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That man I met in Boudhnath told me there’s a place you can go at the end of the world. If you’re there, up there, the rest of the world will fall away but then you’ll still be there. I can’t remember where the place was -- Shangri-la, Mt. Kailish, somewhere in India, Arizona, Chichen Itza, Macchu Pichu? Maybe it would work to just be up on one of the forgotten floors of the Flatiron building. Maybe you could be on the rooftop of the Met, or dancing in the Rainbow Room. What if I’m standing there on the sidewalk and the warm forbidden bakery disappears, but nothing changes for me, I’m still just standing there with my anger and my overcoat and my twelve dollars, and there isn’t any world anymore?
From our perspective, Akhmatova's position with her Soviet critics seems clear. The government assault against her was a brute form of censorship and intolerance. Yet Akhmatova's peers didn't necessarily see her situation in those terms, at least not at first, and we should resist the urge to let hindsight blind us to the complexities of her dilemma. It wasn't just Soviet lackeys who deserted her in the 1920s. She was also rejected by many of the best of her fellow poets.
"It's important to note that this is also a picture of Austin from, like, 2001 to 2007, whenever the book is actually set (I don't remember if it's spelled out ever in the book.) Since moving back, they lifted the zoning restrictions, and now the West Campus neighborhood where the bulk of the book is set is full of gigantic power dorms, and a lot of the old buildings are getting torn down and replaced by empty highrise condos for young wealthy Texas businessmen and women who want to live in a cool, "weird" city and enjoy its fancy music and food scenes. The entire look of the neighborhood is changing into something much more alienating and awful and revolting."
Sarah J. Bridgins
"I seem to need a lot of distance from an inspiring place -- years and miles -- in order to write about it. When I'm in a place, I just want to be in it, not looking up and writing about it. To really write a thought, or a place, into being, I seem to approach it from afar. I get discombobulated, too, when I bring stuff I'm working on into a new and fascinating place -- the work gets overrun by the place and my own words feel foreign. The real place detonates the imaginative place."
"I realized I had to write about ancient Korea was when I read a Genghis Khan biography and came to a point in the book when the Mongols invade Korea, and the entire royal court flees to Ganghwa Island (which is at the mouth of the Han River), where the Mongols aren't able to cross the river to get to them. The Korean leaders are out there laughing, while the poor peasants are getting raped and killed by the Mongols. And then the royals, who've been safe and sound in their island fortress, come back to tax the hell out of the peasants and steal all their food. All those layered dynamics between the haves and have-nots were just so visual, interesting, and ultimately inspiring to me."