I am particularly moved by the regular motions of the natural world. Waves and tides, orbits and conjunctions, the majestic and inexorable procession of seasons. I just learned that the recent syzygy of moon and sun and earth will result in a lunar eclipse over North America. I advise you: abandon all prior engagement; find a clear patch of sky. Tonight is a holiday, in the ancient sense—holy and vast are the forces on display, and all ordinary life should halt to honor them, and turn upside down to pay homage.

The error of the pedant is confusing being correct with being useful. And the dream of the pedant is to be useful, because at heart most pedants have no faith in their social ability—they believe only their knowledge could endear them to others, not their personality or their self.

Optimism originates not only in hope but faith. And optimism inverts gravity; burdens begin to lift us up.

True/false: the key to looking good is feeling good, and the key to feeling good is willing it so.

True/false: the key to looking good is feeling good, and the key to feeling good is willing it so.


The wind is roaring in turret and tree.
(The Sisters)

From Landscape illustrations to the poems of Alfred lord Tennyson, Boston, 1892.

(Source: archive.org.)

(via hinetr)

“'Some people think it's an insult to the glory of their sickness to get well. But the time poultice is no respecter of glories. Everyone gets well if he waits around.'”
East of Eden | John Steinbeck (via hinetr)
“When a man has done you any wrong, immediately consider with what notions of good and evil he acted in doing wrong. When you have seen this, you will pity him and will neither wonder nor be angry. For either you think the same thing to be good that he does or something of the same kind; it is your duty then to pardon him; but if you do not hold the same notions of good or evil, you will more readily be charitable to him who is in error.”
— Marcus Aurelius, from his Meditations, 1862 Long translation.

Discussing love and sincerity with said love and sincerity is the true marathon of all possible conversations. Afterward, like Pheidippides, I fall stone dead.

Tumblr is seeping into Salon, it seems. Unfortunate.

Empathy isn’t just something that happens to us—a meteor shower of synapses firing across the brain—it’s also a choice we make: to pay attention, to extend ourselves. It’s made of exertion, that dowdier cousin of impulse. Sometimes we care for another because we know we should, or because it’s asked for, but this doesn’t make our caring hollow. The act of choosing simply means we’ve committed ourselves to a set of behaviors greater than the sum of our individual inclinations: I will listen to his sadness, even when I’m deep in my own. To say ‘going through the motions’—this isn’t reduction so much as acknowledgment of the effort—the labor, the motions, the dance—of getting inside another person’s state of heart or mind.

This confession of effort chafes against the notion that empathy should always arise unbidden, that genuine means the same thing as unwilled, that intentionality is the enemy of love. But I believe in intention and I believe in work. I believe in waking up in the middle of the night and packing our bags and leaving our worst selves for our better ones.

— Leslie Jamison, “The Empathy Exams” (via The Believer)

(via invisiblestories)



1 This is the first intimacy: for a while you allow yourself to be completely enamored with and consumed by the other. You hang onto their words and gestures, how they pull in their lips or scratch their ankle or button their shirt. You don’t know much about what they’ll do when they’re surprised or disappointed or angry or sad, but you know what they’ll do when they think no one is looking, because they have ceased to be themselves just as you’ve ceased to be you. While they’re falling in love with the way you brush your hair out of your face or cover your mouth while you laugh or wrinkle your nose, you’re falling in love with the way they tap their foot or laugh before they’ve gotten to the end of the joke. It’s the beginning and it is comfort, even when you don’t notice it anymore. 

2 There is no such thing as two equals in love. There is no such thing as equal sacrifice, if you cook I’ll do the dishes if you get the floor dirty you clean it up. Instead, each person secretly believes that they’re giving more, giving everything, giving all the time. This is a small, selfish pleasure, because if you always believe you are giving more, and often, and without complaint, you believe the other is indebted to you. If the other is indebted — without knowing — you will always have leverage, you will always have a way to shame them with your love. See, see this? This is what I have done for you. But equal to this small, selfish pleasure is the big, self-rending choice to keep quiet about it. It is knowing exactly how you might break the other and knowing you will never do it. This is also intimacy, but it is as much intimacy with yourself — with who you are, and what you believe about love and generosity and goodness — as it is with the other person. 

What promises can you keep?

3 Lovers meet again and again over the course of time. As strangers and pilgrims and veterans. Here I am, they say. If no one stays the same forever, how can you promise always to love in the same way? You can only promise presence. Here, you say, take my hand as I stretch it across the table. You are well-met. You are new and wholly frightening and wholly wonderful…

…this is the first intimacy.

My girlfriend apparently told her stylist, “Dana Sterling, Second Robotech War.” Set weird nostalgic adolescent nerd libido to ON.

My girlfriend apparently told her stylist, “Dana Sterling, Second Robotech War.” Set weird nostalgic adolescent nerd libido to ON.

It didn’t occur to me until now that there are many people struggling not to change at all.

“Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow’s springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.”
— Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Spring and Fall.”

I submit this series of tweets as exhibit A, and my inability to stop laughing at my own joke as exhibit B, that if I didn’t have a significant other I would be absolutely certain never to have one unless I pretended to be somebody much cooler.