The wreck of his life

Earlier this week, someone in a writers group I attend asked me where do I get the ideas I write about. My answer was a paraphrase of something Hemingway wrote to Fitzgerald. Here’s the exact quote from his letter in 1929:

“The good parts of a book may be only something a writer is lucky enough to overhear or it may be the wreck of his whole damn life–and one is as good as the other.”
–Ernest Hemingway

He also wrote something to the idea that he learned to write by examining the simplest of things.

Quote: yet we cannot look away

“With e-mail, which is checked minute to minute… All day long, light is being beamed into our eyes…. accelerating change in how we read has enormous physical and behavioral consequences…. yet we cannot look away…”

—John Freeman

Quote: the journey is your narrative

“The process of writing . . . is . . . a journey by boat. . . . If you get distracted or allow yourself to drift, you will never make it to the destination. . . . The journey is your narrative.”

—Walter Mosley

Quote: The ancient Celts distinguished the poet…

“The ancient Celts… distinguished the poet, who was originally a priest and judge as well and whose person was sacrosanct, from the mere gleeman. He was in Irish called fili, a seer, which is Welsh derwydd, or oak-seer, which is the probable derivation of Druid. Even kings came under his moral tutelage.”

–Robert Graves

Quote: Most people believe that technology is a staunch friend

“. . . most people believe that technology is a staunch friend. There are two reasons for this. First, technology is a friend. It makes life easier, cleaner, and longer. Can anyone ask more of a friend? Second, because of its lengthy, intimate, and inevitable relationship with culture, technology does not invite a close examination of its own consequences. It is the kind of friend that asks for trust and obedience, which most people are inclined to give because its gifts are truly bountiful. But, of course, there is a dark side to this friend. Its gifts are not without a heavy cost.”

–Neil Postman

Quote: “Technology is…”

“Whether or not it draws on new scientific research, technology is a branch of moral philosophy, not of science.”

–Paul Goodman

Quote: “Internet addiction appears to be a common disorder…”

The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition contains definitions and diagnostic criteria for every mental disorder you can imagine…. In 2008, the Journal of American Psychiatry argued that “Internet addiction appears to be a common disorder that merits inclusion in DSM-V.” …. The following pathologies run rampant on the ‘Net:

  • Generalized Trolling Compulsion.
  • Comments Derangement Syndrome.
  • Manic Confirmation Bias.
  • Fanboy Disorder.
  • Delusional Capital Exchange Disorder.
  • Narcissistic Market Prognostication Imbalance.
  • and more

Link: Beyond Internet addiction: Ars diagnoses your online maladies

Quote: “The air itself is one vast library…”

What a strange chaos is this wide atmosphere we breathe! … The air itself is one vast library, on whose pages are for ever written all that man has ever said or woman whispered. There, in their mutable but unerring characters, mixed with the earliest, as well as the latest sighs of mortality, stand for ever recorded, vows unredeemed, promises unfulfilled, perpetuating in the united movements of each particle, the testimony of man’s changeful will.

—Charles Babbage

A library of Babel concealed in the very air we breathe. (via alphacaeli)