince you that hell is other people. Don’t believe it. We are far more frequently each other’s shelter and correction, the antidote to solipsism and so many windows on this world.

starswaterairdirt:

Alchemist who has achieved illumination 
Alchemy: The Golden Art: The Secrets of the Oldest Enigma 
by Andrea De Pascalis

starswaterairdirt:

Alchemist who has achieved illumination 

Alchemy: The Golden Art: The Secrets of the Oldest Enigma 

by Andrea De Pascalis

(via jaded-mandarin)

If you’re a boy writer, it’s a simple rule: you’ve gotta get used to the fact that you suck at writing women and that the worst women writer can write a better man than the best male writer can write a good woman. And it’s just the minimum. Because the thing about the sort of heteronormative masculine privilege, whether it’s in Santo Domingo, or the United States, is you grow up your entire life being told that women aren’t human beings, and that women have no independent subjectivity. And because you grow up with this, it’s this huge surprise when you go to college and realize that, “Oh, women aren’t people who does my shit and fucks me.”

And I think that this a huge challenge for boys, because they want to pretend they can write girls. Every time I’m teaching boys to write, I read their women to them, and I’m like, “Yo, you think this is good writing?” These motherfuckers attack each other over cliche lines but they won’t attack each other over these toxic representations of women that they have inherited… their sexist shorthand, they think that is observation. They think that their sexist distortions are insight. And if you’re in a writing program and you say to a guy that their characters are sexist, this guy, it’s like you said they fucking love Hitler. They will fight tooth and nail because they want to preserve this really vicious sexism in the art because that is what they have been taught.

And I think the first step is to admit that you, because of your privilege, have a very distorted sense of women’s subjectivity. And without an enormous amount of assistance, you’re not even going to get a D. I think with male writers the most that you can hope for is a D with an occasional C thrown in. Where the average women writer, when she writes men, she gets a B right off the bat, because they spent their whole life being taught that men have a subjectivity. In fact, part of the whole feminism revolution was saying, “Me too, motherfuckers.” So women come with it built in because of the society.

It’s the same way when people write about race. If you didn’t grow up being a subaltern person in the United States, you might need help writing about race. Motherfuckers are like ‘I got a black boy friend,’ and their shit sounds like Klan Fiction 101.

The most toxic formulas in our cultures are not pass down in political practice, they’re pass down in mundane narratives. It’s our fiction where the toxic virus of sexism, racism, homophobia, where it passes from one generation to the next, and the average artist will kill you before they remove those poisons. And if you want to be a good artist, it means writing, really, about the world. And when you write cliches, whether they are sexist, racist, homophobic, classist, that is a fucking cliche. And motherfuckers will kill you for their cliches about x, but they want their cliches about their race, class, queerness. They want it in there because they feel lost without it. So for me, this has always been the great challenge.

As a writer, if you’re really trying to write something new, you must figure out, with the help of a community, how can you shed these fucking received formulas. They are received. You didn’t come up with them. And why we need fellow artists is because they help us stay on track. They tell you, “You know what? You’re a bit of a fucking homophobe.” You can’t write about the world with these simplistic distortions. They are cliches. People know art, always, because they are uncomfortable. Art discomforts. The trangressiveness of art has to deal with confronting people with the real. And sexism is a way to avoid the real, avoiding the reality of women. Homophobia is to avoid the real, the reality of queerness. All these things are the way we hide from encountering the real. But art, art is just about that.

—Junot Diaz speaking at Word Up: Community Bookshop in 2012 (via hiniascott)