master of the hovering life

“[Frederick G.] Peters cites the following from Musil:

A man who is after the truth sets out to be a man of learning; a man who wants to give free play to his subjectivity sets out, perhaps, to be a writer. But what is the man to do who is after something that lies between?

His own answer was to become what he saw as a ‘master of the hovering life,’ to navigate freely between the two, ideally embracing both.”

(Sven Birkerts, “Robert Musil,” p. 29 in An Artificial Wilderness: Essays on Twentieth-Century Literature.)

found epigraphs, cont’d.

“. . . Kearns had the fortune to meet the two fighters who in my opinion had the best ring names of all time – Honey Melody and Mysterious Billy Smith. Smith was also a welterweight champion. ‘He was always doing something mysterious,’ Kearns says. ‘Like he would step on your foot, and when you looked down, he would bite you on the ear. If I had a fighter like that now, I could lick heavyweights. . . .”

(A. J. Liebling, The Sweet Science, p.69, quoted in Alice Notley’s notes on Ted Berrigan’s “Sonnet XIX”.)