“That’s why opera is important, Baron. Because it’s realer than any play! A dramatic poet would have to put all those thoughts down one after another to represent this second of time. The composer can put them all down at once – and still make us hear each one of them. Astonishing device: a Vocal Quartet! … I tell you I want to write a finale lasting half an hour! A quartet becoming a quintet becoming a sextet. On and on, wider and wider – all sounds multiplying and rising together – and the together making a sound entirely new! … I bet you that’s how God hears the world. Millions of sounds ascending at once and mixing in His ear to become an unending music, unimaginable to us! That’s our job! That’s our job, we composers: to combine the inner minds of him and him and him, and her and her – the thoughts of chambermaids and Court Composers – and turn the audience into God.” (Peter Shaffer, from “Amadeus”)
You stay in prison, what your time calls duty, honor, self-respect, and you are comfortably safe. Or you are free and crucified. Your only companions the stones, the thorns, the turning backs; the silence of cities, and their hate. (John Fowles, from The French Lieutenant’s Woman)
The thousands stand and chant. Around them in the world, people ride escalators going up and sneak secret glances at the faces going down. People dangle teabags over hot water in white cups. Cars run silently on the autobahns, streaks of painted light. People sit at desks and stare at office walls. They smell their shirts and drop them in the hamper. People bind themselves into numbered seats and fly across time zones and high cirrus and deep night, knowing there is something they’ve forgotten to do.
The future belongs to crowds. (Don DeLillo, from Mao II)
“Reading,” he says, “is always this: there is a thing that is there, a thing made of writing, a solid material object, which cannot be changed, and through this thing we measure ourselves against something else that is not present, something else that belongs to the immaterial, invisible world, because it can only be thought, imagined, or because it was once and is no longer, past, lost, unattainable, in the land of the dead …”
“Or that is not present because it does not yet exist, something desired, feared, possible or impossible,” Ludmilla says. “Reading is going toward something that is about to be, and no one yet knows what it will be …” (There, now you see the Other Reader leaning forward to peer beyond the edge of the printed page at the ships of the rescuers or the invaders appearing on the horizon, the storms …) “The book I would like to read now is a novel in which you sense the story arriving like still-vague thunder, the historical story along with the individual’s story, a novel that gives the sense of living through an upheavel that still has no name, has not yet taken shape …” (Italo Calvino, from If on a winter’s night a traveller)
As a rightist professor pontificated, “When democracy gets democratic, it doesn’t work at all.” (Isabel Allende, from My Invented Country)
Ay, I pray, leave me in my patience. You, that
Were ne’er possess’d of wealth, are pleas’d with want.
But give him liberty at least to mourn,
That in a field, amidst his enemies,
Doth see his soldiers slain, himself disarm’d,
And know no means of recovery.
Ay, let me sorrow for this sudden chance;
‘Tis in the trouble of my spirit I speak:
Great injuries are not so soon forgot.
This week: Two books written by Phil Hester, two books written by Kieron Gillen, and THREE books colored by Matthew Wilson! Phew! Plus: Just to drive our pal Apodaca crazy, another installment of “Which song by a band that Dan hates is this comic?” But which band? See below!
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“I love my dead gay son!”
The Anchor #2 (“Five Furies Part Two: Bark and Hide, Bone and Root”) by Phil Hester (writer), Brian Churilla (artist), Matthew Wilson (colorist), and Johnny Lowe (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Boom! Studios.
“We want to find a funny, upbeat way of bringing the issue of homelessness to TV. So we’ve got three wacky homeless characters. But they’re wise. They’re wacky and wise.”
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