“The funny thing about it all is that literary talent isn’t rare. Lots of people can write good stories with good characters and great sentences. What’s rare is the stubborn, pragmatic thing that tells you ‘I’ve got to do this every single day, even when I don’t want to do it, when I’d rather pluck my eyes out and feed them to the birds.’ That discipline combined with talent is very rare. I’d be willing to bet that some of the most brilliant writers who ever lived have never been published, because they weren’t prepared to do the work. You have to make sacrifices and be utterly selfish. Everything else and everyone else is secondary to your writing.”
If you are bored and disgusted by politics and don’t bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched Establishments of the two major parties, who rest assured are not dumb and are keenly aware that it is in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored and cynical and to give you every possible psychological reason to stay at home doing one-hitters and watching MTV Spring Break on Primary Day. By all means stay home if you want, but don’t bullshit yourself that you’re not voting. In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.
On the 10th anniversary of Elliott Smith’s death, nearly 20 people who knew himâbandmates, producers, managers, friendsâtalk to Jayson Greene about the singer/songwriter’s remarkable musical legacy, album by album.
These photo-postcards show various places and moments surrounding the death and burial of Leo Tolstoy. In November 1910 the eighty-two-year-old novelist walked away from his great wealth to devote himself to Christian charity and died in a stationmaster’s house after falling ill on a train. Tolstoy’s death was of tremendous national importance, and how he was to be mourned–whether to kneel or stand at the grave, for instance–signified a contrast between old and new that would be decided during the Russian Revolution seven years later.
“Sometimes, on a Sunday morning, he used to stroll by a house I occupied in Beverly Hills. I noticed him only because the sight of anybody walking in that environment stamped him as an eccentric, and indeed, it eventually got him into trouble. A prowl car picked him up and he had a rather sticky time of it. The police were convinced he was a finger man for some jewelry mob planning to knock over one of the fancy residences.”