“If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.”
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"That is its sole law: everything has to submit to form. If any of literature's other elements are stronger than form, such as style, plot, theme, if any of these overtake form, the result suffers. That is why writers with strong themes so often write bad books. Strong themes and styles have to be broken down before literature can come into being. It is this breaking down that is called "writing." Writing is more about destroying than creating." (197)
"As a rule I was always aware of how I looked, of how others might think of what they saw, sometimes I was elated and proud, at others downcast and full of self-hatred, but never indifferent, it had never happened that the eyes that saw me meant nothing at all, or that the surroundings i was in were as if expunged. But such was my state now, I was numb, and the numbness prevailed over everything else. The world lay like a shadow around me." (300)
"Now this wasn't really anything to beat the drums with in an exam or during a discussion, but that wasn't what I, the king of approximation, was after. I was after enrichment. And what enriched me while reading Adorno, for example, lay not in what I read but in the perception of myself while I was reading. I was someone who read Adorno! And in this heavy, intricate, detailed, precise language whose aim was to elevate thought ever higher, and where every period was set like a mountaineer's cleat, there was something else, this particular approach to the mood of reality, the shadow of these sentences that could invoke in me a vague desire to use the language with this particular mood on something real, on something living. Not on an argument, but on a lynx, for example, or on a blackbird or a cement mixer. For it was not the case that language cloaked reality in its moods, but vice versa, reality rose from them." (331)
"A lot had happened in her family, as in all families, but this was not something that they talked about, so if it was manifest anywhere, it was in each of them, and the atmospheres they created collectively. One of the things Tonje liked best about me, I suspected, was that I was so fascinated by precisely that, by all the contexts and potential of various relationships, she wasn't used to that, she never speculated along those lines, so when I opened her eyes to what I saw she was always interested." (385)
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