little bits of stuff you read and want to share

The earliest recorded narrative of Lilith as Adam’s wife is part of a (very weird) document known as the Alphabet of Ben Sira and it’s a goddamn banger.

After God created Adam, who was alone, He said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” He then created a woman for Adam, from the earth, as He had created Adam himself, and called her Lilith. Adam and Lilith immediately began to fight. She said, “I will not lie below,” and he said, “I will not lie beneath you, but only on top. For you are fit only to be in the bottom position, while I am to be the superior one.” Lilith responded, “We are equal to each other inasmuch as we were both created from the earth.” But they would not listen to one another. When Lilith saw this, she pronounced the Ineffable Name and flew away into the air.

Adam stood in prayer before his Creator: “Sovereign of the universe!” he said, “the woman you gave me has run away.” At once, the Holy One, blessed be He, sent these three angels Senoy, Sansenoy, and Semangelof, to bring her back.

Said the Holy One to Adam, “If she agrees to come back, what is made is good. If not, she must permit one hundred of her children to die every day.” The angels left God and pursued Lilith, whom they overtook in the midst of the sea, in the mighty waters wherein the Egyptians were destined to drown. They told her God’s word, but she did not wish to return. The angels said, “We shall drown you in the sea.”

"Leave me!’ she said. “I was created only to cause sickness to infants. If the infant is male, I have dominion over him for eight days after his birth, and if female, for twenty days.”

When the angels heard Lilith’s words, they insisted she go back. But she swore to them by the name of the living and eternal God: “Whenever I see you or your names or your forms in an amulet, I will have no power over that infant.” She also agreed to have one hundred of her children die every day. Accordingly, every day one hundred demons perish, and for the same reason, we write the angels’ names on the amulets of young children. When Lilith sees their names, she remembers her oath, and the child recovers.

when the sex is so bad that you speak the unspeakable and blast off like a rocket

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Pema Chödrön and bell hooks discuss life and all its problems — Lion’s Roar (lionsroar.com)

Pema Chödrön: Meditation gives you the tools to look at all of this clearly, with an unbiased attitude. A lot of having compassion toward oneself is staying with the initial thought or arising of emotion. This means that when you see yourself being aggressive, or stuck in self-pity, or whatever it might be, then you train again and again in not adding things on top of that—guilt or self-justification or any further negativities. You work on not spinning off and on being kinder toward the human condition as you see it in yourself.

bell hooks: The idea in your work I find so moving is the unconditional embrace of one’s being, which allows you to embrace others at the same time. But if I unconditionally accept myself, then what’s the motivation to practice further?

Pema Chödrön: That willingness to stick with yourself is just another way of saying that you stay awake. It seems what blocks seeing things truly is our tendency to self-denigrate, to disassociate continually, to edit continually. When you don’t close down and shut off, then insight begins to come. This insight is the wisdom that completely cuts through the conventional way of seeing.

So when you see clearly, the motivation to practice becomes stronger and stronger because you begin to have insights that are totally refreshing and powerful. The motivation to practice becomes stronger because you are discovering your true nature and it’s painful to block that in any way. It’s painful to see yourself being totally neurotic, selfish, all these things, and you can’t stand to do that to yourself. You don’t want to cover over your openness anymore. Plus you can’t bear to see the suffering it causes other people when they do the same thing.

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There’s a bit in Suttree where the eponymous protagonist visits his son’s grave and it’s the most heartbreaking thing I can ever remember reading, but it’s a big book and I have no idea where it is in there and I’m always afraid to reread it.

Jimi Hendrix

I feel sad for people who have to judge Jimi Hendrix on the basis of recordings and film alone; because in the flesh he was so extraordinary. He had a kind of alchemist’s ability; when he was on the stage, he changed. He physically changed. He became incredibly graceful and beautiful. It wasn’t just people taking LSD, though that was going on, there’s no question. But he had a power that almost sobered you up if you were on an acid trip. He was bigger than LSD.

What he played was fucking loud but also incredibly lyrical and expert. He managed to build this bridge between true blues guitar — the kind that Eric Clapton had been battling with for years and years — and modern sounds, the kind of Syd Barrett-meets-Townshend sound, the wall of screaming guitar sound that U2 popularized. He brought the two together brilliantly. And it was supported by a visual magic that obviously you won’t get if you just listen to the music. He did this thing where he would play a chord, and then he would sweep his left hand through the air in a curve, and it would almost take you away from the idea that there was a guitar player here and that the music was actually coming out of the end of his fingers. And then people say, “Well, you were obviously on drugs.” But I wasn’t, and I wasn’t drunk, either. I can just remember being taken over by this, and the images he was producing or evoking were naturally psychedelic in tone because we were surrounded by psychedelic graphics. All of the images that were around us at the time had this kind of echoey, acidy quality to them. The lighting in all the clubs was psychedelic and drippy.

He was dusty — he had cobwebs and dust all over him. He was a very unremarkable-looking guy with an old military jacket on that was pretty dirty. It looked like he’d maybe slept in it a few nights running. When he would walk toward the stage, nobody would really take much notice of him. But when he walked off, I saw him walk up to some of the most covetable women in the world. Hendrix would snap his fingers, and they followed him. Onstage, he was very erotic as well. To a man watching, he was erotic like Mick Jagger is erotic. It wasn’t “You know, I’d like to take that guy in the bathroom and fuck him.” It was a high form of eroticism, almost spiritual in quality. There was a sense of wanting to possess him and wanting to be a part of him, to know how he did what he did because he was so powerfully affecting. Johnny Rotten did it, Kurt Cobain did it. As a man, you wanted to be a part of Johnny Rotten’s gang, you wanted to be a part of Kurt Cobain’s gang.

He was shy and kind and sweet, and he was fucked up and insecure. If you were as lucky as I was, you’d spend a few hours with him after a gig and watch him descend out of this incredibly colorful, energized face. There was also something quite sad about watching him. There was a hedonism about him. Toward the end of his life, he seemed to be having fun, but maybe a little bit too much. It was happening to a lot of people, but it was sad to see it happen to him.

With Jimi, I didn’t have any envy. I never had any sense that I could ever come close. I remember feeling quite sorry for Eric, who thought that he might actually be able to emulate Jimi. I also felt sorry that he should think that he needed to. Because I thought Eric was wonderful anyway. Perhaps I make assumptions here that I shouldn’t, but it’s true. Once — I think it was at a gig Jimi played at the Scotch of St. James [in London] — Eric and I found ourselves holding each other’s hands. You know, what we were watching was so profoundly powerful.

The third or fourth time that I saw him, he was supporting the Who at the Saville Theatre. That was the first time I saw him set his guitar on fire. It didn’t do very much. He poured lighter fluid over the guitar and set fire to it, and then the next day he would be playing with a guitar that was a little bit charred. In fact, I remember teasing him, saying, “That’s not good enough — you need a proper flamethrower, it needs to be completely destroyed.” We started getting into an argument about destroying your guitar — if you’re going to do it, you have to do it properly. You have to break every little piece of the guitar, and then you have to give it away so it can’t be rebuilt. Only that is proper breaking your guitar. He was looking at me like I was fucking mad.

Trying to work out how he affected me at my ground zero, the fact is that I felt like I was robbed. I felt the Who were in some ways quite a silly little group, that they were indeed my art-school installation. They were constructed ideas and images and some cool little pop songs. Some of the music was good, but a lot of what the Who did was very tongue-in-cheek, or we reserved the right to pretend it was tongue-in-cheek if the audience laughed at it. The Who would always look like we didn’t really mean it, like it didn’t really matter. You know, you smash a guitar, you walk off and go, “Fuck it all. It’s all a load of tripe anyway.” That really was the beginning of that punk consciousness. And Jimi arrived with proper music.

He made the electric guitar beautiful. It had always been dangerous, it had always been able to evoke anger. If you go right back to the beginning of it, John Lee Hooker shoving a microphone into his guitar back in the 1940s, it made his guitar sound angry, impetuous, and dangerous. The guitar players who worked through the Fifties and with the early rock artists — James Burton, who worked with Ricky Nelson and the Everly Brothers, Steve Cropper with Booker T. — these Nashville-influenced players had a steely, flick-knife sound, really kind of spiky compared to the beautiful sound of the six-string acoustic being played in the background. In those great early Elvis songs, you hear Elvis himself playing guitar on songs like “Hound Dog,” and then you hear an electric guitar come in, and it’s not a pleasant sound. Early blues players, too — Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Albert King — they did it to hurt your ears. Jimi made it beautiful and made it OK to make it beautiful.

100 Greatest Guitarists: David Fricke’s Picks - Rolling Stone

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Work, for Millet, is not usually a process which changes or shapes the surrounding world, not a matter of making or assertion. It is a series of actions endlessly repeated, a spell, an incantation, magic which the magician does not expect to work. It is a gesture once learnt, now automatic; a task which subdues the performer, lulling her to the edge of sleep, turning him grim-faced and brutish; ‘a complex of wheels in which one is crushed’ (an industrial metaphor which Millet once used to describe art itself).

good shit!! (TJ Clark, ‘The Absolute Bourgeois’)

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Long before there was a Little Richard, there were people sitting around listening to Louis Prima records, asking, “What was that? What did he say?” When he recorded for Varsity, he rechristened his band Louis Prima and His Gleeby Rhythm Orchestra. Suitably, one of the first songs he recorded under this new name was the mysterious “Gleeby Rhythm Is Born.”

Gleeby rhythm is born.

Gleeby rhythm is born;

Gleeby rhythm comes on,

Gleeby rhythm comes on;

Oh, gleeby rhythm is born.

The gleebs are rompin’,

The gleebs are stompin’;

Oh, gleeby rhythm is born.

Most men would rest upon their laurels after such an achievement. But not Louis. Onward he blew and howled, towards the rhythm beyond gleeb.

“unsung heroes of rock n roll” by nick tosches

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finally, i have a word for this feeling…

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If they now sat united upon a chopped-down tree trunk at the edge of the woods lost in the extensive pleasure gardens of their thoughts, if here after a spell of gazing down before her the lady began to weep with the utmost sweetness and also great bitterness and this weeping appeared to be pouring itself into an unceasingness while no sound passed her lips, as though any word would have been superfluous, and if I myself, describing all of this to you, am unable to tear myself free from an unseemly softness and am having the greatest difficulty remaining mentally in a state of vital superiority and continuing to hold my head high as I write, and if the lad, with all the lack of self-restraint being offered him by his lady, who under these circumstances can be considered poor, was forced to see his own self-restraint smashed to bits, as namely his triumph over sentiment grew to become a veritable flood of pity, I would nonetheless like to append to this melodrama that an institution for epileptics stood nearby that still stands there to this day for the benefit of those thus afflicted.

robert walser

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the gleebs are rompin’

the gleebs are stompin’

gleeby rhythm is born

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May 16, 2001 marked the shaky launch of Xbox, a revolutionary product marred by ineffective planning and execution. Four months later, September 11 seared our collective conscience, rearranged America’s world view, altered our national psyche, and changed millions of lives. These two pivotal, dark days contributed something fundamental to my outlook on life. In the blink of an eye, they forced me to rethink my approach to problem solving, develop new approaches to leadership, and broaden my world view

– Xbox Revisited: A Game Plan for Corporate and Civic Renewal
Robbie Bach

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You can read music.

You are a magnificent writer who has thrilled millions.

Ability to drop into a trance state at will.

Lack of necessity of following a pulp pattern.

You did a fine job in the Navy. No one there is now “out to get you.”

You are psychic.

You do not masturbate.

You do not know anger. Your patience is infinite.

Snakes are not dangerous to you. There are no snakes in the bottom of your bed.

l ron hubbard’s nighttime self-affirmation list

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I have to ask if this is real. Please tell me it’s real (even if it’s not)

apparently!! listed as such in a pretty thorough seeming book called going clear, apparently from a document referred to as the “affirmations” and consisting of a long list of self hypnosis prompts from 1947. some of them were read into the court record in the 80s and never denied altho later internet versions are a bit more dubious. my favourite aside from the snake one is

Naked bodies and sexy allusion stimulate you wonderfully.

use your allusion volume 2

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Ah, the confidence of someone for whom snakes hold no danger

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oh jesus, he was ace

henri michaux

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this bit from dawn powell’s “the locusts have no king” about a cultured millionaire

His collection of intimate letters from Poe, Whitman, Clyde Fitch, Jack London, Ambrose Bierce, Frank Norris, O. Henry, and lesser lights, had sold for a fortune. None of the letters was witty or in the writer’s best vein, running largely— “I must apologize for coming to your house last week in such a deplorable state of shabbiness that your butler was asked to dismiss me, but the truth is I must ask again for a small sum to buy food for myself and family. I realize you have principles about loaning money to private individuals and cannot blame you for your attitude on drink. I hope, however, that you will not ignore this request as you have the others, since I am in desperate need . . .” etcetera.

The Poe letters, largely in this vein, sold separately for thousands being in excellent condition and exquisite handwriting. The Beckley offspring, with this impeccable literary tradition, had no difficulty in placing themselves in important civic and publishing positions. Soon they had their own collections of autographs—from international figures, minor and major poets, inventors, painters, all asking for loans. Having learned from Papa that a courteous reply curtailed the collection they never answered, thus sucking out four or five letters per poet and providing future profits for their own heirs. Papa had a nice sense of humor and his favorite family joke was, “If I’d given every author five dollars the first time he asked for it you children would be in the poorhouse.” It was as good a slogan for success as any, and the children did not quarrel with it.

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Summer in the trees! “It is time to strangle several bad poets.”
The yellow hobbyhorse rocks to and fro, and from the chimney
Drops the Strangler! The white and pink roses are slightly agitated by the struggle,
But afterwards beside the dead “poet” they cuddle up comfortingly against their vase. They are safer now, no one will compare them to the sea.

Here on the railroad train, one more time, is the Strangler.
He is going to get that one there, who is on his way to a poetry reading.
Agh! Biff! A body falls to the moving floor.

In the football stadium I also see him,
He leaps through the frosty air at the maker of comparisons
Between football and life and silently, silently strangles him!

Here is the Strangler dressed in a cowboy suit
Leaping from his horse to annihilate the students of myth!

The Strangler’s ear is alert for the names of Orpheus,
Cuchulain, Gawain, and Odysseus,
And for poems addressed to Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald,
To Ezra Pound, and to personages no longer living
Even in anyone’s thoughts—O Strangler the Strangler!

He lies on his back in the waves of the Pacific Ocean.

kenneth koch, “fresh air”

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