Thursday, June 4, 2015

Jonathan Galassi's novel, Muse, is published today.

Some lines inspired by the book on poetry, editing, and love:

What Memory Forgets

Mnemosyne is the mother of the nine muses; one can’t expect her to be a good mother of that many.
Memory is mother of the muses, but they forget her.
She has no grandchildren.
The muses are virgins.

I’ve forgotten what I want to remember.
I remember what I want to forget.

In the palace of Mnemosyne, the candles burn out and you must feel one’s way in the dark. You have to remember the palace in your head or you will knock into things. Some things need to be broken, so one can examine their secret interiors. Memory needs to lose things. You don’t remember what you don’t lose.

What we have forgotten tinges what remains.

How many things we’ve forgotten would we now wish had pained us, so we would not have lost them?

This is a love story, which means it is not altogether factual.

Even the happiest love story ends in death.

It is good if your muse is stupid, especially about you.

It’s humiliating, I know, the way your muse stares off into space, and hardly notices that you exist.  You’ll write better if you can see through yourself, too.

Poetry knows that it goes on longer than we do.
Writers and editors share the loneliness of literature.

Nothing’s more imaginary than fame.

Fortune may smile, but she is blind.

Every book is a window, and every window is a mirror, as well.

While you read a book, it reads you back.

Writers weave lies like cocoons and then their souls change inside to something they were not.  But who would call a butterfly a lie?

Authors create imaginary worlds to catch real editors.

Writing would be wonderful without all these wretched words.

Editors play Hermes, raiding the tomb of the writers’ desk and dragging its contents to the eternal underworld of literature.

Editors are inclined to be orderly, but every book, as Cocteau said, is a dictionary out of order.  So how can one tell when a book is in order, since its intent is to disrupt the order of society?