Random Weekly Quotes for Tough Times: 29 July – 4 August, 2013

Levi Strauss

“It is, I think, absolutely impossible to conceive of meaning without order. There is something very curious in semantics, that the word ‘meaning’ is probably, in the whole language, the word the meaning of which is the most difficult to find.”
― Lévi-Strauss, Claude. Myth and Meaning. 1978.

Image: Claude Lévi-Strauss and his wife, Dina, in their tent while doing fieldwork in Mato Grosso, Brazil © Musée du Quai Branly

Poem of the month: July

India

Mango Recipes
by Tabish Khair

That summer the storm was a lightning raid.
Water gurgled down pipes, splurged
From corners and crevices. Hail exploded
Into spray splinters on the driveway. We watched

Your tender, tended rosebushes shudder
From the machine gun impact of fat
Raindrops, counted the unripe mangoes
Being rifled by the wind, wondered

If any fruit would survive the storm, watched
The toddy trees bending over like
Shelled soldiers, counted the ways
One could prepare unripe mangoes:

Tackari, pickle, chutney… wondered why
You had not called. When the telephone rang,
My aunt heard the thunder, feared to pick it up.
When she did suddenly all sounds ceased.

Image: Marina Beach in Chennai, India on November 2, 2012. (VinothChandar/Flickr)

Meeting Courtney Collins in Athens

Courtney Collins

This week I was lucky enough to meet in Athens the wonderful Courtney Collins, one of Australia’s most luminous and powerful new literary voices. Over organic smoothies at a vegan cafe in the centre of town, Courtney talked to me in detail about what inspired her first novel, THE BURIAL (based on the life of legendary bushranger, Jessie Hickman) drawing interesting parallels between Jessie and the plight of the Greek people during the crisis.

Jessie, is a young woman whose life has been shaped by injustice. A cattle rustler and convict who, in her relentless fight for freedom, is also forced to become a murderer, Jessie is superficially a disempowered person. Yet throughout the novel she is acting powerfully and bravely, using her own moral compass to steer her through an entirely corrupt world. How does one remain good and moral when everything else around one -and more importantly the law- is corrupt? How does one survive when everything is against one?

“There was no loyalty because there was no freedom. There was only an oppressive bind,” writes Courtney Collins. I cannot think of a better quote to sum up my feelings about the situation in Greece at the moment. No, we are not free. But perhaps Jessie might serve as one of the inspirations in our tough fight for dignity and freedom.

The Burial by Courtney Collins (Allen & Unwin, 2012)

Greek rights for The Burial are handled exclusively by the Ersilia Literary Agency.

Image: Courtney Collins, copyright: Lionfish Media

Random Weekly Quotes for Tough Times: 8 – 14 July, 2013

Miranda July by Daryl Peveto

“He breathed out the bitter air that makes women doubt everything, and I breathed it in, as I had always done. I expelled my dust, the powder of everything I had destroyed with doubt, and he pulled it into his lungs.”
― Miranda July, No One Belongs Here More Than You

Image: Miranda July © Daryl Peveto.