I thought writing was about a series of cigarettes, not the smoking itself but the smoke itself leaving the cigarette, entering your lungs, joining the sky, the clouds.
I thought writing was about a series of hard liquors, not actually sipping but the eternally nearly empty bottle and empty glass with the ice cubes not yet melted.
Writing was about putting bad things into your body until all that came out was beauty and genius in every stain.
Writing was about the cigarette dangling from your mouth like a broken branch, casual and apathetic in its fracture.
Writing was about lipstick, crashing, breaking, building, fingertips and skin.
Writing was immortal martyrdom.
"In dreams begin responsibilities." Yeats
And mark the place
where your soul is
—always, they say,
near to a wound.
Eva. Because her name is a synonym for temptation: what treads nearer to the core of man? Because her soul swims in her eyes. Because I dream of creeping through the velvet folds to her room, where I let myself in, hum her a tune so—so—so softly, she stands with her naked feet on mine, her ear to my heart, and we waltz like string puppets. After that kiss, she says, “Vous embrassez comme un poisson rouge!” and in moonlit mirrors we fall in love with our youth and beauty. Because all my life, sophisticated, idiotic women have taken it upon themselves to understand me, to cure me, but Eva knows I’m terra incognita and explores me unhurriedly, like you did. Because she’s lean as a boy. Because her scent is almonds, meadow grass. Because if I smile at her ambition to be an Egyptologist, she kicks my shin under the table. Because she makes me think about something other than myself. Because even when serious she shines. Because she prefers travelogues to Sir Walter Scott, prefers Billy Mayerl to Mozart, and couldn’t tell C major from a sergeant major. Because I, only I, see her smile a fraction before it reaches her face. Because Emperor Robert is not a good man—his best part is commandeered by his unperformed music—but she gives me that rarest smile, anyway. Because we listened to nightjars. Because her laughter spurts through a blowhole in the top of her head and sprays all over the morning. Because a man like me has no business with this substance “beauty,” yet here she is, in these soundproofed chambers of my heart.
David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas
The dawn was breaking the bones of your heart like twigs.
“Fiction writers as a species tend to be oglers. They tend to lurk and to stare. The minute fiction writers stop moving, they start lurking, and stare. They are born watchers. They are viewers. They are the ones on the subway about whose nonchalant stare there is something creepy, somehow. Almost predatory. This is because human situations are writers’ food. Fiction writers watch other humans sort of the way gapers slow down for car wrecks: they covet a vision of themselves as witnesses.”
David Foster Wallace
"When Burnham and Root were together, one woman said ‘I used always to think of some big strong tree with lightning playing around it’" (27).
My mother tells me
that when I meet someone I like,
I have to ask them three questions:
1. what are you afraid of?
2. do you like dogs?
3. what do you do when it rains?
of those three, she says the first one is the most important.
“They gotta be scared of something, baby. Everybody is. If they aren’t afraid of anything, then they don’t believe in anything, either.”
I met you on a Sunday, right
one look and my heart fell into
my stomach like a trap door.
on our second date,
I asked you what you were afraid of.
“spiders, mostly. being alone. little children, like, the ones who just learned how to push a kid over on the playground. oh and space. holy shit, space.”
I asked you if you liked dogs.
“I have three.”
I asked you what you do when it rains.
“sleep, mostly. sometimes I sit at the window and watch the rain droplets race. I make a shelter out of plastic in my backyard for all the stray animals; leave them food and a place to sleep.”
he smiled like he knew.
like his mom told him the same
“how about you?”
I’m scared of everything.
of the hole in the o-zone layer,
of the lady next door who never
smiles at her dog,
and especially of all the secrets
the government must be breaking
it’s back trying to keep from us.
I love dogs so much, you have no idea.
I sleep when it rains.
I want to tell everyone I love them.
I want to find every stray animal and bring them home.
I want to wake up in your hair
and make you shitty coffee
and kiss your neck
and draw silly stick figures of us.
I never want to ask anyone else
It’s a brokenness that makes you feel full. A brokenness and suffering so complete you know you must be better for it. You’re becoming more than one person, two people in fact: the former self, whole, and the fresh self, broken and bold.
"Let yourself be inert, wait till the incomprehensible power that has broken you restores you a little. I say a little, for henceforth you will always keep something broken about you. Tell yourself this, too, for it is a kind of pleasure to know that you will never love less, that you will never be consoled, that you will constantly remember more and more."
Marcel Proust in a letter to Roland Barthes.