Everyone “knows” that China is badly polluted. I’ve written over the years, and still believe, that environmental sustainability in all forms is China’s biggest emergency, in every sense: for its people, for its government, for its effect on the world. And yes, I understand that the same is true for modern industrialized life in general. But China is an extreme case, and an extremely important one because of its scale.
Joshua Hersh on how a Damascus café became a refuge from the uncertainties of life during wartime: http://nyr.kr/1mVYfkm
“On a recent night, after closing up, Jomaa took a seat on the red couch to drink some Lebanese beers with his friend, who I’ll call Karim. Karim, who is twenty-eight years old, had appeared at the café several hours earlier, wearing gym clothes, and announcing that he was calling it a night. Half an hour later, he was back, cleaned up and changed into a sweater and jeans. ‘He saw a pretty girl at the bar across the street,’ Jomaa said, laughing. In fact, Karim had realized he had nothing else to do. The stasis was overwhelming.”
Photograph: Kaveh Kazemi/Getty
It’s said that the eyes are ones windows with the view to their soul.
I began writing in fearful earnest—my mind zoomed all night every night, and I don’t think I really slept for several years. Not until I discovered that whisky could relax me. I was too young, fifteen, to buy it myself, but I had a few older friends who were most obliging in this respect and I soon accumulated a suitcase full of bottles, everything from blackberry brandy to bourbon. I kept the suitcase hidden in a closet. Most of my drinking was done in the late afternoon; then I’d chew a handful of Sen Sen and go down to dinner, where my behavior, my glazed silences, gradually grew into a source of general consternation. One of my relatives used to say, “Really, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear he was dead drunk.” Well, of course, this little comedy, if such it was, ended in discovery and some disaster, and it was many a moon before I touched another drop.Paris Review interview with Truman Capote (The Art of Fiction, No. 17). (via the-library-and-step-on-it)