Wednesday, March 13, 2013

few have the nerve

"Let the author beware of popularity, otherwise he will be defeated by success. There is a time when you must take a picture of yourself. Hunger is always the same as the first hunger. The need renews itself empty and entire."

~ Clarice Lispector, A Breath of Life

"To be happy is a great responsibility. Few have the nerve. I have the nerve but with a bit of fear. A happy person is one who has accepted death. When I'm too happy, I feel a gagging anguish: I get scared." 

~ Clarice Lispector, A Breath of Life

"Don't think that I'm writing here my most intimate secret for there are secrets I never even tell myself. And it's not only the final secret that I am not revealing: there are many little primary secrets that I allow to remain in enigma. I surrender to the sweet familiarity of eternity. But I don't know if I deserve it."


What I'm trying to do with these photos is tell you a secret about myself. I'm trying to photograph myself. And I'm trying to show you how books breathe us, how we breathe books. I'm trying to talk you into reading A Breath of Life by Clarice Lispector.

 "There's a way of looking that makes you shiver."  

~ C.L.

"I'll write a book so closed that it will only allow a passage to a few. Or perhaps I'll never write again." 


If you are hunting for 'me' in these photographs, I am there - that tiny thread. The secret of whether I will write anything again or not, the secret to be unraveled. The secret to whether or not I have enough nerve to be happy. 


  1. Such beautiful books. I love the one with the book sitting up top the others.

  2. The roses have such an interesting textual quality, like fine paper. And a good invitation to the possibility of happiness.

  3. I thought I recognized you in there. . .

  4. I see the books and the flowers, as still as eternity's reflection, and I read the words and hear the secrets and I wonder if I've the nerve to live like death is behind me because that kind of happiness would make me dangerous like Lenny in Of Mice and Men, that kind of lived-love would attract murderous resentment and yet what other kind of life, if you tasted that, could you want? Books that breathe these things...are quietly explosive.

    As so often the case, Calm Things drops in at the right time, touching on spirit things and soul things and things of beauty. Thanks Shawna.

  5. Ah, Stephen, you are amazing.....amazing.


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