Only emotion endures

“Only emotion endures.” — Ezra Pound

I heard this quote and it made me think of the idea that our memories are faulty in details, but pretty good for remembering feelings.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”— Maya Angelou

Maybe you’ve read a few of my posts and you see that I’m starting with profound quotes. “Maybe he won’t be writing about another podcast he listened to that day.” Wrong. Okay, well maybe it won’t be from the Tim Ferriss Show. Wrong.

I heard the Ezra Pound quote on a Tim Ferriss Show episode with Mike Birbiglia. He says that he keeps mind writing slogans around to remind him what’s important when writing. It’s easy to get caught up trying to make a cultural reference work in a scene. A lot of those things go away and the work won’t stand the test of time:

What is this about? It’s about friends. It’s about a group of friends coping with what it’s like to be in their 30s and confront the idea that they might not be successful in their life the way they thought they would be successful in life. Whenever it would veer into something that was like a cultural reference I would be like no no, let’s pull it back into it’s about friends.

That works now. If it’s good, people will relate a decade from now. Which reminds me of something Simon Rich said on the James Altucher Show about writing with emotions in mind:

The way I try to write about it is by coming up with a very high stakes usually supernatural premise which will get across how extreme that emotion feels. I try to write about emotions that I’ve experienced, not in the way that they actually occurred, but in the way that they felt.

A couple days ago I wrote that his stories are somehow both absurd and completely relatable. That somehow is by starting with something relatable…

When you meet somebody knew and it goes well, that’s a pretty low stakes, boring story. But when you’re in it, when you’re living in it, it feels about as high stakes as anything can be.

… and magnifying the emotions with the power of absurdness:

So that’s why that character gets a congratulatory call from the president, because that’s how it feels, to him.

This marks the end another post. Someone pour the Gatorade on me.