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She had all the attributes of a great character. She was capable of madness, like the affair with her land, but she also possessed a great lucidity. She embodied those contradictions that make for great characters, like when she nearly died upon learning that I enrolled in the Communist Party. But she is not the main hero of my body of work, nor the most permanent. No, I am the most permanent. Writing is to write for oneself… We separate ourselves from people by writing.”

-Marguerite Duras
Me & Other Writing

excess

One must also recognize that morality is based on ideas and that all ideas are dangerous—dangerous because ideas can only lead to action and where the action leads no man can say. And dangerous in this respect: that confronted with the impossibility of remaining faithful to one’s beliefs, and the equal impossibility of becoming free of them, one can be driven to the most inhuman excesses.”

-James Baldwin
Stranger in the Village

💧

…and this was the point where this senseless, unworthy, non-meritorious, melancholy, brooding, but all the while sweet-as-honey and vividly convincing prophetic proclamation began to dissolve into a sound of an entirely different order, the words, sentences, voice, speech, morphing into slow gossamer-light increments into a so-called eternal sound of running water… a flurry of words began to whirl again, that the Whole exists in its wholeness, the Parts in their own particularity, and the Whole and the Parts cannot be lumped together, they don’t follow from one another, since the waterfall for example is not composed of individual drops, for single drops would never constitute a waterfall, but drops nonetheless do exist, and how heartrendingly beautiful they can be when they sparkle in the sunlight, indeed how long do they exist? a flash, and they are gone, but they still have time in this almost timeless flash to sparkle…

…perhaps there really is no other day, only this single one, or not even this, which amounts to the same thing now in his quivering brain, and the same holds true in this brain regarding the stories, those too had given his brain a good scare, for in vain there might be ten, a hundred, a thousand million stories day after day in this insane inferno, on that one and only day, or not even then, in vain does this or that happen and keep happening ten, a hundred, a thousand million times in the alleys and major intersections, on this one and only day, or not even then, it’s as if among all those stories only a single one were true, or not even one, so that the succession of days one after another, or the stack of stories mounting up one on top of the other: neither of them holds up, neither exists, one cannot rely on them, cannot rely on anything, here everything operates under the aegis of a raving madness, albeit not at a command from above or below but because each and every element of existence is insane in its own right.”

-László Krasznahorkai
The World Goes On

You don’t understand music: you hear it. So hear me with your whole body. When you come to read me you will ask why I don’t keep to painting and my exhibitions, since I write so rough and disorderly. It’s because now I feel the need for words—and what I’m writing is new to me because until now my true word has never been touched. The word is my fourth dimension… My unbalanced words are the wealth of my silence. I write in acrobatics and pirouettes in the air—I write because I so deeply want to speak. Though writing only gives me the full measure of silence. And if I say ‘I’ it’s because I dare not say ‘you,’ or ‘we’ or ‘one.’ I’m forced to the humility of personalizing myself belittling myself but I am the are-you… I am before, I am almost, I am never. And all of this I won when I stopped loving you… And every thing that occurs to me I note to pin it down. For I want to feel in my hands the quivering and lively nerve of the now and may that nerve resist me like a restless vein. And may it rebel, that nerve of life, and may it contort and throb. And may sapphires, amethysts and emeralds spill into the dark eroticism of abundant life: because in my darkness quakes at last the great topaz, word that has its own light…

Am I one of the weak? a weak woman possessed by incessant and mad rhythm? if I were solid and strong would I even have heard the rhythm? I find no answer: I am.”

-Clarice Lispector
Água Viva

não é nada

There we lived for a time, a time incapable of passing, in a space one could not even think of measuring. A passing of time outside of Time, a space that knew nothing of the usual habits of real space… O futile companion of my tedium, what hours of happy disquiet seemed to be ours! Hours of ashen wit, days of spatial longing, inner centuries of outer landscapes… And we did not ask ourselves what it was for, because we took pleasure in knowing it wasn’t for anything.”

-Fernando Pessoa
The Book of Disquiet

Their conversation is like a gently wicked dance: sound meets sound, curtsies, shimmies, and retires. Another sound enters but is upstaged by still another: the two circle each other and stop. Sometimes their words move in lofty spirals; other times they take strident leaps, and all of it is punctuated with warm-pulsed laughter—like the throb of a heart made of jelly.”

-Toni Morrison
The Bluest Eye

psychic hygiene

He had already learned by experience that faith and doubt belonged together, that they govern each other like inhaling and exhaling, and that his very advances in all aspects of the Game’s microcosm naturally sharpened his eyes to all the dubiousness of the Game.”

-Hermann Hesse
Magister Ludi

They relate, and they conflict. And here lies the mystery of eroticism… To have a fierce kind of intimacy, you have to be able to take risks. The risk is that not everything about you will be liked by your partner. One of the strange concepts of the romantic ideal is that of unconditional love. Doesn’t exist. Never existed, for that matter. Love is conditional. Completely. It’s not a popular idea… but Love is a verb. It’s not a permanent state of enthusiasm. It’s an actual practice. And that practice gets repeated, all the time.”

-Esther Perel
The Erotic Is an Antidote to Death