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Tim Parks   ::   Adultery & Other Diversions

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... we had plenty of stories to tell, their shape stronger with every telling as the dross fell away and the memory got down to the business of forgetting the unimportant...
... it may well be that secretly we seek nothing more of marriage - or work, or the city where we live - than to be securely locked away there, as many, entering some extravagant new supermarket will close their minds and trust to old brand loyalties.
Thus the only important reading experiences are those where one sets out with scepticism, only to find ourselves enchanted, overwhelmed by a vision that demands our acquiescence. And one's problem, perhaps, when first one sets out to write, is that one doesn't really have anything so grand as a vision. Few ever do. So one copies, learning hopefully from the tension between oneself and one's model. Later it will be a question of learning not to copy yourself.

Tim Parks   ::   Destiny

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It's not unusual to find yourself seeking to comfort someone who has tried to hurt you.

Tim Parks   ::   Europa

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She laughed her very French laugh. And if I mention it a second time, the Frenchness of her laugh, it's because I've just remembered that I found her laugh special and I'm trying to remember exactly what it was like, because so often one remembers that something is, was, wonderful or special without being able properly to recall it, or properly to savour it, or understand exactly why it was so. One remembers that one would like to recall it. One remembers in order to be frustrated, in order to savour not the thing itself but its absence, the shape of its absence.
My wife insisted that we went on using these words far beyond the point of exasperation, words, as I said, that had meaning once but now meant only the meaning they had lost, the meaning all words always lose when you use them too much and find they mean nothing at all, not rocks then I suppose, but corpses, has-beens, different from the living, different from the never-alive, corals perhaps, sharp and dangerous, hundreds of thousands of sharp little dead creatures. Our love words.
[re: Dead Poets Society]
The boys climb on top of their desks because they feel the need to show their love and support and affection for Robin and to show above all that the past was worth something, even if the future must now be different.
It occurs to me now that memories act on me the way alcohol does, they excite and depress me, they inflame me..
... why do you imagine that you are right and that everybody else is wrong? I can't answer. Yet that is exactly what I do imagine. Wouldn't it be madness to suppose one was wrong merely because others did not agree with you? Where would that lead? You believe what you believe, I told myself. There's no way round that..

Tim Parks   ::   Home Thoughts

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'Everybody's always talking about going home, me included, but they never do. Place is a quicksand. You come for the fun, like to the beach, and then you find you've been sucked in. We're stuck. Same anywhere you go, I suppose. Place where you are always turns out a bigger trap than you imagined.'

Tim Parks   ::   Italian Neighbours

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People's friends here are their childhood friends, their family. They don't even know how to make friends, because they have never had to do so, and anyway, they can't imagine anybody being without their own circle.
What hope for me then?
Discreto, valido, relativo - not one of them is a particularly complimentary or pejorative term. They are the cool words of the astute analyst, the man who looks at the whole show from a distance, then goes about his business as he would have done anyway, regardless, but happy to have had the chance to illustrate his powers of observation.
In the end he's only lost two hundred and fifty odd quid. Not much to pay for a significant experience.

Tim Parks   ::   Loving Roger

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Roger used to say that London was the only city in England. He said the throb of its life drew you towards it. Until you realized that you could never get inside that life you had imagined. It was a myth you had made. The city attracted you like light attracts a fly and then there you were with a million other flies buzzing blindly against a window that never opened. And the throb was only the buzzing of those blind frustrated flies.

Tim Parks   ::   Teach Us to Sit Still

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My immediate response is indignation: this is exactly the problem I have been writing about! Reductionism, labels. On second thoughts, though, I have to accept that if we didn't slot things into categories we'd never find what we were looking for.
Self-pity is a great teller of boring tales. I was at a turning point, with nowhere to turn.
Every illness is a narrative. What matters is the version you tell yourself.
Illness, I realised then, like love, or hate, draws everything to itself, turns everything into itself.
Less and less am I planning to try anything anyone suggests. If these solutions worked, everyone would be using them: there'd be no chat rooms and no problem.
The attraction to the net, I'd often thought, was so strong because this was the only place where people could, in anonymity, get together and bellyache.
It seems I'm always thinking, but never paying attention.
Language builds domes, then other domes over them, as the first dissolve. Because words are never still. The opening of a sentence projects you forwards; the end demands you have the beginning in mind. One paragraph leads to another and this page to the next. The eye is ahead of the lips. Reading, we turn the page while the last lines of the one before are still falling into place. Typing, my thoughts run ahead of my fingers. Driven on. Never now. Never grounded in this moment.
To think an object is not to perceive it. To text a girlfriend is not to be with her. You lose your grip on things as they are.
Life is not in novels. The novels that most compellingly keep us away from life are those that most accurately, intensely and wonderfully imagine it and replace it for us, the novels of Dostoevsky and, yes, of Lawrence, of the truly great writers. But the novels themselves are not life and we don't go to them for life. If it's life we want, we put the book down.
... an understanding that much of the pain we feel comes from our reaction to pain, much of our agitation from our excitement with agitation.
Was I the object of some clever hypnotic suggestion? But if it was hypnotism, would I be able to wonder if it was hypnotism?
We all want to add another episode to the narrative of our selves, the yarn we are constantly spinning of our dealings with the world.

Tim Parks   ::   The Server

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It's because I miss my suffering that I'm reading about his. Which is stupid stupid stupid. Is that why people read books? They want to suffer.
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books i've read..
2013 [12 read]
2012 [36 read]
2011 [5 read]
2010 [6 read]
2009 [5 read]
2008 [21 read]
2007 [31 read]
2006 [37 read]
2005 [37 read]
2004 [32 read]
2003 [18 read]
2002 [52 read]
2001 [43 read]
2000 [7 read]
1999 [25 read]
1998 [3 read]
unknown year [65 read]

read over the years