Greg Linch's Commonplace Book

Oh, hello there. Welcome, interweb traveler. Here's where I share interesting and inspiring links. I hope you enjoy!

Jorge Luis Borges Interview (by A_is_A)

"The task of art is to tranform what is continuously happening to us, to tranform all these things into symbols, into music, into something that can last in man’s memory. That is our duty. If we don’t fulfill it, we feel unhappy. A writer or any artist has the joyful duty to transform all that into symbols. These symbols could be colors, forms or sounds. For a poet, the symbols are sounds and also words, fables, stories, poetry. The work of a poet never ends. It has nothing to do with working hours. You are continuously receiving things from the external world. These must be transformed, and eventually will be transformed. This revelation can appear anytime. A poet never rests. He’s always working, even when he dreams."

Elvira did not write the dialogue she had foreseen, based on the diva’s responses, but instead wrote an article about her difficulties with Berta Singerman. She took advantage of the providential intervention of the husband and turned him into the real protagonist of the meeting . . . . The sangfroid and ingenuity with which Elvira . . . used Singerman’s foolishness to reveal her true personality set me to thinking for the first time about the possibilities of journalism, not as a primary source of information but as much more: a literary genre. Before many years passed I would prove this in my own flesh, until I came to believe, as I believe today more than ever, that the novel and journalism are children of the same mother . . . . Elvira’s article made me aware of the reporter I carried sleeping in my heart and I resolved to wake him. I began to read newspapers in a different way.

Suggesting, rather than naming, gently stirs the reader’s mind so that he or she may arrive at the thing in question single-handedly

Creating a New Language: The Poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé

This definitely presages abstraction in art, especially in terms of prompting reflection and drawing one’s own conclusion — the work give you feelings, shapes, colors, etc (in a way, the questions) and you provide your own answers

An opinion with a justification may be described as a belief. The justification that transforms an opinion into a belief may in some instances be empirical, but in many instances, in the morally and philosophically significant instances, it will not be empirical, it will be rational, achieved in the establishment of the truth of concepts or ideas by the methods of argument and the interpretation of experience. A certain kind of journalistic commentary, when it is done rightly, is a popular version of the same project, an application of thoughtfully (and sometimes wittily) held principles to public affairs, and is therefore an essential service to a free society. The intellectual predispositions that Silver ridicules as “priors” are nothing more than beliefs. What is so sinister about beliefs? He should be a little more wary of scorning them, even in degraded form: without beliefs we are nothing but data, himself included, and we deserve to be considered not only from the standpoint of our manipulability. I am sorry that he finds George Will and Paul Krugman repetitious, but should they revise their beliefs so as not to bore him? Repetition is one of the essential instruments of persuasion, and persuasion is one of the essential activities of a democracy. I do not expect Silver to relinquish his positivism—a prior if ever there was one—because I find it tedious.

You may have heard the phrase the plural of anecdote is not data. It turns out that this is a misquote. The original aphorism, by the political scientist Ray Wolfinger, was just the opposite: The plural of anecdote is data.

Wolfinger’s formulation makes sense: Data does not have a virgin birth. It comes to us from somewhere. Someone set up a procedure to collect and record it. Sometimes this person is a scientist, but she also could be a journalist.

And how do these suggestions take place in practice? We can rely on the different textures, hues, and intrinsic memories of the words to guide us; or we can follow the associative networks, relationships and contradictions between words: what Mallarmé calls their ‘musicality’.

the verse is musical not only because it has a certain rhythm or prosody to it, but also because it is an orchestra of sounds and meanings. All the words and ideas of the poem are interconnected, like the notes of a symphony. Together, they create the Oeuvre, the masterpiece, self-reflective and infinite poetry