The delicately fantastic iconography of the fourteenth century, where castles are toppled like dice, where the Beast is always the traditional dragon held at bay by the Virgin, in short where the order of God and its imminent victory are always apparent, gives way to to a vision of the world where all wisdom is annihilated. This is the great witches’ Sabbath of nature: mountains melt and become plains, the earth vomits up the dead and bones tumble out of tombs; the stars fall, the earth catches fire, all life withers and comes to death. The end has no value as passage and promise; it is the advent of a night in which the old world’s reason is engulfed.”
Madness and Civilization:
A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason
Be patient towards all that is unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms, like books written in a foreign tongue. Do not now strive to uncover answers: they cannot be given to you because you have not been able to live them.”
“We are placed into life as into the element with which we are the most affinity, and moreover we have after thousands of years adaptation come to resemble this life so closely that if we keep still we can, thanks to our facility for mimicry, hardly be distinguished from all that surrounds us. We have no reason to be mistrustful of our world, for it is not against us. If it holds terrors they are our terrors, if it has its abysses these abysses belong to us, if there are dangers we must try to love them. And if we only organize our life according to the principle which teaches us always to hold to what is difficult, then what now still appears most foreign will become our most intimate and most reliable experience… Perhaps everything terrifying is deep down a helpless thing that needs our help.”
“One day there will be girls and women whose name will no longer just signify the opposite male but something in their own right, something which does not make one think of any supplement or limit but only of life and existence: the female human being. This step forward (at first against the will of the men who are left behind) will transform the experience of love, which is now full of error, alter it root and branch, reshape it into a relation between two human beings and no longer between man and woman. And this more human form of love (which will be performed in infinitely gentle and considerate fashion, true and clear in its creating of bonds and dissolving of them) will resemble the one we are struggling and toiling to prepare the way for, the love that consists in two solitudes protecting, defining, and welcoming one another.”
“Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where it all comes from and where it is leading? You well know you are in a period of transition and want nothing more than to be transformed.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke
Letters to a Young Poet
Her powerlessness to communicate is apparent in the dialogue she writes: the people talk along lines that never cross; each has his own language, which the other does not understand. Even in love, especially in love, any exchange is impossible, because Violette Leduc cannot accept a duality in which she sees lurking the threat of separation.”
– Simone de Beauvoir
La Bâtarde preface
What type of people decide to become writers? How much self-confidence does it take to decide one day: “I’m going to be a writer.” What level of self-indulgent satisfaction must one reach before they finally hit send; publish.
I imagine them jotting shit down at an elegantly disheveled desk. Writing with feverish intent and concentration. And not on a computer! With a pen. Just like in the movies. But who’s in the picture? Appears to be white dude in his 50s with a dad bod and greying hair. He wears stylish glasses.
Why does this image come most naturally to me?
I can’t compare myself to this portrait. I’m all over the place. But I like to think my mind has more in common with that dude’s desk than him: it’s messy. But full of curiosities and stories that might be worth organizing and sharing someday.
Continue reading “Becoming a writer”