The Stream, a River, a Torrent, This Puddle, the Sea

'Jimmy's Fairy Tale,' by Woodford Yang on Flickr

[Image: “Jimmy’s Fairy Tale,” by Woodford Yang. Found it on Flickr (used here under a Creative Commons license). The artist/photographer — the user who posted it, anyhow — offers absolutely no context for it: where it was taken, what it depicts, who “Jimmy” might be/have been… nothing at all. (The user profile indicates that he is based in Taipei, and I found numerous references to that exact name around the Web; but I really have no details to offer.) Whatever it “means,” I like that the train’s label — referring to van Gogh’s painting, presumably, or to the Don McLean song about it — echoes (or is echoed in) those softly glowing overhead lights.]

From whiskey river (italicized portion):

Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up…

A critic not long ago said in praise of a very serious fairy tale that the author’s tongue “never once got into his cheek.” But why on earth should it?—unless he had been eating a seed-cake. Nothing seems to me more fatal, for this art, than an idea that whatever we share with children is, in the privative sense, “childish” and that whatever is childish is somehow comic. We must meet children as equals in that area of our nature where we are their equals. Our superiority consists partly in commanding other areas, and partly (which is more relevant) in the fact that we are better at telling stories than they are. The child as reader is neither to be patronized nor idolized: we talk to him as man to man. But the worst attitude of all would be the professional attitude which regards children in the lump as a sort of raw material which we have to handle.

(C. S. Lewis [source])

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Unknowns, Unseens, Unstateds, Undones

Vincent Van Gogh: 'A Pair of Shoes' (1886)

[Image: A Pair of Shoes (1886), by Vincent Van Gogh. See the note at the foot of this post.]

From whiskey river:

We live in a huge net and web of being, human and non-human and we have obligations towards it but the only way to fulfill them is by doing it from the inside. Not from the head, not from what we’re told to do, but to discover for ourselves what needs doing and then start doing it.

(Jane Hirshfield [unconfirmed source])

and (italicized stanzas, following epigraph):

Mon Semblable

“No man has ever dared to describe himself as he truly is.”
-Albert Camus

I like things my way
every chance I get.
A limit doesn’t exist

when it comes to that.
But please, don’t confuse
what I say with honesty.

Isn’t honesty the open yawn
the unimaginable love
more than truth?

Anonymous among strangers
I look for those
with hidden wings,

and for scars
that those who once had wings
can’t hide.

Though I know it’s unfair,
I reveal myself
one mask at a time.

Does this appeal to you,
such slow disclosures,
a lifetime perhaps

of almost knowing one another?
I would hope you, too,
would hold something back,

and that you’d always want
whatever unequal share
you had style enough to get.

Altruism is for those
who can’t endure their desires.
There’s a world

as ambiguous as a moan,
a pleasure moan
our earnest neighbors

might think a crime.
It’s where we could live.
I’ll say I love you,

which will lead, of course,
to disappointment,
but those words unsaid

poison every next moment.
I will try to disappoint you
better than anyone ever has.

(Stephen Dunn [source])

and:

The key question isn’t “What fosters creativity?” But it is why in God’s name isn’t everyone creative? Where was the human potential lost? How was it crippled? I think therefore a good question might not be why do people create? But why do people not create or innovate?

We have got to abandon that sense of amazement in the face of creativity, as if it were a miracle that anybody created anything.

(Abraham Maslow [unconfirmed source])

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