Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Journey to the End of the Night

The worst part is wondering how you’ll find the strength tomorrow, 
to go on doing what you did today and have been doing for much too long, 
where you’ll find the strength for all that stupid running around, 
those projects that come to nothing, 
those attempts to escape from crushing necessity, 
which always founder and serve only to convince you one more time that destiny is implacable, 
that every night will find you down and out, 
crushed by the dread of more and more sordid and insecure tomorrows.

― Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Journey to the End of the Night 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

Once, when I was younger, I thought I could be someone else. 
I'd move to Casablanca, open a bar, and I'd meet Ingrid Bergman. 
Or more realistically - whether actually more realistic or not - I'd tune in on a better life, something more suited to my true self. 
Toward that end, I had to undergo training. 
I read The Greening of America, and I saw Easy Rider three times. 
But like a boat with a twisted rudder, I kept coming back to the same place. 
I wasn't anywhere. 
I was myself, waiting on the shore for me to return.

― Haruki Murakami, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Chuck Berry Tribute

Chuck Berry, who with his indelible guitar licks, brash self-confidence and memorable songs about cars, girls and wild dance parties did as much as anyone to define rock ’n’ roll’s potential and attitude in its early years, died on Saturday. He was 90.

While Elvis Presley was rock’s first pop star and teenage heartthrob, Mr. Berry was its master theorist and conceptual genius, the songwriter who understood what the kids wanted before they knew themselves. With songs like “Johnny B. Goode” and “Roll Over Beethoven,” he gave his listeners more than they knew they were getting from jukebox entertainment.
His guitar lines wired the lean twang of country and the bite of the blues into phrases with both a streamlined trajectory and a long memory. And tucked into the lighthearted, telegraphic narratives that he sang with such clear enunciation was a sly defiance, upending convention to claim the pleasures of the moment.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

What To Say When You Talk To Your Self

After examining the philosophies, the theories, and the practiced methods of influencing human behavior, I was shocked to learn the simplicity of that one small fact: You will become what you think about most; your success or failure in anything, large or small, will depend on your programming - what you accept from others, and what you say when you talk to yourself.
It is no longer a success theory; it is a simple but powerful fact. Neither luck nor desire has the slightest thing to do with it. It makes no difference whether we believe it or not. The brain simply believes what you tell it most. And what you tell it about you, it will create. It has no choice.

I can do anything I believe I can do!
 I’ve got it, and every day I get more of it. 
I have talent, skills, and ability. I set goals and I reach them.
 I know what I want out of life. 
I go after it and I get it.
 People like me, and I feel good about myself. 
I have a sense of pride in who I am, and I believe in myself. 
Nothing seems to stop me. 
I have a lot of determination. 
I turn problems into advantages. 
I find possibilities in things that other people never give a chance. 
I have a lot of energy—I am very alive! 
I enjoy life and I can tell it and so can others. 
I keep myself up, looking ahead, and liking it. 
I know that I can accomplish anything I choose, and I refuse to let anything negative hold me back or stand in my way. 
I am not afraid of anything or anyone. 
I have strength, power, conviction, and confidence! 
I like challenges and I meet them head on, face to face—today especially! 
I am on top of the world and I’m going for it. 
I have a clear picture in my mind of what I want. 
I can see it in front of me. 
I know what I want and I know how to get it. 
I know that it’s all up to me and I know I can do it. 
Roadblocks don’t bother me. 
They just mean that I am alive and running, and I’m not going to stand still for anything. 
I trust myself I’ve got what it takes—plenty of it—and I know how to use it. 
Today, more than ever. 
Today I am unstoppable! 
I’ve got myself together and I’m getting more together every day. 
And today—look out world, here I come!
I don’t even recognize them as limitations. 
There is no challenge I can’t conquer; there is no wall I can’t climb over. 
There is no problem I can’t defeat, or turn around and make it work for me. 
I stand tall! 
I am honest and sincere. 
I like to deal with people and they like me.
 I think well; I think clearly.
I am organized; I am in control of myself, and everything about me. 
I call my shots, and no one has to call them for me. 
I never blame anyone else for the circumstances of my life. 
I accept my failings and move past them as easily as I accept the rewards for my victories. 
I never demand perfection of myself, but I expect the very best of what I have to give—and that’s what I get! 
I never give myself excuses. 
I get things done on time and in the right way. 
Today I have the inner strength to do more than ever. 
I am an exceptional human being. 
My goals and my incredible belief in myself turn my goals into reality. 
I have the power to live my dreams. 
I believe in them like I believe in myself. 
And that belief is so strong that there is nothing that diminishes my undefeatable spirit.

― Shad Helmstetter, What To Say When You Talk To Your Self 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Museum of Innocence

“In fact no one recognizes the happiest moment of their lives as they are living it. 
It may well be that, in a moment of joy, 
one might sincerely believe that they are living that golden instant "now," 
even having lived such a moment before, but whatever they say, 
in one part of their hearts 
they still believe in the certainty of a happier moment to come. 
Because how could anyone, 
and particularly anyone who is still young, 
carry on with the belief that everything could only get worse: 
If a person is happy enough to think he has reached the happiest moment of his life, 
he will be hopeful enough 
to believe his future 
will be just as beautiful, more so.” 

― Orhan Pamuk, The Museum of Innocence

Monday, March 13, 2017

Almost Transparent Blue

“When I went on anyway, my body began to grow cold, and I thought I
was dead. Face pale, my dead self sat down on a bench and began to turn
toward my real self, who was watching this hallucination on the screen of the
night. My dead self came nearer, just as if it might want to shake hands with my
real self. That's when I panicked and tried to run. But my dead self pursued me
and finally caught me, entered me and controlled me. I'd felt then just the way I
felt now. I felt as if a hole had opened in my head from which consciousness
and memory leaked out and in their place the rash crowded in, and a cold like
spoiled roast chicken. But that time before, shaking and clinging to the damp
bench, I'd told myself, Hey, take a good look, isn't the world still under your
feet? I'm on this ground, and on this same ground are trees and grass and ants
carrying sand to their nests, little girls chasing rolling balls, and puppies running.”

― Ryū Murakami, Almost Transparent Blue 

This is a story about a bunch of disaffected Japanese youths who waste their time with gratuitous sex, drugs and violence. ‘Almost Transparent Blue’ is the other Murakami’s debut novel which was received to critical acclaim and won the coveted Akutagawa prize. It is also one of the must read books on the 1001 list. This is not an easy book to read and I’m sorry to say that it’s not as good as ‘In the Miso Soup’, although it has its moments. Favourite bits include the opening chapter and the bit where they are at the American air base during the thunder and lightning sequence.
The strongest aspect of the book is its gross imagery and the unfathomable sadness of lost youth. The characters (of which the narrator shares the same name as the author) are all stuck in their own desolate vacuum of apathy, moving from one moment to the next in a haze of indifference. Murakami’s image of post-war Japan drags the reader down the dark alleyways of an insular and unyielding culture. His characters allow us to penetrate the stereotypical lacquerwork of strong Japanese moral values and gaze at the ‘other japan’, the one that lives side-by-side with Western ideals. This drug-like cocktail is at once fascinating and repulsive.
Maybe it’s just me, but there were times when this novel didn’t make any sense, but then again this is a ‘mood heavy’ book, and there is not a pronounced plotline, so the narrative sort of echoes the tumultuous lives of decadent Japanese youths. This book reminds me of ‘Exit A‘ by Anthony Swofford which had a better storyline and is also set around an American airbase in Japan. Both novels contain a central theme of degeneration and crime, but ‘Almost Transparent Blue’ is decidedly more corrosive and far more bold than Swofford’s offering. ( source )