“I’m writing again and I feel my force glow straight from me at its fullest. I’m better company, more of a human being.”—Virginia Woolf, from a diary entry dated 19 June 1924. (via fuckyeahvirginiawoolf)
“If there is something to desire,
there will be something to regret.
If there is something to regret,
there will be something to recall.
If there is something to recall,
there was nothing to regret.
If there was nothing to regret,
there was nothing to desire.”—Vera Pavlova, “If There is Something to Desire" (translated by Steven Seymour)
“I brought my love to bear, and then you died.
It was the gangrene ate you to the bone
My mother said: you died like any man.
How shall I age into that state of mind?
I am the ghost of an infamous suicide,
My own blue razor rusting at my throat.
O pardon the one who knocks for pardon at
Your gate, father - your hound-bitch, daughter, friend.
It was my love that did us both to death.”—Sylvia Plath, from “Electra on Azalea Path”
“With you a part of me hath passed away;
For in the peopled forest of my mind
A tree made leafless by this wintry wind
Shall never don again its green array.
Chapel and fireside, country road and bay,
Have something of their friendliness resigned;
Another, if I would, I could not find,
And I am grown much older in a day.
But yet I treasure in my memory
Your gift of charity, your mellow ease,
And the dear honour of your amity;
For these once mine, my life is rich with these.
And I scarce know which part may greater be,—
What I keep of you, or you rob of me.”—George Santayana, from “To. W.P.”
“‘Chloe liked Olivia,’ I read. And then it struck me how immense a change was there. Chloe liked Olivia perhaps for the first time in literature…All these relationships between women, I thought, rapidly recalling the splendid gallery of fictitious women, are too simple. So much has been left out, unattempted. And I tried to remember any case in the course of my reading where two women are represented as friends…They are confidantes, of course, in Racine and the Greek tragedies. They are now and then mothers and daughters. But almost without exception they are shown in their relation to men.”—Virginia Woolf, “A Room of One’s Own” (via gerutha)
“This morning I suddenly catch myself: I’m not there, I’m so lost in thought, I don’t know what’s going on around me. Can you think yourself to death?”—Anna Kamienska, A Nest of Quiet: A Notebook(translated by Clare Cavanagh)
“I have often asked myself why I enjoy writing (manually, that is) to such a great extent that usually the pleasure of having a nice sheet of paper and a good pen in front of me (as if it were the work bench of the bricoleur) makes up for the often thankless tasks of intellectual labor. Even as I reflect on what I should write (as is happening at this very moment), I feel my hand move, turn, connect, dive, rise, and often enough, as I make my corrections, erase or even obliterate a line. This field expands until it reaches the margins, thus creating, out of seemingly functional and minuscule traces (letters), a space which is quite simply that of art. I am an artist, not because I represent an object, but more fundamentally, because, as I write, my body shudders with the pleasure of marking itself, inscribing itself, rhythmically, on the virgin surface (virginity being the infinitely possible)… . Writing is not only a technical activity, it is also a bodily practice of jouissance.”—Roland Barthes, from the preface to La civilisation de l’écriture by Roger Druet and Herman Grégoire
“Touched by a masterpiece, a person begins to hear in himself that same call of truth which prompted the artist to his creative act. When a link is established between the work and its beholder, the latter experiences a sublime, purging trauma. Within that aura which unites masterpieces and audience, the best sides of our souls are made known, and we long for them to be freed. In those moments we recognise and discover ourselves, the unfathomable depths of our own potential, and the furthest reaches of our emotions.”—Andrei Tarkovsky (via forgottencityiram)
“The sky is shot with bright rays and blinds the eyes. You cannot endure so much brightness, you lower your eyes or you throw yourself down upon the grass: it gleams with freshness and presses soft and damp against your glowing skin.”—Annemarie Schwarzenbach, Lyric Novella(translated by Isabel Cole)
“To construct a narrative is to construct a moral order. But that order is condemned to be as precarious and provisional as the act of writing itself—a fragile and perilous enterprise, ceaselessly constructed and deconstructed…In working his fiction, then, the writer is shaping a vacuum, sculpting a void.”— Terry Eagleton, Criticism and Ideology: A Study in Marxist Literary Theory
“Once more, it turned out that
the real world doesn’t exist, to the immense
relief of antiquaries. The secret was hidden
somewhere else, not in soldiers’
knapsacks, but in a few notebooks.”—Adam Zagajewski, “Late Beethoven” (via ahuntersheart)
“if I could have caught up from the earth,
the whole of the flowers of the earth,
if once I could have breathed into myself
the very golden crocuses
and the red,
and the very golden hearts of the first saffron,
the whole of the golden mass,
the whole of the great fragrance,
I could have dared the loss.”—H.D., from “Eurydice”
“Reckless and random the cars race and roar and hunt us to death like blood hounds. I am alone in a hostile world. The human face is hideous. This is to my liking. I want publicity and violence and to be dashed like a stone on the rocks. I like factory chimneys and cranes and lorries. I like the passing of face and face and face, deformed, indifferent. I am sick of prettiness; I am sick of privacy. I ride rough waters and shall sink with no one to save me.”—Virginia Woolf, The Waves
“He began to resent the time he had spent at work on the Foote farm. Having come to his studies late, he felt the urgency of study. Sometimes, immersed in his books, there would come to him the awareness of all that he did not know, of all that he had not read; and the serenity for which he labored was shattered as he realized the little time he had in life to read so much, to learn what he had to know.”—John Williams, Stoner (via nickrecommends)
“A winter’s postponed nightmare cries out in my bones.
At my ankle a small wind stirs in the grass,
your breath from down below, perhaps.”—Sandor Csoori, from “Postponed Nightmare” (translated by Len Roberts and Laszlo Vertes)
“I don’t think it’s terribly controversial to note that women, from a young age, are required to consider the reality of the opposite gender’s consciousness in a way that men aren’t. This isn’t to say that women don’t often misunderstand, mistreat, and stereotype men, both in literature and in life. But on a basic level, functioning in society requires that women register that men are fully conscious; it is not really possible for a woman to throw up her hands and write men off as eternally unknowable space aliens — and even if she says she has, she cannot really behave as though she has. Every element of her life — from reading books about boys and men to writing papers about the motivations of male characters to being attentive to her own safety to navigating most any institutional or professional or economic sphere — demands an ironclad familiarity with, and belief in, the idea that men really are fully human entities. And no matter how many men come to the same conclusions about women, the structure of society simply does not demand so strenuously that they do so. If you didn’t really deep down believe that women were, in general, exactly as conscious as you, you could probably still get by in life. You could probably still get a book deal. You could probably still get elected to office.”—Jennifer duBois, Writing Across Gender (via florida-uterati)
[Favor filter] My former book arts/calligraphy teacher is trying to start a new book arts education program in Boston, and has subsequently applied for a grant. She needs to attain 250 votes in order to be considered. I recently posted a link about this on my tumblr, and I was wondering if you would take a look and consider reblogging or posting about this? You can also learn more by googling The Abbey Studio blog. It would mean so much. Thanks, either way! I <3 your tumblr!
I don’t mind putting out the word about this program at all. I just voted and definitely encourage other people to vote as well. It was very quick and easy. Here is the link:
“Memories rose up inside him, and not only personal memories: history took shape, the past spoke the bloody language of fate. And horror, horror, overpowering, the way something is only when it rises up out of forgetting.”—Hans Keilson, Comedy in a Minor Key (translated by Damion Searls)
“She had seen fear: the terrible helpless fear that rises up out of sadness and despair and is no longer attached to anything— the helpless fear that is tied only to nothingness. Not fear or anxiety or despair about a person or a situation, nothing, nothing, only the exposure, the vulnerability, being cast loose from all certainties, from all dignity and all love.”—Hans Keilson, Comedy in a Minor Key (translated by Damion Searls)
I definitely understand that the time that’s best for me is not best for everyone. All the documentaries I’m showing over the summer can be found on youtube. So I hope that those who can’t participate in the tinychat film nights will seek out the documentaries and watch them!
In preparation for the film nights, I’ve been compiling a playlist with movies and documentaries about writers that you can find here at my youtube channel:
“I can’t really remember the days. The light of the sun blurred and annihilated all color. But the nights, I remember them. The blue was more distant than the sky, beyond all depths, covering the bounds of the world. The sky, for me, was the stretch of pure brilliance crossing the blue, that cold coalescence beyond all color […] The light fell from the sky in cataracts of pure transparency, in torrents of silence and immobility. The air was blue, you could hold it in your hand. Blue. The sky was the continual throbbing of the brilliance of the light. The night lit up everything, all the country on either bank of the river as far as the eye could reach. Every night was different, each one had a name as long as it lasted. Their sound was that of the dogs, the country dogs baying at mystery. They answered one another from village to village, until the time and space of the night were utterly consumed.”—Marguerite Duras, The Lover (translated by Barbara Bray)