An Interview With Odetta
I’m shy about writing, about exposing myself, but songs have come through me. Once, I was in Israel and had a hard night — an argument that was so unimportant I don’t even remember what it was about — and I decided I’d go to sleep. In those days that was the way I handled my problems. There’s a Chinese proverb that says if you have a big problem, and you need to solve it, go to sleep. The problem won’t disappear, but you’ll wake up in another position. (Chuckles.) Well, I got back to the hotel, and I couldn’t go to sleep. So I took pencil and paper in hand and out came a song. The kind of writing I admire involves yourself right out there, like Joni Mitchell. Her songs are about what she did or didn’t do or what she’s feeling. It’s almost like an exorcism. But I haven’t gotten there yet.
This is something Freud had no idea of, that where there is love, there is no lust connected to the sexual organ, the lust is for looking, the lust is for proximity, the lust is for touching of the hand, the skin, the lust is for the interchange of some cosmic, electrical energy — and it is done, it is accomplished simply by proximity, by the sharing and exchanging of warmth, by the touching of skin to skin, it is done by body warmth, as a child, when it wants to be loved, wants the body warmth of its mother, the skin contact.
The Sexual Politics of Ursula Le Guin
There is much to admire in these novels beyond the brilliance of their central conceptions. Their style is vivid but simple, utterly unpretentious, with the kind of transparency that reveals ideas in all their clarity. I can’t remember when I have done reading that is so satisfactory on an emotional level — telling a story I want to hear — and also on an intellectual level, provoking hours of thought beyond what the books even dealt with.
Many days Ann took the coat out of the front closet, placed it over her arm and stroked the white fur. She imagined herself standing at the North Pole surrounded by clean white snow as far as the eye could see in all directions, snow sifting from the colorful flickering sky and falling softly around her in the antiseptic cold, falling and collecting smooth and without footprint to the horizon. In the frozen wastes of her imagination, under the aurora borealis of her wounded central nervous system, she could achieve numbness.