In an effort to better acquaint you, the reader, with the VQR staff, members of our team will share excerpts from our personal reading—The Best 200 Words I Read All Week. From fact to fiction, from comedic to tragic, we hope you find as much to admire in these selections as we do.
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Doctor, you say there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don’t see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent. The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and change our bones, skin, clothes
to gases. Doctor,
if only you could see,
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.
Business Manager Diane Houdret
“Monet Refuses the Operation” by Lisel Mueller
With her open letter and the high-profile back-and-forth, Swift is bringing visibility to one of the music industry’s longest standing issues. And while it’s not a new problem, Swift’s discussion of it was enough to encourage artists including Sky Ferreira and Halsey to come forward about their own difficulties with label deals and ownership. Swift is also so huge—not just an artist but a brand—that she can enact change by wielding the leverage of the reliability of her success. When she makes a statement, it’s financially lucrative for the industry to listen: In addition to owning her future masters, her new record deal asks that “any sale of [the label’s] Spotify shares result in a distribution of money to their artists, non-recoupable.” She wrote, “I see this as a sign that we are headed towards positive change for creators—a goal I’m never going to stop trying to help achieve, in whatever ways I can.”
Social Media Intern Dan Goff
Excerpt from “Taylor Swift’s Music Ownership Controversy With Scooter Braun: What It Means and Why It Matters” in Pitchfork