Ronald Barba

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How F*cked Up Is Your Management? by Johnathan Nightingale
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Herman Melville
“Give not thyself up, then, to fire, lest it invert thee, deaden thee; as for the time it did me. There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness. And there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces. And even if he for ever flies within the gorge, that gorge is in the mountains; so that even in his lowest swoop the mountain eagle is still higher than other birds upon the plain, even though they soar.”
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, the Whale

John Steinbeck
“I have talked to many people about this and it seems to be a kind of mystical experience. The preparation is unconscious, the realization happens in a flaming second. It was on Third Avenue. The trains were grinding over my head. The snow was nearly waist-high in the gutters and uncollected garbage was scattered in a dirty mess. The wind was cold, and frozen pieces of paper went scraping along the pavement. I stopped to look in a drug-store window where a latex cooch dancer was undulating by a concealed motor–and something burst in my head, a kind of light and a kind of feeling blended into an emotion which if it had spoken would have said, “My God! I belong here. Isn’t this wonderful?”

Everything fell into place. I saw every face I passed. I noticed every doorway and the stairways to apartments. I looked across the street at the windows, lace curtains and potted geraniums through sooty glass. It was beautiful–but most important, I was part of it. I was no longer a stranger. I had become a New Yorker.

Now there may be people who move easily into New York without travail, but most I have talked to about it have had some kind of trial by torture before acceptance. And the acceptance is a double thing. It seems to me that the city finally accepts you just as you finally accept the city.

A young man in a small town, a frog in a small puddle, if he kicks his feet is able to make waves, get mud in his neighbor’s eyes–make some impression. He is known. His family is known. People watch him with some interest, whether kindly or maliciously. He comes to New York and no matter what he does, no one is impressed. He challenges the city to fight and it licks him without being aware of him. This is a dreadful blow to a small-town ego. He hates the organism that ignores him. He hates the people who look through him.

And then one day he falls into place, accepts the city and does not fight it any more. It is too huge to notice him and suddenly the fact that it doesn’t notice him becomes the most delightful thing in the world. His self-consciousness evaporates. If he is dressed superbly well–there are half a million people dressed equally well. If he is in rags–there are a million ragged people. If he is tall, it is a city of tall people. If he is short the streets are full of dwarfs; if ugly, ten perfect horrors pass him in one block; if beautiful, the competition is overwhelming. If he is talented, talent is a dime a dozen. If he tries to make an impression by wearing a toga–there’s a man down the street in a leopard skin. Whatever he does or says or wears or thinks he is not unique. Once accepted this gives him perfect freedom to be himself, but unaccepted it horrifies him.

I don’t think New York City is like other cities. It does not have character like Los Angeles or New Orleans. It is all characters–in fact, it is everything. It can destroy a man, but if his eyes are open it cannot bore him.

New York is an ugly city, a dirty city. Its climate is a scandal, its politics are used to frighten children, its traffic is madness, its competition is murderous. But there is one thing about it–once you have lived in New York and it has become your home, no place else is good enough. All of everything is concentrated here, population, theatre, art, writing, publishing, importing, business, murder, mugging, luxury, poverty. It is all of everything. It goes all right. It is tireless and its air is charged with energy. I can work longer and harder without weariness in New York than anyplace else….”
John Steinbeck

André Aciman
“I'm not wise at all. I told you, I know nothing. I know books, and I know how to string words together - it doesn't mean I know how to speak about the things that matter most to me.”
André Aciman, Call Me by Your Name

André Aciman
“In the weeks we'd been thrown together that summer, our lives had scarcely touched, but we had crossed to the other bank, where time stops and heaven reaches down to earth and gives us that ration of what is from birth divinely ours. We looked the other way. We spoke about everything but. But we've always known, and not saying anything now confirmed it all the more. We had found the stars, you and I. And this is given once only.”
André Aciman, Call Me by Your Name

André Aciman
“I liked his bookstore manner. He was curious but not entirely focused, interested yet nonchalant, veering between a Look what I've found and Of course, how could any bookstore not carry so-and-so!"
André Aciman, Call Me by Your Name

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OUR SHARED SHELF IS CURRENTLY DORMANT AND NOT MANAGED BY EMMA AND HER TEAM. Dear Readers, As part of my work with UN Women, I have started reading as ...more
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