what i’ve been thinking about

Man was matter, that was Snowden's secret. Drop him out a window and he'll fall. Set fire to him and he'll burn. Bury him and he'll rot, like other kinds of garbage. The spirit is gone, man is garbage. That was Snowden's secret. Ripeness was all. - Joseph Heller, from Catch-22

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mimicking the masters

You know when you visit an art museum and you see an art student sitting down with her own easel and paintbrush, copying the brushstrokes of Degas or van Gogh or Michelangelo? Mimicking the masters. Imitating the greats. Practicing on others’ paintings before she finds her own voice, so to speak. In January, my professor recommended …

by way of books: accidental peeks into strangers’ lives

A year ago, I discovered Strand's Tumblr, a corner of the Internet curated by employees of the 18-mile long used bookstore in New York. People who sell their books to Strand often leave behind pieces of themselves in the books, whether through notes scribbled in the margins or postcards used as bookmarks. Strand finds the …

jazz age january: “down and out in paris and london,” george orwell

The Paris of my imagination was no match for the Paris of my twenty-first birthday. I wasn't expecting to visit the city at all, due to my dire lack of funds, but I was studying at Cambridge, and my parents bought the Chunnel ticket as a birthday present. I expected excitement, good wine, maybe a …