Vladimir Nabokov: “Only talent interests me in paintings and books”

Playboy: In terms of modern art, critical opinion is divided about the sincerity or deceitfulness, simplicity or complexity of contemporary abstract painting. What is your own opinion?

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Nabokov: I do not see any essential difference between abstract and primitive art. Both are simple and sincere. Naturally, we should not generalize in these matters: It is the individual artist that counts. But if we accept for a moment the general notion of “modern art,” then we must admit that the trouble with it is that it is so commonplace, imitative and academic. Blurs and blotches have merely replaced the mass prettiness of a hundred years ago, pictures of Italian girls, handsome beggars, romantic ruins, and so forth. But just as among those corny oils there might occur the work of a true artist with a richer play of light and shade, with some original streak of violence or tenderness, so among the corn of primitive and abstract art one may come across a flash of great talent. Only talent interests me in paintings and books. Not general ideas, but the individual contribution.

Source :  http://reprints.longform.org/playboy-interview-vladimir-nabokov

Marc Norman: ” I like inventing people and putting them in settings”

Why do you write?

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Marc Norman:  As to why I write, I used to say it was because I was incapable of anything else, which of course is a description of a compulsion–something that has power over you, something whose reins you don’t hold. But lately, I explain it more along the lines or the “making” stuff I mentioned earlier.  I think I like to make worlds and populate them.  You’re sort of God, and you’re sort of a miniaturist at the same time.  You can make up a world and you can design the door knobs they use.  I used to make model airplanes–all of us did when we were kids.  Most of my friends threw them together, sloppy, with great globs of glue, and then blew them up with firecrackers.  I worked for hours, painstakingly, on mine, getting books of pictures of the airplane or ship or tank in question from the library and adding details, tiny bits of things, rivet heads, all to the purpose of realism, which is another way of saying, the illusion of reality.  And I suppose I’m still operating along those lines.  I like inventing people and putting them in settings so finely drawn that the viewer, for some short period of time, forgets he or she is yoking at an artifice and thinks it’s real.  That’s my performance.  That’s my, for lack of a better word, magic.

There was a big spike of interest in science-fiction around the turn of this century.  In that incarnation, the themes weren’t galactic battles and aliens–they were ghosts, spiritualism, seances.  Somebody asked Joseph Conrad why he didn’t write a book in that genre, since it was so popular with the public.  He replied, “Because it would imply that the quotidian was not miraculous.”  That’s always rung a bell with me.  I find the lives we lead here, in our flawed world, endlessly fascinating.

Source : http://www.elisbergindustries.com/blog/email-interview2

Michael Ondaatje:”The decision to be a poet was that I thought it would save my life”

Could you talk about the decision to be a poet?

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Michael Ondaatje: The decision to be a poet was that I thought it would save my life. I was 18. I was in a new country. I was in Canada. I had a great teacher and I didn’t know who I was really. I was meeting poets my age. When I was in England the idea of becoming a writer seemed ludicrous and presumptuous. I wrote poetry for six or seven years, and gradually became interested in prose. I wrote The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, and began this odd monster of poems and weird photographs and prose, and the next book was Coming Through Slaughter, and I wanted to take whatever there was I loved in poetry into prose, which was essentially not saying everything. You put 70% down and then leave a lot of space for the reader to participate, and I wanted to have that sense in a novel as well.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/books/michael-ondaatje-in-coversation-with-tishani-doshi-about-his-novels-especially-warlight/article24228381.ece

Toni Morrison: “when you get a bad leader a whole lot of people are embarrassed”

Is America in danger with Trump as President?

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Toni Morrison: Yes.  It’s a kind of corruption; and corrupt without embarrassment.  Normally when you get a bad leader a whole lot of people are embarrassed.  Some people are embarrassed about Donald Trump, but not enough.  He lies every minute; everything he says.  He is so ignorant, so vile, so shallow, so self-centred, egocentric, vengeful.  Donald Trump is an old man, he’s 72, and he should stop being president.  When I read Bob Woodward’s book Fear I said: “O God, it’s worse than I thought.”  And I thought bad things.

Source : http://www.alainelkanninterviews.com/toni-morrison/

 

 

Seth Godin:”I don’t think my audience owes me anything”

Question: What are the five things that enabled you to be successful?

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Seth Godin: If we define success as the ability to make a living doing what I do, I’d say the following:

  1. No ulterior motive. I rarely do A as a calculated tactic to get B. I do A because I believe in A, or it excites me or it’s the right thing to do. That’s it. No secret agendas.
  2. I don’t think my audience owes me anything. It’s always their turn.
  3. I’m in a hurry to make mistakes and get feedback and get that next idea out there. I’m not in a hurry, at all, to finish the “bigger” project, to get to the finish line.
  4. I do things where I actually think I’m right, as opposed to where I think succeeding will make me successful. When you think you’re right, it’s more fun and your passion shows through.
  5. I’ve tried to pare down my day so that the stuff I actually do is pretty well leveraged. That, and I show up. Showing up is underrated.

Source : https://guykawasaki.com/ten_questions_w-10/

Mae West: “sex with love is the greatest thing in life”

Q: Do you think sex is better with love?

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Mae West: Honey, sex with love is the greatest thing in life. But sex without love – that’s not so bad either. Sex is the best exercise for developing everything. It’s very good for the complexion and the circulation. I’ve always had the skin of a little girl. Go ahead touch it. [I touch her skin.] That’s all real. I didn’t ever have to lift anything.

Source : https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2007/sep/21/greatinterviews

Charlie Kaufman:”It’s hard to be human”

Q: As Michael asks in the film: what is it to be human, to ache?

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Charlie Kaufman : I don’t know. It’s hard to be human. I get angry at being human and at humans and I wish there was more kindness and I could be more kind and other people could be more kind. I get very rattled just in traffic. On the road, a certain combination of selfishness and aggression exists. I think it’s analogous to look at people in cars and people online because it is an anonymous situation where you get to act on these impulses without repercussions – unless you’re in an accident – and just to be mean. I just find it so upsetting.

I was driving last night on this quiet road and this person was driving towards me and had their lights on. I flashed them to let him know, not in a rude way, that I couldn’t see. And he or she turned her brights off immediately and then turned them right back on. It was like: ‘Screw you. Don’t tell me what to do. Fuck you.’ I can’t really figure out any other version that makes sense. It just puts all of my cortisol or some sort of adrenalin nightmare stuff coursing through my veins.

The converse is true too. When I see something that’s just kind, I find it the most incredibly moving thing. It just makes me relax and tear up. When someone looks at you warmly for a second as you pass them on the street – rather than just an obligatory nod – it gives you some sort of renewed faith.

Source : https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/dec/16/charlie-kaufman-anomalisa-interview-donald-trump