Because wherever I sat--on the deck of a ship or at a street café in Paris or Bangkok--I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air.
The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
There is nothing like puking with somebody to make you into old friends.
I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery -- air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, This is what it is to be happy.
I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.
There is something suspect, especially in America, about people who don't have ten-year plans for a career or at least a regular job.
If the moon smiled, she would resemble you. You leave the same impression Of something beautiful, but annihilating.
If winter comes can spring be... We're nearer to spring than we were in September, i heard a bird sing in the dark of December, January, Febmar, aprimay, apricots, beneath the bough.
Sometimes I feel so stupid and dull and uncreative that I am amazed when people tell me differently.
The eyes and faces all turned themselves towards me, and guiding myself by them, as by a magical thread, I stepped into the room.
The moon is no door. It is a face in its own right,
White as a knuckle and terribly upset.
It drags the sea after it like a dark crime; it is quiet
With the O-gape of complete despair. I live here.
Stupid girl. You will never win anyone through pity. You must create the right kind of dream, the sober, adult kind of magic: illusion born from disillusion.
You will never win anyone through pity. You must create the right kind of dream, the sober, adult kind of magic: illusion born from disillusion.
And there's the fallacy of existence: the idea that one could be happy forever and age with a given situation or series of accomplishments.
I feel occasionally my skull will crack, fatigue is continuous -- I only go from less exhausted to more exhausted and back again.
Frustrated? Yes. Why? Because it is impossible for me to be God -- or the universal woman-and-man -- or anything much. I am what I feel and think and do. I want to express my being as fully
as I can because I somewhere picked up the idea that I could justify my being alive that way.
How long can I be a wall, keeping the wind off?
How long can I be
Gentling the sun with the shade of my hand,
Intercepting the blue bolts of a cold moon?
The voices of loneliness, the voices of sorrow
Lap at my back ineluctably.
How shall it soften them, this little lullaby?
Sometimes I feel like I'm not solid. I'm hollow. There's nothing behind my eyes. I'm a negative of a person. All I want is blackness, blackness and silence.
I liked looking on at other people in crucial situations. If there was a road accident or a street fight or a baby pickled in a laboratory jar for me to look at, I'd stop and look so hard I never forgot it.
Love set you going like a fat gold watch. The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry Took its place among the elements.
He was always saying how his mother said, What a man wants is a mate and what a woman wants is infinite security,' and, 'What a man is is an arrow into the future and a what a woman is is the place the arrow shoots off from, until it made me tired.
A terrible depression yesterday. Visions of my life petering out into a kind of soft-brained stupor from lack of use.
The door of the novel, like the door of the poem, also shuts. But not so fast, nor with such manic, unanswerable finality.
What obsession do men have for destruction and murder? Why do we electrocute men for murdering an individual and then pin a purple heart on them for mass slaughter of someone arbitrarily labeled 'enemy?'
There is a charge For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge For the hearing of my heart -- It really goes. And there is a charge, a very large charge, For a word or a touch Or a bit of blood Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.
A fierce brief fusion which dreamers call real, and realists, an illusion; an insight like the flight of birds.
I am afraid of getting married. Spare me from cooking three meals a dayspare me from the relentless cage of routine and rote.
I could never be a complete scholar or a complete housewife ora completewriter: Imustcombinea little of all, and thereby be imperfect in all.
I couldn't stand the idea of a woman having to have a single pure life and a man being able to have a double life, one pure and one not.
With me, the present is forever, and forever is always shifting, flowing, melting. This second is life. And when it is gone it is dead. But you can't start over with each new second. You have to judge by what is dead. It's like quicksand... hopeless from the start.
I have this demon who wants me to run away screaming if I am going to be flawed, fallible. It wants me to think I'm so good I must be perfect. Or nothing. I am, on the contrary, something: a being who gets tired, has shyness to fight, has more trouble than most facing people easily.
Doing all the little tricky things it takes to grow up, step by step, into an anxious and unsettling world.
It is best to meet in a cul-de-sac, A palace of velvet With windows of mirrors. There one is safe, There are no family photographs, No rings through the nose, no cries.
I think writers are the most narcissistic people. Well, I musn't say this, I like many of them, a great many of my friends are writers.
The human mind is so limited it can only build an arbitrary heaven -- and usually the physical comforts they endow it with are naively the kind that can be perceived as we humans perceive -- nothing more.
A man's world is different from a woman's world and a man's emotions are different from a woman's emotions and only marriage can bring the two different sets of emotions together properly.
You must create the right kind of dream, the sober, adult kind of magic: illusion born from disillusion.
Bright beads of red are rising through the ink, Hearts-blood bubbles smearing out into the black stream.
Let me not be weak and tell others how bleeding I am internally; how day by day it drips, and gathers, and congeals.
I'm sarcastic, skeptical, and sometimes callous because I'm still afraid, deep down, of letting myself be hurt.
I looked on my stomach and saw Frieda Rebecca, white as flour with the cream that covers new babies, funny little dark squiggles of hair plastered over her head, with big, dark-blue eyes.
God, it was good to let go, let the tight mask fall off, and the bewildered, chaotic fragments pour out. It was the purge, the catharsis.
He taught me how to eat avocados by melting grape jelly and french dressing together in a saucepan and filling the cup of the pear with the garnet sauce.
There ought, I thought, to be a ritual for being born twice -- patched, retreaded and approved for the road.
The floor seemed wonderfully solid. It was comforting to know I had fallen and could fall no farther.
I collected men with interesting names. I already knew a Socrates. He was tall and ugly and intellectual and the son of some big Greek movie producer in Hollywood, but also a Catholic, which ruined it for both of us.
There I went again, building up a glamorous picture of a man who would love me passionately the minute he met me, and all out of a few prosy nothings.
What I didn't say was that each time I picked up a German dictionary or a German book, the very sight of those dense, black, barbed-wire letters made my mind shut like a clam.
The first time I saw a fingerbowl was at the home of my benefactress. ... The water had a few cherry blossoms in it, and I thought it must be some clear sort of Japanese after-dinner soup and ate every bit of it, including the crisp little blossoms.
I may never be happy, but tonight I am content.
I may never be happy, but tonight I am content. At times like this I'd call myself a fool to ask for more.
I wanted to crawl in between those black lines of print, the way you crawl through a fence, and go to sleep under that beautiful big green fig-tree.
I fancied you'd return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.).
I hate Technicolor. Everybody in a Technicolor movie seems to feel obliged to wear a lurid costume in each new scene and to stand around like a clotheshorse with a lot of very green trees or very yellow wheat or very blue ocean rolling away for miles and miles in every direction.
I never feel so much myself as when I'm in a hot bath.
I never feel so much myself as when I'm in a hot bath.
I lay in that tub on the seventeenth floor of this hotel for-women-only, high up over the jazz and push of New York, for near onto an hour, and I felt myself growing pure again. I don't believe in baptism or the waters of Jordan or anything like that, but I guess I feel about a hot bath the way those religious people feel about holy water.
Tonight I am ugly. I have lost all faith in my ability to attract males, and in the female animal that is a rather pathetic malady ... I don't care about anyone, and the feeling is quite obviously mutual. What is it that makes one attract others?
But everybody has exactly the same smiling frightened face, with the look that says: I'm important. If you only get to know me, you will see how important I am. Look into my eyes. Kiss me, and you will see how important I am.
Is to throw together events from my own life, fictionalizing to add color--it's a pot boiler really, but I think it will show how isolated a person feels when he is suffering a breakdown ... I've tried to picture my world and the people in it as seen through the distorting lens of a bell jar.
I am still so naïve; I know pretty much what I like and dislike; but please, don't ask me who I am. A passionate, fragmentary girl, maybe?
To learn and think; to think and live; to live and learn: this always, with new insight, new understanding, and new love.
Let's face it: I'm scared, scared and frozen. First, I guess, I'm afraid for myself...the old primitive urge for survival. It's getting so I live every moment with terrible intensity.
Antoine St. Exupery once mourned the loss of a man and the secret treasures that he held inside him. I loved Exupery; I will read him again, and he will talk to me, not being dead, or gone. Is that life after death -- mind living on paper and flesh living in offspring? Maybe. I do not know.
And I, stepping from this skin Of old bandages, boredoms, old faces Step to you from the black car of Lethe, Pure as a baby.
The only reason I remembered this play was because it had a mad person in it, and everything I had ever read about mad people stuck in my mind, while everything else flew out.
I am sending back the key that let me into bluebeard's study; because he would make love to me I am sending back the key; in his eye's darkroom I can see my X-rayed heart, dissected body: I am sending back the key that let me into bluebeard s study.
Yes, there is joy, fulfillment and companionship but the loneliness of the soul in its appalling self-consciousness is horrible and overpowering.
If every soldier refused to take arms ... there would be no wars; but no one has the courage to be the first to live according to Christ and Socrates, because in a world of opportunists they would be martyred.
Rooms.Every room a world. To be god: to be every life before we die: a dream to drive men mad. But to be one person, one woman- to live, suffer, bear children and learn others lives and make them into print worlds spinning like planets in the minds of other men.
I remembered a worrisome course in the Victorian novel where woman after woman died, palely and nobly, in torrents of blood, after a difficult childbirth.
Piece by piece, as at the strokes of a dull godmother's wand, the old world sprang back into position.
I want to force myself again and again to leave the warmth and security of static situations and move into the world of growth and suffering where the real books are people's minds and souls.
A living doll, everywhere you look.
It can sew, it can cook,
It can talk, talk, talk...
My boy, it's your last resort.
Will you marry it, marry it, marry it.
Why the hell are we conditioned into the smooth strawberry-and-cream Mother-Goose-world, Alice-in-Wonderland fable, only to be broken on the wheel as we grow older and become aware of ourselves as individuals with a dull responsibility in life?
I moved in front of the medicine cabinet. If I looked in the mirror while I did it, it would be like watching somebody else, in a book or a play.
God, is this all it is, the ricocheting down the corridor of laughter and tears? Of self-worship and self-loathing? Of glory and disgust?
I drink sherry and wine by myself because I like it and I get the sensuous feeling of indulgence...luxury, bliss, erotic-tinged.
Life has been some combination of fairy-tale coincidence and joie de vivre and shocks of beauty together with some hurtful self-questioning.
I am jealous of those who think more deeply, who write better, who draw better, who ski better, who look better, who live better, who love better than I.
Sometimes I nursed starfish alive in jam jars of seawater and watched them grow back lost arms. On this day, this awful birthday of otherness, my rival, somebody else, I flung the starfish against a stone. Let it perish.
Poetry, I feel, is a tyrannical discipline, you've got to go so far, so fast, in such a small space that you've just got to turn away all the peripherals.
I wish to cry. Yet, I laugh, and my lipstick leaves a red stain like a bloody crescent moon on top of the beer can.
I feel self-repressed again. The old fall disease. Where is my willpower? The idea of a life gets in the way of my life...I dream too much, work too little.
I would say everything should be able to come into a poem, but I can't put toothbrushes into a poem, I really can't!
It's the living, the eating, the sleeping that everyone needs. Ideas don't matter so much after all. My three best friends are Catholic. I can't see their beliefs, but I can see the things they love to do on earth. When you come right down to it, I do believe in the freedom of the individual.
Can you understand? Someone, somewhere, can you understand me a little, love me a little? For all my despair, for all my ideals, for all that -- I love life. But it is hard, and I have so much -- so very much to learn.
Very depressed today. Unable to write a thing. Menacing gods. I feel outcast on a cold star, unable to feel anything but an awful helpless numbness.
I can't think logically about who I am or where I am going. I have been very ecstatic, horribly depressed, shocked, elated, enlightened, and enervated.
Now I know how people can live without books, without college. ...and so one goes on living, near the earth. At times like this I'd call myself a fool to ask for more.
How can I tell Bob that my happiness streams from having wrenched a piece out of my life, a piece of hurt and beauty, and transformed it to typewritten words on paper? How can he know I am justifying my life, my keen emotions, my feeling, by turning it into print?
I've got to have something. I want to stop it all, the whole monumental grotesque joke, before it's too late. But writing poems and letters doesn't seem to do much good.
I opened the door and blinked out into the bright hall. I had the impression it wasn't night and it wasn't day, but some lurid third interval that had suddenly slipped between them and would never end.
I knew chemistry would be worse, because I'd seen a big card of the ninety-odd elements hung up in the chemistry lab, and all the perfectly good words like gold and silver and cobalt and aluminum were shortened to ugly abbreviations with different decimal numbers after them.
I also had a dim idea that if I walked the streets of New York by myself all night something of the city's mystery and magnificence might rub off on me at last. But I gave it up.
But when I took up my pen, my hand made big, jerky letters like those of a child, and the lines sloped down the page from left to right horizontally, as if they were loops of string lying on the paper, and someone had come along and blown them askew.
So learn about life. Cut yourself a big slice with the silver server, a big slice of pie. Open your eyes. Let life happen.
I think the coming of spring, the stars overhead, the first snowfall and so on are gifts for a child, a young poet.
You walked in, laughing, tears welling confused, mingling in your throat. How can you be so many women to so many people, oh you strange girl?
I must say that I am not very genteel and I feel that gentility has a stranglehold: the neatness, the wonderful tidiness, which is so evident everywhere in England is perhaps more dangerous than it would appear on the surface.
And I knew that in spite of all the roses and kisses and restaurant dinners a man showered on a woman before he married her, what he secretly wanted was for her to flatten out underneath his feet like Mrs. Willard's kitchen mat.
I think that in poetry personal experience is very important, but certainly it shouldn't be a kind of shut-box and mirror looking, narcissistic experience. I believe it should be relevant, and relevant to the larger things, the bigger things such as Hiroshima and Dachau and so on.
If you pluck out my heart To find what makes it move, You'll halt the clock That syncopates our love.
I had removed my patent leather shoes after a while, for they foundered badly in the sand. It pleased me to think they would be perched there on the silver log, pointing out to sea, like a sort of soul-compass, after I was dead.
I felt the mask crumple, the great poisonous store of corrosive ashes begin to spew out of my mouth.
I have no preconceptions. Whatever I see, I swallow immediately. Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike. I am not cruel, only truthful.
I am afraid. I am not solid, but hollow. I feel behind my eyes a numb, paralyzed cavern, a pit of hell, a mimicking nothingness.
Miracles occur, If you dare to call those spasmodic Tricks of radiance miracles. The wait's begun again, The long wait for the angel, For that rare, random descent.
Piece by piece, I fed my wardrobe to the night wind, and flutteringly, like a loved one's ashes, the gray scraps were ferried off, to settle here, there, exactly where I would never know, in the dark heart of New York.
The constant struggle in mature life, I think, is to accept the necessity of tragedy and conflict, and not to try to escape to some falsely simple solution which does not include these more somber complexities.
I decided I would put off the novel until I had gone to Europe and had a lover, and that I would never learn a word of shorthand. If I never learned shorthand I would never have to use it.
Ever since I was small I loved feeling somebody comb my hair. It made me go all sleepy and peaceful.
She looks like a woman who has found it ridiculous to commit herself to a single emotional stance in anything, but must always ride high heavy irony.
All the heat and fear had purged itself. I felt surprisingly at peace. The bell jar hung suspended a few feet above my head. I was open to the circulating air.
As a poet I would say everything should be able to come into a poem but I can't put toothbrushes in a poem. I really can't.