Monthly Archives: June 2010

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I love to read Chekhov to my cat. She blinks at me always in the most bourgeois sort of way.

My daddy is nice and soft, and my mother always harsh and unrelenting. But well, it is not the first day I have had my family rants, like Lucy ranting in a Peanuts cartoon. It is something which is part of forever.

I cannot bear to be mundane.

I want to run away to an abandoned part of the world and hide away, and have the whole world not looking for me.

My message to you in the meanwhile, Beansprouts:


The tourist and the town;

Those clarities detached us, gave us form,
Made us like architecture. Now no more
Bemused by local mist, our edges blurred,
We knew where we began and ended. There
We were the campanile and the dome,
Alive and separate in that bell-struck air,
Climate whose light reformed our random line,
Edged our intent and sharpened our desire.

Could it be always so: a week of sunlight,
Walks with a guidebook, picking out our way
Through verbs and ruins, yet finding after all
The promised vista, once! – The light has changed
Before we can make it ours. We have no choice:
We are only tourists under that blue sky,
Reading the posters on the station wall:
Come, take a walking-trip through happiness.

There is a mystery that floats between
The tourist and the town. Imagination
Estranges it from her. She need not suffer
Or die here. It is none of her affair,
Its calm heroic vistas make no claim.
Her bargains with disaster have been sealed
In another country. Here she goes untouched,
And this is alienation. Only sometimes
In certain towns she opens certain letters
Forwarded on from bitter origins,
That send her walking, sick and haunted, through
Mysterious and ordinary streets
That are no more than streets to walk and walk –
And then the tourist and the town are one.

To work and suffer is to be at home.
All else is scenery: the Rathaus fountain,
The skaters in the sunset on the lake
At Salzburg, or, emerging after snow,
The singular clear stars at Castellane.
To work and suffer is to come to know
The angles of a room, light in a square,
As convalescents know the face of one
Who has watched beside them. Yours now, every street
The noonday swarm across the bridge, the bells
Bruising the air above the crowded roofs,
The avenue of chestnut-trees, the road
To the post office. Once upon a time
All these for you were fiction. Now, made free
You live among them. Your breath is on this air,
And you are theirs and of their mystery.

– Adrienne Rich

What I desire for at the moment:

A table, out there in winter, freezing cold, with the one I will love, with squirrels that eat scones (with jam), to talk in shivers, to throw the occasional snowball, and just to sit, sit, sit and talk in the snow, to throw each other irreverant glances in the snow, to talk about the sun and Corfu in the snow.


“Maybe you didn’t give him a sufficient amount of tongue kisses.
I promise that that’s not it.
Say how many times per day you kissed each other and I’ll say if it’s enough.
Four hundred.
That’s not enough.”

Marchesa s/s 2010

Dream dress.

Death be not proud;

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and souls’ delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

John Donne (1572-1631)

Exams/Stress literary quotes;

For those taking the CFA with me and other exams in June…best of luck and here are some gems (taken from the Literary Quotes site):

“What is the price of experience? Do men buy it for a song?
Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No, it is bought with the price
Of all a man hath, his house, his wife, his children.
Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy,
And in the wither’d field where the farmer plows for bread in vain.”

-William Blake (from the poem “The Price of Experience”)

“To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s.”
-Fyodor Dostoevsky “Crime and Punishment”

‘Chase down your passion like it’s the last bus of the night.’
– Glade Byron Addams

‘Perserverence is the hard work that you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.’
– Newt Gingrich

I will not cease from mental fight…until we have built Jerusalem.
— Wm Blake

And another unrelated quote which I personally love:

“There are such strange things buried down in the unconscious. A lust for power – a lust for cruelty – a savage desire to tear and rend… They are all there, Miss King, all the cruelty and savagery and lust… We shut the door on them and deny them conscious life, but sometimes they are too strong.”

Appointment with Death, Agatha Christie

I love Agatha Christie. I began reading Christie when I was 7 (it was the most appealing to a primary school child, complete with murderous scorpions, cynanide, British warmen, and the like.) She’s really better than you think, Irving! I still enjoy reading an old Christie every now and then.

“…when one day Rambert told him that he liked waking up at four in the morning of his beloved Paris, the doctor guessed easily enough, basing this on his own experience, that that was his favourite time for conjuring up pictures of the woman from whom he now was parted. This was, indeed, the hour when he could feel surest she was wholly his. Till four in the morning one is seldom doing anything and at that hour, even if the night has been a night of betrayal, one is asleep. Yes, everyone sleeps at that hour, and this is reassuring, since the great longing of an unquiet heart is to possess constantly and consciously the loved one, or, failing that, to be able to plunge the loved one, when a time of absence intervenes, into a dreamless sleep timed to last unbroken until the day they meet again.”

– The Plague, Camus

For one of my book exchanges, I gave the girl my old second copy of The Plague by Albert Camus. Albert Camus’s writing is unforgettable, and I was first introduced to him by an old dear friend who had read the same version in french. Camus is the first I think of who is the best in his field for existentialist writing, together with Sartre, and the like. I was depressed for weeks after starting on Camus, but then again, the truth is always quite unpleasant!