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Writing can be ridiculous. And yet despite the obvious problems and omissions there’s something—a kind of feeling, a structure, a tone—gesturing there. That something springs not from experience or information but from their synthesis and growth in my imagination.

Each time I try to do this, I relearn the lesson that I can’t, during the process of writing, relegate imagination to an inferior place. I can’t let research, my ally and comfort for so long, push its way to the head of the line. The work never comes alive until I give up the idea that I know what I’m writing about, and allow myself to be led—by the life that goes on outside us, in the world, and also by the fertile life going on in secret, inside our heads—into new and strange territory. Any text, I learn each time, is a tissue of the imagination, in which facts, if we choose to embed them, rest safely encysted.

Black Box

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Black Box

The Ghost in the Renovation

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The Ghost in the Renovation

Notes of a Crocodile

“Xiao Fan was the most desperate woman I’d ever seen. Despair was in
her past and in her present. Everything about her screamed despair.
Because of her despair, I loved her. Because of her despair, I was
shaken. Because of her despair, I was overwhelmed, and because of her
despair, I left her. Her despair was her beauty.

I secretly looked forward to seeing her during my weekly shift. By
day, she worked at the offices of the Youth Corps. By night, she and her
fiancé and a few friends ran a bar. Every Saturday at six p.m., we’d
work together. The two of us made a good team. By the time her shift
began, she’d be overworked already. She often arrived looking thin and
pale. Naturally concerned, I’d stare at her out of the corner of my eye.
She smiled at me. It was a tired smile.”

From
Notes of a Crocodile by
邱妙津

(Qiu Miaojian)

William S. Burroughs “Sings” R.E.M. and The Doors, Backed by the Original Bands

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William S. Burroughs “Sings” R.E.M. and The Doors, Backed by the Original Bands

The Uncanny Power of Weird Fiction

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The Uncanny Power of Weird Fiction

Why Nabokov’s Speak, Memory Still Speaks to Us

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Why Nabokov’s Speak, Memory Still Speaks to Us

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If I obstinately refuse all the ‘later on’s’ of this world, it is because I have no desire to give up my present wealth. I do not want to believe that death is a gateway to another life. For me, it is a closed door…Everything people suggest seeks to deliver man from the weight of his own life. But as I watch the great birds flying heavily through the sky of Djemila, it is precisely a certain weight of life that I ask for and obtain.

Albert Camus – “The Wind at Djemila,”

Lyrical and Critical Essays

(via isyphean-revolt)