Book collecting is an obsession, an occupation, a disease, an addiction, a fascination, an absurdity, a fate. It is not a hobby. Those who do it must do it. Those who do not do it, think of it as a cousin of stamp collecting, a sister of the trophy cabinet, bastard of a sound bank account and a weak mind.
I miss God. I miss the company of someone utterly loyal. I still don't think of God as my betrayer. The servants of God, yes, but servants by their very nature betray. I miss God who was my friend. I don't even know if God exists, but I do know that if God is your emotional role model, very few human relationships will match up to it. I have an idea that one day it might be possible, I thought once it had become possible, and that glimpse has set me wandering, trying to find the balance between earth and sky. If the servants hadn't rushed in and parted us, I might have been disappointed, might have snatched off the white samite to find a bowl of soup. As it is, I can't settle, I want someone who is fierce and will love me until death and knows that love is as strong as death, and be on my side for ever and ever. I want someone who will destroy me and be destroyed by me.
There are many forms of love and affection, some people can spend their whole lives together without knowing each other's names. Naming is a difficult and time-consuming process; it concerns essences, and it means power. But on the wild nights who can call hyou home? Only the one who knows your name.
Art is enchantment and artists have the right of spells. ... The success of later Shakespeare is the success of spells, where every element, however uneven, however incredible, is fastened to the next with perfect authority. The enchanted world shimmers but does not waver. A Midsummer Night's Dream is the first of his plays to accomplish this, The Tempest is enchantment's apotheosis.
Woolf worried about the childlessness from time to time, and suffered from the imposed anxiety that she was not, unlike her friend Vita Sackville-West, a real woman. I do not know what kind of woman one would have to be to stand unflinchingly in front of The Canon, but I would guess, a real one. There is something sadistic in the whip laid on women to prove themselves as mothers and wives at the same time as making their way as artists. The abnormal effort that can be diverted or divided. We all know the story of Coleridge and the Man from Porlock. What of the woman writer and a whole family of Porlocks?For most of us the dilemma is rhetorical but those women who are driven with consummate energy through a single undeniable channel should be applauded and supported as vigorously as the men who have been setting themselves apart for centuries.
Long looking at paintings is equivalent to being dropped into a foreign city, where gradually, out of desire and despair, a few key words, then a little syntax make a clearing in the silence. Art... is a foreign city, and we deceive ourselves when we think it familiar... We have to recognize that the language of art, all art, is not our mother-tongue.
Everyone who tells a story tells it differently, just to remind us that everybody sees it differently. Some people say there are true things to be found, some people say all kinds of things can be proved. I don't believe them. The only thing for certain is how complicated it all is, like string full of knots. It's all there but hard to find the beginning and impossible to fathom the end. The best you can do is admire the cat's cradle, and maybe knot it up a bit more.
I believe in fiction and the power of stories because that way we speak in tongues. We are not silenced. All of us, when in deep trauma, find we hesitate, we stammer; there are long pauses in our speech. The thing is stuck. We get our language back through the language of others. We can turn to the poem. We can open the book. Somebody has been there for us and deep-dived the words.
I had lines inside me, a string of guiding lights. I had language. Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines. What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination. I had been damaged, and a very important part of me had been destroyed - that was my reality, the facts of my life. But on the other side of the facts was who I could be, how I could feel. And as long as I had words for that, images for that, stories for that, then I wasn't lost.