Disse-lhe a senhora de Guermantes

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‘Escute, vou ser obrigada a despedir-me de si’, disse-lhe enquanto se levantava com um ar melancólico e como se para ela aquilo constituísse uma infelicidade. Sob o feitiço dos seus olhos azuis, a sua voz docemente musical fazia pensar na lamentação poética de uma fada. ‘O Basin quer que eu vá um pouco para junto de Marie.’ Na realidade, estava farta de ouvir Froberville, que já não parava de a invejar por ir a Montfort-l’ Amaury, sabendo ela muito bem que era a primeira vez que ele ouvia falar desses vitrais e que, por outro lado, por nada deste mundo trocaria a matinée de Saint-Euverte. ‘Adeus, mal falei consigo, em sociedade é assim mesmo, a gente não se vê, não dizemos as coisas que gostaríamos de dizer uns aos outros, de resto passa-se a mesma coisa em tudo na vida. Esperemos que depois da morte as coisas estejam mais bem organizadas. Pelo menos não teremos sempre necessidade de enfiar vestidos decotados.
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Marcel Proust, “Sodoma e Gomorra, Em Busca do Tempo Perdido, Vol. 4”. Lisboa: Relógio D’Água, 2016, p. 85.

Avoid plexiglas and brush your teeth

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Sometimes people wait for the good ideas, but good ideas aren’t the only things that produce good art. Sometimes, just picking up a bad idea and seeing how it works can produce something of value. So if you’re sitting around waiting for inspiration or a foolproof idea, you’re losing a lot of time.

So many young artists I meet don’t seem to have understood that they’re going to spend their whole lives as artists. They’re in a hurry because they feel that if they’re not a success right out of the gate they’re going to be a lifelong failure. I encourage you to think in a much longer arc, to take it easy and do it for the long haul—not to have a preconceived idea of what success is in relation to a durational framework. Some artists are successful early on, others later.

Sometimes students also have misconceptions about what success is, mistaking the social aspects associated with success for actually making a successful artwork. To have a gallery, to have a big studio, and to make money isn’t necessarily to make good art. Don’t confuse those two things. I encourage you to think more historically and consider what your contribution to art could be, not about what your art practice can bring you in terms of material things.
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Christopher Williams, “Avoid Plexiglas and Brush Your Teeth: Christopher Williams on How to Excel as an Artist”.
In Artspace: http://www.artspace.com/magazine/news_events/book_report/christopher-williams-akademie-x-excerpt-53592

The art of fiction

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– You have said that writing is a hostile act; I have always wanted to ask you why.
– It’s hostile in that you’re trying to make somebody see something the way you see it, trying to impose your idea, your picture. It’s hostile to try to wrench around someone else’s mind that way. Quite often you want to tell somebody your dream, your nightmare. Well, nobody wants to hear about someone else’s dream, good or bad; nobody wants to walk around with it. The writer is always tricking the reader into listening to the dream.
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Joan Didion, interviewed by Linda Kuehl, “The Art of Fiction No. 71”.
In The Paris Review: https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/3439/joan-didion-the-art-of-fiction-no-71-joan-didion

shu-ha-ri

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The concept of 守破離 (shu-ha-ri) has been applied to pursuits of all kinds over the years, including the tea ceremony, noh drama, and various martial and visual arts.
It describes three stages of development in a creative person: 守 (shu) means keeping or adhering to the form and rules of an art by following a teacher without question. 破 (ha) is the point of digression, a willful veering away from the tradition with the intent to explore. Finally, 離 (ri) refers to a transcendent state, achieved through long practice and focus, where the act of creating happens naturally and work of the highest order stems from the deepest roots of the artist’s being.
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Tyler Rothmar, “At 104, Toko Shinoda talks about a life in art”.
In The Japan Times: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2017/04/13/arts/104-toko-shinoda-talks-life-art/#.WPCc1WWYcUF

Entre aqueles quadros

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Quantas vezes de dentro de um carro avistamos uma longa rua clara que começa a alguns metros de nós, quando apenas temos à nossa frente a superfície de um muro violentamente iluminada que nos deu a miragem da profundidade! Por conseguinte, não será lógico, não por artifício do simbolismo, mas por retorno sincero à própria raiz da impressão, representar uma coisa através daquela outra que no relâmpago de uma ilusão inicial tomámos por ela? As superfícies e os volumes são na realidade independentes dos nomes de objectos que a nossa memória lhes impõe quando os reconhecemos. Elstir tentava arrancar ao que acabava de sentir aquilo que sabia; o seu esforço consistira muitas vezes em dissolver aquele agregado de raciocínios a que chamamos visão.
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Marcel Proust, “O Lado de Guermantes, Em Busca do Tempo Perdido Vol. 3”. Lisboa: Relógio D’Água, 2016, p. 368.

Os meus desejos tinham preparado esse prazer

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Possuir a senhora de Stermaria na ilha do Bois de Boulogne, para onde a convidara para jantar, eis o prazer que imaginava a cada minuto. Seria naturalmente destruído se jantasse nessa ilha sem a senhora de Stermaria; mas seria também muito reduzido se jantasse, mesmo com ela, noutro lugar. De resto, as atitudes com que imaginamos um prazer são anteriores à mulher, ao género de mulheres que se lhes adequam. Elas determinam-no, e ao lugar também; e por causa disso fazem ocorrer alternadamente ao nosso caprichoso pensamento uma certa mulher, um certo local, um certo quarto, de que noutras semanas teríamos desdenhado. Filhas da atitude, há mulheres que apenas se adequam à grande cama onde encontramos a paz a seu lado, e outras que, para serem acariciadas com uma intenção mais secreta, exigem as folhas ao vento, as águas pela noite, que são ligeiras e fugidias como umas e outras.
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Marcel Proust, “O Lado de Guermantes, Em Busca do Tempo Perdido Vol. 3”. Lisboa: Relógio D’Água, 2016, p. 338.

Little Joys

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Just try it once – a tree, or at least a considerable section of sky, is to be seen anywhere. It does not even have to be blue sky; in some way or another the light of the sun always makes itself felt. Accustom yourself every morning to look for a moment at the sky and suddenly you will be aware of the air around you, the scent of morning freshness that is bestowed on you between sleep and labor. You will find every day that the gable of every house has its own particular look, its own special lighting. Pay it some heed if you will have for the rest of the day a remnant of satisfaction and a touch of coexistence with nature. Gradually and without effort the eye trains itself to transmit many small delights, to contemplate nature and the city streets, to appreciate the inexhaustible fun of daily life. From there on to the fully trained artistic eye is the smaller half of the journey; the principal thing is the beginning, the opening of the eyes.
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Herman Hesse, “My Belief: Essays on Life and Art”
In Brain Pickings: https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/03/06/hermann-hesse-little-joys-my-belief/

O amor não é poesia. É o que inventámos para sobreviver

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Encenarmo-nos apenas a partir da exultação, como se a nossa vida fosse sempre incrível, é estranho. São as partes mais vulneráveis dos outros que nos seduzem, os seus desvios, aquilo que nem sempre faz sentido e vice-versa. Ou seja, amamos o outro a partir do momento em que percebemos que não vamos ser julgados por ele, porque ambos partilhamos o mesmo tipo de fragilidades. (…) E a cultura da internet quase nunca propicia isso. Aliás a vida moderna quase não tem isso. Esquecemo-nos de olhar realmente os outros nos olhos.
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Father John Misty, em conversa com Vítor Belanciano.
In Público: https://www.publico.pt/2017/04/07/culturaipsilon/noticia/father-john-misty-o-amor-nao-e-poesia-e-o-que-inventamos-para-sobreviver-1767678

Narcissism, Social Media and Power

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When you think about the types of behaviors that get attention, they are not the behaviors that make for a good society or a good public culture. You’re not going to get attention on certain forms of social media for being kind, empathetic or thoughtful. The dark side is that people are rewarded for behaviors that might not be for the public good. Do you think that Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton and Donald Trump are the people who should get the most attention in our country? No! They are people who are very good at gaming the system. As long as we have an attention economy, as long as there are economic incentives to try to get a lot of attention, then we are going to have people producing content with the only aim of getting attention. And the people who are the best propagandists are the ones who are able to get their message across. Which perspectives and role models and thoughts are we missing out on, since they’re not bubbling to the top of this stew of attention-seeking content?
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Alice Marwick, together with Miranda Giacomin, interviewed by Molly Rose Kaufman.
In Kinfolk: https://kinfolk.com/narcissism-social-media-power/