Fiona Apple, “Paper Bag”
the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Crack-Up"
(one of my favorite quotes)
THE PLACE MAKES EVERYONE A GAMBLER
Alice Bolin on Joan Didion and Los Angeles
"Freeway driving, navigating the network of loops and interchanges that take you right back where you started from, is uniquely appropriate for Maria’s erratic, desperate kind of heroine. With the archetypal Woman on the Edge, whatever she is fleeing from will always eventually overtake her. If “the open road” is an American totem of independence and escape, what does it mean when the road is actually a closed circuit?"
"Didion stresses in her nonfiction how much driving can encapsulate both the dream and the nightmare of Los Angeles. In her 1976 essay “Bureaucrats,” she calls driving the ‘the only secular communion Los Angeles has,’ requiring ‘total surrender, a concentration so intense as to seem a kind of narcosis, a rapture-of-the freeway.’ In 1989 she wrote in “Pacific Distances” how these hours spent in one’s car effect ‘a kind of seductive unconnectedness’ in which ‘context clues are missing. In Culver City as in Echo Park as in East Los Angeles, there are the same pastel bungalows. There are the same leggy poinsettia and the same trees of pink and yellow hibiscus.’ This narcotic streamlining of experience is ‘one reason the place exhilarates some people, and floods others with an amorphous unease.’"