Passages records the books I'm reading, the live music I'm hearing, and the movies I'm seeing. Every now and then I'll throw in a passage from a book I read a while back or a trailer from a old favorite movie. Occasionally, there is something that simply caught my eye. But most of it is what I'm reading and hearing and watching in real time.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Enough Said

Slave Narratives: Virginia

There was a auction block, I saw right here in Petersburg on the corner of Sycamore street and Bank street. Slaves were auctioned off to de highest bidder. Some refused to be sold. By dat I mean, cried "Lord! Lord!" I done seen dem young'uns fought and kick like crazy folks; child it wuz pitiful to see 'em. Den dey would handcuff an' beat 'em unmerciful. I don' like to talk 'bout back dar. It brun' a sad feelin' up me. If slaves 'belled, I done seed dem whip 'em wid a strop cal' "cat nine tails." Honey, dis strop wuz 'bout broad as yo' hand, from thum' to little finger, an' 'twas cut in strips up. Yo' done seen dese whips dat they whip horses wid? Well dey was used too.

Charles Crawley, Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers Project 1936-1938: Virginia (2006)


Mary Gauthier performs a new song written at a Songwriting: With Soldiers workshop.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Giraffe's Neck

Expressions of disbelief. Probably thought she was making up fairy stories. But that was the truth. We all had to pass through those. Even before birth, even in our mothers' bodies, we had to live through it all, three point seven million years, the whole exhausting evolution of man in nine months. All the ballast stored in our bones. We were a patchwork, the sum of all previous parts, a stopgap that worked more or less, full of superfluous characteristics. We dragged the past around with us. It made us what we were, and we had to deal with it. Life wasn't a struggle, it was a burden. You had to bear it. As best you could. A task to perform from the first drawn breath. As a human being you were always at work. You never died of an illness, only ever of the past. A past that had not prepared us for this present.

Judith Schalansky, The Giraffe's Neck, 2014

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Austin Side

Shonna Tucker at Ashland Coffee & Tea, Ashland VA (5/6/14):

Adventures In The Screen Trade

As a writer I believe that all basic human truths are known. And what we try to do as best we can is come at those truths from our own unique angle, to reilluminate those truths in a hopefully different way.

William Goldman, Adventures In The Screen Trade (1982)