Excerpt – The Confessions of St. Augustine

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“I panted after honours, gains, marriage; and Thou deridest me. In these desires I underwent most bitter crosses, Thou being the more gracious, the less Thou sufferedst aught to grow sweet to me, which was not Thou. Behold my heart, O Lord, who wouldest I should remember all this, and confess to Thee. Let my soul cleave unto Thee, now that Thou hast freed it from that fast—holding birdlime of death. How wretched was it! and Thou didst irritate the feeling of its wound, that forsaking all else, it might be converted unto Thee, who art above all, and without whom all things would be nothing; be converted, and be healed. How miserable was I then, and how didst Thou deal with me, to make me feel my misery on that day, when I was preparing to recite a panegyric of the Emperor, wherein I was to utter many a lie, and lying, was to be applauded by those who knew I lied, and my heart was panting with these anxieties, and boiling with the feverishness of consuming thoughts. For, passing through one of the streets of Milan, I observed a poor beggar, then, I suppose, with a full belly, joking and joyous: and I sighed, and spoke to the friends around me, of the many sorrows of our frenzies; for that by all such efforts of ours, as those wherein I then toiled, dragging along, under the goading of desire, the burthen of my own wretchedness, and, Continue reading

You End Up Becoming Yourself, with David Foster Wallace (best passages)

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Such a joy to read — or rather listen to — this audiobook. Joy isn’t the right word, a comfort perhaps. Here are some favorite passages:

“Which didn’t prepare you for the company—which was astonishingly ample, gentle, comic, overflowing. It makes sense. Books are a social substitute; you read people who, at one level, you’d like to hang out with. Chapters, pages, novels, articles are the next best thing. Even when it’s just a good factual writer, you want to hang around them to get the facts, the way you’d sit next to a brainy kid at a test to copy off their answer sheet. David’s writing self—it’s most pronounced in his essays—was the best friend you’d ever have, spotting everything, whispering jokes, sweeping you past what was irritating or boring or awful in humane style.”
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“[Realism] imposes an order and sense and ease of interpretation on experience that’s never there in real life. I’m talking about the stuff, you know, what’s hard or looks structurally strange—or formally weird—I mean some of that stuff can be very cool…but life now is completely different than the way it was then. Does your life approach anything like a linear narrative? I’m talking about the way it feels, how our nervous system feels. Some of it has to do with TV and fiction. You watch many videos? MTV videos? Lot of flash cuts in ’em. A lot of shit that looks incongruous but ends up having kind of a dream association with each other. I don’t know about you, but that’s sort of—I mean, Jesus. Um, you flew here. You drove down. Probably while you’re driving down you’re also doing work on another piece. You’re lugging your computer. You come, you Continue reading