Jeanette Winterson, Oranges are not the Only Fruit

Jeanette Winterson, Oranges are not the Only Fruit


Virginia Woolf’s suicide letter to her husband Leonard (March 28, 1941)


Dearest,

I feel certain I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that — everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer.

I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been.

Virginia Woolf’s suicide letter to her husband Leonard (March 28, 1941)


Dearest,

I feel certain I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that — everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer.

I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been.


So: Why should English majors exist? Well, there really are no whys to such things, anymore than there are to why we wear clothes or paint good pictures or live in more than hovels and huts or send flowers to our beloved on their birthday. No sane person proposes or has ever proposed an entirely utilitarian, production-oriented view of human purpose. We cannot merely produce goods and services as efficiently as we can, sell them to each other as cheaply as possible, and die. Some idea of symbolic purpose, of pleasure-seeking rather than rent seeking, of Doing Something Else, is essential to human existence. That’s why we pass out tax breaks to churches, zoning remissions to parks, subsidize new ballparks and point to the density of theatres and galleries as signs of urban life, to be encouraged if at all possible. When a man makes a few billion dollars, he still starts looking around for a museum to build a gallery for or a newspaper to buy. No civilization we think worth studying, or whose relics we think worth visiting, existed without what amounts to an English department—texts that mattered, people who argued about them as if they mattered, and a sense of shame among the wealthy if they couldn’t talk about them, at least a little, too. It’s what we call civilization.

Even if we read books and talk about them for four years, and then do something else more obviously remunerative, it won’t be time wasted. We need the humanities not because they will produce shrewder entrepreneurs or kinder C.E.O.s but because, as that first professor said, they help us enjoy life more and endure it better. The reason we need the humanities is because we’re human. That’s enough.

The New Yorker (via thebardofavon)

I want to write books that unlock the traffic jam in everybody’s head.
John Updike

wearyvoices:

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter - tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… And one fine morning - So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

(via shelaghbonhamcarter)


Son, never trust a man who doesn’t drink because he’s probably a self-righteous sort, a man who thinks he knows right from wrong all the time. Some of them are good men, but in the name of goodness, they cause most of the suffering in the world. They’re the judges, the meddlers. And, son, never trust a man who drinks but refuses to get drunk. They’re usually afraid of something deep down inside, either that they’re a coward or a fool or mean and violent. You can’t trust a man who’s afraid of himself. But sometimes, son, you can trust a man who occasionally kneels before a toilet. The chances are that he is learning something about humility and his natural human foolishness, about how to survive himself. It’s damned hard for a man to take himself too seriously when he’s heaving his guts into a dirty toilet bowl.
James Crumley

She was the third beer. Not the first one, which the throat receives with almost tearful gratitude; nor the second, that confirms and extends the pleasure of the first. But the third, the one you drink because it’s there, because it can’t hurt, and because what difference does it make?
Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

Q
Are we all born with the ability to become great writers, or do you believe that a great writer only lives within the lives of those who are unique? In other words, is writing a talent?
Anonymous
A

I think good writing is definitely a talent. However, what is good writing to me is different to what is good writing to others and the same the other way round. I guess writing, for me anyway, is something that you just feel you need to do. If that’s the case, just do it, and remember - if you want to get better you have to keep working it at it.


Q
Is there a way to talk to you ? Would you talk to a complete stranger who just like your blog and can't stop thinking about it.
Anonymous
A

I try to get back to everyone so please feel free to contact me :)


Why did I write? Because I found life unsatisfactory.
Tennessee Williams

The body shuts down when it has too much to bear; goes its own way quietly inside, waiting for a better time, leaving you numb and half alive.
Jeanette Winterson

beyond-the-canvas:

Gustave Dore, Andromeda. 1869, oil on canvas. Private collection.

beyond-the-canvas:

Gustave Dore, Andromeda. 1869, oil on canvas. Private collection.

(via rascalcub)


Stars are not small or gentle.
They are writhing and dying and burning.
They are not here to be pretty.
I am trying to learn from them.
Caitlyn Siehl, “Sky Poem” (via thelostdeer)

(via joy--reus)


Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape.
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations