He fell in love with Manhattan's skyline, like a first-time brothel guest falling for a seasoned professional. He mused over her reflections in the black East River at dusk, dawn, or darkest night, and each haloed light-in a tower or strung along the jeweled and sprawling spider legs of the Brooklyn Bridge's spans-hinted at some meaning, which could be understood only when made audible by music and encoded in lyrics.
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The truth is, anyone who puts so much of herself and her life into art as you do must naturally fear any failure in that art as a potential threat to your life. And so you protect your art more than you protect your health or the common forms of happiness the rest of us have. And you probably have this in common with every artist you admire.
But no, music lasted longer than anything it inspired. After LPs, cassettes, and CDs, when matrimony was about to decay into its component elements-alimony and acrimony-the songs startled him and regained all their previous, pre-Rachel meanings, as if they had not only conjured her but then dismissed her, as if she had been entirely their illusion. He listened to the old songs again, years later on that same dark promenade, when every CD he had ever owned sat nestled in that greatest of all human inventions, the iPod, dialed up and yielding to his fingertip's tap. The songs now offered him, in exchange for all he had lost, the sensation that there was something still to long for, still, something still approaching, and all that had gone before was merely prologue to an unimaginably profound love yet to seize him. If there was any difference now, it was only that his hunger for music had become more urgent, less a daily pleasure than a daily craving.
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So why did poor artists originally hang around in cafes?" "I don't know. Inspiration from the atmosphere." "Ha! No, you've been tricked, too, just like the rest of us. Cafes didn't have inspirational atmosphere at first. That only came later, when you knew artists had been hanging around in them.
The memoir industry is, what's the word? Under regulated. I think it needs to be pruned. If there are too many books right now and the market for readers is shrinking, I think we can get rid of many of the memoirs. Another memoir should be awfully well justified before it gets published.
I'm an aesthetic empiricist. If you like something, it doesn't matter who made it. There really is no objective standard other than your own taste. You develop your own tastes, you find things that do or do not fit your tastes, and therefore are or are not 'good.' Whether they have been labeled as produced by the right person is another matter.