The Art of Tetman Callis

Some of the stories and poems may be inappropriate for persons under 16

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Entries from March 2012

The sine qua non

March 31st, 2012 · No Comments

“To be stupid and selfish and to have good health are the three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, the others are useless.” — Gustave Flaubert (quoted in Tests of Time, by William H. Gass)

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Tags: Lit & Crit · William H. Gass

There’s a word for that

March 30th, 2012 · 1 Comment

“For the real writer, life does more than accept or resemble language; it coughs up words like gobs of bloody spit, suggests them, insists, and every one is more historical than history, deep beyond diving, wide beyond reach.” — William H. Gass, “Quotations from Chairman Flaubert,” from Tests of Time

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Tags: Lit & Crit · William H. Gass

Watch your step! Don’t touch that!

March 29th, 2012 · No Comments

“A writer should be wary of the world, as if it were a place of poisonous ivies and venomous snakes.” — William H. Gass, “Quotations from Chairman Flaubert,” from Tests of Time

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Tags: Lit & Crit · William H. Gass

The mushroom people

March 28th, 2012 · 6 Comments

“A book may have been published, but it is not available if I don’t know it exists; if it costs more than I can afford; if it is locked up and out of reach; if I am illiterate, or ashamed of bookishness, or teased or told I am uppity if I want to rise above […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · William H. Gass

How do I autograph my ebook?

March 27th, 2012 · 5 Comments

“Ideally, magazines should be supported by their subscribers.  But our educational system doesn’t produce such audiences.  We publish poetry; we don’t read it.  We like it performed for us so that it will, with the poet, take the plane.  And we like our few books autographed, because they will, one day, be worth more to […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · William H. Gass

On sale now, at a low, low price

March 26th, 2012 · No Comments

“The chief mode of censorship in a commercial society is, naturally enough, the marketplace.  It is not that we suppress serious books entirely.  But in capitalist countries, only on the margins can excellence be located.  Poetry and most significant fiction have to find a few little magazines to appear in, or an occasional small press […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · William H. Gass

The word is our bond

March 25th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“There is a bond between us, readers and writers—an ancient tie as old as writing is, if not as old as speech itself, a pact, a promise which the act of setting down sentences in a moving way implicitly solidifies—that what we shall say shall be as true to things and to our own hearts […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · William H. Gass

Peel me another peach

March 24th, 2012 · No Comments

“What is unthinkable?  Think it.  What is unutterable?  Utter it.  What cannot be spelled without a dash?  Fill in the dashes with doubts.  What is obscene?  Dream it.  In all its tones, in seamy detail, at indelicate length.  What is too horrible to contemplate?  Describe it.  With cool and indifferent interest.  As though peeling a […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · William H. Gass

A common phenomenon

March 23rd, 2012 · 2 Comments

“In every country, in every clime, regarding any rank or race, at any time and with little excuse, orthodoxy will act evilly toward its enemies.  Survival is its single aim–that is, to rigidify thought, sterilize doubt, cauterize criticism, and mobilize the many to brutalize the few who dare to dream beyond the borders of their […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · William H. Gass

High Street is published

March 22nd, 2012 · 6 Comments

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Tags: High Street · Words

Pragmatic self-loathing

March 21st, 2012 · 2 Comments

“There is nothing truly beautiful but that which can never be of any use whatever; everything useful is ugly, for it is the expression of some need, and man’s needs are ignoble and disgusting like his own poor and infirm nature.  The most useful place in a house is the water-closet.” — Theophile Gautier, quoted […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · William H. Gass

Those people are doing things again

March 20th, 2012 · 4 Comments

“History is not an agent who goes about trampling traditions into dust, ending lives, stifling others, despoiling the land, and poisoning the sea.  History is humanity on its rampage.  Considering the frequency of natural calamities, our treatment of warfare as a seasonal sport, and the insatiable squirrelliness of human greed, it should be an occasion […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · William H. Gass

Unmoved movers

March 19th, 2012 · 10 Comments

“Verbs need nouns to be the agents of their doing and the object of their wrath, but only the way that strings need puppets.” — William H. Gass, “The Nature of Narrative and Its Philosophical Implications,” from Tests of Time

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Tags: Lit & Crit · William H. Gass

Making sense

March 18th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“In stories, there are agents and actions; there are patterns; there is direction; most of all, there is meaning.  Even when the consequences are tragic, there is a point; there is a message, a moral, a teaching.  And that is a consolation.  It is consoling to believe that our lives have a shape, a purpose […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · William H. Gass

Coincidentally, I’m eating lunch as I post this

March 17th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“We’ve been trained from babyhood to have three square meals a day, the full factory-industrial revolution idea of how you’re supposed to eat.  Before then it was never like that.  You’d have a little bit often, every hour.  But when they had to regulate us all, ‘OK, mealtime!’  That’s what school’s about.  Forget the geography […]

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Tags: Keith Richards · Lit & Crit

Hellishly efficient

March 16th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“I take the view that God, in his infinite wisdom, didn’t bother to spring for two joints–heaven and hell.  They’re the same place, but heaven is when you get everything you want and you meet Mummy and Daddy and your best friends and you all have a hug and a kiss and play your harps.  […]

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Tags: Keith Richards · Lit & Crit

When you are a vessel

March 15th, 2012 · No Comments

“Great songs write themselves.  You’re just being led by the nose, or the ears.  The skill is not to interfere with it too much.  Ignore intelligence, ignore everything; just follow it where it takes you.” — Keith Richards, Life

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Tags: Keith Richards · Lit & Crit

Coming down again

March 14th, 2012 · 4 Comments

“I’ve been through more cold turkeys than there are freezers.  I took the fucking hell week as a matter of course.  I took it as being part of what I was into.” — Keith Richards, Life

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Tags: Keith Richards · Lit & Crit

Gettin’ some satisfaction

March 13th, 2012 · 5 Comments

“To write a song that is remembered and taken to heart is a connection, a touching of bases.  A thread that runs through all of us.  A stab to the heart.  Sometimes I think songwriting is about tightening the heartstrings as much as possible without bringing on a heart attack.” — Keith Richards, Life

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Tags: Keith Richards · Lit & Crit

File under: Pursuit of Happiness

March 12th, 2012 · 3 Comments

“If I sleep with someone, I at least have the right to wear her clothes.” — Keith Richards, Life

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Tags: Keith Richards · Lit & Crit

Gotta try it sometime

March 11th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“Nothing like a good ten, fifteen minutes of pubescent female shrieking to cover up all your mistakes.” — Keith Richards, Life

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Tags: Keith Richards · Lit & Crit

It’s about that time of day

March 10th, 2012 · No Comments

“An Algonkin word which an unliterary translator might render correctly as dawn, actually means ‘hither-whiteness-comes-walking.’” — Mary Austin, The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVIII, Ch. XXXII, Sec. 12

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Tags: Lit & Crit · The Cambridge History of English and American Literature

To be or not to be, that is the question

March 9th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“The most useful measure of information content is the number of distinct yes-no questions the information can answer.” — Brian Greene, The Hidden Reality

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Tags: Brian Greene · Lit & Crit

Does the ‘god particle’ surf?

March 8th, 2012 · No Comments

“General summaries often emphasize that science is about finding regularities in the workings of the universe, explaining how the regularities both illuminate and reflect underlying laws of nature, and testing the purported laws by making predictions that can be verified or refuted through further experiment and observation.  Reasonable though the description may be, it glosses […]

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Tags: Brian Greene · Lit & Crit

One of these guys is an astrophysicist

March 7th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“Just surrender and it won’t hurt at all.” — Brian May, “Hammer to Fall”  

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Tags: Economics · Politics & Law · Verandah

We must cultivate our garden

March 6th, 2012 · 6 Comments

“He who never has a garden, and knows naught of flowers, and never looks back into the earthly paradise,—he is but a slave and serf of the plough, and is accursed.” — Francis Daniel Pastorius (quoted in The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVIII, Ch. XXXI, Sec. 2)

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Tags: Lit & Crit · The Cambridge History of English and American Literature

One would hope

March 5th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“The peasant and the pedant, though one talks like a man and the other like a book, are alike in that each speaks his language in only one way; the educated man knows and employs his language in three or four ways. He has only an enlightened sense of appropriateness to guide him.” — Harry […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · The Cambridge History of English and American Literature

So that’s where it’s been hiding

March 4th, 2012 · No Comments

“Excellence is largely a matter of details.” — Harry Morgan Ayres, The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVIII, Ch. XXX. Sec. 3

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Tags: Lit & Crit · The Cambridge History of English and American Literature

Franca’s lingua and mother’s tongue

March 3rd, 2012 · No Comments

“Variety is of the essence of language. Uniformity and consistency are inventions of philosophical grammarians whose efforts are most successful when they deal with a language no longer used to satisfy elementary social needs. A living language is one of the mores of a social group; it is neither a biological growth unaffected by human […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · The Cambridge History of English and American Literature

It works in a pinch

March 2nd, 2012 · No Comments

“Conviction is a good motive, but a bad judge.” — Albert Einstein, 1917 (quoted in The Hidden Reality by Brian Greene)

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Tags: Brian Greene · Lit & Crit