“For pain words are lacking. There should be cries, cracks, fissures, whiteness passing over chintz covers, interference with the sense of time, of space ; the sense also of extreme fixity in passing objects ; and sounds very remote and then very close ; flesh being gashed and blood sparting, a joint suddenly twisted - beneath all of which appears something very important, yet remote, to be just held in solitude.”—Virginia Woolf, The Waves (via rimbonmeth)
“Why does one feel so different at night? Why is it so exciting to be awake when everybody else is asleep? Late—it is very late! And yet every moment you feel more and more wakeful, as though you were slowly, almost with every breath, waking up into a new, wonderful, far more thrilling and exciting world than the daylight one. And what is this queer sensation that you’re a conspirator? Lightly, stealthily you move about your room. You take something off the dressing-table and put it down again without a sound. And everything, even the bed-post, knows you, responds, shares your secret…”—Katherine Mansfield, “At the Bay,” in The Garden Party, 1922 (via proustitute)
“It was like days when the rain came out of yellow skies that melted just before twilight and shot one radiant shaft of sunlight diagonally down the heavens into the damp green trees. So cool, so clear and clean—and her mother there at the centre of the world, at the centre of the rain, safe and dry and strong. She wanted her mother now, and her mother was dead, beyond sight and touch forever. And this weight was pressing on her, pressing on her—oh, it pressed on her so!”—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned
“[…] and I make it real by putting it into words. It is only by putting it into words that I make it whole; this wholeness means that it has lost its power to hurt me; it gives me, perhaps because by doing so I take away the pain, a great delight to put the severed parts together. Perhaps this is the strongest pleasure known to me”—Virginia Woolf,A Sketch Of The Past. (via fuckyeahvirginiawoolf)
In March 1970, the poet Ted Hughes found himself in a tricky real estate situation. There was a charming seaside house he wanted to buy, in Devonshire, but the necessary funds weren’t at hand. Of course he could have sold one of his two other homes, but one was the home he had shared with his now deceased ex-wife Sylvia Plath, another was a solid investment, and so on. In the end, he wrote to Sylvia Plath’s mother, Aurelia, asking for her blessing to sell one of his other assets: her daughter’s first and only novel, written a year before her suicide in 1963, for which Hughes suspected there might now be a market in the United States.
The Bell Jar had been published in the UK under a pseudonym, to middling reviews, in 1963. American publishers had turned it down then, finding it deficient in plot and cohesion—“We didn’t feel you had managed to use your materials successfully in a novelistic way,” one editor wrote to Plath. A few weeks later, Plath, estranged from Hughes and living alone in London with their two small children, gassed herself. The posthumous publication of Ariel, a collection of poems written in a blaze of creativity during the last months of Plath’s life, brought her worldwide renown. Hughes seems to have assumed that this would prompt American editors to reverse their initial opposition to the novel, though in his letter to Aurelia Plath he made clear his low opinion of the book, suggesting that in a few more years it would be of interest merely as a “curiosity for students.” Aurelia Plath protested the plan; she saw the novel as representing the “basest ingratitude” toward the people her daughter had caricatured, including herself. Hughes ignored her, and The Bell Jar was published by Harper & Row in 1971. It has remained in print continuously ever since.
Over the weekend we had some stormy weather and our lines were down! So… we’re playing a bit of catch-up today!
On July 23rd, in 2001, 6-time winner of the O. Henry Award for Short Stories, National Medal for Literature and A1969 Pulitzer Prize winner Eudora Welty died in her Mississippi home at the age of 92.
Welty is certainly one of the strongest voices in Southern Gothic lit.
Though she only wrote 5 novels and numerous volumes of short stories, with Welty it is purely a matter of quality vs. quantity. Her writing is richly descriptive and darkly humorous. Her talent for comedy aside, the most surprising gift that Welty has offered her readers, and the text that speaks most directly about her work as a writer, came to fruition in 1983, when Welty agreed to deliver the first annual Massey Lectures in the History of American Civilization at Harvard University.
Our favorite works include her 1984 memoir “One Writer’s Beginnings”, “The Optimist’s Daughter” and her first collection of short stories “A Curtain of Green” which was published in 1941. Of late, we have recently read “Losing Battles”, written in 1970, and it has steadily become a favorite as well!
If you are interested in Eudora Welty’s full biography and works, we recommend a visit to the Eudora Welty Foundation, our resource for all things Eudora!
Today, we encourage our readers to reflect on why they love to read and/or write. What first drew your attention to the words on the pages in front you… Ms. Welty often reflected on things like this and drew on her personal experiences to craft her marvelous stories. So… write about your origins as a writer!
“Write, I say to myself, hate those
who gently lead into nothingness
the men and women who are your companions
and think they no longer know. Among the enemies’ names
write your own too. The thunderstorm,
with its crashing, has passed. To copy
those battles nature’s not strong enough. Poetry
changes nothing. Nothing is certain. But write.”—Franco Fortini, from “Translating Brecht,” trans. Michael Hamburger
“I also painted a study of a seascape, nothing but a bit of sand, sea, sky, grey and lonely — sometime[s] I feel a need for that silence — where there’s nothing but the grey sea — with an occasional seabird. But otherwise, no other voice than the murmur of the waves.”—Vincent van Gogh, from a letter to his brother Theo, 17 September 1882 (source)
“For me, the word writing is the exact opposite of the word waiting. Instead of waiting, there is writing. Well, I’m probably wrong—it’s possible that writing is another form of waiting, of delaying things. I’d like to think otherwise. … The truth is, reading is always more important than writing.”—Roberto Bolaño, from a 2002 interview in BOMB, trans. Margaret Carson (via proustitute)
“To watch the season through, to lose myself in love of the earth - that is Life to me. I don’t feel I could ever live in a city again. First the bare tree, then the buds & the flowers, then the leaves, then the small fruit forming and swelling. If I only watch one tree a year one is richer for life.”—Katherine Mansfield, 1921 (via katherine-mansfield)
“A life is such a strange object, at one moment translucent, at another utterly opaque, an object I make with my own hands, an object imposed on me, an object for which the world provides the raw material and then steals it from me again, pulverized by events, scattered, broken, scored yet retaining its unity; how heavy it is and how inconsistent: this contradiction breeds many misunderstandings.”—Simone de Beauvoir (via petitefeministe)
Anna Akhmatova according to the research of Amanda Haight:
She was extremely thin and frequently ill. She would get up from bed to go and stand, sometimes in freezing weather, in the long lines of people waiting outside the prisons, hoping against hope to be able to see her son or at least pass over a parcel… . The poems of “Requiem,” composed at this time, were learnt by heart by Lidiya Chukovskaya, Nadezhda Mandelstam, and several other friends who did not know who else was preserving them. Sometimes Akhmatova showed them a poem on a piece of paper which she burnt as soon as she was sure it had been committed to memory… . In a time when a poem on a scrap of paper could mean a death sentence, to continue to write, to commit one’s work to faithful friends who were prepared to learn poems by heart and thus preserve them, was only possible if one was convinced of the absolute importance and necessity of poetry.
“There is so much to do and I do so little. Life would be almost perfect here if only when I was pretending to work I always was working. But that is surely not too hard? Look at the stories that wait and wait just at the threshold. Why don’t I let them in? And their place would be taken by others who are lurking just beyond out there - waiting for the chance.”—Katherine Mansfield, from her Notebooks (via katherine-mansfield)
“She strung the afternoon on the necklace of memorable days, which was not too long for her to be able to recall this one or that one; this view, that city; to finger it, to feel it, to savour, sighing, the quality that made it unique. It was something that lasted; something that mattered for ever.”—Virginia Woolf,Moments Of Being. (via fuckyeahvirginiawoolf)
“My birthday began with the water — Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name Above the farms and the white horses And I rose In rainy autumn And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.”
John Singer Sargent, The Birthday (Fête Familiale), 1887 (via)
“… on my birthday we walked among the downs, like the folded wings of grey birds; and saw first one fox, very long with his brush stretched; then a second; which had been barking, for the sun was hot over us; it leapt lightly over a fence and entered the furze — a very rare sight. How many foxes are there in England?”
— Virginia Woolf, from a diary entry dated 26 January 1930
in my bowl
every real sound
on open ears.
i go down now
to the sea
without doubts.”—Stef Pixner, “Morning” (via sharingpoetry and lademarche)
“[…] as she talked and caught his eyes and turned her lovely head, she moved him as he had never been moved before. The sheath that held her soul had assumed significance—that was all. She was a sun, radiant, growing, gathering light and storing it—then after an eternity pouring it forth in a glance, the fragment of a sentence, to that part of him that cherished all beauty and all illusion.”—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned
“She felt herself transfixed by the intensity of her perception; but how did one judge people, think of them? How did one add up this and that and conclude that it was liking one felt or disliking? And to those words, what meaning attached, after all?”—Virginia Woolf,To The Lighthouse. (via fuckyeahvirginiawoolf)
“I wish you could live in my brain for a week. It is washed with the most violent waves of emotion…And you think it all fixed and settled. Do we then know nobody?—only our own version of them, which, as likely as not, are emanations from ourselves”—Virginia Woolf to Vita Sackville West,1926. (via fuckyeahvirginiawoolf)
“You’re like a witness. You’re the one who goes to the museum and looks at the paintings. I mean the paintings are there and you’re in the museum too, near and far away at the same time. I’m a painting. Rocamadour is a painting. Etienne is a painting, this room is a painting. You think that you’re in the room but you’re not. You’re looking at the room, you’re not in the room.”
“I am kneeling before the white wall I write my name upon the water. I see the hours passing like clouds. There is no bottom. Neither abyss. At my feet shadow draws back. Who am I? Do you not know me?”
— Ernesto Mejía Sánchez, from “Vigils,” trans. William Carlos Williams (via)
Ingmar Bergman, Through a Glass Darkly, 1961
“This very second has vanished forever, lost in the anonymous mass of the irrevocable. It will never return.”
“If I fall on my knees, if I go through the ritual, the ancient antics, it’s you, unknown figures, you I adore; if I open my arms, it’s you I embrace, you I draw to me—adorable world!”—Virginia Woolf, “An Unwritten Novel,” 1920 (via the-final-sentence)
“A cloud, small, serene, floated across the moon. In that moment of darkness the sea sounded deep, troubled. Then the cloud sailed away, and the sound of the sea was a vague murmur, as though it waked out of a dark dream. All was still.”—Katherine Mansfield, Selected Stories, ‘At the Bay’ (via charlottecollection)
I am honored to now be a member of Sharing Poetry, a wonderful tumblr created by proustitute. It is a place where poetry-lovers can submit their favorite poems and also be exposed to a wide variety of poets. I’m thrilled to be part of this project and encourage those of you who love poetry to follow and start submitting some great poems!
“I have no brothers now. I have no sisters.
In every nest, winter has played with death.
A late frost has frozen out all the love songs.”—Else Lasker-Schuler, from “Over Glistening Gravel” (translated by Eavan Boland)
“Evening. By the sea. Lying thus on the sand, the foam almost washing over my hands, I feel the magic of the sea. Behind the golden hills the sun is going down, a ruby jewel in a lurid setting, and there is a faint flush everywhere over the sea & land. To my right the sky has blossomed into vivid rose but to my left the land is hidden by a grey blue mist lightened now here and there by a suggestion of the sun - colour - it is like land seen from a ship a very long way away - dreamland, mirage, enchanted country. Two sea birds high in the air fly screaming towards the light. It beats upon their white breasts, it flames upon their dull wings.”—Katherine Mansfield, 1908, from her Notebooks (via katherine-mansfield)
“I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.”—Willa Cather, My Antonia