Tuesday, September 27, 2016

To Impart Nuance

"Even should you choose to write in the simplest way, a la Hemingway, the task remains to impart the nuance, to elucidate the complication, to imply the contradiction. Not to erase the contradiction, not to deny the contradiction, but to see where, within the contradiction, lies the tormented human being." 

~ Philip Roth, I Married a Communist, 1998

Monday, September 26, 2016

Where to Next?

Since we came back from our trip to Vietnam, D and I have started dreaming of our next vacation. We thought of going back to the places we loved: fly to Nepal to hike the Annapurna Circuit; go back for another month to South America to explore Chile and Bolivia; return to Morocco and idle the days away in our favorite auberge in the mountains. Or why not go somewhere we’ve never been before? Maybe Japan, or the Basque Country in Spain, or even if it’s a long shot, the Greek Islands or the Amalfi Coast.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Ritual That It Takes to Write

…the ritual that it takes to write. It may look to outsiders like the life of freedom—not on a schedule, in command of yourself, singled out for glory, the choice apparently to write about anything. But once one’s writing, it’s all limits. Bound to a subject. Bound to make a sense of it. Bound to make a book of it. If you want to be reminded of your limitations virtually every moment, there’s no better occupation to choose. Your memory, your diction your intelligence, your sympathies, your observations, your sensations, your understanding—never enough. You can find out more about what’s missing in you than you really want to know. All of you an enclosure to keep trying to break out of. And all the obligations more ferocious for being self-imposed. (Philip Roth, The Anatomy Lesson, 1983)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Measured Steps and Rhythmic Breaths

The alarm shrieks. It’s 4:30 am. My mind, resisting and not yet fully awake, tells me, “You need to run.” It is not easy to wake up that early in the morning just to be able to squeeze in an hour of exercise before going to work, but, somehow, I manage to convince myself each time.   I run not only to stay fit but also for the joy it brings: the cool morning breeze against my face and the stillness of the neighborhood when I go out to run; the solitude and ruminative rhythm of measured steps and breaths; and that feeling of having accomplished a huge feat whenever I finish a run.