That is one last thing to remember: writers are always selling somebody out.
The future always looks good in the golden land, because no one remembers the past.
a place where little is bright or graceful, where it is routine to misplace the future and easy to start looking for it in bed.
Joan Baez was a personality before she was entirely a person, and, like anyone to whom that happens, she is in a sense the hapless victim of what others have seen in her, written about her, wanted her to be and not to be.
Now, at an age when the wounds begin to heal whether one wants them to or not,
As it happens I am comfortable with the Michael Laskis of this world, with those who live outside rather than in, those in whom the sense of dread is so acute that they turn to extreme and doomed commitments; I know something about dread myself, and appreciate the elaborate systems with which some people manage to fill the void, appreciate all the opiates of the people, whether they are as accessible as alcohol and heroin and promiscuity or as hard to come by as faith in God or History.
Our favorite people and our favorite stories become so not by any inherent virtue, but because they illustrate something deep in the grain, something unadmitted.
I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not.
The dismal fact is that self-respect has nothing to do with the approval of others—who are, after all, deceived easily enough;
However long we postpone it, we eventually lie down alone in that notoriously uncomfortable bed, the one we make ourselves. Whether or not we sleep in it depends, of course, on whether or not we respect ourselves.
They are willing to invest something of themselves; they may not play at all, but when they do play, they know the odds.
If we have been taught to keep our promises—if, in the simplest terms, our upbringing is good enough—we stay with the body, or have bad dreams.
Of course we would all like to “believe” in something, like to assuage our private guilts in public causes, like to lose our tiresome selves; like, perhaps, to transform the white flag of defeat at home into the brave white banner of battle away from home. And of course it is all right to do that; that is how, immemorially, things have gotten done.
Because when we start deceiving ourselves into thinking not that we want something or need something, not that it is a pragmatic necessity for us to have it, but that it is a moral imperative that we have it, then is when we join the fashionable madmen, and then is when the thin whine of hysteria is heard in the land, and then is when we are in bad trouble. And I suspect we are already there.
She is an open and trusting child, unprepared for and unaccustomed to the ambushes of family life, and perhaps it is just as well that I can offer her little of that life.
It is hard to find California now, unsettling to wonder how much of it was merely imagined or improvised; melancholy to realize how much of anyone’s memory is no true memory at all but only the traces of someone else’s memory, stories handed down on the family network.
Misinformation about rattlesnakes is a leitmotiv of the insomniac imagination in Los Angeles.
That was the year, my twenty-eighth, when I was discovering that not all of the promises would be kept, that some things are in fact irrevocable and that it had counted after all, every evasion and every procrastination, every mistake, every word, all of it.
the canker, you see, was already in the rose
Everything that was said to me I seemed to have heard before, and I could no longer listen.
All I mean is that I was very young in New York, and that at some point the golden rhythm was broken, and I am not that young any more.