D.H. Lawrence, Sons & Lovers
I pretty much agree.
If you can bring nothing to this place
but your carcass, keep out.
— William Carlos Williams, last two lines from his poem “Dedication for a Plot of Ground
You got very hungry when you did not eat enough in Paris because all the bakery shops had such good things in the windows and people ate outside at tables on the sidewalk so that you saw and smelled the food. When you were skipping meals at a time when you had given up journalism and were writing nothing that anyone in America would buy, explaining at home that you were lunching out with someone, the best place to do it was the Luxembourg gardens where you saw and smelled nothing to eat all the way from the Place de l’Observatoire to the rue de Vaugirard. There you could always go into the Luxembourg museum and all the paintings were heightened and clearer and more beautiful if you were belly-empty, hollow-hungry. I learned to understand Cézanne much better and to see truly how he made landscapes when I was hungry. I used to wonder if he were hungry to when he painted; but I thought it was possible only that he had forgotten to eat. It was one of those unsound but illuminating thoughts you have when you have been sleepless or hungry. Later I thought Cézanne was probably hungry in a different way.
— A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway
So that’s how we live our lives. No matter how deep and fatal the loss, no matter how important the thing that’s stolen from us - that’s snatched right out of our hands - even if we are left completely changed, with only the outer layer of skin from before, we continue to play out our lives this way, in silence. We draw nearer to the end of our allotted span of time, bidding it farewell as it trains off behind. Repeating, often adroitly, the endless deeds of the everyday. Leaving behind a feeling of immeasurable emptiness.
— Sputnik Sweetheart, Haruki Murakami.
More Haruki Murakami:
“The more I think about it, the more I’d like to take a rain check on the topic of me. What I’d like to know more about is the objective reality of things outside myself. How important the world outside is to me, how I maintain a sense of equilibrium by coming to terms with it. That’s how I’d grasp a clearer sense of who I am.”
This book has everything…fitting similes, sensitive observations of interactions between friends, lovers, friends who would like to be lovers but the feeling isn’t mutual, I even like the font it is written in. One more, to show the difference in thought process of two characters.
“I know I shouldn’t be calling you this early. I’m really sorry. The time of day when the roosters haven’t even started crowing. When this pitiful moon is hanging there in a corner of the eastern sky like a used-up kidney. But think of me—I had to trudge out in the pitch dark all the way over here. With this telephone card I got as a present at my cousin’s wedding clutched in my hand. With a photo on it of the happy couple holding hands. Can you imagine how depressing that is? My socks don’t even match, for gosh sake. One has a picture of Mickey Mouse; the other’s plain wool. My room’s a complete disaster area; I can’t find anything. I don’t want to say this too loudly, but you wouldn’t believe how awful my underpants are. I doubt that even one of those panty thieves would touch them. If some pervert killed me, I’d never live it down. I’m not asking for sympathy but it would be nice if you could give mea bit more in the way of a response. Other than those cold interjections of yours—ohs and ums. How about a conjunction? A conjunction would be nice. A yet or a but.”
It was a lovely night, one of those nights, dear reader, which can only happen when you are young. The sky was so bright and starry that when you looked at it the first question that came into your mind was whether it was really possible that all sorts of bad-tempered and unstable people could live under such a glorious sky.
— The first two sentences of White Sky by Fyodor Dostoevsky.
The point of memoir is to celebrate people that the world has never heard of.
— a past professor of mine, I think.
I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.
— Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
“In any communication, a thing says to one person quite a different thing from what it says to another, but writing, in essence, is communication; and communication is the only access to love — to love, to conscience, to nature, to God, and to the dream. For myself, the further I go into my own work and the more I read of those I love, the more aware I am of the dream and the logic of God, which indeed is a Divine collusion.” - Carson McCullers
Compare the above portrait with this one. The core of her face hasn’t changed. Fantastic, enchanting, heart-breaking writing in that book, by the way.
The love she felt was so hard that she had to squeeze him to her until her arms were tired.
— I love letting my love out for someone with a squeeze. This simple, relatable sentence is from a book called “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter” by Carson McCullers