When I was very small, I had that first-time-you-see-a-play experience, which immediately made me want to act, because it seemed like this incredible outlet for something I was already doing fairly compulsively anyway, which was putting on hats and costumes and doing funny voices. It was a very natural compulsion for me.
I'm an actor, and, beyond that, the thing I do most compulsively is writing. So I come at it very much from this sense of character. I get interested in people. And I feel confident in my capacity to absorb and manifest the characteristics of people. I have a real auditory hang-up for dialogue; re-creating the way people talk really is an addiction in my brain.
Why do you think people stopped reading? We read to connect with other minds. But why read when you're busy writing, describing the fine-grained flotsam of your own life. Compulsively recording every morsel you eat, that you're cold, or, I don't know, heartbroken by a football game. An endless stream flowing to an audience of everyone and no one.
Becoming Richard Pryor is a compulsively readable book that sets a new gold standard for American biography. Scott Scaul's research is extraordinary; his writing is taut, elegant, and insightful; and he captures both the hilarity and pain that made Richard Pryor such a towering figure,
Don't bother looking for the meaning of it all. There isn't one. Maybe not, but life compulsively dangled the possibility. Life, the dramatist on speed. Life, that couldn't stop with its foreshadows and ironies and symbols and clues, its wretched jokes and false endings and twists. Life with its hopeless addiction to plot.
Without evading the grimness of life in much of modern Africa, one can recognize that this continent is not yet sick as our continent is sick. Most Africans remain plugged into reality. In contrast we have become disconnected from it, reduced to compulsively consuming units, taught to worship 'economic growth' - the ultimate unreality in a finite world.
Of course I know that the twins are only words on a page, and I'm certainly not the sort of writer who talks to his characters or harbours any illusions about the creative process. But at the same time, I think it's juvenile and arrogant when literary writers compulsively remind their readers that the characters aren't real. People know that already. The challenge is to make an intelligent reader suspend disbelief, to seduce them into the reality of a narrative.
The creative writer is compulsively concrete... His fictional house should be haunted by ideas, not inhabited by them; they should flit past the windows after dark, not fill the rooms. The moment anyone tries to make poems or stories of ideas alone he is at the edge of absurdity; he can only harangue, never interest and persuade, because ideas in their conceptual state are simply not dramatic. They have to be put into the form of people and actions...
We see her go through dangerous mood-swings, but I tried never to come right out and say "Annie was depressed and possibly suicidal that day" or "Annie seemed particularly happy that day."If I have to tell you, I lose. If, on the other hand, I can show you a silent, dirty-haired woman who compulsively gobbles cake and candy, then have you draw the conclusion that Annie is in the depressive part of a manic-depressive cycle, I win.
He lay still, his bloodshot eyes staring blankly before him, and drifted into dreams of his problems, compulsively living out dialogues, summing up emotional scenes with his mother, Dot, and his friends. Repeatedly he chided himself to go to sleep, but it did no good, for he was hungry for these waking visions that depicted his dilemmas, yet he knew that such brooding did not help; in fact he was wasting his waning strength, for into these unreal dramas he was putting the whole of his ardent being. The long hours dragged on.
The ego isn't a bad thing. If we didn't develop a strong ego, a strong sense of self, we wouldn't be able to relate to and engage with the extremely powerful and archetypal forces (both dark and light) of the unconscious. If we don't have a strongly developed sense of self (even though it is not, ultimately speaking, the true self), we will get overwhelmed and taken over by the powers of the unconscious such that we will compulsively act them out.
The male dares to be different to the degree that he accepts his passivity and his desire to be female, his fagginess. The farthest out male is the dragqueen, but he, although different from most men, is exactly like all other dragqueens; like the functionalist, he has an identity - a female; he tries to define all his troubles away - but still no individuality. Not completely convinced that he's a woman, highly insecure about being sufficiently female, he conforms compulsively to the man-made feminine stereotype, ending up as nothing but a bundle of stilted mannerisms.
Today, all our wives and husbands have Blackberries or iPhones or Android devices or whatever-the progeny of those original 950 and 957 models that put data in our pockets. Now we all check their email (or Twitter, or Facebook, or Instagram, or) compulsively at the dinner table, or the traffic light. Now we all stow our devices on the nightstand before bed, and check them first thing in the morning. We all do. It's not abnormal, and it's not just for business. It's just what people do. Like smoking in 1965, it's just life.
In a brilliant fusion of fact and fiction, Jayne Anne Phillips has written the novel of the year. It's the story of a serial killer's crimes and capture, yes, but it's also a compulsively readable story of how one brave woman faces up to acts of terrible violence in order to create something good and strong in the aftermath. Quiet Dell will be compared to In Cold Blood, but Phillips offers something Capote could not: a heroine who lights up the dark places and gives us hope in our humanity.
The Restless Anthropologist is a rich, powerful, and compulsively readable collection of essays by anthropologists who look back at the multiple relationships between their serial fieldwork experiences and their lives. Illustrating the dense interweaving of the personal and the professional that is the hallmark of anthropology as a vocation, these essays are at once affectively deep reflections, and clear-eyed assessments, of lives often lived 'between here and there.' Alma Gottlieb's idea to stimulate these articles and bring together this collection was inspired.
The second volume of Reiner Stach's epic biography of Franz Kafka . . . [is] a tangle of counter-grained and often under-sourced life stories, but reading Stach's magnificent narrative (wonderfully translated by Shelley Frisch) straight through brings death, not life, to the forefront. Stach is a compulsively readable writer. . . . [A]s in the previous volume, the prose in The Years of Insight is supple and very appealingly complex--all of which, once again, is perfectly rendered by Frisch.
Never far from a dining table, the characters in Heather A. Slomski's limpid and elegant debut collection are not given to melodramatics. Civility reigns, voices are not raised, much goes unsaid. But just beneath the sophisticated composure are longing, loss, heartbreak. And how intensely familiar is the table itself, which made this reader suddenly understand how much of our real life takes place there. Heather A. Slomski is truly a fresh voice on the scene, and The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons is that rare thing, a new book as innovative in its design as it is compulsively readable.
Most photographers have some kind of verbal patter going on when they shoot: "Great. Turn to me. Big smile. Less shark eyes. Have fun with it. Not like that." Some photographers are compulsively effusive. "Beautiful. Amazing. Gorgeous! Ugh, so gorgeous!" they yell at shutter speed. If you are anything less than insane, you will realize this is not sincere. It's hard to take because it's more positive feedback than you've received in your entire life thrown at you in fifteen seconds. It would be like going jogging while someone rode next to you in a slow-moving car, yelling, "Yes! You are Carl Lewis! You're breaking a world record right now. Amazing! You are fast. You're going very fast, yes!
But the central branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library was still a place of wonders to Tess, even if the book budget had been slashed and the hours cut. Her parents had made a lot of mistakes, a fact Tess compulsively shared on first dates, but she gave them credit for doing one thing right: Starting when she was eight, they gave her a library card and dropped her off at the downtown Pratt every Saturday while they shopped. Twenty-one years later, Tess still entered through the children's entrance on the side, pausing to toss a penny in the algae-coated fish pond, then climbing the stairs to the main hall. If she could be married here, she would.
A sentence which might bear in mind that our great struggle is that of fear, and that if a man has killed compulsively, it is because he was extremely frightened. Above all, a justice which might examine itself, & recognize that all of us, a living quagmire, founded in darkness, & for this reason not a man's evil should be cosigned to another man's evil: so that the latter may not shoot to kill without restraint or censure. A justice which will not forget that we are all dangerous, & that at the hour when the executant of justice kills, he is no longer protecting us or seeking to eliminate a criminal; he is committing his own crime, which he has been harboring for a considerable time. At the hour of killing a criminal- at that very moment, an innocent man is being put to death. No, no, I am not asking for the sublime, nor for the things which gradually become the words which help me to sleep peacefully. Those of us who take refuge in the abstract are a mixture of forgiveness & vague charity. What I want is something much harsher & much more difficult: I want the terrestrial.
We can't stop reading. Compulsively we find ourselves reading significance into dreams (we construct a science upon it); into tea-leaves and the fall of cards. We look up at the shifting vapours in the sky, and see faces, lost cities, defeated armies. Isolated in the dark, with nothing to hear and no surfaces to touch, we hallucinate reading-matter. Our craving becomes generalized - for 'the meaning of life'. If we lived alone in a featureless desert we should learn to place the individual grains of sand in a moral or aesthetic hierarchy. We should long to find the greatest grain of sand in the world, and even (in order to find a fixed point of orientation in time as well as in space) the all-time greatest grain of sand; the grain of sand whose discovery changed our whole understanding of grains of sand for ever.