WEEK of MAY 21
“This absence of explosion is a proof that learning, which in Ireland has always flourished best in the country, is dead. it has not transplanted well to the universities. Real learning is dynamic, dangerous, exhilarating. It is built on curiosity, not on knowledge. When it explodes, someone feels liberated, someone else is hurt. At present in place of curiosity there is textual criticism, and philology and scientific excavations, which are all highly skilled crafts like apiculture and hairdressing. No bombs are thrown at Atlantis or the spiritual storehouse, but there is much silent and salaried sneering.”
Hubert Butler, “Influenza in Aran” in The Sub-Prefect Should Have Held His Tongue (and other essays). 1987.
With love to all mah brave academic friends who manage to combine curiosity and knowledge in ways I can only dream of.
*In which “Cat” = Mandy.
Previous Quotes (& Cats)
WEEK of MAY 14
“I do not believe that gifts, whether of mind or character, can be weighed like sugar and butter, not even in Oxbridge, where they are so adept at putting people into classes and fixing caps on their heads and letters after their names….All this pitting of sex against sex, of quality against quality; all this claiming of superiority and imputing of inferiority, belong to the private-school stage of human existence where there are ‘sides’ and it is necessary for one side to eat another side, and of the utmost importance to walk up to a platform and recieve from the hands of the Headmaster himself a highly ornamental pot. As people mature they cease to believe in sides or in Headmasters or in highly ornamental pots.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own. 1929.
(pp.159-60 in the 1946 Hogarth Press edition).
More Virigina for you all this week, because she is Best. Cat has the week off.
WEEK of MAY 7
“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty.”
– Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness (1969).
Happy May, folks. Keep riding those waves of doubt and unknowability.
WEEKS of APRIL 23 and 30
“Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possesing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size….Under the spell of that illusion, half the people on the pavement are striding to work. They put on their hats and coats in the morning under its agreeable rays. They start the day confident, braced, believing themselves desired at Miss Smth’s tea party; they say to themselves as they go into the room, I am the superior of half the people here, and it is thus that they speak with that self-confidence, that self-assurance, which have had such profound consequences in public life and lead to such curious notes in the margin of the private mind.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own. 1929.
(pp.53-55 in the 1946 Hogarth Press edition).
Love to my hometown and continued strength and power to my sisters here and around the world.
WEEK of APRIL 16
“In one word, Queequeg, said I, rather digressively; hell is an idea first born on an undigested apple-dumpling….”
– Moby Dick (Herman Melville, 1851).
Happy “April” to you! Whatever you’re eating, we hope it’s digesting alright for ya.
WEEK of APRIL 9
Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,And bathed every veyne in swich licóurOf which vertú engendred is the flour;Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breethInspired hath in every holt and heethThe tendre croppes, and the yonge sonneHath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,And smale foweles maken melodye,That slepen al the nyght with open ye,So priketh hem Natúre in hir corages,Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;And specially, from every shires endeOf Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,The hooly blisful martir for to seke,That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.Geoffrey Chaucer, “General Prologue,” The Canterbury Tales (c.1390)
This week’s quote continues to explore the complex theme of ‘hey, it’s April.’ (–keeps me distracted from the freezing temperatures here in Toronto anyway). Happy mid-April to you, and I hope it’s not snowing where you are.
WEEK of APRIL 2
April is the cruellest month, breedingLilacs out of the dead land, mixingMemory and desire, stirringDull roots with spring rain.The Waste Land (T.S. Eliot, 1922)
Nevertheless, we seem to finally be crawling towards spring. A very good week to you, from both Cat & Clickity-Lit (but probably not Tom Eliot).
WEEK of MARCH 26
Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.
What does man gain from all his labor in which he labors under the sun?
One generation goes, and another generation comes; but the earth remains forever.
The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hurries to its place where it rises.
The wind goes toward the south, and turns around to the north. It turns around continually as it goes, and the wind returns again to its courses.
All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, there they flow again.
All things are full of weariness beyond uttering. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
That which has been is that which shall be; and that which has been done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1: 2-8
(World English Bible)
Happy end of March! And keep on labouring and seeing and hearing…novelty isn’t everything.
WEEK OF MARCH 12th
“From there to here,
from here to there,
(One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss, 1960)
Happy extra hour of sunlight to those doing the daylight-savings switch! In a month it will be spring.
WEEK of FEBRUARY 19th
Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am,
Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary,
Looks down, is erect, or bends an arm on an impalpable certain rest,
Looking with its side-curved head curious what will come next,
Both in and out of the game, and watching and wondering at it.
– “Song of Myself” (Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman, 1855)
It’s almost March, you guys! We can do this.
WEEK of FEBRUARY 4th
“If liberty is ever lost in America, it will be necessary to lay the blame on the omnipotence of the majority that will have brought minorities to despair and will have forced them to appeal to physical force. Then you will see anarchy, but it will arrive as a consequence of despotism.”
(“Si jamais la liberté se perd en Amérique, il faudra s’en prendre à l’omnipotence de la majorité qui aura porté les minorités au désespoir et les aura forcées de faire un appel à la force matérielle. On verra alors l’anarchie, mais elle arrivera comme conséquence du despotisme.”)
– Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (/De la Démocratie en Amérique), 1835. (English Translation by James T. Schleifer in the 2010 Liberty Fund edition).
Hey, it’s February! It sucks, but it’s still one month closer to spring. Hang in there.
WEEK of JANUARY 29th
“The structure is now visible; what is inchoate is here stated; we are not so various or so mean; we have made oblongs and stood them upon squares. This is our triumph; this is our consolation.”
-Virginia Woolf, The Waves (1931)
May both your oblongs and your squares bring you much consolation and triumph this dark winter week.
WEEK of JANUARY 22nd
The intellect of man is forced to choose
Perfection of the life, or of the work,
And if it take the second must refuse
A heavenly mansion, raging in the dark.
When all that story’s finished, what’s the news?
In luck or out the toil has left its mark:
That old perplexity an empty purse,
Or the day’s vanity, the night’s remorse.
-W.B. Yeats, “The Choice,” The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1933)
Happy second-last week of January! If you live in the northern hemisphere and have indeed been raging in the dark, remember that there will, at least, be slightly less dark this week.
WEEK of JANUARY 15th
“A cloud of critics, of compilers, of commentators, darkened the face of learning, and the decline of genius was soon followed by the corruption of taste.”
– The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,
Vol. I “The Turn of the Tide” (Edward Gibbon, 1776).
Hey we’re halfway through January already! And Washington hasn’t yet been sacked.
WEEK of JANUARY 8th
“It is snowing and death bugs me
as stubborn as insomnia.”
(from “Oh” in The Book of Folly, 1972)
Happy January! If you live in the north, we hope you’re hibernating.
WEEK of OCTOBER 23rd
This World is not Conclusion.
A Species stands beyond –
Invisible, as Music –
But positive, as Sound –
It beckons, and it baffles –
Philosophy, dont know –
And through a Riddle, at the last –
Sagacity, must go –
To guess it, puzzles scholars –
To gain it, Men have borne
Contempt of Generations
And Crucifixion, shown –
Faith slips – and laughs, and rallies –
Blushes, if any see –
Plucks at a twig of Evidence –
And asks a Vane, the way –
Much Gesture, from the Pulpit –
Strong Hallelujahs roll –
Narcotics cannot still the Tooth
That nibbles at the soul –
(poem 501 by the numbering of the 1960 Complete Poems; composed c.1862)
Happy penultimate days of October! May the tooth nibble quietly for you today.
WEEK of OCTOBER 16th
“Poverty doesn’t give you strength or teach you lessons about perseverance. No, poverty only teaches you how to be poor.”
-Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (2007)
A happy mid-October to you all! We hope you have a sense of your intrinsic worth today.
(‘Columbus Day’ for our American pals)
“When Coyote stops all that singing and dancing and thinking and she looks around, she sees three ships and some people in funny-looking clothes carrying flags and boxes of junk.
Oh, happy days, says Coyote. You are just in time for the ball game.
Hello, says one of the men in silly clothes with red hair all over his head. I am Christopher Columbus. I am sailing the ocean blue looking for India. Have you seen it?
Forget India, says Coyote. Let’s play ball.
But that Christopher Columbus and his friends don’t want to play ball. We got work to do, they says. We got to find India. We got to find things we can sell.
Boy, says Coyote, and that one scratches her head. I must have sung that song wrong. Maybe I didn’t do the right dance. Maybe I thought too hard These people I made have no manners. They act as if they’ve got no relations.”
-Thomas King, A Coyote Columbus Story (1992)
“Happy” belated “Thanksgiving” from the ClickityLit team.
MONDAY the 2nd of OCTOBER
“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”
-Isaac Asimov (Foundation, 1951)
Best wishes for your Monday, with love and sympathy for our American friends.
TUESDAY the 26th of SEPTEMBER
“He was one of those deep ones who know about stocks and shares. Of course no one really knows, but he quite seemed to know, and he often said stocks were up and shares were down in a way that would have made anyone respect him.”
– J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan, 1911)
Happy Tuesday! May the particular things you like to talk about bring you the respect of those you love.
MONDAY the 25th of SEPTEMBER
Do not let me hear
Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly,
Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,
Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
-T.S. Eliot (“East Coker,” Four Quartets, 1943)
Happy Monday! It really can be happy sometimes. JUST TRY TO BE HUMBLE. (and yeah, yeah, I’m on a T.S.Eliot kick; what’s it to you?!)
TUESDAY the 19th of SEPTEMBER
“Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.”
-T.S. Eliot (Ash Wednesday, 1930)
Happy Tuesday to you! May you be filled with the perfect ambivalence of a furry feline.
THURSDAY the 14th of SEPTEMBER
“Over the fireplace was a looking-glass that made you look much uglier than you really were, however plain you might be to begin with.”
-E.Nesbit (The Story of the Amulet, 1906)
Happy Thursday! If any looking-glasses take liberties with you today, we hope they do so in a flattering manner.
TUESDAY the 12th of SEPTEMBER
“Why is life so tragic; so like a little strip of pavement over an abyss. I look down; I feel giddy; I wonder how I am ever to walk to the end. But why do I feel this?”
-Virginia Woolf (Diary, 25 October 1920)
Happy Tuesday, despite the inescapeable horror of the abyss.
WEEKEND of SEPTEMBER 9-10
“He stepped out onto the street, where a passing eagle swooped out of the sky at him, nearly forcing him into the path of a cyclist, who cursed and swore at him from a moral high ground that cyclists alone seem able to inhabit.”
-Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul (1988)
Happy happy weekend to you! Whether you’re walking, cycling, driving, or public-transiting, let’s all try to keep the sanctimonious dickishness to a minimum, hmmm?
FRIDAY the 8th of SEPTEMBER
“What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?”
-William Blake, The Tyger (Songs of Innocence and Experience, 1789)
Happy Friday!!! I don’t think Blake meant the furnace-brain thing as an insult, but we still think it’s a pretty darn good one.
THURSDAY the 7th of SEPTEMBER
“There is that might-have-been which is the single rock we cling to above the maelstrom of unbearable reality”
-William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom! (1936)
A very happy Thursday to you! We hope your reality today is bearable and your might-have-beens realistically framed.
WEDNESDAY the 6th of SEPTEMBER
“And I will give power unto my two witnesses….These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
These have power to shut heaven that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.”
-Revelations 11:3-6, King James Bible
Happy Wednesday! In case you were tempted to forget, the Bible is bloody crazy.
TUESDAY the 5th of SEPTEMBER
“Isn’t it funny
How a bear likes honey?
Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!
I wonder why he does?”
Hey there! Happy Tuesday. Buzz Buzz Buzz.
LABOUR DAY LONG WEEKEND
“….mirrors and copulation are abominable because they increase the numbers of men.”
(los espejos y la cópula son abominables, porque multiplican el número de los hombres)
– Jorge Luis Borges
(“Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius,” Ficciones, 1944)
Happy (long) weekend! What do you see when you stare into the reflective depths?
Enjoy the rest of your weekend; Quote of the Day will return on Tuesday.
FRIDAY the 1st of SEPTEMBER
“The principal value of facts is that they give us something to think about.”
-R.E. Snodgrass (Principles of Insect Morphology, 1935)*
*Current copyright 1993, Ellen Burden and Ruth Roach (actually).
Happy Friday. It’s Friday!!!!!! May the facts you encounter today promote great intellectual fecundity.
THURSDAY the 31TH of AUGUST
“Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am,
Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary,
Looks down, is erect, or bends an arm on an impalpable certain rest,
Looking with side-curved head curious what will come next,
Both in and out of the game and watching and wondering at it.”
-Walt Whitman (Song of Myself, 1855)
Happy Thursday! May you feel capable of standing outside the madness of the world at least once today.
WEDNESDAY the 30TH of AUGUST
“Well, you see, I’m a failure as a writer.” ―Virginia Woolf
(Friday 8 April, 1921. The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Vo.II.)
Happy Wednesday! Don’t give up.
TUESDAY the 29TH of AUGUST
“And thus I saw full sekerly [truly] that it is redier to us and more esy to come to the knowing of God then to know our own soule.”
― Julian of Norwich, A Revelation of Love, c.1390
Happy Tuesday, and welcome back to Quote of the Day!
BETWEEN JULY 15 AND AUGUST 28, CLICKITY-LIT’S ‘QUOTE OF THE DAY’ PAGE ENTERED THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING. IT EMERGED HAVING RECEIVED A NUMBER OF VISIONARY SHOWINGS, THE MOST IMPORTANT OF WHICH IS: HENCEFORTH, ALL AUTHOR-PHOTOS ACCOMPANYING THE QUOTE OF THE DAY WILL BE REPLACED WITH PICTURES OF MY CAT*. THE LORD HAS SPOKEN.
*The cat in question lives in Mandy’s house, but isn’t really hers. The cat’s name is Maebe, and she enjoys watching squirrels, demanding cuddles, and sitting on sweaty backpacks. Enjoy.
FRIDAY the 14TH of JULY
“If you’d take your head home and boil it for a turnip it might be useful. I can’t say. But it might.”
― G.K.Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday)
A very happy Friday to you! Thursdays are stupid.
WEDNESDAY the 12TH of JULY
“The grave’s a fine and private place,But none, I think, do there embrace.”
-Andrew Marvell, 1621-1678 (To His Coy Mistress)
Happy Wednesday. May it have plenty of privacy, and precisely the amount of embraces you would like.
TUESDAY the 11TH of JULY
“When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip.”
-John Kennedy Toole (A Confederacy of Dunces)
Happy Tuesday. May your labours be short and your cheese dips sublime.
MONDAY the 10TH of JULY
“I am a sick man…I am a wicked man. An unattractive man. I think my liver hurts.”
-Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Notes from Underground)
Happy Monday, and may your self-hatred only occasionally extend to hypochondria.
FRIDAY the 7TH of JULY
“I perceyve by many tokens thou arte not my friend”
-John Stanbrige (15th-16th century lexicographer)
Happy Friday! May your friends be loyal, and your enemies show many tokens of their perfidy.
THURSDAY the 6TH of JULY
“And who abstains from meat that is not gaunt?”
-Willy S. (from Richard II)
Happy Thursday, with apologies to vegetarians
WEDNESDAY the 5TH of JULY
“Racism should never have happened and so you don’t get a cookie for reducing it.”
-Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Happy Wednesday. We hope your cookies today are well-deserved.
TUESDAY the 4TH of JULY
“Publication – is the Auction
Of the Mind of Man –
Poverty – be justifying
For so foul a thing”
Happy Tuesday, and may your mind be purchased at a high price.
CANADA DAY LONG WEEKEND (look it up)
“Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.
Happy weekend, and may your bedfellows be always of your choosing.
FRIDAY the 30TH of JUNE
“The most beautiful words in the English language are: ‘cheque enclosed.'”