Weird Pairings: Quotables

We take quotes from masters of the metaphysical, the fantastic and the weird, and pair them with images that interact with the quote in ways we find strange, enigmatic, beautiful or surreal.

Weird Pairings: Borges + Tiger, River, Flame

Borges Quote plus image, sharebable by Metaphysical Circus Press

The Quote:  “Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire. ”

Borges battled the notion of time both in his fiction, such as “The Garden of Forking Paths” and in philosophical essays such as, “A New Refutation of Time,” where he proposes that idealism may be applied to time. In other words, that reality as we perceive it is fundamentally mental or spiritual, not physical.

The Image: Collage by Sophia Hermes. “The tiger is reflected in the river. Can we truthfully say that one is more real than the other? The flame emerges from the water, a union of opposites, an impossibility that hints at realities beyond.”


Weird Pairings, Lovecraft + Cthulhu-esque Rock

Weird Pairings Lovecraft_Ocean_web

About the Quote: Lovecraft is one of the masters of weird, idiosyncratic horror fiction. His iconic creation Cthulu is the embodiment of evil, an ancient tentacled thing living in the bowels of the darkest ocean, who inspires visions of elaborate cities and nameless horror in hapless humans who go investigating things better left alone, and cult worship in others even less wise. But you knew that, right?

About the Image: This perfectly Lovecraftian ocean image emerged from the depths of the internet, where it seems to be freely available as a desktop background. If it is your work, please let us know, we would love to give you credit.

The editors are currently swimming in the deep and (delightfully) horrifying depths of our open submission period, so we’re keeping it short and sweet today. Enjoy!

Weird Pairings, Huxley + Cezannne

Weird Pairings Huxley_Cezanne

About the Quote: This delicious quote is from The Doors of Perception (from which the rock band took their name), a non-fiction book that records Huxley’s experiences while taking peyote in a controlled setting, and his subsequent meditations on the nature of reality and human perception. In two sentences, Huxley manages to convincingly blur the lines between reality and art, plus skewer our fondly held notions of fixed identity. Huxley saw that we all just slip into ourselves the way we pull on a suit of clothes. Though few of us wish to be seen in public without these very human props, the truth of our natures lies at least partially obscured beneath.

About the Image:  This photograph of the French painter Paul Cezanne was taken in 1861. The intensity of his eyes and the slight smile on his face seem to indicate both seriousness and an understanding of the grand metaphysical joke: we are what we are, and we are much more than we are. There is no way on earth to avoid the absurd dichotomy. We must put on the suit of our identity and play our part to the hilt.

Want More? Aldous Huxley was an influential twentieth century writer of humanistic, utopian and dystopian science fiction, satire, screenplays and non-fiction. He was also an outspoken pacifist who studied meditation and mysticism. His books remain as relevant and radical today as when they were written. Other notable works include Brave New World, Eyeless in Gaza, and Island.

Bonus Quote: “Nobody needs to go anywhere else. We are all, if we only knew it, already there.”


Weird Pairings, Virginia Woolf + Sophia Hermes

Weird Pairings Virginia Woolf_Locked in_web

The Quote: Virginia Woolf was a modernist writer of the 1920s, responsible for books such as The Waves, an experimental, lyrical stream of consciousness novel, and Orlando, in which the hero lives several centuries and becomes a woman for a time. Woolf also collaborated with her husband Leonard in founding Hogarth Press, which published her works as well as work by other notable authors and artists of the day. Despite frequent bouts of depression, Woolf never stopped writing. Feminist, bi-sexual, a novelist and a publisher. One of our heroes.

The Image: The collage is by reclusive French artist, Sophia Hermes. “Like my heroes Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington, my art blossomed when I moved to Mexico in the 1960s. It’s not that I shun society, but that I have found a refuge among the bougainvilleas.” Hermes’ collages illustrate The Evolution of Reptilian Handbags by Melanie Lamaga. Her tiny surreal mosaics, most of them unsigned, can be found in restaurants, coffee shops and public squares in Ensenada, Mexico.

Weird Pairings, Borges + Dublin Library

Weird Pairings Borges

The Quote: Jorge Luis Borges was an Argentine writer who was postmodern way before postmodernism was a Thing. He was writing magical realist stories just as magical realism was becoming a Thing. He started his writing career publishing in surrealist literary journals when surrealism was The Thing. This places Borges front and center of nearly every interesting literary movement in the 20th century.

Since then, Borges has influenced legions of writers of the fantastic, weird, magical realism and science fiction. William Gibson, in his introduction to Labyrinths said, “Had the concept of software been available to me, I imagine I would have felt as though I were installing something that exponentially increased what one day would be called bandwidth.” Borges was also a librarian.

The Image: This is an old photograph of the Long Room in the Library of Trinity College in Dublin Ireland, the largest single chamber library in Europe. The first floor of the Long Room was designed by architect Thomas Burgh and constructed between in 1712 and 1732. A hundred years later, since Trinity College Library is legally entitled to a copy of every book published in Great Britain and Ireland, the library was running out of space. Architects Benjamin Woodward and Sir Thomas Deane came up with the sublime plan to barrel-vault the ceiling and add an upper gallery of bookcases. When Borges said that Paradise was a kind of library, he might just have had something like this in mind.

Want More Borges?

If you like having your brain bandwidth expanded, pick up the short story collections Ficciones, Labyrinths or The Aleph. Borges’ highly literary, genre-defying stories demonstrate a fascination with some of The Metaphysical Circus’ favorite things like labyrinths, mirrors, chess games, time, memory, detective stories, fake texts, and of course, libraries.

If you want to learn more about the writer, check out this article from the BBC which asks, “Is Borges the 20th Century’s most important writer?


Weird Pairings, David Lynch + Luminous Wheels

Weird Pairings, Lynch + Luminous Wheels

Today we’re kicking off a new series called Weird Pairings.

We will take quotes from masters of the metaphysical, the fantastic and the weird, and pair them with images that interact with the quote in ways we find strange, enigmatic, beautiful or surreal. We’ll tell you a bit about both the writer and the art, and offer links for those who must know more.

Cheers to your weird lit + weird art enjoyment!

For Our first Weird Pairing, we couldn’t think of a better candidate than the master of the mysterious weird, the sultan of surreal: writer, filmmaker and visual artist David Lynch. Read more »