Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Ideal Conditions for Working

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

"When I thought of the ideal conditions for working, in other words, I looked at things from the perspective of someone not working, of someone on holiday, of a tourist in Taormina. I always had in mind the view that my desk would overlook, thereby overlooking the fact that the view from the desk is invisible when you are actually working, and forgetting that of the many genres of sentence I dislike there is none that I despise more than ones which proceed along the lines of ‘If I look up from my desk . . .’ The ideal conditions for working were actually the worst possible conditions for working."

~ Geoff Dyer, Out of Sheer Rage: In the Shadow of D.H. Lawrence, 1997

Monday, January 20, 2020

Free to Write Anything

Monday, January 20, 2020

Knowing that nobody (except you, honey) reads what I write gives me the freedom to write about anything I want. I don’t have to please any audience or alter my writing to fit readers’ reactions. I can write solely for the pleasure it gives me.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

The small and the daily

Sunday, January 19, 2020

“Because it’s true: more than the highlights, the bright events, it was in the small and the daily where she’d found life. The hundreds of times she’d dug in the soil of her garden, each time the satisfying chew of spade through soil, so often that this action, the pressure and release and rich dirt smell, delineated the warmth she’d found in that house in the cherry orchard. Or this: every day they woke in the same place, her husband waking her up with a cup of coffee, the cream still swirling into the black. Almost unremarked upon, this kindness. He would kiss her on the crown of her head before leaving, and she’d feel something in her rising through her body to meet him...”

~ Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies, 2015

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Bali's Lempuyang Temple

Saturday, January 18, 2020

My siblings and I knew beforehand that the drive to Lempuyang Temple in East Bali would take three hours and that the queue for a photo at the gate would take another three hours. We went anyway. Instead of whining about it, we considered the long queue in the oppressive heat of the midday sun as something to enjoy, not endure. Instead of whining about it, we thought of waiting in line for three hours not as a waste of time but a singular feat that required tremendous patience.

Tourists line up for a photo at the gate of Lempuyang Temple, with mighty Mt. Agung in the background.
I wonder why some tourists feel so cheated when they find out that the lake is merely an illusion created by holding a mirror under the lens of a camera. Of course it’s fake. Have they not read anything about the temple at all? If you went there just to have your photo taken at the gate with the fake lake, you’d undoubtedly feel deceived. Lempuyang Temple is one of Bali’s six temples of the heavens. It is sacred to the Balinese because it is located at the top of Mount Lempuyang, the island’s easternmost mountain. That gate where tourists pose for photos only marks the entrance to the outermost sanctum of the temple. The uppermost inner sanctum of the temple actually sits at the top of 1,700 steps, another two-hour climb from that infamous gate.
 
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