I have burned to write to you ever since you were here last. The East Wind made my journey in the train an impossibility; it set up ponds and pools in my left lung wherein the Germs and the Toxins—two families I detest—bathed and refreshed themselves and flourished and multiplied. But since then so many miracles have happened that I don’t see how one will be able to bear real, full Spring. One is almost tired already—one wants to swoon, like Charles Lamb, before the curtain rises—Oh God! to look up again and see the sun like a great silver spangle, big bright buds on the trees, and the little bushes caught in a net of green. But what I chiefly love, Virginia, is to watch the people. Will you laugh at me? —it wrings my heart to see the people coming into the open again, timid, airing themselves; they idle, their voices change and their gesture. A most unexpected old man passes with a paper of flowers (for whom?), a soldier lies on the grass hiding his face, a young girl flies down a side street on the—positive—wing of a boy—…
Virginia, I have read your article on Modern Novels. You write so damned well, so devilish well.
But I positively must see you soon. I want to talk over so much—Your room with the too deep windows—I should love to be there now. Last time the rambler roses were nearly over and there was a sound of someone sawing wood.
“Life, after all, was like air. There seemed to be no way of keeping it out, or at a distance, and all he could do for the moment was live it and breathe it. How people managed to draw it down into their lungs without choking was a mystery to him: it was full of bits. This was air you could almost chew.”—About a Boy by Nick Hornby (via colourmegreenwich)
“All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naive. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to be born with: that I am nobody but myself.”—Ralph Ellison, “Invisible Man” (via allieegee)
Six years ago Jonathan and Caroline Zoob were settled in south-west London with no thought of moving, when a newspaper article caught their eye: ‘How would you like to share your home with 7,000 visitors a year?’ They read on to discover that the National Trust was looking for new tenants for Monks House, the former country home of Leonard and Virginia Woolf. The tenants would live upstairs, look after the garden and open the house to the public twice a week. Jonathan, a keen gardener, and Caroline, an embroiderer and textile artist, were intrigued and within two days of sending off their CVs, were on their way to an interview at the house.(…)
It is snowing heavily again. I have been watching it for a long time the way a blind man looks at the world on the back of his eyelids. Something I wanted in my hands is not there, and I hear the soft cry of the flakes approaching. Trapped among branches, it sounds as if I have lost someone and have reached up to find that same whiteness on my mouth, plunging into itself without me.
“And I don’t know, don’t know, if we belong together or apart, except that my soul lingers over the skin of you and I wonder if I’m ruining all we had, and had not.”—Anne Sexton (via obsessive-scribbler) (via fuckyeahannesexton)
“Maybe…you’ll fall in love with me all over again.”
“Hell,” I said, “I love you enough now. What do you want to do? Ruin me?”
“Yes. I want to ruin you.”
“Good,” I said. “That’s what I want too.”—Ernest Hemingway | A Farewell to Arms (via scyler)
As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. He was lying on his hard, as it were armor-plated, back and when he lifted his head a little he could see his domelike brown belly divided into stiff arched segments on top of which the bed quilt could hardly stay in place and was about to slide off completely. His numerous legs, which were pitifully thin compared to the rest of his bulk, waved helplessly before his eyes…
“Suddenly, as if the movement of his hand had released it, the load of her accumulated impressions of him tilted up, and down poured in a ponderous avalanche all she felt about him.”—Virginia Woolf, To The Lighthouse (via daysofreading)
“Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.
Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.”—The Four Quartets, No. I: Burnt Norton (via tseliot)
“That country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay… That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain”—October Country by Ray Bradbury (via pinpricks)
I told you in the course of this paper that Shakespeare had a sister; but do not look for her in Sir Sidney Lee’s life of the poet. She died young—alas, she never wrote a word. She lies buried where the omnibuses now stop, opposite the Elephant and Castle. Now my belief is that this poet who never wrote a word and was buried at the cross–roads still lives. She lives in you and in me, and in many other women who are not here to–night, for they are washing up the dishes and putting the children to bed. But she lives; for great poets do not die; they are continuing presences; they need only the opportunity to walk among us in the flesh. This opportunity, as I think, it is now coming within your power to give her. For my belief is that if we live another century or so—I am talking of the common life which is the real life and not of the little separate lives which we live as individuals—and have five hundred a year each of us and rooms of our own; if we have the habit of freedom and the courage to write exactly what we think; if we escape a little from the common sitting–room and see human beings not always in their relation to each other but in relation to reality; and the sky. too, and the trees or whatever it may be in themselves; if we look past Milton’s bogey, for no human being should shut out the view; if we face the fact, for it is a fact, that there is no arm to cling to, but that we go alone and that our relation is to the world of reality and not only to the world of men and women, then the opportunity will come and the dead poet who was Shakespeare’s sister will put on the body which she has so often laid down. Drawing her life from the lives of the unknown who were her forerunners, as her brother did before her, she will be born. As for her coming without that preparation, without that effort on our part, without that determination that when she is born again she shall find it possible to live and write her poetry, that we cannot expect, for that would he impossible. But I maintain that she would come if we worked for her, and that so to work, even in poverty and obscurity, is worth while.
“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.”—Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast (via reeyah)
Marco’s small, flickering smile reminded me of a snake I’d teased in the Bronz Zoo. When I tapped my finger on the stout cage glass the snake had opened its clockwork jaws and seemed to smile. Then it struck and struck and struck at the invisible pane till I moved off.
I had never met a woman-hater before.
I could tell Marco was a woman-hater, because in spite of all the models and TV starlets in the room that night he paid attention to nobody but me. Not out of kindess or even curiosity, but because I’d happened to be dealt to him, like a playing card in a pack of identical cards.
“It sounded like a heavy wooden object falling downstairs, boomp boomp boomp, step after step. Lifting the pages of the book, I let them fan slowly by my eyes. Words, dimly familiar but twisted all awry, like faces in a funhouse mirror, fled past, leaving no impression on the glassy surface of my brain.”—from The Bell Jar (via lexigold)
I had imagined a kind, ugly, intuitive man looking up and saying “Ah!” in an encouraging way, as if he could see something I couldn’t, and then I would find words to tell him how I was so scared, as if I were being stuffed further and further into a black, airless sack with no way out.
Then he would lean back in his chair and match the tips of his fingers together in a little steeple and tell me why I couldn’t sleep and why I couldn’t read and why I couldn’t eat and why everything people did seemed so silly, because they only died in the end.
And then, I thought, he would help me, step by step, to be myself again.
“We are students of words: we are shut up in schools, and colleges, and recitation-rooms, for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words, and do not know a thing.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson (via ishsherylltonog) (via fuckyeahtranscendentalism)