EUDORA WELTY: Yes. She was the one who opened the door. When I read To the Lighthouse, I felt, Heavens, what is this? I was so excited by the experience I couldn’t sleep or eat. I’ve read it many times since, though more often these days I go back to her diary. Any day you open it to will be…
“When I too long have looked upon your face,
Wherein for me a brightness unobscured
Save by the mists of brightness has its place,
And terrible beauty not to be endured,
I turn away reluctant from your light,
And stand irresolute, a mind undone,
A silly, dazzled thing deprived of a sight
From having looked too long upon the sun.
Then is my daily life a narrow room
In which a little while, uncertainly,
Surrounded by impenetrable gloom,
Among familiar things grown strange to me
Making my way, I pause, and feel, and hark,
Till I become accustomed to the dark.”—Second April, 1921. Edna St. Vincent Millay.
Valentine:Well, it is odd. Heat goes to cold. It's a one-way street. Your tea will end up at room temperature. What's happening to your tea is happening to everything everywhere. The sun and the stars. It'll take a while but we're all going to end up at room temperature. When your hermit set up shop nobody understood this. But let's say you're right, in 18-whatever nobody knew more about heat than this scribbling nutter living in a hovel in Derbyshire.
Hannah:He was at Cambridge--a scientist.
Valentine:Say he was. I'm not arguing. And the girl was his pupil, she had a genius for her tutor.
Hannah:Or the other way round.
Valentine:Anything you like. But not this! Whatever he thought he was doing to save the world with good English algebra it wasn't this!
Hannah:Why? Because they didn't have calculators?
Valentine:No. Yes. Because there's an order things can't happen in. You can't open a door till there's a house.
Hannah:I thought that's what genius was.
Valentine:Only for lunatics and poets.
'I had a dream which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguished, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air. . .'
1. Whether it’s O.K. to ask for a plus-one at a wedding. 2. How late is too late to cancel on dinner plans? 3. At what point it becomes socially acceptable to text new friends non-logistical texts. 4. Scheduling cocktails at 8 p.m.: to assume food is included or not to assume food is included? 5. Are personalities hereditary?
I’ve always wanted to learn Ruby, and this is one of the better articles I’ve read about hackers and programmers—and it’s a pretty amazing story of how a journalist for Slate learns Ruby, writers her own program, spends hours reading message boards looking for answers, and asks what happened to the hacker _why and why he was important.
A few excerpts:
Discussions of beauty and elegance and utility seemed to me to be ubiquitous among coders, forever reaching for metaphors to describe how what might seem cold and mechanical in fact can feel like an ecstatic act of creation.
What happened to the ebullient, funny, and prolific programmer who was helping to teach me to program? Where had he gone and why?
Finally, this: a quote from _why:
All you need to know thus far is that Ruby is basically built from sentences. They aren’t exactly English sentences. They are short collections of words and punctuation [that] encompass a single thought. These sentences can form books. They can form pages. They can form entire novels, when strung together. Novels that can be read by humans, but also by computers.