From Jeff Eugenides's speech at theWhiting Awards yesterday evening. He was advising the award winners to "stay within yourself":
Equally insidious is to adopt a manner, to make sure that everything you say is earnest and well meaning, the kind of thing Bono might put in a lyric. Piety can be another form of censorship.
I so appreciated hearing this, about piety. Piety can be so tyrannical, bopping sentient adulthood on the head with a cudgel.
The Whiting Awards are probably the coolest awards going. They have a very simple ceremony and the award winners don't deliver remarks or speeches of their own. They simply step up near the podium, stand while Jeff Eugenides introduces them (reading from a wedding-invitation-sized card of prose), receive their check from Peter Pennoyer, shake hands, and return to their seats.
Then afterwards, hors d'oeuvres and a pretty full bar, including good wine.
I think of staying within oneself to mean stopping one's ears and eyes to the world's noise.
Images courtesy of Centre De Recherche
en Mathématiques de la Décision,
Université de Paris – Dauphine