My thinking bent itself directly to the point I was attempting to master. I did not, however, accept it passively. If a theory convinced me, it did not remain an external, alien phenomenon; it altered my relationship with the world, and coloured all my experience.
— Simone de Beauvoir, from The Prime of Life: The Autobiography of Simone de Beauvoir; 1929-1944
i’d rather hear the roar of machines
than the inner beasts of man
i’d rather smell the burn of tires
than the quiet fire of souls
i seek an emotion that must be pure
not conflicted and cracked to splinters
yet i forego notions of completion
to become one with life
is neither one or the other
darkness slips into light
and i do not accept my mind
numbed to the facts of life
but indulge in fantasies beyond my measure
so terrible and alone
and when the last breath escapes
i see my body of work
and silently weep for the pain
She had a kind heart, though that is not of much use when it comes to the matter of self-preservation.
— Penelope Fitzgerald, The Bookshop
have I an artist’s soul?
has it gone to my head?
has it gone astray?
a shiny glimmer in the ocean
far, far away
and I slowly begin to forget
where I began
somewhere along the beaches
in the sand …
I am afraid. Of what? Life without having lived, chiefly.
— Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath