Marcel Duchamp’s The Large Glass was badly damaged in transit. He considered the spiderweb of cracks an improvement.
You can hold back from the suffering of the world, you have free permission to do so, and it is in accordance with your nature. But perhaps the holding back is the one suffering you could have avoided.
“Fonzie Kafka,” according to Bubbles, in the final episode of The Wire. The real author was probably named Franz, but I like it better attributed to the sitcom character I idolized in fourth grade, like most of his young fans never imagining that his incredibly self-conscious obsession with cool was meant as a parody.
The title of a recent post, Old Roads Rapidly Fading, was a misquoted Dylan lyric, “your old road is rapidly aging”—changes in tense and syntax purely conscious and intentional, fading instead of aging not so much, but I liked it better, anyway. And why should a correction be the end of the story? I mean, sure, if the Pope says "I like muffins" and the New York Times misquotes it as "I like your muffins," that’s a problem, even if it makes a better story. But that’s not what we’re dealing with, here. Somebody once told me his favorite Grateful Dead lyric was “look into any eyes, you’ll find value,” which he saw as a powerful evocation of the inherent worth of every person. Holding back the natural urge of the pretentious liberal arts undergrad and would-be hipster, I didn’t tell him the line was actually “you find by you.” Why ruin such a lovely sentiment for something so crass as accuracy?
Elvis Costello, in Accidents Will Happen, does not actually sing a perfectly pithy half-rhymed evocation of how it might feel to return day after day to an unhappy living situation, she says she can’t go home without a shot of rum. Instead, he sings she says she can’t go home without a chaperone, which isn’t bad, kinda clever, in fact, but not nearly as good as the way I heard it...so why not call it a creative collaboration between Elvis and me? Jean Paul Sartre called reading directed creation (or so I remember, and it works, so I’m not gonna look it up)...and Herbie Hancock described, in a documentary on Miles Davis, how he made a mistake when they were playing live, and Miles picked up on it, and made it right (I'm not gonna double-check that one, either)...and some of the best places I’ve ever been were found when I was lost. Isn’t every misstep really just unconscious improvisation? Why hold back, just because you goofed?