Responding to a moderator at the Sydney Writers Festival in 2008 (video), about the Spanish words in his book:When all of us are communicating and talking when we’re out in the world, we’ll be lucky if we can understand 20 percent of what people say to us. A whole range of clues, of words, of languages escape us. I mean we’re not perfect, we’re not gods. But on top of that people mis-speak, sometimes you mis-hear, sometimes you don’t have attention, sometimes people use words you don’t know. Sometimes people use languages you don’t know. On a daily basis, human beings are very comfortable with a large component of communication, which is incomprehensibility, incomprehension. We tend to be comfortable with it. But for an immigrant, it becomes very different. What most of us consider normative comprehension an immigrant fears that they’re not getting it because of their lack of mastery in the language.And what’s a normal component in communication, incomprehension, in some ways for an immigrant becomes a source of deep anxiety because you’re not sure if it’s just incomprehension or your own failures. My sense of writing a book where there is an enormous amount of language that perhaps everyone doesn’t have access to was less to communicate the experience of the immigrant than to communicate the experience that for an immigrant causes much discomfort but that is normative for people. which is that we tend to not understand, not grasp a large part of the language around us. What’s funny is, will Ramona accept incomprehension in our everyday lives and will greet that in a book with enormous fury. In other words what we’re comfortable with out in the outside world, we do not want to encounter in our books.So I’m constantly, people have come to me and asked me… is this, are you trying to lock out your non-Dominican reader, you know? And I’m like, no? I assume any gaps in a story and words people don’t understand, whether it’s the nerdish stuff, whether it’s the Elvish, whether it’s the character going on about Dungeons and Dragons, whether it’s the Dominican Spanish, whether it’s the sort of high level graduate language, I assume if people don’t get it that this is not an attempt for the writer to be aggressive. This is an attempt for the writer to encourage the reader to build community, to go out and ask somebody else. For me, words that you can’t understand in a book aren’t there to torture or remind people that they don’t know. I always felt they were to remind people that part of the experience of reading has always been collective. You learn to read with someone else. Yeah you may currently practice it in a solitary fashion, but reading is a collective enterprise. And what the unintelligible in a book does is to remind you how our whole, lives we’ve always needed someone else to help us with reading.
Junot Díaz
Terry took the silence as acquiescence, The other way to make money is to exploit people, oh, no sorry, that’s the ‘only’ way to make money, exploit other people, that’s how the billionaires have acquired all their money by exploiting others… So how did they achieve it? You’re going to love this… they changed all the rules to accommodate what they wanted to do. How I hear you ask… easy, they own the politicians, they own the banks, they own industry and they own everything. They made it easier for themselves to invest in so called emerging markets. What once would’ve been considered treasonous was now considered virtuous. Instead of building up the nation state and its resources, all of its resources, including its people, they concentrated on building up their profits. That’s all they did. They invested in parts of the world where children could be worked for 12 hours a day 7 days a week, where grown men and women could be treated like slaves and all for a pittance and they did this because we here in the west had made it illegal to work children, because we’d abolished slavery, because we had fought for workers’ rights, for a minimum wage, for a 40 hr week, for pensions, for the right to retire, for a free NHS, for free education, all of these things were getting in the way of them making a quick and easy profit and worse …had been making us feel we were worth something.
Arun D. Ellis
You’re innocent until proven guilty, Mandy exclaimed, unable to hide her gleeful smile. She missed the way people used to have normal conversations, used to be more caring for each other than themselves, back in the Seventies and Eighties. These days, she realized, neighbors kept to themselves, their kids kept to themselves, nobody talked to each other anymore. They went to work, went shopping and shut themselves up at home in front of glowing computer screens and cellphones… but maybe the nostalgic, better times in her life would stay buried, maybe the world would never be what it was. In the 21st century music was bad, movies were bad, society was failing and there were very few intelligent people left who missed the way things used to be… maybe though, Mandy could change things. Thinking back to the old home movies in her basement, she recalled what Alecto had told her. We wanted more than anything else in the world to be normal, but we failed. The 1960’s and 1970’s were very strange times, but Mandy missed it all, she missed the days when Super-8 was the popular film type, when music had lyrics that made you think, when movies had powerful meanings instead of bad comedy and when people would just walk to a friend’s house for the afternoon instead of texting in bed all day. She missed soda fountains and department stores and non-biodegradable plastic grocery bags, she wished cellphones, bad pop music and LED lights didn’t exist… she hated how everything had a diagnosis or pill now, how people who didn’t fit in with modern, lazy society were just prescribed medications without a second thought… she hated how old, reliable cars were replaced with cheap hybrid vehicles… she hated how everything could be done online, so that people could just ignore each other… the world was becoming much more convenient, but at the same time, less human and her teenage life was considered nostalgic history now.Hanging her head low, avoiding the slightly confused stare of the cab driver through the rear view mirror, she started crying uncontrollably, her tears soaking the collar of her coat as the sun blared through the windows in a warm light.
Rebecca McNutt
Some centuries ago they had Raphael and Michael Angelo; now we have Mr. Paul Delaroche and all because we are progressing.You brag of your Opera houses; ten Opera houses the size of yours could dance a saraband in a Roman amphitheatre. Even Mr. Martin, with his lame tiger and his poor gouty lion, as drowsy as a subscriber to the Gazette, cuts a pretty small figure by the side of a gladiator from antiquity. What are your benefit performances, lasting till two in the morning, compared with those games which lasted a hundred days, with those performances in which real ships fought real battles on a real sea; when thousands of men earnestly carved each other -- turn pale, O heroic Franconi! -- when, the sea having withdrawn, the desert appeared, with its raging tigers and lions, fearful supernumeraries that played but once; when the leading part was played by some robust Dacian or Pannonian athlete, whom it would often have been might difficult to recall at the close of the performance, whose leading lady was some splendid and hungry lioness of Numidia starved for three days? Do you not consider the clown elephant superior to Mlle. Georges? Do you believe Taglioni dances better than did Arbuscula and Perrot better than Bathyllus? Admirable as is Bocage, I am convinced Roscius could have given him points. Galeria Coppiola played young girls' parts, when over one hundred years old; it is true that the oldest of our leading ladies is scarcely more than sixty and that Mlle. Mars has not even progressed in that direction. The ancients had three or four thousand gods in whom they believed and we have but one, in whom we scarcely believe. That is a strange sort of progress. Is not Jupiter worth a good deal more than Don Juan and is he not a much greater seducer? By my faith, I know not what we have invented, or even wherein we have improved.
Théophile Gautier
Glossa Time goes by, time comes along,All is old and all is new;What is right and what is wrong,You must think and ask of you;Have no hope and have no fear,Waves that rise can never hold;If they urge or if they cheer,You remain aloof and cold. To our sight a lot will glisten,Many sounds will reach our ear;Who could take the time to listenAnd remember all we hear?Keep aside from all that patter,Seek yourself, far from the throng When with loud and idle clatterTime goes by, time comes along.Nor forget the tongue of reasonOr its even scales depressWhen the moment, changing season,Wears the mask of happiness -It is born of reason's slumberAnd may last a wink as true:For the one who knows its numberAll is old and all is new.Be as to a play, spectator,As the world unfolds before:You will know the heart of matterShould they act two parts or four;When they cry or tear asunderFrom your seat enjoy alongAnd you'll learn from art to wonderWhat is right and what is wrong.Past and future, ever blending,Are the twin sides of same page:New start will begin with endingWhen you know to learn from age;All that was or be tomorrowWe have in the present, too;But what's vain and futile sorrowYou must think and ask of you;For the living cannot severFrom the means we've always had:Now, as years ago and ever,Men are happy or are sad:Other masks, same play repeated;Diff'rent tongues, same words to hear;Of your dreams so often cheated,Have no hope and have no fear.Hope not when the villains clusterBy success and glory drawn:Fools with perfect lack of lusterWill outshine Hyperion!Fear it not, they'll push each otherTo reach higher in the fold,Do not side with them as brother,Waves that rise can never hold.Sounds of siren songs call steadyToward golden nets, astray;Life attracts you into eddiesTo change actors in the play;Steal aside from crowd and bustle,Do not look, seem not to hearFrom your path, away from hustle,If they urge or if they cheer;If they reach for you, go faster,Hold your tongue when slanders yell;Your advice they cannot master,Don't you know their measure well?Let them talk and let them chatter,Let all go past, young and old;Unattached to man or matter,You remain aloof and cold.You remain aloof and coldIf they urge or if they cheer;Waves that rise can never hold,Have no hope and have no fear;You must think and ask of youWhat is right and what is wrong;All is old and all is new,Time goes by, time comes along.
Mihai Eminescu
So what do I do? What do we do? How do we move forward when we are tired and afraid? What do we do when the voice in our head is yelling that WE ARE NEVER GONNA MAKE IT? How do we drag ourselves through the muck when our brain is telling us youaredumbandyouwillneverfinishandnoonecaresanditistimeyoustop? Well, the first thing we do is take our brain out and put it in a drawer. Stick it somewhere and let it tantrum until it wears itself out. You may still hear the brain and all the shitty things it is saying to you, but it will be muffled and just the fact that it is not in your head anymore will make things seem clearer. And then you just do it. You just dig in and write it. You use your body. you lean over the computer and stretch and pace. You write and then cook something and write some more. you put your hand on your heart and feel it beating and decide if what you wrote feels true. You do it because the doing of it is the thing. The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing. That is what I know. Writing the book is about writing the book. So here we go, you and me. Because what else are we going to do? Say no? Say no to an opportunity that may be slightly out of our comfort zone? Quiet our voice because we are worried it is not perfect? I believe great people do things before they are ready. This is America and I am allowed to have healthy self-esteem. This book comes straight from my feisty and freckled fingers. Know it was a battle. Blood was shed. A war raged between my jokey and protective brain and my squishy and tender heart. I have realized that mystery is what keeps people away and I've grown tired of smoke and mirrors. I yearn for the clean, well-lighted place. So let's peek behind the curtain and hail the others like us. The open-faced sandwiches who take risks and live big and smile with all of their teeth. These are the people I want to be around. This is the honest way I want to live and love and write.
Amy Poehler