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?

4b7edfb393

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?

1200px-Toni_Morrison_2008-2

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?

Seth-Godin-Explains-How-to-Overcome-the-Fear-of-Failure

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?

maxresdefault

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?

charlie_kaufman_meet_the_film_maker_event_getty_h_2016

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

Maria Popova :”If we are so busy being successful that we don’t have time to be happy, then we need to seriously reconsider our definition of success”

Q: The “Information Age” seems to have ushered in this hectic, new pace of working that’s driving us all a bit crazy. And it feels unsustainable. How do you think we ended up here?

mariapopova_elizabethlippman

Maria Popova : I think that word “should” in our internal narratives is very toxic—this notion of, “what should I be doing?” and it’s always pegged to some sort of expectation, whether it’s self-imposed or external or a combination of the two. It’s hard to balance those expectations of what you should be doing with what you want to be doing. I feel very fortunate in that to a large extent what I do is exactly what I want to be doing for myself, and I still write for an audience of one. I read things that stimulate me and inspire me and help me figure out how to live and then I write about them. The fact that there are other people who enjoy it is nice, but it’s just a byproduct.

I think there is a high correlation between “type A” personalities and people that “do their own thing.” But we typically do that thing within a structure that’s borrowed from the world of working for the man—the only difference is you’re the man now. When you’re your own boss, the demands you place on yourself are probably higher and more intense than any demands anyone else would place on you if you were an employee.

If we are so busy being successful that we don’t have time to be happy, then we need to seriously reconsider our definition of success.

Source : http://99u.com/articles/29651/maria-popova-staying-present-and-grounded-in-the-age-of-information-overload

Orhan Pamuk:”I think that fiction teaches us something essential about life”

Interviewer  : A year ago, a very famous Dutch art critic came into my house and saw all my books and said, “What a waste of time to read all those novels.” For him literature is something that is really dead.

TURKEY-POLITICS-CULTURE-PAMUK

Orhan Pamuk: I would say that his kind of understanding of reading literature, which implies that one could have done something more useful with one’s time, is very utilitarian. I think it is very premodern to look at books as objects that will educate you, or benefit you, or to consider reading as an intellectual investment you could somehow rely on in the future. With his statement, this art critic implies that, unfortunately, reading literature is a wrong investment. Right?

Interviewer: Yes.

Orhan Pamuk: Well, I think that fiction teaches us something essential about life. I have learned a lot about life from fiction — from Dostoyevsky, from Tolstoy. My understanding of major categories of life comes from fiction rather than the laws of psychology. But I will tell you something. For me, the urge to write and read fiction is not utilitarian. Instead it is like playing with toys. When I was a kid, I just wanted to play with my brother, or with this toy or that toy, without knowing why. The instinct to write fiction has that aspect, and the instinct to read fiction has that aspect.

Source : http://bidoun.org/articles/orhan-pamuk