Question

Is speaking/(writing) subjectively an inherently selfish act? Is it possible to speak for others in speaking for self? Or speak for those who came before (especially those silenced) by speaking now? Do women get challenged more for speaking subjectively than men?

needy for beauty

I think of beauty as an absolute necessity. I don’t think it’s a privilege or an indulgence. It’s not even a quest. I think it’s almost like knowledge, which is to say, it’s what we were born for. I think finding, incorporating, and then representing beauty is what humans do. With or without authorities telling us what it is. I think it would exist in any case. The startle and the wonder of being in this place! … Some of it’s natural, some of it’s man-made. Some of it is a mere glance. It’s an absolute necessity. I don’t think we can do without it any more than we can do without dreams or oxygen.”

-Toni Morrison on beauty in The Paris Review 

&

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 on her mother in
Me & Other Writing

confronted

Sentimentality, the ostentatious parading of excessive and spurious emotion, is the mark of dishonesty and the ability to feel; the wet eyes of the sentimentalist betray his aversion to experience, his fear of life, his arid heart; and it is always, therefore, the signal of secret and violent inhumanity, the mask of cruelty… He is not, after all, merely a number of a Society or a Group or a deploration conundrum to be explained by Science. He is—and how old-fashioned the words sound!—something more than that, something resolutely indefinable, unpredictable. In overlooking, denying, evading his complexity—which is nothing more than the disquieting complexity of ourselves—we are diminished and we perish; only within this web of ambiguity, paradox, this hunger, danger, darkness, can we find at once ourselves and the power that will free us from ourselves… Our passion for categorization, life neatly fitted into pegs, has led to an unforeseen, paradoxical distress: confusion, a breakdown of meaning.”

-James Baldwin
Everybody’s Protest Novel

Deem worthy

Objective is a fiction that there is some neutral ground, some political no man’s land you can hang out in… Even what you deem worthy to report and whom you quote is a political decision. We tend to treat people on the fringe as ideologues and those in the center as neutral, as though the decision not to own a car is political and the decision to own one is not, as though to support a war is neutral and to oppose it is not. There is no apolitical, no sidelines, no neutral ground; we’re all engaged.”

– Rebecca Solnit
Call Them by Their True Names

Shut eyes see

Notebook entry on October 15, 2018 

With every journal I scribble the years. Wonder what’s happening. Detached from the moment, pen following behind the brain. Probably don’t write as much as I should, but it comes as it likes. And when it wants, it needs. There is no choice. No yes or no—just words coming out. So much to say, so much to miss. Where’s the space between? Do they connect? A perpendicular line across the two or parallel along the edges? Another divine intersection. Eternities we cannot see. Maybe it’s in a poem or a card. The secrets in the stars. What do they need? Nothing; anything will do. They’ll go on and on no matter what. Can we alter the course? Only forward.