From this entertainment industry, may the gods of language protect us.
When you grow up in a family of languages, you develop a kind of casual fluency, so that languages, though differently colored, all seem transparent to experience.
The self is an oral society in which the present is constantly running a dialogue with the past and the future inside of one skin.
I reserve the right to tell shaggy dog stories or even common jokes as part of what I'm doing. I don't give a damn if half the audience walks out.
Stories are different every time you tell them - they allow so many possible narratives.
I'm aware of my audience in a way, and I do try to engage with them while I'm trying to go about my business of thinking. I believe they help me by providing a focus.
I've always had a strong feeling for the Statue of Liberty, because it became the statue of my personal liberty.
The Sophists' paradoxical talk pieces and their public debates were entertainment in 5th century Greece. And in that world, Socrates was an entertainer.
While I don't script and I don't use other performers, I think my taste for underlying precision gives me something in common with Allan and George Brecht.
An art machine is a system
whose parts when put in motion
act upon each other in such a way
as to cause you to see things differently
I am quite unsatisfied by the distinctions between the oral and literate.
The ancient Greek "oral poets" all had this anxiety about the deficiencies of their memories and always began poems by praying to the muse to help them remember.
When my mother left her second husband, she wrote her autobiography and presented it to him for his approval.
I was trying to find out what it was that everybody else understood without giving up my stubborn and hard-won lack of understanding.
I wanted to be an inventor, whatever I thought that meant then. I guess I was thinking of Edison or maybe James Watt. Or maybe even Newton.
You pay your money, you take your choice. I get the audience my language attracts and I lose the ones it repels.
There are editing procedures for talks just as there are editing procedures in jazz improvisation.
It's hard being a hostage in somebody else's mouth - or a character in somebody else's novel.
A myth is the name of a terrible lie told by a smelly little brown person to a man in a white suit with a pair of binoculars.
Disney made a fortune out of inventing the businessman's idea of the imaginary as the contradictory of the businessman's idea of the real.
Children frequently sing meaningful phrases to themselves over and over again before they learn to make a distinction between singing and saying.
I can manage a prose format as long as I keep closer to Laurence Sterne than to Henry James.
I had no idea where these kids at a small private college in the San Fernando Valley were coming from, why they were coming to hear me, or what they needed to know.
I didn't think about whether I was writing poems. I was thinking. And the more I was thinking, the more there was I didn't understand.
I was very committed to the process of composing, working at poems, putting things together and taking them apart like some kind of experimental filmmaker.
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