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“Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.”

Poet MAYA ANGELOU, in her last post to Twitter, dated May 23.  She would die less than a week later.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.
Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.

"Digging," by the late Nobel Prize-winning poet SEAMUS HEANEY.

(Via The Poetry Foundation; h/t NY Times)

Get out your cell phone and scroll through the contacts until you come to a name that provokes a reaction inside of you. Joy, rage, confusion, fascination, embarrassment, fear, frustration, infatuation, anything.


Ask yourself why that person’s name caused that reaction in you. Don’t try to make it an accurate answer, make it your honest, personal answer. Make it a thousand overlapping micro-answers. Don’t find categorical terminology for any of it, just dump the marbles of emotional memory all over the floor, flood the room with them. You were infatuated with Rebecca because she wore Chuck Taylors and played bass and tasted like cigarettes.

Dan Harmon on writing characters with depth.

Are there any other writers of his jawn that answer questions like this on Tumblr, or anywhere?

Read the rest (via bbbrad)

"Veep"

  • SELINA (reading her heavily-redacted speech): This has been pencil-fucked, completely?
  • MIKE: Ah, yes. Front and back. Very little romance.
I know a few Tumblrers who’ll appreciate this bumper sticker.

I know a few Tumblrers who’ll appreciate this bumper sticker.

A TYPE PERSONALITY  Biographer and historian Robert Caro writes his first few drafts the old-fashioned way: in longhand, on large legal pads. He doesn’t start typing — on an old Smith Corona Electra 210, not a computer — until he has finished four or five handwritten drafts. And then he rewrites the typescript.  (Photo: Martine Fougeron / Getty via the New York Times; caption via the Times)

A TYPE PERSONALITY  Biographer and historian Robert Caro writes his first few drafts the old-fashioned way: in longhand, on large legal pads. He doesn’t start typing — on an old Smith Corona Electra 210, not a computer — until he has finished four or five handwritten drafts. And then he rewrites the typescript.  (Photo: Martine Fougeron / Getty via the New York Times; caption via the Times)

“Some of the greatest poetry is revealing, to the reader, the beauty in something that is so simple, you had taken it for granted.”

Dr. NEIL DeGRASSE TYSON

Eric Idle in The New Yorker on the "Did Shakespeare write his plays?" debate: "Mere lack of evidence, of course, is no reason to denounce a theory. Look at intelligent design. The fact that it is bollocks hasn’t stopped a good many people from believing in it. Darwinism itself is only supported by tons of evidence, which is a clear indication that Darwin didn’t write his books himself. They were most likely written by Jack the Ripper, who was probably King Edward VII, since all evidence concerning this has been destroyed." »

“(I) call it ‘The Rule Of Replacing ‘Ands’ With Either ‘Buts’ Or ‘Therefores.’ And so it’s always, like, ‘This happens, and then this happens, and then this happens.’ Whenever I can go back into writing and change that to ‘This happens, therefore this happens, but this happens’ — whenever you can replace your ‘ands’ with ‘buts’ or ‘therefores,’ makes for better writing.”

South Park co-creator TREY PARKER, revealing some of his creative process.

Not many people in this world are as lucky as I’ve been. When I was in high school, I had an English teacher who told me I was a good writer, so I set out to become a writer myself. I’ve made my living as a writer for 70 years; been pretty good.

During World War II, I wrote for the Army newspaper, the Stars & Stripes. After the war, I went to work in radio and television, because I didn’t think anyone was paying enough attention to the written word. I worked with a lot of great people who had the voice for radio or they looked good on television — but someone had to write what they said, and that was me. When I went on television, it was as a writer. I don’t think of myself as a television personality: I’m a writer who reads what he’s written.

People have often told me I said the things they are thinking themselves. I probably haven’t said anything here that you didn’t already know, or have already thought: that’s what a writer does.

There aren’t too many original thoughts in the world. A writer’s job is to tell the truth. I believe that if all the truth were known about everything in the world, it would be a better place to live.

I know I’ve been terribly wrong sometimes, but I think I’ve been right more often than I’ve been wrong. I may have given the impression that I don’t care what anyone else thinks, but I do care; I care a lot.

I have always hoped that people will like what I’ve written. Being liked is nice, but it’s not my intent. I’ve spent my first fifty years trying to become well-known as a writer, and the next thirty trying to avoid being famous. I walk down the street now, or go to a football game, and people shout ‘Hey Andy!’ And I hate that.

I’ve done a lot of complaining here. But of all the things I’ve complained about, I can’t complain about my life. My wife Margie and I had four good kids; now there are grandchildren. I have two great-grandchildren, although they’re a little young for me to know how great they are.

And all this time, I’ve been paid to say what is on my mind on television. You don’t get any luckier than that.

This is a moment I’ve dreaded. I wish I could do this forever; I can’t though. But I’m not retiring. Writers don’t retire, and I’ll always be a writer.

A lot of you have sent me wonderful letters and said good things to me when you meet me in the street. I wasn’t always gracious about it — it’s hard to accept being liked.

I don’t say this often, but thank you. Although, if you see me in a restaurant, please let me eat my dinner.

60 Minutes commentator ANDY ROONEY, on his final regular broadcast.

Thanks, Andy.

If we must aim to be on a listicle, let it be this one: the New York Observer’s 2011 Media Poachables list.
Repeat to yourself now: “I’ll be a better writer.  I’ll be a better blogger.  I’ll be a better writer.  I’ll be a better blogger.  I’ll be a better writer.  I’ll be a better blogger.  I’ll be a better writer.  I’ll be a better blogger.  I’ll be a better writer.  I’ll be a better blogger.”
Also, there are a couple of Tumblrers on this list.  That’s your inspiration for the day.

If we must aim to be on a listicle, let it be this one: the New York Observer’s 2011 Media Poachables list.

Repeat to yourself now: “I’ll be a better writer.  I’ll be a better blogger.  I’ll be a better writer.  I’ll be a better blogger.  I’ll be a better writer.  I’ll be a better blogger.  I’ll be a better writer.  I’ll be a better blogger.  I’ll be a better writer.  I’ll be a better blogger.”

Also, there are a couple of Tumblrers on this list.  That’s your inspiration for the day.