The Book Burners

The book burners were inspired by the bookish. Who else would know which books to burn?

Cynthia Ozick

We were the people

We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.

Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

When I finally walked

When I finally walked into Adolf Hitler’s salon in the Kaiserhof Hotel, I was convinced that I was meeting the future dictator of Germany,” [Dorothy Parker wrote]. “In something less than fifty seconds I was quite sure that I was not. … He is formless, almost faceless: a man whose countenance is a caricature; a man whose framework seems cartilaginous, without bones. He is inconsequential and voluble, ill-poised, insecure—the very prototype of the Little Man.

Dorothy Parker

From this point forth

From this point forth, find me nowhere,
Socially unseen,
Just on the back porch, without a care
And without a screen

Eric Overby

I should like to bury something precious

I should like to bury something precious in every place where I’ve been happy and then, when I’m old and ugly and miserable, I could come back and dig it up and remember.”

― Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited

Change

Change is painful, but nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.

Mandy Hale

Rivers

Everyone lives downstream. Even those idealists who live with their heads in the clouds live downstream . . . moreso those whose heads are buried in the sand.

 Duane Short

Rivers are the primal highways of life. From the crack of time, they had borne men’s dreams, and in their lovely rush to elsewhere, fed our wanderlust, mimicked our arteries, and charmed our imaginations in a way the static pond or vast and savage ocean never could.

Tom Robbins

Who owns Cross Creek? The redbirds, I think, more than I, for they will have their nests even in the face of delinquent mortgages. And after I am dead, who am childless, the human ownership of grove and field and hammock is hypothetical. But a long line of redbirds and whippoorwills and blue-jays and ground doves will descend from the present owners of nests in the orange trees, and their claim will be less subject to dispute than that of any human heirs. Houses are individual and can be owned, like nests, and fought for. But what of the land? It seems to me that the Earth may be borrowed but not bought. It may be used, but not owned. It gives itself in response to love and tending, offers it seasonal flowering and fruiting. But we are tenants and not possessors, lovers and not masters. Cross Creek belongs to the wind and the rain, to the sun and the seasons, to the cosmic secrecy of seed, and beyond all, to time.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: ‘President Can’t Swim.’

Lyndon B. Johnson

Politics is downstream from culture.

Ben Domenech

And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.

William Shakespeare

Mother Nature is our wild world. A wild, winding river is her autograph.

Duane Short

River, take me along
In your sunshine,
Sing me your song
Ever moving and winding and free
You rolling old river,
You changing old river,
Let’s you and me river
Run down to the sea.

Bill Staines

I gave my heart to the mountains the minute I stood beside this river with its spray in my face and watched it thunder into foam, smooth to green glass over sunken rocks, shatter to foam again. I was fascinated by how it sped by and yet was always there; its roar shook both the earth and me.

Wallace Stegner

The only zen

The only zen you’ll find on the mountain tops is the Zen you bring up there with you.

Alan Watts

Philosophy

Philosophy is like trying to open a safe with a combination lock: each little adjustment of the dials seems to achieve nothing, only when everything is in place does the door open.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Road Trips

Road trips are the equivalent of human wings. Ask me to go on one, anywhere. We’ll stop in every small town and learn the history and stories, feel the ground and capture the spirit. Then we’ll turn it into our own story that will live inside our history to carry with us, always. Because stories are more important than things.

Victoria Erickson

Who wants to hear

Who wants to hear about brave deeds when he’s ashamed of his own, and who likes an open, honest tale from someone he’s deceiving?

Watership Down

Let me write

Let me write the songs of a nation; I don’t care who
writes its laws.

Andrew Fletcher

The Windy City

Excerpt from The Windy City, a poem by Carl Sandburg, published in a book titled Slabs of the Sunburnt West:

It is easy to come here a stranger and show the whole
works, write a book, fix it all up–it is easy to come
and go away a muddle-headed pig, a bum and a
bag of wind.

Go to it and remember this city fished from its
depths a text: “independent as a hog on ice.”
Venice is a dream of soft waters, Vienna and Bagdad
recollections of dark spears and wild turbans; Paris
is a thought in Monet gray on scabbards, fabrics,
façades; London is a fact in a fog filled with the
moaning of transatlantic whistles; Berlin sits amid
white scrubbed quadrangles and torn arithmetics and
testaments; Moscow brandishes a flag and repeats a
dance figure of a man who walks like a bear.
Chicago fished from its depths a text: Independent
as a hog on ice.

Link to the rest at Slabs of the Sunburnt West

And, a better known Sandburg poem about Chicago.

Chicago

Hog Butcher for the World,
   Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
   Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;
   Stormy, husky, brawling,
   City of the Big Shoulders:

They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
   Bareheaded,
   Shoveling,
   Wrecking,
   Planning,
   Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse, and under his ribs the heart of the people,
                   Laughing!
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.