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Prof Fab's Random Beautiful Writing & Stories Thread

Discussion in 'Entertainment, Culture, and Sports' started by rach2jlc, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. Jekyll

    Jekyll Senior member

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    ^ I love Saki.
     
  2. Pilot

    Pilot Senior member

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    Okay, that was a lot better than the standard commencement fare. Maybe now I'll try to read one of his books.

    [​IMG] His work is very love or hate. Some very tedious and show off-y, but interesting and some quite humorous.
     
  3. Jekyll

    Jekyll Senior member

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    The beginning of Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday.
     
  4. PITAronin

    PITAronin Senior member

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    There's a bit of dialogue in Tana French's book The Likeness that really struck a chord with me in terms of summing up the fact that -over time - we all make choices and, by making those choices, some things happen and some other things never will.

    "Regardless of what the advertising campaigns may tell us, we can't have it all. Sacrifice is not an option, or an anachronism; it's a fact of life. We all cut off our own limbs to burn on some altar. The crucial thing is to choose an altar that's worth it and a limb you can accept losing. To go consenting to the sacrifice."
     
  5. eg1

    eg1 Senior member

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    Another of my favourites -- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s Harrison Bergeron

    [​IMG]
     
  6. johnapril

    johnapril Senior member

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    They heard somewhere in that tenantless night a bell that tolled and ceased where no bell was and they rode out on the round dais of the earth which alone was dark and no light to it and which carried their figures and bore them up into the swarming stars so that they rode not under but among them and they rode at once jaunty and circumspect, like thieves newly loosed in that dark electric, like young thieves in a glowing orchard, loosely jacketed against the cold and ten thousand worlds for the choosing. --Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
     
  7. SpooPoker

    SpooPoker Internet Bigtimer and Most Popular Man on Campus Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    This resonates so intensely for me, one of my favorites ever : "What must it be, then, to bear the manifold tortures of hell forever? Forever! For all eternity! Not for a year or an age but forever. Try to imagine the awful meaning of this. You have often seen the sand on the seashore. How fine are its tiny grains! And how many of those tiny grains go to make up the small handful which a child grasps in its play. Now imagine a mountain of that sand, a million miles high, reaching from the earth to the farthest heavens, and a million miles broad, extending to remotest space, and a million miles in thickness, and imagine such an enormous mass of countless particles of sand multiplied as often as there are leaves in the forest, drops of water in the mighty ocean, feathers on birds, scales on fish, hairs on animals, atoms in the vast expanse of air. And imagine that at the end of every million years a little bird came to that mountain and carried away in its beak a tiny grain of that sand. How many millions upon millions of centuries would pass before that bird had carried away even a square foot of that mountain, how many eons upon eons of ages before it had carried away all. Yet at the end of that immense stretch time not even one instant of eternity could be said to have ended. At the end of all those billions and trillions of years eternity would have scarcely begun. And if that mountain rose again after it had been carried all away again grain by grain, and if it so rose and sank as many times as there are stars in the sky, atoms in the air, drops of water in the sea, leaves on the trees, feathers upon birds, scales upon fish, hairs upon animals – at the end of all those innumerable risings and sinkings of that immeasurably vast mountain not even one single instant of eternity could be said to have ended; even then, at the end of such a period, after that eon of time, there mere thought of which makes our very brain reel dizzily, eternity would have scarcely begun." — James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) Puts shit in perspective.
     
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Senior member

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    Before this thread falls into disrepair and neglect, here's something else I wanted to post.

    Like Lilly Like Wilson
    By Taylor Mali
    www.taylormali.com

    I'm writing the poem that will change the world,
    and it's Lilly Wilson at my office door.
    Lilly Wilson, the recovering like addict,
    the worst I've ever seen.
    So, like, bad the whole eighth grade
    started calling her Like Lilly Like Wilson Like.
    Until I declared my classroom a Like-Free Zone,
    and she could not speak for days.

    But when she finally did, it was to say,
    Mr. Mali, this is . . . so hard.
    Now I have to think before I . . . say anything.

    Imagine that, Lilly.

    It's for your own good.
    Even if you don't like . . .
    it.

    I'm writing the poem that will change the world,
    and it's Lilly Wilson at my office door.
    Lilly is writing a research paper for me
    about how homosexuals shouldn't be allowed
    to adopt children.
    I'm writing the poem that will change the world,
    and it's Like Lilly Like Wilson at my office door.

    She's having trouble finding sources,
    which is to say, ones that back her up.
    They all argue in favor of what I thought I was against.

    And it took four years of college,
    three years of graduate school,
    and every incidental teaching experience I have ever had
    to let out only,

    Well, that's a real interesting problem, Lilly.
    But what do you propose to do about it?
    That's what I want to know.

    And the eighth-grade mind is a beautiful thing;
    Like a new-born baby's face, you can often see it
    change before your very eyes.

    I can't believe I'm saying this, Mr. Mali,
    but I think I'd like to switch sides.

    And I want to tell her to do more than just believe it,
    but to enjoy it!
    That changing your mind is one of the best ways
    of finding out whether or not you still have one.
    Or even that minds are like parachutes,
    that it doesn't matter what you pack
    them with so long as they open
    at the right time.
    O God, Lilly, I want to say
    you make me feel like a teacher,
    and who could ask to feel more than that?
    I want to say all this but manage only,
    Lilly, I am like so impressed with you!

    So I finally taught somebody something,
    namely, how to change her mind.
    And learned in the process that if I ever change the world
    it's going to be one eighth grader at a time.
     
  9. willpower

    willpower Senior member

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  10. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    I've read many a Paul Bowles sentence that had that quiet, sinisterly elegant fatalism characteristic of his work.
     
  11. tagutcow

    tagutcow Senior member

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    I often find myself awestruck at Thomas Friedman's ability to encapsulate complex ideas in pithy metaphors:

    Clear as a bell, indeed!
     
  12. AR_Six

    AR_Six Senior member

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    I would like to have posted one of the longer ones from that collection but in the interest of keeping it under 1000 words held off. "The Price" and "Troll Bridge" are great pieces and "We Can Get Them For You Wholesale" is just fun.
     
    1 person likes this.
  13. Master Milano

    Master Milano Senior member

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    "Its hard to put into words, up at the blackboard, believe me. You can tell them that maybe it's good they don't "get" Kafka. You can ask them to imagine his stories as all about a kind of door. To envision us approaching and pounding on this door, increasingly hard, pounding and pounding, not just wanting admission but needing it; we don't know what it is but we can feel it, this total desperation to enter, pounding and ramming and kicking. That, finally, the door opens... and it opens -- outwards -- we've been inside what we wanted all along. Das it komisch." David Foster Wallace, from Some Remarks On Kafka's funniness.
     
  14. Master Milano

    Master Milano Senior member

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  15. chrisjr

    chrisjr Senior member

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    Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
     
  16. rach2jlc

    rach2jlc Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    This thread is old and dead, but the other night I was reading through Gore Vidal's "USA" for the however-many time and just can't recommend it enough to those who want wit, snark, and whimsy within 1000 pages of somewhat affected prose.
     
  17. Harold falcon

    Harold falcon Senior member

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    ""Then you must begin a reading program immediately so that you may understand the crises of our age," Ignatius said solemnly. "Begin with the late Romans, including Boethius, of course. Then you should dip rather extensively into early Medieval. You may skip the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. That is mostly dangerous propaganda. Now that I think of it, you had better skip the Romantics and the Victorians, too. For the contemporary period, you should study some selected comic books.... I recommend Batman especially, for he tends to transcend the abysmal society in which he's found himself. His morality is rather rigid, also. I rather respect Batman.""

    A Confederacy of Dunces.
     
  18. rach2jlc

    rach2jlc Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Good one. :)

    Sad about the publication history of that one, though. :sigh:
     
    1 person likes this.
  19. Big Pun

    Big Pun Senior member

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    I can't find the full 3 pages, but this is the first paragraph from Suttree by C. McCarthy. One of my favorite opening passages, worth a read.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2014
  20. romafan

    romafan Senior member

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    This veers off a little from the thread's declared purpose: I pass this memorial stone on the way to our pew each week and am always struck by the powerful epitaph

    [​IMG]


    Edith Corse Evans was one of only four First Class women who died on the Titanic (according to legend, Evans had recently consulted a fortune teller in London, who warned her to “beware of the water”). Having missed the first round of lifeboats, Evans began searching for another with a passenger named Caroline Brown. A boat with one seat available was discovered, and Evans urged Brown to board, as she had children waiting for her at home.
    This lifeboat was the last to be lowered from the Titanic. Evans’s body was never found; a memorial service was performed at Grace Church on April 22, 1912.
     

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