Reader. Writer. Bicycle-dependent. Author of "Figuring."
Pioneering artist Agnes Martin, born on this day in 1912, on inspiration, the hell of interruptions, and the only type of person to allow into your creative space https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/02/23/agnes-martin-inspiration/
“Oftentimes a word shall speak what accumulated volumes have labored in vain to utter: there may be years of crowded passion in a word, and half a life in a sentence.” Advice on writing from Emily Dickinson's editor https://www.brainpickings.org/2019/03/22/emily-dickinson-thomas-wentworth-higginson-letter-to-a-young-contributor/
“We all have the same inner life. The difference lies in the recognition. The artist has to recognize what it is.” A rare interview with the reclusive, trailblazing artist Agnes Martin, born on this day in 1912 https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/03/31/agnes-martin-john-gruen-interview/
RT @brainpicker: “Those who tell you ‘Do not put too much politics in your art’ are not being honest. If you look very carefully you will s…
“To come close to art means to come close to life, and if an appreciation of the dignity of man is the moral definition of democracy, then [it must] reconcile and combine knowledge and art, mind and life, thought and deed.” Thomas Mann on democracy https://www.brainpickings.org/2019/03/21/thomas-mann-the-coming-victory-of-democracy/
On #WorldPoetryDay, Nobel-winning Polish poet Wisława Szymborska's ode to the number pi https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/10/23/wislawa-szymborska-pi/
"How should we like it were stars to burn With a passion for us we could not return? If equal affection cannot be, Let the more loving one be me." #WorldPoetryDay with Auden and one of the profoundest poems ever written https://www.brainpickings.org/2019/02/04/janna-levin-w-h-auden-the-more-loving-one/
“Those who tell you ‘Do not put too much politics in your art’ are not being honest. If you look very carefully you will see that they are the same people who are quite happy with the situation as it is… What they are saying is don’t upset the system.” https://twitter.com/brainpicker/status/1108858827158491136
Cycling as a cure for creative block – from a century ago, a charming case for why the bicycle is the ideal vehicle for writers https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/08/22/christopher-morley-bicycle/
On #WorldPoetryDay, a diverse illustrated collection of classic love poems – Pablo Neruda, Langston Hughes, Anna Akhmatova, and more https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/10/25/love-found-jessica-strand/
“Poetry can break open locked chambers of possibility, restore numbed zones to feeling, recharge desire.” #WorldPoetryDay with Adrienne Rich https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/08/23/adrienne-rich-poetry-politics/
Remembering Chinua Achebe, who died on this day in 2013, with his fantastic forgotten conversation with James Baldwin: https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/09/21/james-baldwin-chinua-achebe-art/
“Who serves best doesn’t always understand.” On #WorldPoetryDay, the great Polish poet Czesław Miłosz on love https://www.brainpickings.org/2018/08/16/czeslaw-milosz-love/
“A poem … is when you are in love and have the sky in your mouth.” On #WorldPoetryDay, an almost unbearably lovely French picture-book about how poetry works its magic on us https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/03/24/this-is-a-poem-that-heals-fish/
"No worth-while possession can be neglected. Even physical things die off... if they are not cared for... and are lost to sight because their possession is taken for granted. Throughout the world it has become precarious to take democracy for granted — even in America…" 1938! https://twitter.com/brainpicker/status/1108714379728613377
On #WorldPoetryDay, Meryl Streep reads Sylvia Plath's "Morning Song" https://www.brainpickings.org/2018/04/04/meryl-streep-morning-song-sylvia-plath/
“The poem is nothing but information. It is the Constitution of the inner country.” #WorldPoetryDay with Leonard Cohen https://www.brainpickings.org/2018/03/01/leonard-cohen-death-of-a-ladys-man-words/
“There is no one way to anything.” Chinua Achebe, who died on this day in 2013, on how storytelling helps us survive history's rough patches https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/11/16/chinua-achebe-bill-moyers-interview/
On #WorldPoetryDay, the remarkable, bittersweet story of Misuzu Kaneko, who died at only 26 and was rediscovered half a century later to become Japan's most beloved children's poet https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/03/03/are-you-an-echo-misuzu-kaneko/
“I prefer cunning kindness to the over-trustful kind.” @amandapalmer reads Polish poet and Nobel laureate Wisława Szymborska's beautiful poem "Possibilities" https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/03/18/amanda-palmer-wislawa-szymborska-possibilities-poem-reading/ #WorldPoetryDay
"How should we like it were stars to burn With a passion for us we could not return? If equal affection cannot be, Let the more loving one be me." #WorldPoetryDay https://www.brainpickings.org/2019/02/04/janna-levin-w-h-auden-the-more-loving-one/
“A poem … is when you are in love and have the sky in your mouth.” Celebrate #WorldPoetryDay with this almost unbearably lovely picture-book about how poetry works its magic on us https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/03/24/this-is-a-poem-that-heals-fish/
For today's serving of astounding prescience, Thomas Mann, in 1938, on justice, human dignity, and the need to continually reassert democracy's ideals https://www.brainpickings.org/2019/03/21/thomas-mann-the-coming-victory-of-democracy/
"The poets (by which I mean all artists) are finally the only people who know the truth about us. Soldiers don’t. Statesmen don’t. Priests don’t. Union leaders don’t. Only poets." #WorldPoetryDay with James Baldwin: https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/04/13/james-baldwin-the-artists-struggle-for-integrity/
For the new mother or father in your life, a lovely picture-poem about the strange and wondrous process by which a cluster of cells the size of a sesame seed becomes a human being over the course of 9 months https://www.brainpickings.org/2019/03/20/crescendo-quintavalle-sanna/
“If we are not regularly deeply embarrassed by who we are, the journey to self-knowledge hasn’t begun.” This: https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/06/27/alain-de-botton-the-course-of-love/
“Tyrants always fear art because tyrants want to mystify while art tends to clarify. The good artist is a vehicle of truth.” Iris Murdoch, one of the most brilliant and underappreciated philosophers of the past century, on art as a force of democracy: https://www.brainpickings.org/2019/02/12/iris-murdoch-salvation-by-words/
Rock'n'roll fairy godmother Sister Rosetta Tharpe, born on this day in 1915, performing on a Manchester train platform in her white felt coat and electric guitar https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/03/20/sister-rosetta-tharpe/
George Sand's only children's book – a touching parable of choosing kindness over cynicism, gorgeously illustrated by the Russian artist Gennady Spirin https://www.brainpickings.org/2018/11/27/george-sand-the-mysterious-tale-of-gentle-jack-and-lord-bumblebee/
(She was an exceptional human being who also occupies a chapter of #Figuring: https://books.google.com/books?id=qlhbDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA73&dq=%22mary+somerville%22+figuring&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiJoIP105HhAhWMmOAKHavlBasQ6AEIQjAE#v=onepage&q=%22mary%20somerville%22%20figuring&f=false) https://twitter.com/McGill_ROAAr/status/1108379294311555073
On the spring equinox today, the great nature writer Henry Beston on seasons and the human spirit https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/06/20/henry-beston-northern-farm-solstice-seasons/
“The self is a style of being, continually expanding in a vital process of definition, affirmation, revision, and growth, a process that is the image, we may say, of the life process of a healthy society itself.” https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/05/22/robert-penn-warren-democracy-and-poetry/
Perhaps the best advice on writing — and making any kind of art — ever committed to words: https://www.brainpickings.org/2019/03/18/merwin-berryman/
“The true artist is not proud… Though he may be admired by others, he is sad not to have reached that point to which his better genius only appears as a distant, guiding sun.” Beethoven's advice on being an artist, in a letter to a young girl: https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/05/18/beethoven-emilie-letter/
Isaac Newton died on this day in 1726 and left us, besides the most influential science of all time, the famed metaphor of "standing on the shoulders of giants" — which he popularized but maybe, possibly did not invent. The fascinating story behind it: https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/02/16/newton-standing-on-the-shoulders-of-giants/
Crescendo – a watercolor serenade to the science, strangeness, and splendor of pregnancy https://www.brainpickings.org/2019/03/20/crescendo-quintavalle-sanna/
Priceless: Rock'n'roll fairy godmother Sister Rosetta Tharpe, born on this day in 1915, performing on a Manchester train platform in her white felt coat and electric guitar https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/03/20/sister-rosetta-tharpe/
“A thing is never seen as it really is.” How Josef Albers, born on this day in 1888, revolutionized visual culture and our understanding of color https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/08/16/interaction-of-color-josef-albers-50th-anniversary/
“Tyrants always fear art because tyrants want to mystify while art tends to clarify. The good artist is a vehicle of truth.” Iris Murdoch, one of the most brilliant and underappreciated philosophers of the past century, on art as a force of democracy: https://www.brainpickings.org/2019/02/12/iris-murdoch-salvation-by-words/
Kandinsky on the spiritual element in art and the 3 responsibilities of the artist https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/06/02/kandinsky-concerning-the-spiritual-in-art/
“If those whom we begin to love could know us as we were before meeting them … they could perceive what they have made of us.” Camus on happiness and love, illustrated by @wendymac https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/06/16/albert-camus-diary-wendy-macnaughton/
cc @amandapalmer @neilhimself https://twitter.com/mariocornejo/status/1107911162954301440
“Great love is never justified. It’s like the little tree that springs up in some inexplicable fashion on the side of a cliff: where are its roots, what does it feed on, what miracle produces those green leaves?” God I love Wisława Szymborska https://www.brainpickings.org/2018/08/09/wislawa-symborska-great-love/
"I would recommend the cultivation of extreme indifference to both praise and blame because praise will lead you to vanity, and blame will lead you to self-pity, and both are bad for writers." (More superb advice from Berryman.) https://twitter.com/brainpicker/status/1108020805458382848
"We want things we cannot have. We seek to reclaim a certain moment, sound, sensation. I want to hear my mother’s voice." Patti Smith's mother was born on this day in 1920. Revisiting Smith's beautiful meditation on time, love, loss, and transformation: https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/10/19/patti-smith-m-train-loss-time/
“The logic of dreams is superior to the one we exercise while awake. In dreams the mind at last finds its courage: it dares what we do not dare.” Poet, painter and philosopher Etel Adnan (who is in her 90s and continues to work) on dreaming and creativity https://www.brainpickings.org/2019/03/18/etel-adnan-journey-to-mount-tamalpais-dreaming/
The Blue Whale – a loving science children's book for our planet's largest-hearted creature, with a gentle ecological wakeup call for the next generation https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/06/10/the-blue-whale-jenni-desmond/
"you can never be sure you die without knowing whether anything you wrote was any good if you have to be sure don’t write" Some of the wisest, most saning advice on being a creative person ever committed to words, from the late, great W.S. Merwin: https://www.brainpickings.org/2019/03/18/merwin-berryman/
“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/08/19/simone-weil-attention-gravity-and-grace/
New drug promises to make human blood deadly to mosquitos, preventing malaria with no side effects https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/malaria-mosquito-drug-human-blood-poison-stop-ivermectin-trial-colorado-lancet-a8821831.html?utm_source=reddit.com Then again, that is how DDT was originally marketed – the sort of hubris Rachel Carson debunked at such great cost, catalyzing the environmental movement.
“A thing is never seen as it really is.” How Josef Albers, born on this day in 1888, revolutionized visual culture and our understanding of color https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/08/16/interaction-of-color-josef-albers-50th-anniversary/
 
 
 
 
 
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